Saturday, April 30, 2011

Chiron

From She: Stories of a Woman available on Kindle and at Smashwords.com

She looked down at the tepee ring and realized that many years ago, little moccasined feet had run in and out of their home here. She wondered if they had been happy, if they had died in a bitterly cold winter, if they had been plucked off of this beautiful ridge and pressed into starched collars after smallpox pocked their faces.

Across a pleasant valley, white buttes thrust up from thistled ground like great sea beasts breaching ocean waters: white, riveting, brilliant, ridiculously out of place, yet perfectly fitting.

Thistled as it was, the valley was quite green. Spiny cacti promised to ram their quills through her shoes, if she would just step on them. The bittersweet smell of sagebrush was pervasive—so pervasive, in fact, she could hardly breathe anything else. But the midday sun was slowly drawing out the other aromas as well as the colors native to this land.

It felt new, yet it was not unfamiliar to her. She remembered it all when the wind had embraced her after she first arrived. It was sensation from childhood—a complete sensation, as one with many parts: the heated wind, the sage, the sun, the thistle.

She remembered the ranches, and she remembered the fear. Those mean boys put her up on the great roan, assuring her that he was gentle. She remembered the twinkle in their eyes. It wasn’t a nice twinkle; it was a mean one.

The books of the damp library basement—Misty, Big Red, and Black—had carefully crafted a world where she and the horse could breathe and run as one. But to actually experience that—well, that was just terrifying. And now she was on the wide back of one of those creatures!

As much as she had protested, her desire to actually ride a great horse shoved panic to the back of the line, and she was placed in the saddle and the reins were promptly slapped into her hands. The contact of the leather and the sensation of the power racing through those lines from the potent creature beneath her had caused her entire body to contract. Small white knuckles yanked back on the streams of leather and sent a shock of pain into the fleshy mouth of the horse.

She remembered the look of sheer panic on the faces of the boys—quite different from the mischief just moments before. When she saw this, she was suddenly aware that adults all around her were yelling for her to let go of the reins. In front of her, and not below her now, the horse’s huge neck stood like a monolithic pillar. It was then that she understood that the beast was on its hind legs.

She didn’t remember releasing the reins, or Pegasus landing on terra firma, but she did remembered being whisked away from the horse and he being led quickly to the corral.

Misty, Black and Big Red all had fallen from their glorious pedestals and become nothing more than objects of terror. Too big, too much, too powerful.

That’s why a wave of fear seemed to crash over her when the first horse crested the valley edge not far from the tepee rings. It was as if he emerged from the vast palace of Poseidon itself. He stood on the ridge for a few moments observing the group of humans before him. She was transfixed.

It was like Black, Misty and Big Red! The wind tousled his mane as he turned his head lazily toward the valley. The sun seemed to catch every fiber of hair and tumble it in gold dust. It seemed fictional, yet there he was: a creature from the very hand of God.

In a quick and casual show of teeth and gums, he whinnied across the valley. Then it seemed as if he turned to them to explain that he had some friends coming over.

As he walked toward them, his master began to describe him as having the sweetest of natures, often following them around like a puppy.

The other horses came to shore, each astonishing in their respective beauty. In an odd move, one that frightened her, the horse of gold dust walked between her and the small equine and human crowd. She felt uneasy and a little terrified. Then he stopped. He just stood there very close to her. His great head turned slowly toward her, and one beautiful, kind eye took her all in. He wasn’t nervous. He just stood there.

She was hesitant to touch him, but she could not resist. The golden creature of the Creator had just invited her forward. She took one long, smooth, slow stroke down the arch of his great neck. He neither recoiled nor moved. She did it again and felt herself relax. Again. The great muscles used for war or for show were calm beneath her hand. She tentatively put her other hand as neighbor to the first and drew her fingers and palms down the river of muscle. As she got close to the withers, she felt very calm and mostly unafraid, so she leaned into him this time, and again. Each time, she let the panic and fear diminish, dissipate, fade. She did not realize how absorbed she had become in that process until she heard the other people start moving toward the barn. She decided she had better follow suit.

Stepping forward, she glanced down at his other side only to see a great and jagged scar across his chest. It took her aback—one side Adonis, the other Chiron.[i]

When she expressed alarm at the great gash, his owner explained that he had run into barbed wire, had become entangled, had the flesh flayed to the bone, had severed his sweat gland, had been forecast for doom. Contrary to her husband’s advice, the master had nursed him back to health. He was her kindest horse and most beloved. The group discussed this near tragedy as his master led them all back to the barn.

