Oh, Life enjoys her little tricks and ironies. When I was finally caught, was it for the countless crimes I have committed? For my own stealing? No. Supposedly I look like the crooked Jean Valjean, who's been on the run for many years. For all of us who've escaped the law, the man's a legend. But when I was finally caught, Life decided I just needed to be locked up. Thus, she sent away my voice. My throat is terribly sore and talking pains me too much to even speak in my own defense. Life hates me so.

I wish Valjean could come here and say that I am not him. He is not me. But why would he ever save me? Someone who's escaped the galleys isn't going to willingly turn himself in. He has what anyone wants: freedom. What on Earth would make him try to save me instead of himself? The odds he has even heard of my trial are low. I heard a guard say they wanted to make sure it was Valjean before they tell the public. Or if he has heard, I assume he is celebrating it. He has no more worries of being caught now. Unless he turns himself in. Why should I even hope that he would do something like that? It's not like it would happen. Life hates me too much to let that happen. Yet, we all can hope… I hope.

Perhaps if I am saved I can change. I can be a better man.

My sister would surely be tired of hearing me say that. Little Josephina begged me to stop when I stole as a young boy. Even with her being three years younger than me, she would chase me down and make me give back whatever I stole. Sometimes that meant we'd go hungry for the night… I never listened to her back then. When she joined the convent, she sent letters to me, telling me she prayed for me and the Lord has not forsaken me. I scoffed at her letters and used them as kindling. Now, with her gone, I cannot believe what a fool I was to burn the last of her memories.

Shifting on the stone bench, bed only in purpose, I wonder if maybe she can still help me. I slowly get out of my bed, careful to not alert the guards to my movements. Kneeling like I am little one again, I can't seem to recall any of the prayers Josephina would say at night. Instead, I pray to her. Please, Josephina, you were always the better of the two of us. If you can find some way to change the heart of Val- Monsieur Valjean, I too shall change. Please, if you have gained any influence with the Heavenly Father, help me escape this place. My life will be only for others. Please, dear sister, one last time?

I cannot help but feel silly. Never have I put my trust in a higher power, but Josephina believed so completely. Perhaps there is something to pray. I do feel a little better. Maybe I can get some sleep now and not worry about tomorrow.

Free? How can I believe the guard's word? I saw the very man at my trial, but I thought he merely wanted to punish me more; give me the taste of freedom for only a moment. Finally, I can leave this Godforsaken prison and find a place with the Lord. I should thank him.

I can see the chapel. It's just over the hill past the tree with delicious looking pears. Food! I have yet to eat since gaining my freedom. God will understand, won't He? I twist a few off the branch, sticking them in my sack. I take one and bite into it. Oh, I never thought I'd see the sun and be able to eat a pear outside ever again.

What was that noise? Then I see a sight worse than anything I could imagine. Three bandits are coming to me. My sack, empty, is big. They must believe I have something valuable. I do not.

How did I believe I would get a chance? Why would God free me and then place me into the arms of thieves who will kill me the moment they realize I have nothing in my bag of worth to steal? All I have are some pears I stole off a tree. Oh, Life. Must you hate me so much that I can't even live with a changed heart?