Meanwhile, the first light of dawn illuminated Marvin’s world. He awoke with a jolt and was startled to witness a very unwelcome sight. All around him were the blue uniforms of Union soldiers! The fever in his body kept him asleep for too long. Numerous times he tried to rise up but he lost to the cosmic tug-o-war between his universe; and that of his bewitched ‘friend’. His infection demanded more rest and kept pulling him back over the enchanted wall of sleep.
Before waking him, Union soldiers placed him in leg irons and poured ‘antiseptic’ (whiskey) on his wounds. He knew that the only reason for the medical care was to insure he survived long enough to be tried, convicted, and hanged as a spy. Things were looking bleak for Marvin Thornton. With two guards posted around his makeshift cell, he went to sleep that night; actually looking forward to becoming ‘Larry Sowder’ again. If only to escape his dire situation for a little while.
When Larry awoke after his painful night of ‘drastic measures’, he was sure of one thing. His destiny was coming together with that of ‘Marvin Thornton’. The omen was complex but it was also very clear. They were both bonded together to share a common, sinister fate. “At least the soldier knows how he will die.”; He thought. “My fate is still uncertain.”
It wasn’t long before his worst fears were confirmed. Reverend Proctor had reported his dreams to the wychfinder general and town council. It seemed probable to them that he was either possessed by a demon; or a secret warlock himself. A vote amongst the elders was taken at his tribunal. It was decided that he would be examined more closely and interrogated by the wychfinder. When the ‘confessors’ came for him, he finally knew how he would die.
Shackled to the stone wall of the confession chamber, Larry became acquainted with all the usual torture methods associated with extracting a confession’. The confessors consulted a highly worn edition of the ‘Malleus Maleficarium’ for instruction and spiritual guidance. Larry hoped they would eventually believe his claims of innocence but that didn’t happen. They only stopped the confession after he passed out from the pain and torture. For a while, both Larry Sowder and Marvin Thornton coexisted in a parallel realm that was free of pain.
Marvin woke up on the prisoner wagon and heard one of the guards say that his trial was to be held near Atlanta. Ironically, he had been captured only a few miles from the safety of a large Confederate camp. He asked the soldiers when they would arrive. “Not soon enough for Rebel scum like you!’; They sneered.
Later that evening at his military trial, Marvin Thornton was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to hang until dead. The verdict was no surprise and after being on the run for so long, the death sentence was almost a relief. He knew the risks and dangers of being a spy when he joined the Confederate Secret Service. Now he was prepared to accept the dire consequences of those actions. He was sentenced to die the following day at 12:30 PM. He rested his head on the cot in his cell and thought about his fading life. in retrospect he had no regrets. An hour or so later, Marvin closed his eyes and drifted into sleep for what would be the last time.