Back to Educational Review Forum
It was 11:54, and James Clarence Withencroft was hoping he would live for another six minutes, but Charles Atkinson had other plans.
"I hope this works! Just a few more minutes, and Ill do it. I cant be jumpy; Ive got to stay calm so James wont suspect anything," Charles thought to himself. He looked at his watch11:55. It was time.
Then Charles got up out of his chair and crept up behind James, pointing a sharp chisel at him.
"Oh, my gosh, its you!" exclaimed James as he turned around.
"Please dont kill me! I want to live."
Charles just stared at him with eyes gleaming like red-hot coals.
Cautiously yet daringly, James asked, "Why are you doing this?"
"What does it matter to you? You were going to die anyway. Now it will look as though you wanted to die, but really I get to kill you. I can say that you came to call and asked me to make a gravestone for you and that when I invited you into my house, you insisted on going to the attic, and then at 11:58 you jumped. The best part is that no one can prove me wrong," Charles said.
He was getting closer to James, and the chisel was raised high above his head as he pinned his victim up against the window.
"Jump!" he ordered James. "Jump!"
"Never! I will never do anything you tell me to do! Do you hear me?
Never!" James challenged bravely.
"Fine! Ill throw you out of the window after I stab you. That will just make it more painful," Charles said irritably.
James knew he was going to die either way, whether he jumped or whether he didnt. Suddenly something occurred to him, "Charles hasnt planned on actually using the chisel. If he has to use it, it will be more likely for Charles to get caught. The chisel will have blood on it, and there will be marks on my body from it. If I can force Charles to use the chisel, more than likely hell be caught.."
"I told you to jump!" yelled Charles.
"Yes, and I told you No," James shouted back.
"Hey, Im the one with the weapon, so Im the one who makes the orders!" screamed a furious Charles.
"Well then, tough guy, use your weaponor are you afraid to?" James challenged.
"Im definitely not a coward, but youre a dead man!" Charles bellowed, stabbing James in the leg.
"How do you like that?" asked Charles, as James screamed in pain.
"Hey, whats going on up here?"
It was Marias voice. She was coming up the stairs. She opened the door and saw Charles stabbing James in the other leg. Maria was too astonished to speak. Immediately, she ran downstairs and out of the house. She kept running until she got to the police station.
Meanwhile, at 11:58, a blood-curdling scream emerged from the Atkinson house as James Clarence Withencroft fell to his death. He landed on the ground with his skull cracked open upon the bloody gravestone.
Charles hurriedly tried to clean the chisel, but he didnt get the dirty business over with in time. There was a knock on the door, and suddenly a swarm of police came in and surrounded Charles. They took him off to jail; his trial would be held the next year.
On August 21, 1901, Charles went on trial. He was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to die. Charles Atkinson was hanged on the next day, August 22, at dawn.
Two men were dead just because of an unexplainably coincidental gravestone and drawing. Should it have happened?
"Okay, thats a rap. Charles, James, Maria, thats the best Ive seen you three act all the times weve practiced. You should get an Emmy award for that performance," the director congratulated the cast.
"Thanks. For some reason I felt like it was all really happening. Maybe its because I play my grandfather. You know, he really did have a son he didnt know aboutmy father," said actor James C. Withencroft III.
"I know, me too. I guess it was because I played my grandfather also," actor Charles Atkinson III concurred.