30 Writers, 30 Days, 1 Story
“Be Careful Who Has Control Of Your Body“
The emergency department was unusually quiet for a Saturday night and that suited Stewart just fine. He looked at the clock on the wall, one hour until his shift finished, this made his heart race and he could feel the adrenalin racing through his body. Dr Stewart Whitelaw had been a doctor for ten years, most of that at St Vincents hospital in Sydney. He enjoyed the emergency department as it gave him variety. The only thing he didn’t like was the drug addicts that were frequently brought in for overdosing, he often thought of just letting them die.
Tonight would change his life forever as it did almost four years ago. He had had it all, a beautiful wife and a loving daughter. They were just memories now. His heart skipped as he thought of that fateful night four years ago, when his daughter Kirsten was raped. She was traumatised by what they did to her and she committed suicide. His wife Angela couldn’t cope so she left, leaving him a battered and bruised man. It took almost a year for him to pull himself together and that’s when he started planning. The teenager who raped Kirsten only received three and half years and was let out early anyway.
He had put a lot of time and planning in what would happen tonight. He converted the basement of his house into a surgical theatre and now it would be getting soaked in blood.
Stewart had been watching his prey for weeks and had studied this man who raped his daughter, he was certainly a creature of habit. Two nights ago he grabbed him and took him home to the basement and for two days he had kept him drugged and asleep.
He left the hospital with a smile on his face and drove calmly home. His time had come now to take everything away from the man who took his family. Entering his basement he checks his victims vital signs, all good. Now to begin. He had already laid everything out and was ready to spread his anger. This is going to take all night he thought to himself and started to adjust his patient for the first procedure, he must be awake so the full experience is felt and understood. Normally what he was about to do would take an assistant but he could not share his delight with anyone.
Stewart tied the tourniquet to the right thigh to minimise blood loss, grabbing the scalpel he proceeded to amputate the first limb.
Surgery hours have begun…..
by: Fernando Caro
Stewart turned the music up and flashed a smile behind his mask. What can
be more appropriate than `Van Halen`s -Jump?!` He roared with laughter.
Jump, yes, unfortunately his victim cannot jump from this operating table.
His thoughts drifted back to his beloved daughter and that fatal night
when she jumped from the roof of St Vincent’s Hospital.
It made him shiver and filled him with anger. He doesn`t want to kill his
victim. No, that would be too quick. He wants to mutilate and scar him –
for life! This young man should never father children, marry or be able to
look at himself in the mirror. Tonight he will create a monster, similar
to the one that is raging deep inside him.
His semi-conscious victim stirs and Stewart quickly moves back to the
operating table. No more thinking! It is time. The scalpel glistens in the
bright light and for an instant caught the reflection of his own cold,
With surgeon precision he made the first cut. A blood curling scream
followed and after the 3rd cut Stewart blocked out all screams. Instead
his head is filled with the sound of Kirsten`s laughter. He smiled back at
her but the next moment her face became sad and she drifted away.
“Kirsten, come back!” he cried.
by: Nelieta Mishchenko
Stewart was in a trance. He had a distant and vacant look in his eyes. He was elsewhere.
Kirsten had a look of immense concentration as she surfed the waves. Her hair was blowing, catching the sun she was covered in a golden halo. She turned to her left as Ben caught up with her. He said something and she laughed. She gave him a high five.
Ben was Kris’s boyfriend. He had joined them on this vacation in Hawaii with a couple of his friends.
Stewart looked around the beach for Angela. She was engrossed in conversation with a friend probably sharing some health tips.
This was perfect!
His reverie was broken by the moans from his victim or here more likely, his prey.
His victim – Josh.
Josh was a hero in the High School Kirsten went to. He was the Rugby captain. There was no dearth of girls falling for him. But, he had his eyes on Kris. He was infuriated when she started dating Ben. He had raped and sucked the life out of her.
Stewart took a duct tape to shut Josh up. As much as he liked to hear the screams from Josh, he could not take the chance of neighbours hearing him.
As he covered Josh’s mouth, he could see his eyes go wide with fear and shock. They were pleading silently. He was crying unabashedly like a child, muted sobs escaping his lips.
He had wet himself, again. The basement was filled with the stench of urine, blood, vomit, sweat and fear. Stew, was oblivious to all this. It was only vengeance now.
He hooked up the IV to keep Josh hydrated and alive to face the torture. He took out the 7½” Catlin’s Amputating knife. Josh was thrashing his body in fear. He was shivering. Stew took hold of Josh’s big toe and went straight to work. He could hear the bone crack and snap. Blood spurted…Josh emptied his bowels as he passed out!
by: Janaki Nagaraj
Then there was the pain.
Any conscious thought brought a feeling of rolling on a floor made from shards of glass. Each piece seemed to find its own nerve ending, harshly probing to discover what was inside his body and sucking the air out of his lungs. Over and over again. This had to be a dream?
Floating in and out of the light, never quite able to focus on a single object, always a hue of colors mixing together, it was mesmerizing. For a split second, he thought he was in his bedroom smoking, but then why couldn’t he move his arms or legs, or even utter a scream? Josh tried to remember.
He went to school, then had rugby practice, then stopped on the drive home to get a drink, then…..nothing. Dammit think harder.
He saw, who it was. Kirsten’s father, yes he saw Dr. Whitelaw across the parking lot. A rush of adrenaline, Josh opened his eyes.
He remembered. The look on the doctor’s face as he walked towards Josh, he looked like a fucking madman. Josh never saw the needle, never felt the push which released the drug. Never thought he would be kidnapped.