But she had looked at him wholly while the master and the rest were talking. She knew that he had endured great suffering. She wondered if he knew that about her as well. Perhaps that’s why he had stopped beside her. She would never really know.

As she walked slowly toward the barn, she sensed he was very near her. His nuzzle gently touched her hand once or twice. Then they reached the gate. She passed through the gate; he stayed in the thistle.

She discovered then that that was what this whole journey—the wind, the thistle, the horse—had been: a healing.



[i] From Greek mythology. Adonis: A strikingly beautiful youth loved by Aphrodite. Chiron: The uniquely kind and strong centaur who sacrificed his life allowing humanity to obtain the use of fire; became known for his knowledge and skill with medicine.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Twins

The morning sun shone bright and warm. Flora soaked it in. She stood on the top step of her brownstone’s front porch so very happy to be alive. Flora lifted her head to the sun and closed her eyes. She looked through her eyelids at the red and orange glow. She was always quietly delighted with these colors, though now muted through her cataracts.

The rumble of the delivery truck rolled her out of her reverie. As she slowly opened her eyes the familiar figure of Todd bounded up towards her. She was grateful that he was such a forthright young man. He leaned close to her at every delivery enabling her to look around her cataracts to see his warm smile. His cheerful voice often made her day.

“Well, good morning, Mrs. Hewlett!”

“Good morning, Todd. And how are you on this fine day?”

“Blessed, Mrs. Hewlett, blessed.”

“Did you bring me something good today?”

“I brought you exactly what you ordered, Mrs. Hewlett. Do you want these on the kitchen table?” Todd's arms were full of groceries and there was more to come.

“You know, Todd, why don't you put them on the counter next to the fridge. My back has been bothering me some and it easier to put them away from there.”

She could hear him whistling down the hall. It was not yet time to move out of the circle of the sun. Todd had at least two more trips.

“Good morning, Flora.” Mac’s voice rang out from across the street. Mac had been Flora's neighbor for forty years. He was saying more but she could not hear it over Todd's truck idling in the street. Floral waved at Mac and in her loudest voice, which was not loud at all, she tried to articulate her position. Giving up, she smiled as broadly as she could, cupped one hand to an ear and waved cheerfully. She hoped Mac would understand.

Todd brushed her elbow while leaping down the steps for the remainder of her groceries.”Whoops! Sorry Mrs. Hewlett. Did I scare you?”

“Oh, of course not, dear boy!” Flora laughed. The phone rang inside. Flora turned, placing both palms on the narrow door frames and pushing herself over the threshold. Her hips just were not what they used to be. For a moment she remembered hauling two babies and a gallon of milk over that threshold. She used to be so strong. Now she prayed the caller would be patient enough to give her time to get to the phone. Her grandson reminded her frequently to carry the portable phone in her duster pocket, but she just did not like that electronic piece hitting her side all the time.

“Hello, Grandma Flora.”

“Well, hello Trace. It's so good to hear your voice this morning.”

“And how did you sleep last night?

“Oh, fair. You know how those afternoon naps catch up with me in the night. It's just so hard to stay awake in that comfortable chair you bought me.” There was laughter in her voice.

“Now, my dear Nana, I won't let you blame me for your naps!” Trace laughed, delighted at his grandmother's honesty and her resiliency.

“Nana, I just wanted to check in with you. I'll be going to the bank today to get your $100. Did you need more than that?”

“No, Trace. That should be plenty for now. Troy is just delivering the groceries.”

“Is he still treating you right?”

“Oh, of course. He is always so cheerful.” Troy's voice rang out a quick farewell and the front door closed loudly.

“Bye bye, Troy. Thank you! Oh, Trace, did I hurt your ears?”

“No. No, Nana. I'm just fine.” Flora could hear the smile in his voice. “O.K. I've got to get to work. I'll see you tonight.”

“Goodbye, my dear grandson. I love you.”

“Love you, too, Grandma.”

As Flora hung up a wave of nostalgia washed over her. These were happening more frequently. She went to the kitchen and put the milk, juice and eggs in the refrigerator and the meat in the freezer. The rest she could put away later. Making her way into the living room she approached the mantle with a sense of reverence. Her left hand fingers fumbled along the edge until she found the picture frame with the rosettes across the bottom. She gently lifted the picture and drew it carefully into her clearest line of vision. This was one of her most precious possessions. The twins stood laughing together in the prime of their lives as strong, vibrant men and with an arm on each other’s shoulders. She remembered the day she took that photo. They were in their favorite place, the backyard, having another family picnic. Flora lingered over the memory wanting to avoid the pain that was still as piercing as it was the first day. Two days after this picnic her two and only children died together as they had been born together. The airline representative had come to her home to review the facts of the accident. Fifty-two other individuals had died that day. Even in her own grief she found the space to pray for their families.

