Quiet and Deafening Thoughts



The photo shows a model of the infamous worn out yellow Volkswagen Beetle that Bundy used to kidnap many women. The color made him seem like a charismatic person, which added on to how bright his personality seemed (Photo courtesy of Alia Abbas, photo credits to Betty the Beetle).

It had been a long week. I flew from my small 751 square foot apartment in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah to Bradford County, Florida on Saturday. In the taxi to my hotel suite from the Gainesville Regional Airport, all I saw through the windows were correctional facilities and courts, and I was quickly overwhelmed with a somber feeling. Now, I stood here, on a murky Tuesday morning, in a cramped chamber along with 41 other witnesses. My dark locks that usually cloaked my face, were drawn back in a tight high pony. I could feel the stress of the tightness in my temples. My taught hairline was damp from the sweat that had been made from the tensity surrounding me. The tall drab concrete walls led to what I assumed was a high ceiling, but it was too dark to see.  I peered through the Plexiglass window standing before me at one of America’s most notorious serial killers: Ted Bundy. Chills electrocuted my body, although I was clothed in dark jeans, sultry long sleeved white dress shirt, and the long camel coat that was the only source of warmth in this dreary weather. He was strapped into the wooden electric chair, known by the macabre nickname “Old Sparky”. He seemed more rigid and of age since the first time I had encountered him. I had been contemplating the last few moments if the man deserved my mercy. Because if it weren’t for him, I would have never found myself in this grave state prison. 

It was an appalling fall day that would determine the fate of many things. It was a chilly Monday morning, and I can recollect every movement that went through my body as clear as day. The way I had grabbed my wallet and keys, thrilled that I had the chance to stop by the Fashion Place Mall on such a busy day, would now make me shudder . I drove myself to Murray as I listened to the murmured “Stairway to Heaven” on the stereo, inaudible as it was drowned out by the drizzling rain peppering my windows . “This will be good,” I thought to myself. I would have dinner tonight with family and see my friends at college the next day. As I parked my car and entered the mall, I made my way into a corner bookstore. I pressed my fingers onto the book spines as I walked down the isles of books, not realizing a man had followed me into the mall. The strange man tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention, and I was taken aback by the sudden interruption of my quiet state. His face was vacant of all emotions as he gazed over me. Promptly, he identified himself as a police officer, frequently prodding the badge sitting on the right side of his chest over his dark uniform. He warned me that someone had tried to break into my car. Although that man vaguely smelled of alcohol, I was hypnotized by his charismatic looks. I questioned myself. What reason do I have not to believe him? Exactly none. So, I followed him out the exit of the mall, the same way I had entered, and onto the curb. 

Beside the curb stood a pale yellow Volkswagen Beetle, and to my surprise, the man led me to it. I, hesitantly, watched him get in the driver’s seat and start the engine with such determination that I was forced into believing that this man was indeed a real police officer. Or so I had thought. Maybe he was undercover. With all the news going around, I was sure the police department had implemented higher measures in order to catch the predators. He looked up at me through the slightly tinted window, once again interrupting my quiet thoughts. I seated myself into the passenger seat, and without any hesitation, the stranger drove off. In this moment, I was so entranced by his side profile and the quick glances he kept throwing towards me every few minutes that I had not realized we had completely left the premises of the mall’s parking lot. And I irrefutably had not parked my car that far off, in fact it had been parked right in the first row, considering it was a weekday. 