Now he was lying flat on his back, straps everywhere and hooked up to things he didn’t comprehend. It was then, for the first time in his life that Josh felt fear.
Fear. The menace that lurks in the path of life. Never visible to the eye, but sharply felt in the heart. Born of ignorance and nursed on misguided thought. A chameleon, assuming many disguises and fueled by the human mind.
He felt so hot, like he was lying inside an oven. Cautiously raising his head, Josh surveyed the scene. There was a shadowy figure moving, his back turned and unaware that Josh was awake. Josh looked down at his feet.
Before he could scream, he heard the doorbell chime.
by Neil Chatterton’s
The doorbell rang again, Josh unable to move or scream was thankful that the doorbell was ringing.
Had someone reported him missing, did someone see the Dr. kidnap him? No you dumb ass, you haven’t been missing long enough, and the Dr. must have known he’d be alone.
What the hell had the Dr. done to his legs and feet? Josh remembered seeing his foot earlier before he passed out again, what was the doctor feeding him through the IV? Feeling the waves of unconsciousness taking over, Josh lifts his head again to scan the damage. The horrific bloody sight of flesh and bones almost make him vomit. In the place of what used to be one of his big toe, now was some type of surgical instrument. Looking closer Josh realizes this right leg, appears to be cut open from his thigh down. Screaming and thrashing about the table, Josh tries to get the Dr’s attention. The fucking madman was busy in the corner oblivious to anything other than, the old ass song he had blasting, and whatever he had on that table in front of him. Josh couldn’t fight it any longer and feels himself slipping; the doorbell rings and then darkness.
“Go ahead, jump. Might as well jump. Jump!” sings the Dr. he loved that song, and it was fitting for the time. That man on the table would never jump again, thought the Dr. At some point he had heard Josh trashing about along with his faint muffled screams, but continued on with the task at hand. He couldn’t be bothered with him, and he knew it wouldn’t last long, the drugs would kick in again and that son of a bitch would be out cold.
He had been busy cutting and stitching for hours, unknown to his subconscious mind what he was making. Putting down the tools and looking his masterpiece, which was once Josh’s thigh, now took on a new form. Turning with a crazed look in his eyes, he walks over to Josh and checks his vitals which were stable. Slowly coming out of his trance Stew realizes the music is no longer playing. He needed the music to continue his surgery and walks over to put the music back on, that is when he notices lights from the small basement window and then the doorbell rings.
Don’t panic . . . bloody hell who could be here at this hour? Thinks the Dr., how long had they been here, and then he remembers the music it must have been the music playing to loud. Some grumpy ass neighbor must have reported him. Looking over at Josh soundly sleeping, the Dr. for the first time see’s what he has done to the man, and then the purse. “What the hell is that?” thought the Dr., with an evil grin he remembers, and then the doorbell rings again.
By Deborah McConnell
The intrusion is unwelcome and Dr Stewart grimaces behind his mask, looks down at Josh and shakes his head. “Don’t think you are going to be rescued by whoever is ringing my doorbell.” muttered Dr Stewart. He quickly changes out of his bloody clothes and washes his hands before switching off the basement light and walking out towards the main door, but turns back immediately to lock the basement door. Details…every little detail matters.
Mrs Smith lifts her hand to knock on the heavy brass knocker on Dr Stewart’s door, as she is about to knock the door is opened a tiny crack. “Hello Stewart, how are you? I was wondering about the music coming out of your home, and came to see if you were okay. Aren’t you on call at this time every day?” Mrs Smith knew the neighbour’s comings and goings down to pat and especially Dr Stewart’s as she secretly admired this handsome man and ever since the tragedy, she had taken an even deeper interest in his well being.
Nicole Smith was the exact opposite of Angela in looks and demeanour. Angela, his beloved wife, had been a petite blonde with short hair and brown eyes whereas Nicole was 5’10’’ in height with long lustrous red hair and piercing green eyes. Both the women were beautiful in their own way, both adored Stewart. Angela had left him after Kris’s untimely death but she still loved him. Living with him reminded her of her loss and she wasn’t strong enough to live with that sinking feeling.
Stewart peered at Nicole from the semi-opened door and answered as normally as he could under the circumstances, “I am fine, Nicole. Thank you for being concerned, it’s very kind of you. It was
quiet at the hospital so I decided to call it a day and take a well deserved rest.” Nicole hesitated before answering but blurted out her innermost feelings before she lost the courage to do so, “Stewart, I love you. It’s not neighbourly concern.” Stewart is taken aback, before he can respond to her statement, he looks in the distant horizon and sees his darling angel Kris, smiling at him with an imploring look in her eyes saying, “Daddy, take this chance. I will always be there with you, don’t let anger and revenge spoil your life. Josh is not worth it.” Stewart looks down into Nicole’s beautiful green eyes, glistening with tears and says, “Likewise”. There is a loud crash in the basement and Stewart freezes…
by Sulekha Rawat
“What was that noise?” asked Nicole. Stewart was listening intently, yet his thoughts were focused on his basement not on Nicole’s inquiry. When Stewart snapped out of it the basement was once again silent. “Stewart?” Nicole whispered. “It’s that damn cat. I wish Angela would have taken it with her.” Stewart hissed annoyed. “If this isn’t a good time…” Nicole stopped short as Stewart reached out and grabbed Nicole by her long red hair, pulling her closer to him. Stewart’s mind was racing. Now was NOT a good time but, it didn’t stop him from kissing Nicole passionately while groping her lower body. Nicole stood frozen gasping for air when Stewart pulled his moist lips away from hers. Stewart asked if she’d like to come in. As Nicole stepped inside she grinned. The moment she had been longing for was finally happening. Her plan to conquer Stewart’s love and affection was in full swing.
