The Changing Face of Capital Punishment
Gideon Mandrake, 30 October 2015

It’s becoming harder and harder to execute people in America. The last few years have seen an unprecedented crackdown by the federal government and international authorities on the handful of American states that still practice the death penalty, blocking importation of the drugs, poisonous reptiles, and cursed jewelry that states have used to kill prisoners since every electric chair in the country mysteriously vanished in 1976.

Far from giving up on seeking death for prisoners, however, states have proven surprisingly creative in finding new ways to execute the death penalty that — they claim — are all legal under federal law.

So far, Missouri has taken it all in stride. State policy-makers have taken advantage of the crisis to revive an ancient tradition of throwing condemned criminals into the Chasm.

“We’re very fortunate,” explained Deputy Secretary Lisa MacNally of the state Department of Corrections. “We have this great natural resource that has swallowed whole the evildoers of this land, yea, even unto the ancient times, when shadows roamed the Earth and all the air resounded with the mournful wails of the lost and damned.”

“To be frank with you,” MacNally added, “the Chasm is a more reliable means of execution than sodium thiopental ever was. Well, we assume it’s execution. Anyone we throw in, we never, ever see them again, and that’s the important part, right?”

MacNally declined to comment on rumors that the faces of the Chasm’s victims would sometimes appear in mirrors during a full moon.

In Oklahoma, state legislators were hesitant to authorize a transition to firing squads or gas chambers, noting that such practices were “very bad luck.” Eventually, the committee tackling the issue came up with a solution that has been enthusiastically embraced by members on both sides of the aisle: pushing death row prisoners out of airplanes.

“A fall from 30,000 feet is one of the most reliable ways to kill a man,” said Sen. Frank Harmon, chewing on a fat Cuban cigar as he reclined at his desk. “Trust me on this,” he added, winking. “I know what I’m talking about it.”

The state legislature is currently debating an amendment to allow very tall buildings to be substituted for airplanes during inclement weather.

Perhaps the most economical strategy, however, has been implemented in Arizona. “We're just putting them in airtight rooms," explained Director of Corrections Nancy Carrigan. “Then we mostly just forget about them, and let them suffocate. It’s actually quite convenient. Honestly, I don’t think we’d go back to lethal injection now if we could, given the choice.”

“They’re very small rooms,” Carrigan added, her voice becoming slightly sing-song.

Carrigan also mentioned that the state is in talks with online interactive streaming website Twitch to broadcast death row inmates’ suffocation live. “Sometimes we put in two prisoners at a time, and they’ll kill each other before the carbon dioxide does,” she explained. “It’s really great.”

Questioned whether the new methods of execution might violate federal law banning “cruel and unusual” punishments, the associated officials began laughing in unison, a deep, mocking laughter that soon drowned out every other sound, as they encircled the investigating reporter and drew closer and closer together, until the reporter turned on his heel and fled the room.

At press time, all lights in the room where the state officials had assembled had failed, and an inky black mass was forming midair in its exact center.

Gideon Mandrake is Approved News 6's vengeance correspondent. Born in 894 and kept youthful by secret rituals, Mandrake has studied under the lord excruciators of the Followers of the Faithless Year, mastered the cursed tongue of the salamanders, and destroyed all but one of his many enemies. He lives in his private yacht, forever plying the endless seas in search of the one foe who yet eludes him, with his cat Maurice and army of skeletons.