Dead in the Water
2017 Oxford, England
I couldn’t sleep. It was gone midnight and lying in bed, my thoughts were 5,000 miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, in a side room in UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California. A room, and a city, I had never visited, but in my mind’s eye was picture-perfect. I saw the two burly armed Marshals standing guard over the wizened seventy-six-year-old man, his grey beard recently shaved into a devilish goatee.
Lying prostrate in the bed in the clinical white-washed room, as a high-security prisoner, he was still shackled. Gasping for air as the death rattle began to lay claim to his body, he was compos mentis, remaining defiant, with a controlling, menacing glare until his very last breath.
I was one of only a handful of people permitted to know he was there.
I tossed and turned, my eyes glancing at the seconds, the minutes, the hours flashing by on my bedside alarm clock. I constantly checked my mobile for a text or an email. It was pointless, it was on loud and vibrate. Maybe I would ‘know’ via some subliminal sign without even looking?
How could I want someone so evil to live? But I did.
At 02.14 the email from Detective Constable Michaela Clinch of the Greater Manchester Police Cold Case Review Unit came in: ‘Sorry about the time Penny but I just got this from the US prosecution team and I know you are waiting: the U.S. Marshals Service reports that Silas Duane Boston died at 17:09 Pacific Daylight Time on 24th April 2017. Oh Penny… My heart goes out to you all, it really does. I’m devastated for you.’
That simple email represented crushing finality; an abrupt full stop to my family’s thirty-eight-year quest for truth and justice. I felt physically sick. It was like hitting the buffers at 100mph.
A lot of things died with Boston that afternoon.