The door had barely closed behind them, when Stewart’s mind flashed back to all he had accomplished that evening. Instantly, he became aroused. Nicole stood in the entryway awaiting Stewart’s next move, her eyes fixated on the bulge in Stewart’s pants. Before she knew what was happening, Stewart reached out his muscular arms and tore off her blouse, scratching her breasts sharply. Nicole let out a scream; her bosom heaving, the pain was almost too much for her to bear. Secretly she enjoyed having rough sex so she didn’t try and stop him. Nicole shivered as Stewart grabbed her neck and shoulders, forcing her down to her knees in front of him. Stewart was becoming overly aggressive though and Nicole tried to resist him but, Stewart was much stronger. Nicole was completely helpless. Stewart’s body was pumping pure adrenaline, he had lost his mind and all control. All Stewart could see was Josh’s naked body laying in the basement, flopping like a fish out of water. Stewart envisioned the mutilation of Josh’s well-sculpted leg and the bloody bone and flesh all over the basement floor and walls. Stewart visualized the outcome he had planned for Josh and at that exact moment he felt an enormous release below his belt. The orgasm was too much for the mentally exhausted Stewart to take and he fell limp to the floor. He wasn’t the only one on the floor not moving. When Stewart came back to his senses he found Nicole still kneeling as she was before he had blacked-out, warm creamy white semen still dripping from her red hair and fair freckled face. He shook her shoulder and called out her name but, she didn’t respond. “Oh my God what the fuck have I done?”thought Stewart. Flipping on the nearest lamp, Stewart’s question was answered as he saw the bright red puddle of blood pooling under Nicole’s lifeless body. Also on the floor was a shiny piece of metal. It was a scapel, the same scalpel Stewart had used just moments ago on Josh.
by Jenni De La Torre
Stewart’s mind reeled as he fixated on the scalpel now covered in both Josh’s and Nicole’s blood. He flipped through the rolodex of memories racing through his mind, trying desperately to make some sort of sense out of what had just happened. There was nothing. Darkness. Sharp, fragmented images began to pierce his thoughts, causing his body to jerk involuntarily as waves of nausea wash over him. Within nanoseconds, Stewart’s consciousness was flooded with memories. He had met Nicole when he and his family had first moved to the neighborhood. They had chatted at backyard BBQs, she had flirted with him over too many cocktails, and there had been that one New Year’s Eve kiss. He never told Angela about the kiss.
The sound of metal clanging to the basement floor snapped Stew’s thoughts out of the fog of memories that had engulfed him. How long had he been standing there? Josh’s drugs must have worn off by now. Turning quickly on his heel to head downstairs, the edge of Stewart’s shoe slipped in Nicole’s blood and he went down hard! Maybe it was the bump on the head or just all those years of training as an ER doc, but as Stew lay there gazing into Nicole’s unblinking eyes, it occurred to him that he had never even checked her for vital signs. Instinctively, Stew reaches for her wrist and then her neck, feeling for a pulse.
“Impossible!” Stewart thought. There had been so much blood that he never thought to check her wounds. Could some of the blood have been Josh’s? Tentatively, he rolls her from the slumped over position on her knees in which she collapsed, and onto her back. Stew brushes her long, red hair away from her face and gasps out loud at the gruesome sight that he wrought with his own hands. His last thoughts, before blacking out from his autoerotic asphyxiation of Nicole, must have been about his plans for Josh’s facial disfigurement. He wanted to give him something that would make that son-of-a-bitch think of Kirsten every time he looked into a mirror! He had carved his daughter’s name across Nicole’s once fair face. Stewart vomited.
Now, Josh would pay for Nicole’s pain too!
by Daune Ketelaar
Through the clearing fog of drugs, Josh leaned forward against his restraints. The room was spinning and even though his mouth felt like there had never been spit in it, he fought the urge to vomit. He had never known so much pain, in all of his life. He couldn’t see exactly what the doctor had done to him, but his groin was on fire, his leg…if he still had one…it was too much for his mind. He had read about this in school, that the mind could only handle so much of any kind of pain before it shut down. He tried to think about that, and the words tried to run from him, but he kept repeating the phrase, too much pain, mind shut down…too much pain, mind shut down. At first the thoughts came slow, and as he laid there breathing long and deep, thinking came just a bit easier. Until, at least, he thought, “I don’t want to die.” It was enough clarity for now.
He rolled his head from side to side looking at the leather straps holding him in place. Nothing to help to the left, but to the right just under his middle finger was something shiny and metal. The internal plea that he wanted to live played over and over in his head as a fraction of an inch at a time he moved the cold metal into his sweating palm. When he was sure he had a grasp on it he flexed his wrist up so he could see what he had.
His eyes were unfocused but through the blur it looked like a saw. His mind wandered. Why did he have a saw in his hand? Where was he? What was he going to tell his buddies tomorrow when they asked why he missed Rugby practice. His head hit the table. The lids of his eyes felt so heavy he thought he better have a nap before his mom came in to wake him for school.