Her sons’ wives had understandably remarried. Trace was the only grandchild of the two sons. His mother had been gracious and intentional to keep Trace in Flora's life. And although her life had become part of another universe, she did her best to keep in contact with Flora. The other former daughter-in-law had dropped out of Flora's life. She said that it was just too painful to be constantly reminded of her loss. Flora had forgiven her many years ago. And she was always grateful for Trace, his mother and his stepfather. They had helped her through some very difficult times. These memories always left Flora drained and now a nap was most necessary. She sat down, sighing heavily, and was quickly asleep in the overstuffed chair from her one consistent link to the family—her beloved Trace.

Flora was awakened by a loud banging on her door. A racket that loud usually meant that Mac was on her porch. Flora coughed a couple of times and managed to squeak out, “Coming”. Mac would not be satisfied until she opened the door.

“It always worries me, Flora, when you don't answer right away.”

“Well Mac, my friend, you know I take naps now and that I move more slowly than I used to. Just don't you worry about me.” She grinned at him, grateful for such a nosy neighbor.

Mac thrust a small pan of freshly baked cinnamon rolls toward Flora. “Eunice wanted you to have these. She figured Trace was coming over tonight and knew you both would like them.”

“Thank you so much, Mr. Mac. You tell Eunice thank you so much, too. How is her foot?”

“Oh, it's healing up nicely. It's doing real good.”

“I'm very glad to hear that.”

“You have a nice evening, Flora. I sure do miss your husband.”

Mac never missed an opportunity to mention her Albert. Everyone who knew Albert respected him. When Flora and Albert first found each other they pinched themselves almost daily checking to see if they were dreaming up such a match. On the days when their differences overcame their love Flora would stomp around the kitchen in anger. Albert would go to the back door and stare into the yard for some time. Then he would suddenly turn, find her fuming, pick her up and kiss her passionately. That usually fixed things. And if that didn't work a couple of days of gracious silence did. During these days the twins fairly disappeared into their rooms letting their mother and father work things out in their quiet way.

Albert died just six months after the twins were gone. Flora was convinced it was from a broken heart. She missed him.

When Flora took the cinnamon rolls to the kitchen she was reminded that the rest of the groceries had yet to be put away. She was quite perturbed with herself for forgetting. She wished Albert was there to kiss her. It would take a while to get the groceries all in their appropriate places so she set to her task. Trace would be coming in a couple of hours and she wanted to have a nice hot meal on the table for him.

When Trace came through the door Flora did not hear his usual boisterous greeting. Instead he came quietly into the kitchen and stood near her.

“Nana, I have some bad news.” Flora could see that Trace was pale. He guided her into a kitchen chair.

“Nana, Bernice had a stroke last night.” From a family fraught with tragedy, Trace had seen and learned that it was best to get to the heart of the matter.

“Bernie? My Bernie?”

“Yes, Nana. She's had a very bad stroke.” Flora felt her chest tighten and her eyes fill with tears. “Can she talk? Is she in a coma?”

“She's not in a coma, but she's not able to speak and her body is not responding well to what the doctors are doing.”

Flora put a trembling hand on Trace’s arm. “Oh, Trace! What am I going to do? She's so far away!” Tears were streaming down both of their faces.

“Nana, Patrice and I talked about this and we can buy a plane ticket for you to see Bernice. Would you like to do that?”

“Trace, I can't ask you to do that.” Flora pulled a tissue out of her duster and dobbed her nose as her mind was filled with the memories of her precious twin sister.

“My dear Nana Flora, we are offering this to you. We can do it. Why don't you go? I know Bernice would be glad to hear your voice.”

“I just spoke with her on Saturday. She was doing fine.” Trace did not know what to say and sorrow was stuck in his throat. He got up to get a drink of water.

“I haven't flown in years. All right, Trace. I'll go.

“It's okay, Nana. Patrice spoke to the airlines and there will be an attendant with you the whole trip. I would go but I can't miss work.” Flora looked worried. Trace drew his grandmother into a warm hug. “Oh, my dear Nana. We would go with you if we could.” Flora broke down.

Trace, Patrice and their three children drove Flora to the airport. There was a kind of false happiness—the adults trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for their offspring while embracing the gravity of Flora's situation. Trace and Patrice were very concerned about Flora traveling by herself. As many assurances as the representative gave they both had a unique fear emanating from family history. Bernice was Flora's last living sibling. Neither of them had any idea how Flora would handle this loss. They had planned for a number of years to care for her come what may. “What may” loomed before them now.

