I have not been touched so deep in my heart by a book since I don’t know when. I finished the last of Life After Death by Damien Echols at midnight last night. I laid in bed last night and just grieved over his sense of hopelessness, despair and the madness going on around him in the local, state and federal law enforcement communities. I have seen the uneducated, out of shape, mean police. If not in West Memphis, then the surrounding cities. I live east of West Memphis Arkansas. Mr. Echol books convaves the rural landscape so well you can smell the Lakeshore Lake. I have seen the cracked concrete in what sidewalks there was. The patched streets, the lawn chairs on old wooden porches. I can feel the cold standing around a cold wood stove in the morning, shivering, waiting on the fire to warm you up. We can just imagine the smell of unwashed bodies in the pen. The cruel guards, the insane, the mental retarded prisoners. To the just evil weight of the air. The cruelty of man against man evil. Mr Echols had to suffer thru this. The cold, heat, the never-ending of the humidity that only someone who has been there at the time would know. I have seen the neighborhoods Damien talks about. I saw the people standing and screaming all kinds of things at him during the trail. The crowd reminded me of a Frankenstein movie. All they needed were some pitchforks and torches. My mouth fell open when they convicted those three teenagers. I wondered how? How can anyone one be charged when there was no evidence. Capitol Murder. How did that happen? The unfairness of it all. If you grew up poor like he did then you have no choice but to be the odd one out. Salvation Army clothes and shoes are NOT what the kids in school were wearing except the other poor people. The free lunches. Some times you go hungry instead of eating with the rest of the kids because some way, some how there is always something that gave away that you were getting free lunches. The growing up, while you feel empty inside. To see the effects of child abuse as just playing around? The loss of love leaves a big old whole inside that never gets filled. You feel like it is just you and you alone against the cold brutality of the world. You were the odd duck out. I have been the odd duck out for a long time. Even inside my own family as he was. I don’t think West Memphis could even spell witch without help. I feel there’s a lot of the odd ducks out there as teenagers want to explore and read about the occult because it is forbidden in the Bible Delta. Occult only means hidden. Who wouldn’t want to find out what it was that was forbidden. Even my grandchild is interested in the occult. Because it is forbidden in the south. I have explored many different religions, high magic which is no difference than low magic except the tools. Nothing in there is satanic. You the person, with free will choses to do black magic. The spell or magic ends the incantation with “Do as you will, but harm it none. So mode it be.” The the individual chooses to be evil or not. Just as the prisoners can choose to reoffend or not
Mr Echols’ book touched me like the painting of “The Scream” touches me. To feel the despair, hopelessness,loss and fear that comes before The Scream. My hat is off to you Mr. Echols. You managed to come out of it alive. I hope you have nothing but healing going on from here. You didn’t come out of this whole, but who could? I wish you well in the journey back to wholeness. I am so glad you have someone that has proven she will be there time after time.