Riley Simms’s minister father always cautioned his daughter to be slow to anger. She failed to do this sometimes, but it started a fascination with the deadly sin and the destruction it causes in the lives of those responsible.
This brought her to Miranda Taylor.
The petite convicted murderer brutally killed her schoolmate Amy Gerstein four years ago and hasn’t broken her silence until now. It was the result of a sated soul, now that she has become a born again Christian. Riley had written books on murderers to reveal their side of the story and how they endure their daily life after taking someone else’s. She couldn’t hide her curiosity as she prepared her notes and trusty recorder for her interview at the Penitentiary.
When she arrived there the following week, she was able to stamp down her nervousness just before they brought in a small, thin young woman with dark hair and a pale face.
Dressed in the usual bright colored garb, she sat across from her and let the burly female guard chain her down with a quiet understanding.
Their eyes met only when the door banged shut.
“Hello, Miranda. My name is Riley Simms and I want to thank you for doing this interview.” She told her with a small smile. Dark eyes looked back at her and she wondered what laid behind them during her night of terror. Yet, she was calm and at peace with her circumstances. She smiled and she looked completely different, like child of six and not a child of nearly twenty.
“It’s good to meet you, Riley and you’re welcome. It’s important to tell this story, it needs to be done.” she told her confidently.
“Are you ready to begin?” Riley asked her with her finger on the record button, like a trigger.
“I’m ready.” The little girl was still present in her voice.
“Do you regret what you’ve done?” Riley asked.
Miranda nodded her head. “Everyday, but I didn‘t at first. I guess that’s hard to understand. Not everyone can until it happens to them.” Those somber eyes held their grip on hers. She paused for a moment.
“Can you take me back to the beginning?” Riley prodded gently.
“I went to sleep one night looking forward to the future and woke up just in time to see the destruction. It started with Amy over by the pool, kissing my father. They stood there embracing and the shock left my skin clammy. They didn’t notice me right away.
He walked toward me and I took two steps away from him and from what I felt to be meaningless excuses he tried to say. He couldn’t look at me as he went into the house. I could see Amy from the shade, still standing by the pool watching everything. She smiled like a bad kid without a bit of remorse. She walks over to me and says,
‘Don’t worry. I don’t want to marry him, I just wanted to eff him.’ Then she smiled and went on her way.
My life crumbled around me. The secret started a storm and all because of this pretty girl who dropped a seed in me that grew into an obsession of revenge. From that moment, I was lost in my rage.” She said sadly.
Miranda paused for a moment and the tape rolled on waiting.
“We moved from a nice middle class neighborhood and I wasn’t happy about leaving my friends, my activities, my home. Especially to a place where people walked around as if they were breathing better air. I wasn’t impressed by the large homes and the flashy cars, I didn‘t understand how it was suppose to be better than where we were. All I saw was a big change that‘s happened in my life, but my parents were loving and patient.”
Riley noticed that she told the story as if she had said it a million times before, perhaps in her own mind.
“My father worked as a supervisor at a big trucking company back home. I used to visit him when I was a kid and I was proud that everyone liked and admired him, especially the truckers. They would complain about being overworked and underpaid and he would do his best to help them. When the company went under, he decided to start his own company and the truckers went with him. My mother didn’t complain about the hours he worked because he always found the time to take her out on a date. They would come home late and giggly like teenagers and I remember feeling lucky that my parents were not only together, but still in love.” she smiled at the memory a little.
“How did you go about making life feel normal?” Riley asked her, listening and watching every gesture and nuance.
“I made the swim team and a few friends. Things were taking on a calm routine and I was just starting to adjust to my new environment when things started to change at home. I tried to fill in the blanks as their arguments got shorter and ended with my mother crying.”