He forced himself awake. Blood, not home, not school…blood and some rabid assed doctor cutting him to pieces. Josh flexed his wrist until the saw came to rest on his skin and the leather straps. Focus, Josh…he pushed it across the strap and then dragged it back again. It was cutting, him and the strap, but it was cutting. If he could get one hand free then he might have a chance to live, a chance to escape, and a chance to find out why the father of the girl he saved from being killed after that drifter raped her would do this to him.
by Lisa Brandel
“Eh BOY! Where are you going now……hahahaha……I haven’t even started yet,!!!” Dr. Whitelaw started rotating his scalpel, “I DIDN’T RAPE YOUR DAUGHTER DAMN IT!!!”
A flash went by…….Dr. Stewart Whitelaw woke up, he saw from his bed, it was 8:00am on the 18th, 24th was the date he knew Josh would pass by the same garden and where the dream he saw would become a reality.
But, Stewart wasn’t the only one who had that dream, Dr. Roland Sonneberg, a Medical Examiner with the local P.D. also had the same dream, but it was a nightmare for him, he woke up panting, and had a glass of water, his head was killing him “Another damned nightmare”, his wife Natalie woke up and asked, he didn’t hide it from her this time and told her all about the array of nightmares he had. But, he wasn’t the only one with a secret, Natalie spoke out, “You know your work with the CIA 8 years ago?” …Roland sighed “Yeah, so?” Natalie took a deep breath, “Project “KEYES” that you experimented on yourself and it failed, The sonar signals that can incapacitate a man using brainwaves, well, you weren’t exactly unconscious for 12 days, you were in a COMA, you were brain dead, The CIA wouldn’t have much cared unless it was for the you, their best scientist there, they….” “They what ???” He held her by her shoulders and said “Tell me!” “They went back to the 1946 plans which they made with the captured Nazi scientists, there was a dream Nazi-CIA project of a chip, if placed at the back of one’s skull, and attached at the back of another, it could generate similar brain waves to the other’s mind. It was a shortcut to send new agents in the field without training, and that way they’d be fully trained without prior training, that was the only chance of saving you, to keep you alive until your brain started generating waves on its own.” Roland froze, “Wait Natalie!, you were just my shrink back then, how do you know all this?” “I was appointed your shrink so I could keep the side effects of the chip away from you, they told me not to tell you the secret or they’d kill both of us.” “So let me get this straight, they let me be the subject of an experiment once again, and you never told me that?” Roland was shaken, but his trust on Natalie wasn’t. “And…” his voice got deeper…” “The person whom your feeder chip was attached to was Dr. Stewart, the CIA didn’t let us tell you both about each other, as he was only the man who had agreed for this to save someone’s life and for the sake of science.”
“Dr. Stewart Whitelaw??? HOW??, I remember, 4 years ago when we left the CIA, I was an Assistant M.E., it was my 2nd case with the M.E. and there I met Stewart, we were investigating it with Lt. Blake on his daughter’s rape!” This came as a shock even to Natalie. “The boy, Josh, was never the rapist, only his fingerprints on the arms of Dr. Whitelaw’s daughter were found and the wounds were from an external fight, not the rape struggle, and light traces of the DNA of a 2nd man were found and still my boss wasn’t able to win the plea……WAIT!…could the parallel brainwave pattern trigger emotions & even dreams???”
Natalie was dumbfounded, she removed a file from her desk…. “Maybe, and long term affects, 10 years could even push your Psyche to be similar to his, but the doctors there said you may need it only for 10 years, then the CIA would remove it, its already 8”.
Roland closed his eyes “So, all these nightmares were in reality someone else’s thoughts and these bursts of rage and anger were because of Dr. Whitelaw’s Psyche”
His heart went slow “In the nightmare, behind the Dr.’s desk was a calendar that marked 24th!” So that means going to torture and kill the boy Josh on that day!!! After him, we are the only ones who know about it.” “Natalie, I met this man and I know he is a good person, it’s time we prevent him from doing something like what he did in the nightmare!” He gave his hand to her and she nodded.
by Mohammad Faizan Sorathia
Detective Winston Brown took a deep drag on his cigarette and stubbed it out in the ashtray. He blew the smoke upwards, watching it drift across, past the sterile white walls and out through the barred window.
The portable fan rotated backwards and forwards with a whirring chopping noise. Like a wasp caught in a sandpaper box. The oppressive heat billowed around the tiny cube like room. He took a handkerchief out of his pocket and dabbed away the sweat from the back of his neck.
“Can somebody get me a drink of soda. Goddamn it’s hot in here. Like yesterday. And make that motherfucker cold.”
He turned his attention back across the table to Dr. Roland Sonneberg, a frail, balding man with a pitiful grey beard. The doctor was looking down at the table, deep in thought, his eyes scanning the table, a crazy scientist busy computing some diabolical computation. Brown studied the man, hovering a pen over his notepad.
“We been talking here over half an hour doctor. But my notepad still empty. See what that means. That means we gotta do this shit all over again. You feel me?”
Dr. Sonneberg shook his head, clasping his fingers together, twirling around a gold wedding band.
“If only Natalie had told me earlier, about the chip. Maybe I could have done something about it.”
Brown looked over at the only photograph in the whole room. A framed shot of the doctor’s wife on the wall. Nothing special. Just a dame in a portrait. So why was he starting to feel something inside. He pushed it aside. Must’ve been the whisky. The hangover was still fluttering around in his stomach, polluting his mind. He shook his head, irritated.
“Let’s forget the goddamn chip for a moment. Alright? Now the doctor.”
“Dr. Stewart Whitelaw”
He scribbled the name down, flushed with a renewed sense of purpose.
“This Dr. Whitelaw. You say he got to work on this kid? For revenge? He amputated both his arms and his legs, right? He took his eyes out, his tongue, right?”