After generous hugs from Patrice and the children, Trace escorted Flora to the ticket counter, released her luggage to the airline clerk and helped her put on the large yellow card hung on a lanyard to identify her as an assisted person. Flora seemed embarrassed by this identity but clung to the card as her passage to safety. A very tall and polite representative introduced herself and assured Trace that she would take it from there. With one last hug and a tender kiss to his grandmother's brave face, Trace reluctantly watched her being guided away.

“Mrs. Hewlett, I need to have you wait right here.” The tall, female airline representative directed her to a seat near others with large yellow cards strung around their necks. Flora sat stolidly trying to take in as much as possible. This environment was so different from her home and neighborhood. People seemed to be rushing everywhere. Heels tapped constantly on the cold linoleum floors and continual, unintelligible announcements bounced off of pillars and walls. The airport smelled of too many people, chemical cleaners, airplane fuel and deep fried fast food.

One by one the other carded people were led away by smiling representatives. They seemed as unsteady as Flora felt. Her back began to hurt from sitting still for so long. Just when she felt she could no longer stand the pain the tall representative came to assist her through security.

“All right, Mrs. Hewlett, we are ready for you.” Flora rose stiffly and was glad for the woman's strong arm and warm voice. “Now, Mrs. Hewlett, the next few steps may feel a little bit unsettling, but I want to assure you that everything we ask you to do is for safety reasons. We are going to take you through security. We know that you have not flown for some time, so there are few stages that will be unfamiliar to you. Just listen carefully to the agents and follow their directions. I will meet you on the other side.”

Flora was suddenly very confused and very frightened. A large man in a dark blue suit introduced himself as a safety officer and led her toward an enclosure.

“Mrs. Hewlett,” his voice was powerful and deep. “Stand inside here with your arms shoulder high.”

“What . . . what do I do with my purse?” Flora stammered.

“I'll take that for you, Mrs. Hewlett. We need to search its contents.” He gently pushed Flora into the compartment.

“Please raise your arms, Mrs. Hewlett.” Flora obeyed, but could only lift her right arm three quarters of the way. “Mrs. Hewlett, we need you to raise both your arms.” Not knowing which way to speak Flora jutted her head upward. “I can't. I have an old injury.” She could hear the fear in her own voice.

“All right, Mrs. Hewlett. This will be just fine. Now there will be a few short bursts of air.” Flora flinched at each burst as if she had been shot.

“Why are you doing this?!”

“Mrs. Hewlett, please remain calm. This is a device that tests for residual chemicals that might be used in explosive devices.”

“Why in heavens name would I want to have anything to do with explosives?” Her voice was rising in anger and if she was at home she would be stomping around the kitchen. Albert was not there and Trace was not here.

“Mrs. Hewlett,” the large booming voice was on the other side of the machine now. “This is just standard procedure. Please come with me.” He had Flora sit in a chair in front of a dark screen.

“In a few moments, Mrs. Hewlett a green spot will appear in the middle of the screen and your face will be scanned. Please hold perfectly still.”

“I . . . I can’t focus on the middle of the screen. I have cata . . . “

“Mrs. Hewlett, please hold still.” A red glow scrolled across her obscured line of vision. She searched frantically for the green spot but could not find it.

“Thank you, Mrs. Hewlett. Please wait while we process your scan.” Flora was exhausted. She longed for Trace’s voice and the big overstuffed chair. The booming voice startled her again.

“Mrs. Hewlett, if you would come with me, please.” Flora rose from the chair and followed him robotically.

“Do you still have my purse?”

“Yes ma'am.” He placed her in front of a black stand and instructed her to lay her right hand on the top. A blue light flashed and he instructed Flora to remove her hand. “Now, Mrs. Hewlett, if you would have a seat we will need to process your information.” Flora found a chair near the door of the room in which she was now standing. Her mind battled between anger and outrage, but she settled on resignation, forcing herself to take a deep breath.

“Listen Steve, this is ridiculous! She's got to be 80.”

“I don't care if she's 80! Four years ago an old hag we passed turned out to be a 25 year old terrorist. I was lazy. I take responsibility.”

The other agents rolled their eyes and turned away. Their mouths shaped the familiar words as they were delivered. “Who knows how many lives we might save today?”

“Steve, her eye color doesn't match because she has cataracts and it's been proved that older brands of hairspray are indicators.”

“Who in the world would have hairspray that all?”

A duet of voices answered, “Eighty year old women!” The third man in the room was fuming. Another agent delivered the results of the last scan and left quickly. All three men leaned over to review the results. Gordon stood upright and rapidly closed the office door.