I still don’t understand why I found myself leniently accepting his poised character, but I soon sensed something was awfully wrong, as the man pulled us over near an elementary school. My heart began to race, and my consciousness and adrenaline started to set in place. I was suddenly fully aware and noticed the small things that I had assumed were insignificant at first. Such as the passenger side door, which didn’t have an easily accessible handle. It was 3 feet away from my reach, and the passenger seat had been repositioned to create an alarming stretch to the handle. I panicked, my back went stiff, looking around the deserted lot. I gasped when I felt cold metal cuff around my left wrist. Looking to my side, the man attempted to grab my right hand too, but I pulled it as far away from his reach as possible. Wrestling to pull the handle towards myself, the man yanked the cuff towards him, jerking me onto my left side. A sharp pain shot through my back, and  could not strain myself from letting out a whine. He pulled a handgun from under the seat and threatened to blow my head off. Immediately shutting up, I thought to myself, “just shoot me.” He was hawkish in appearance, nose flaring, but he barely made a sound. The only clamor heard was of heavy breathing in the intense air filling the the compact space. Although it sounds cliche, my whole life flashed before my eyes. I don’t know how long I had tried to fight him off, but as soon as I heard a series of clicks and a satisfying relieve of the door handle, my feet hit the ground running. 

“With the cuff still dangling on my left hand, I ran all the way back to the mall and to the police booth,” I said, hearing the echoes of my own words in the hushed courtroom. My heart pounded against my ribs, and to the point where I was sure everyone could hear the terror it roared in the confined space of my chest. I was called in to testify my account with the man months after the incident. It was dead silent; the spectators in the back could have heard a pin drop. My alleged attacker now sat in an orange jumpsuit and cuffs, sporting a scruffy beard to my right at the defendant’s table. I had left the police department on November 4th, 1974, the day of the abduction, with a full description of the false officer and his car. Months later, they found a man who matched my rendition and wanted me to identify the attacker in a lineup. Although he had tried to alter his appearance, it was clear to me that my incompetent and attempted killer stood 5 feet before me. They had found the key that unlocked the handcuffs I’d been forced into wearing. Little did I know that right then and there, I had initiated an investigation that would lead authorities to the killings in Washington and Oregon, which had remained unsolved for many years. Before leaving my trail, I learned of my attacker’s name: Theodore Robert Bundy. 

It had been years. I was given justice at the trial, but I never received closure. I never learned about the motives of Bundy and his attack on me, and my desire to know intensified as the years went by. Waking up every morning, I was faced with the terrors of hearing that scores of missing young women’s bodies that were found all over northwestern America. I would wake in cold sweat recalling my encounter, sometimes thinking of how my death could have arrived, what Bundy would have done to my body, and what my parents would have thought. 

One evening, I received a letter sealed and signed by Florida’s department of corrections announcing that Bundy’s official execution date would be at the beginning of the coming year, 1989. I left the letter in my drawer for over nine months, as the dreadful day crept nearer. I didn’t want to see his face again, as the aftermath of that horrific ten minute occurrence unfolded a stream of miserable criticism. Despite my bravery to testify against Bundy, the attorneys plundered me with endless difficult questions from every direction. They all questioned my accuracy and my intentions, saying Ted Bundy was too handsome, trustworthy, and intelligent to murder a soul. How could a charismatic law student and converted Mormon be a sadistic, menacing serial rapist and murderer? I was scarred for the rest of my life. In my mind I strained the lividness, which had caused my thoughts to collide in a battalion. My mind was at war from the conflicting choices of how what I thought of Bundy’s veneer, but this was my only chance to bring in the closure needed to put an end to my repulsive memories. 

I had zoned back just in time to hear a brief question directed toward Bundy, asking if he had any last words. Promptly, he looked at his attorney and a methodist pastor and stated solemnly “Jim and Fred, I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends.” Could it be the most plain-spoken words I heard in my life, it would have been that very statement. Before I knew it, a leather strap as tightened across Bundy’s chin. A metal cap was placed on his gruelly shaven head. And the last I would see of his hideous face was covered with a black, leather veil. The black-hooded executioner, standing behind a partition, was given a brief nod by the prison superintendent. My sight was once again refocused onto Bundy’s body as I watched, horrified, as Bundy’s head jerked back as 2,000 volts of electrical phenomena hit him. His body had stiffened and pressed against the chair back. Midway the cycle, the executioner turned the current off, and Bundy’s body slumped against the leather straps. I exhaled the deep, anxious breath that had been close to suffocating me. His guilt was beyond doubt and manipulative to the end. Theodore Robert Bundy, who I felt no remorse, was finally dead.