“if only I’d arrived earlier. If only Natalie had warned me. I could’ve saved him. But when I got there, it was too late.” The doctor took his spectacles off and rubbed at the tears forming in his eyes. “I was too late.”
“And where did you find him again?”
“I told you. He was dumped in the garbage truck at the back of the hospital. I’ll never forget that.”
Brown stood up, exasperated. He pointed to the orderly stood at the back of the room.
“You. Make sure he doesn’t go nowhere. I want him for more questioning. OK? Now where’s that goddamn soda.”
He left the room and stood in the corridor, letting his back sag against the wall. Nurse Lane came out to join him.
“Detective if you want soda then there’s a machine right down the hallway. We’re not your skivvies here you know.”
The detective looked up at her.
“The doctor. The stuff about the chips…”
“Pure fantasy. It’s typical of patients with his condition. They make up these fantastic worlds where they surround themselves. It stops them from dealing with the pain they have . Or some traumatic event. Here. In the real world.”
“Yeah, yeah. I get that. And it was Tuesday morning when he started screaming about this? When you had to sedate him? Definetely Tuesday morning?”
Nurse Lane nodded.
“I told you it was odd. A coincidence maybe.”
Brown raised his index finger, stopping her from going any further.
“No. There’s no such thing as coincidences. Everything’s for a reason.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out the folded paper again. It was the newspaper, the front page. The photo was of a back alley and a garbage truck taped off as a crime scene.
How was it that a mental patient suffering from an accute delusional disorder had managed to predict the exact time and location, and been able to describe in detail the nature of one of the most gruesome homicides Brown had ever witnessed.
He didn’t know. But he was sure as hell gonna find out.
by Martin Threlfall aka Slim
Alex sat by the window wondering just how long it would be until someone made the connection and came knocking at his door? “Fuck em” he thought to himself and reached for the vodka bottle on the table next to him. Empty, he threw it against the wall and the noise it made as it smashed into fragments seemed to ease some of the anger, frustration and terror raging through his body.
Well he could sit here and drink himself into oblivion or do something; the waiting was just to much now. He shrugged his shoulders stood up and walked unsteadily into the bedroom. He lifted up the bed and pulled out a locked box, with hands shaking through alcohol and adrenaline he shakily unlocked it with the key he had worn on a chain around his neck for the last three years.
Inside was a fake passport and police ID a Beretta M9 pistol and a picture of the man he had been supposed to kill three years ago, Dr Sonneberg his brother.
by: Charles Sadler aka Baldy Chaz
Tucking the Beretta M9 into the pocket of the fresh pair of surgical scrubs Dr. Stewart Alex Whitelaw,IV had hurriedly thrown on after dumping the body of the fiend who had raped his daughter and ruined his wife, was it life—his neck was itching again with an increasing torment soothed only by scratching with his blood-caked fingernails.
He thought of the sword he had found while rock climbing; his wife and daughter had been with him then and when he had pulled at the handle which was curiously curved and fit his grasp perfectly they had both laughed to see it attached to a sword; runic symbols engraved into the shining metal and continuing on like a hieroglyph onto the hasp. Where was it now? A kaleidoscope of nebulous thought permeated his brain already sodden with a montage of the last forty-eight hours; he felt himself caught in the vise of some huge animal; shaken to and fro he whimpered to the beast, “Please, let me go, please I don’t understand, where am I, what is that smell, help me; I-I-can’t…” the reality of what was behind and what lie ahead was too much. Retching and vomiting even as the desire to scratch his neck raw with the absent cat’s wire brush hit him, he rolled down the powder blue carpeted steps, his mind vaguely registering the fact they were now spattered with gore. A glistening chunk of brain matter stuck to the curved teak wood banister and, still a sacrifice to the gods of gravity he rolled down…down…down…
Arthur came to an abrupt stop at the end of the staircase; horror once again clenching its iron jaws about him as he stared directly into the glazed and open eyes of the once desirable Nicole. Though the pest control service had always kept his home a safe haven from anything that crept, crawled, or ran from the light; evidently, after retrieving his car keys from the dumpster where he had dumped King Lot, he had brought some kind of vermin back with him. There it was, the proof—Nicole’s once satiny, smooth cheek had been chewed through leaving a gaping hole that revealed her once pearl like teeth in the most gruesome caricature of a grin he had ever seen. In every battle with death, he had been the victor. Treating it with the passion and precision of an undertaker—somber and sympathetic when with the bereaved; a skilled craftsman with it when alone. He had always thought the secret of dealing with death was to keep it at arm’s length. That is the rule. Don’t let it breathe in your face. Now, he was catatonic; he watched in horror as Nicole’s shriveled arms began to move toward him, wrapping around him as they had before. Now it was a rancid mockery of passion. Not only was death breathing in his face; he was in its stinking embrace.
The sword…he must get to the sword he had pulled so easily from the stone at the base of the cliff; still bearing the marks of the centuries it had been underwater. He remembered the man he needed to kill and the violence he had already been a pawn of; willing and unwilling he screamed out in Latin, “S’io credissi che mia risposta ‘fosse” and the house, corpse, gun, all disappeared; leaving him lying on a grassy mound, a large and majestic roan stallion nudging him with its cold nose as his daughter, wife, brother and the boy he had just killed all circled around him with worried looks on their faces. A tall and imposing grey-haired man stood nearby, leaning on a staff and shaking his head.
“Queen Morgause really did it this time,” Merlin said to King Arthur as Gwnhafer; Lancelot; his mother, Morgaine, all began talking at once about the enchantment he had been under for the last two hours.
