The religious folk in town figured God had spared him and would continue to do so. A quiet few figured it was the work a the Devil. I just figured he was lucky.
The first time they tried to hang him, there was a loud snappin' sound, like a whip, when the rope broke in two. He went through the door of that scaffold, screamin’ his head off, and he kept on screamin’ after he hit the ground. His eyes was closed tight and it took him a few seconds to realize he wasn’ dead. But he finally stopped his rantin', opened his eyes, and looked at all of us standin’ there, his mouth still hangin’ open like he had somethin’ to say.
The Sheriff pulled his gun, thinkin’ it might be somebody tryin’ to set the boy free. But it was no conspiracy. At least none we could see.
The crowd broke out in a loud rumble of amazed conversation. Tipton Lange – that was the fella they was tryin’ to hang – he begin to laugh like a crazy man. It was one of the strangest things I ever seen. Nobody knowed what to do.
The Sheriff went over to Tipton and picked him up by the arm to get him on his feet. He pulled the noose from 'round his neck and tossed it on the ground.
Someone in the crowd yelled, “God don’t want this man hanged!” I knowed the voice. It was Pete Conroy. Pete testified for Tipton at the trial, but the prosecutin’ attorney shook him up and made him say the wrong things. Pete growed up with Tipton, they been friends since they was too young to remember, so he had a interest. He shouted, “Tom Bradshaw deserved to be killed!” And maybe he did. But the lawyer knowed a lot of big words. He said, “It is for God to determine whether or not Mr. Bradshaw deserved to die. It is only for the jury to decide whether or not Tipton Lange did the killing.”
And everybody knowed Tipton done it. I seen it myself. I was there.
TO BE CONTINUED...
© LW Publishing 2010