“It couldn’t have been two hours.”
“Yes, Arthur, the enchantment was strong and dark magic took you into the darkness, I am sorry I couldn’t prevent it.”
“All those people…I don’t understand….”
“All will be explained, as long as there was no intimacy with a red-haired damsel, we can ride back to Camelot and….”
Stopped by Arthur’s look of terror, Merlin stopped.
I killed King Lot,I called myself by many names, and, yes, the sex with Nicole was really the only act that would change the course of history and he had wanted it and not even fought it only to find she was his half-sister and one single lust-filled encounter would reach across time to change both past and future. Arthur knew then the name of only one player for sure and swiftly he grasped it closer.
by Willow Rose
Stewart closed his eyes and counted to ten, placing his flaking, stained hands over his face and inhaling deeply. The metallic tinge filled his nostrils making him want to retch his body heaved violently against the urge to vomit. I have gone mad. Understandable after what’s just occurred. 8, when I open my eyes, all this will be a figment…9….my family will still be intact and I will have been trapped in a nightmare…10.
One slow bead of sweat ran down the furrow of his brow.
Purposefully he opened his eyes.
The visions had gone. They remained etched on his memory, the handsome, chiselled face of King Lot, or Arthur, or whoever the fuck he had been. He walked back into the lounge. Whisky…but the vision before him made him stand and stare. Beautiful Italian fine leather sofas spattered in blood, his wife had chosen those many years ago, she had impeccable taste. White carpet soaked with the remnants of the days activities. If he was ever to get rid of the blood, of the evidence, he would have to be methodical. Surgical in his precision. He couldn’t, wouldn’t get caught for this. They had deserved to die
There was two naked bodies laying on top of the glass coffee table.
They were organised like mannequins, both dismembered elegantly like sleeping lovers poised in an eternal embrace. Clean pale bodies draped against each other broken only by a missing leg, and a mesmerising grin, visible beneath flame red locks. One arm tinged with blue hung loosely, almost lazily over the chest of the other. They looked like marble sculptures, intertwined artistically. Milky skin tinged with bluing hues.
His mind raced…
Fuck, I got rid of the bodies. What’s going on?
His knees gave way and he fell to the floor. Van Halen ringing between the bulging pulse behind his eyes, making black dots dance before his eyes.
WE TOLD YOU…You will never be free
It whispered in his ear. He had been warned.
Inside his overalls his beeper rang, EMERGENCY T MINUS 6 MINUTES EMERGENCY
by Shan Ellis
Silencing the beeper, Stewart stood undecided, his current state of mind not ideal for any form of surgery and he knew it.
The bodies had disappeared… Damn these visions!
He took a Valium to calm his nerves. He needed to get his act together, retain some semblance of normalcy. Else the repercussions could prove fatal. He could not allow anyone to visit home till he had cleaned up the place. The staff from the agency was due for the maintenance visit in the weekend, which gave him just two days.
Angela…he missed her so much.
The investigation had begun, now that they had found Josh’s body; the attention had swung back to him. The detective, blast his name, had already called him twice as had the reporters. It had taken all his strength to answer the questions with composure, regret and anger in the right places.
He changed into fresh clothes while calling Malcolm, his friend from medical school. Malcolm had seen his share of emergencies, being a visiting surgeon at St.Vincent’s with a thriving practice of his own a few blocks away.
Luck on his side, Malcolm had already been contacted by the hospital staff. He was aware of the strain Stewart was under and promised to watch his back.
Next was Brendan, his loyal assistant whom he acknowledged with a “You will be joining Dr.Malcolm and Dr.Bakshi. I will be there as soon as I can.”
A nervous, agitated voice responded, “It seems like a routine accident case, drunken driving…but…”
The hesitancy prompted Stewart to ask “Did you ID the patient?”
“Nothing on him, detectives are swarming the floor and a couple of government officials have turned up.”
‘Must be a local politician or high ranking official, a potential cause of embarrassment’ mused Stewart as Brendan’s voice came back on line.
“I only got a look at him; they are keeping things pretty hush hush…” “Doc, Gotta go…”
He hurriedly parked his car and took the basement elevator to the second floor. The scene that greeted him was one straight from the movies… what caught his eye however, were the two officials standing apart from the others. There was something familiar about the muscular men.
Nurse Lee, ever competently helped him sterilise, as he tried to keep his mind alert and focused. As he pushed his body through the side door, his colleagues greeted him with somber looks. As they updated him, it was obvious that with a head injury and a puncture to his left lung, the patient’s chances of survival were rather slim. They worked in silence, in perfect tandem for the next three hours till they were relieved by a newer set of surgeons brought in.
One of the muscular men stopped them outside the sterilising room with a curt “We need him alive.”
“Who is he?” queried Malcolm.
“What we say stays here, is that understand?”
The three nodded… “He is ex CIA agent, Alex Sonneberg.”
Stewart collapsed on the floor…
Sonneberg…. The Alex Sonneberg. Younger brother of Dr. Roland Sonneberg. His friend, his classmate, Alex Sonneberg. The memories of childhood danced like bio-scope in front of Stewart’s eyes how they used to spend time in school then they selected their own path. One became a Doctor and the other an ex CIA agent. He always criticized his choice about the carrier because of the danger. However, with time their friendship became stronger.
He still remembers about the mysterious Nazi-CIA project of a chip. Alex was the one, who used to tell Stewart everything about the project and how the persons or subjects who were used in the experiments started acting weirdly after the plantation of the chip. Stewart was always against such inhuman experiments but one word against this would be dangerous for his family and friends.
The moment his family came into his mind, the face of his daughter started floating in front of him. Emotions are the greatest weakness of human beings.
Malcolm placed his hand on Stewart’s shoulder and all of the sudden he came into reality.
Both of them entered the Operation room. The moment he entered into the room….
Everyday, he had someone’s life in his hands. Why was this time so
different? Why did the thought of operating on Alex rattle him? They
had been close, and at the same time they had been strangers. So many
things Alex did not know about him, the cold and calculated murderer
he had become.
Stewart wanted to wish away the past week. The blood, the gore. Maybe,
they were all hallucinations from the street Vicodin he had started
taking. The pharmacy no longer accepted his self-signed prescriptions
and no other doctor in the hospital would sign one for him. So he had
resorted to waiting on street corners, shaking hands with crack whores
and their pushers just so he could get a fix.
Initially, it helped him sleep. It numbed him from the pain he felt
when he lost his family. But lately, it was becoming difficult to know
where the imaginary world stopped and the real one began.
He looked into Alex’s face and was about to make an incision, when a
bright light startled him. It wrapped around him, and everyone else in
the room seemed to disappear. Then he saw the white figure walking
towards him, calling out his name …
…then he realized, it wasn’t his name the figure was calling, but the words “daddy,daddy.” He peered at the figure as it drew closer, then closer yet. The room was shrouded in a misty white light. As the figure drew within a few feet, he saw…
It was Kirsten. She had a sad, perplexed look on her face. There were tears making tracks down her pale cheeks. Her blue eyes looked at him unblinkingly, and she lifted her arms toward him. As he looked at her, she began to speak to him…
“Daddy, I miss you. I miss you and Mom. Why did you kill Josh, Daddy? He was not the person who hurt me. It was a stranger, and Josh was just trying to help me. Daddy, you are a wonderful person, and father. Why have you done these things? You must not let hate and revenge destroy you. Please make things right. Please don’t go on hurting and destroying because of what happened to me. I want you to find peace. I am safe now, and feel no pain, just sadness that you have been hurt so much you feel you must hurt others. Please make things right…”
As Kirsten spoke the last words, she drifted slowly backward. Alex was at a loss for words as the mist slowly dissolved and the bright lights of the OR came back into focus. Stewart felt as though he had been watching Kirsten for hours, but when he glanced up at the clock on the OR wall, he saw that only a minute had passed.
Stewart stood there, lost in thought. His head felt clearer than it had in months. He realized the enormity of the crimes he had committed, and that there was no way to make retribution for the pain and suffering he had inflicted. He had been trained to relieve suffering, and instead had turned into a sadistic monster because his bitterness and anger had eaten away at him, turning him from a loving, skilled surgeon into this monster he now saw reflected back at him in the stainless steel of his scalpel.
Could he make amends? Was there any way to pay the debt for what he had done to Josh and Nicole? He wasn’t sure, but as he looked at Alex’s face, he knew he had to start with this surgery on one of the people who had trusted and cared for him in the past, and whose life depended on him now. He looked soberly at Alex, as he lifted the scalpel and made the first incision…
by Cathy Jones Tittle
St. Andrew’s Church was overflowing with mourners. Young people dressed in black walked solemnly in pairs into the church to bid farewell to their beloved friend and their favourite rugby player.
Lincoln High had plunged into immeasurable grief when Josh Halloway’s body had been discovered at the back of a garbage truck outside the hospital, and almost the entire school was present at the funeral. In the front pew, Josh’s mother and father sat in an inert state staring fixedly at Josh smiling back from an enlarged photograph placed adjacent to the closed coffin. Their son was gone. Gone forever. Taken.
Nothing they did would ever bring him back. Who on earth could have hated him enough to torture him to such a gruesome end?
A similar thought was roiling in Matt’s mind who was sitting three rows behind Josh’s parents. Matt had been Josh’s best friend and the shock of his death still rendered him dazed and speechless. Staring back into Josh’s unblinking smiling eyes in the photograph, a small storm started raging in the pit of his stomach. He did not know how or when, but he made a promise to Josh that he would find the killer. He would get to the bottom of this.
The thought of bringing justice to this kid’s killer sat determinedly on detective Winston Brown’s mind who was sitting in the last row. Whoever the psychopath was, he would catch him before he struck another victim. This must be the work of a serial killer who perhaps is not bent on stopping with one, he thought. He surely must have a modus operandi, he must have a pattern; a reckless one at that, he hoped. For now, he felt sorry for the kid’s parents who had lost their only son but of course he could not imagine the magnitude or the depth of the grief of the loss of a child. The detective himself had been childless and a divorcee, so he could not easily place himself in the shoes of the grieving family.
Outside, a figure shrouded in an overall and a black hooded sweatshirt lingered awkwardly just by the entrance. Dr. Stewart Whitelaw could not bring himself to enter the church. How would he? After the horrific fate he had surrendered Josh to, he could not make his feet cross the threshold of the church, no matter how much he wanted to. Every single nerve in his body screamed to walk inside the church and cry for Josh but guilt gnawed away his insides and his feet stayed rooted to where he stood. No one noticed those decrepit features that seemed to have crumbled in the span of one single night, since he realized that he had murdered an innocent boy.
The service seemed to carry on forever, and further away Dr. Whitelaw noticed a heap of freshly dug earth and dragged his feet towards it. He stood over the wide yawning grave that would swallow Josh’s body any minute now and felt disgust crawl under his skin. He wished that it was him and not Josh being committed to the earth that day. He no longer knew who he was or what monster it was in him that had driven him to commit such an unspeakable act of horror.
The church door swung open and the long line of the cortege began to snake slowly behind the coffin towards the burial ground. Dr. Whitelaw hid behind the tree and watched the silent procession – people fully dressed in black, some with handkerchiefs pressed to their noses, some with dark shades to hide their tear puffed eyes and some with large hats to shade their anguish. A light drizzle gave way through the tightly knotted grey sky and under a canopy of wide black umbrellas, Josh was slowly committed to the cold wet earth with the only sound of the priest’s sorrowful litany of prayers from Psalm 24.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
by Yoshay Lama Lindblom’s
It was the third day after Josh’s funeral. Dr. Stewart Whitelaw was sitting in his room in a dazed state. He hadn’t eaten anything for the past three days nor had he slept. He had paced in his room for hours together till his legs gave up due to fatigue and he collapsed on his sofa. His whole body was trembling and he still had that gnawing feeling in his stomach. How he wished this feeling of guilt would chew up his entrails and leave him dead!
Yes, he now wanted to die. He wanted his inner torture to end. He could no more face himself, let aside the world. But the doctor in him was still active and after diagnosing his fatigue was prodding him to eat something to get over his delirium and hallucinations. He heard his brain telling him, “It is just physical! Go, eat something and you’ll be alright. You know very well that there is no such thing as ‘soul’. It is all biological.”
Dr. Stewart shrugged and went to pick up a book to distract his mind from such conflicting thoughts. He lifted a book which came to his hand. It was the volume of Shakespeare’s Works. Listlessly he opened that tome in the middle and started reading the page that opened out before him..
“O, my offense is rank and it smells to heaven….”
As he went on reading the passage he felt as if whipped! These were the words of King Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle, who had usurped the throne by murdering his own brother by treachery! He abruptly put aside that book but he felt that he was almost in that villain Claudius’s position since guilt would not allow him even to utter the words,’Oh, God!’
Just then his own heart started cursing him again. It said,”You are a blot not only on your noble profession of a surgeon but on the whole humanity! A surgeon who is supposed to cure the suffering people of their ailments, using those honoured tools to dismember a fellow human being in cold blood while he is still alive! Oh, horrible and most satanic! No punishment would be sufficient for your ghastly crime! Go, pick up your scalpel and start dismembering yourself till your death! This would be the only fittest punishment for your sins.”
Dr.Stewart was jolted out of his trance by these words. He felt as if the whole room was echoing this indictment loudly. He couldn’t bear to hear this clamour. As if under a spell he got up and moved towards his table to pick up his scalpel.
Just then he heard a knock on his door. He stood still for a moment, wondering. Perhaps detective Winston Brown had found him out, he thought.”No, no!’ He said vehemently to himself, “I won’t surrender! I won’t hand over myself to the law. I will punish myself for my own crimes and die at my own hands.”
But the knocking grew insistent. Resignedly he went to the door and opened it. To his surprise he found an old man standing there! He looked curiously at that old man who was attired in a funny robe of medieval period. He was almost bent with age but had childlike pure eyes.
The old man said, “My dear Stewart, I am Prospero, the erstwhile Duke of Milan. Your sweet daughter Kirsten has sent me to reason with you.”
Dr. Stewart was taken aback. He squirmed and said with a scowl, “Prospero! Ha! Old man, I am in no mood for such buffoonery and don’t utter the name of my departed daughter by your vile tongue! Go away!”
“Please believe me,”the old man said,”I am really Prospero and your daughter has sent me.”
“Oh, is it? And where is my daughter, by the way?”
“She is in that beautiful ‘Neverland’, playing with my Ariel and his fellow sprites. We just heard you reading a passage and then she requested me to visit you. Haven’t you just read a passage from ‘Hamlet’- a soliloquy of King Claudius?”
Dr. Stewart was shocked! how could this unknown stranger know what he had just read in his closed room? The next moment he was filled with fright. A ghost! Yes, he was being visited by a ghost of Prospero! But how could this be? Prospero was just a fictitious character from a Shakespearean play!
As if answering his thoughts the old man said, “I am Prospero and not a ghost. God has rewarded my good deeds by allowing me to retain my form to spread His words. My son, both me and your daughter heard you reading Claudius’ words-
“O limed soul, that, struggling to be free Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay!’ And immediately Kirsten asked me to help you with some sound counsel. My son, you have read Shakespeare but didn’t you ever realise that God made him to create characters like me to spread the wisdom of humanism in a subtler way? Well, that is beside the point. All I want to tell you is that taking revenge in a bloody way as well as self-slaughter are the most heinous crimes in the eyes of God. From my own experience I say, the rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance. You know my story, hence I will not elaborate. So, please discard the thought of ending your life in your imagined horrible way and surrender to law. Accept your guilt and the punishment that will be given to you for it. It is good that you are repentant and repentance is the best penance. Only it can purify your stained soul. Your own daughter repented for taking her own life and she forgave her defiler and that’s why she is now among the angels. Just think it over.
“By the way, you have kept this old man standing at your door. Will you please give me a glass of water at least?”
Dr. Stewart felt ashamed and hurried inside to fetch a glass of water for the old man. But when he came back, there was no trace of that old man! He looked around in amazement only to find the lane deserted and silent at this late hour.
He remained rooted to his place for some moments. Then he gently put down the glass on the threshold and without bothering to close the door he started walking towards the police station.
by Portia Burton