“Okay. I'll give you this much, Steve. No fingerprints and her cheek bone structure is all wrong. But nothing else seems to fit.”

“Call Samantha and begin inquiry.”

Flora was startled by the woman's voice. She had dozed off. She felt cold now and could feel the goose bumps on her arms. The tall, nice representative was leaning over and speaking into Flora's face. “Mrs. Hewlett, I brought you some coffee. Why don't you come over to this table? Would you like cream or sugar?”

“No thank you. I prefer my coffee black. Do you have my purse?”

“Here it is, Mrs. Hewlett.”

“Thank you.” Flora said this a bit more tersely than she intended. Her patience was wearing threadbare. Although Trace told her this could take some time, she fully expected to be on the plane by now.

“We have a few questions, Mrs. Hewlett. It seems like it has been sometime since you've last flown.”

“Yes, I believe I was around forty-seven years of age. I have had no reason to fly since then, but my sister is very ill and I'm trying to see her. I hope I won't miss my plane.”

“Oh no, Mrs. Hewlett, we will make sure you get to where you are supposed to be.” The tall woman seemed to be studying Flora's face and it made her uncomfortable. Flora checked her hair to feel if it was in proper.

“Mrs. Hewlett, what is the purpose of your travel today?”

“I just told you. I'm going to visit my sick sister.”

“Mrs. Hewlett, did anyone approach you inside the airport?”

“No.”

“Has anyone asked you to carry or transport anything large or small for them?”

“No.”

“Have you recently made any purchases at any stores that sell guns, ammunition or industrial chemicals?”

Flora looked stunned. “My dear young woman, do I look like I would be that kind of person?”

“Mrs. Hewlett, please just answer the question.”

“No, I have not.” Flora felt her throat start to constrict. “I would like to call my grandson.”

“We are almost done, Mrs. Hewlett.” The tall woman pressed forward becoming a little more firm than Flora liked. “Within the last thirty days have you placed any calls outside of the country?”

“Why would I do that? All my family is here.” The tall woman noticed a flush and a dew of perspiration coming to Flora's face. Flora clutched the handles of her purse so tightly that her knuckles were fading in color.

“I want to talk with my grandson!” These words came out so strongly that it startled the tall woman and caused Flora to shake. She stood on her feet and glared at the woman. The tall woman's eyes darted across Flora’s shoulder at a mirror behind her. Flora turned abruptly.

“Is that a two-way mirror? Who else is watching me? Have you been watching me this whole time?! I demand to speak with my grandson!”

“Mrs. Hewlett, please remain calm and please sit down.”

“I will not sit down until I can speak to my grandson.” The tall woman slowly approached Flora speaking in a low, calm voice. “Mrs. Hewlett, we must ask you to remain calm.” She took Flora by the elbow and attempted to guide her back to the chair. Flora wrested her elbow from the surprisingly strong grip. “Let me go! Trace! Trace! I want to talk to my grandson.”

Immediately the tall woman released her grip and quickly left the room. Flora heard the lock turn in the door. She moved as quickly as possible to the door and found the knob immovable.

The alarm light was flashing behind the two-way mirror. Steve was checking the protocols binder while yelling out instructions. “Turn on the bio weapons sensor! Lock down this wing!” The tall woman came in and moved to the mirror. She saw Flora leaning against the wall clutching her chest.

“She's very pale.”

“I don't care what color she is. I'm not going to let this little, old vixen ruin my perfectly good career. Get over here and read these instructions. I'm going to call Walter.”

“Don't call Walter!”

“We are not going to mess this one up!”

The two other agents were scrambling into their hazmat suits. Steve was on the phone attached to the wall near the door. The tall woman was buried in protocols while Flora crumpled to the floor.

Walter got the alert and captured the next available cart. Dumping off all the passengers at the next stop, he instructed the driver to take him immediately to Suite 42, security’s crisis room. The driver immediately engaged his pathetic vehicle to its highest potential, bent over the steering wheel and did his best to not hit anyone on the way.

When Walter entered the monitoring room next to Suite 42 he found four very silent people. No one was moving and no one looked up to knowledge his entrance. The red light was still flashing. Walter walked over and turned it off, glancing through the mirror. He saw an elderly woman, apparently dead, on the floor. Walter looked at the monitor showing life signs having ended twenty minutes earlier.

“Explanation.” No one moved. “Steve! Explanation.” Steve mumbled something and looked up at Walter with eyes as flat as death.

“Explanation!”

“Walter, none of her biometrics fit.” Walter stared through the mirror at the small woman on the floor. “What's her name?”

The tall woman cleared her throat. “Mrs. Flora Hewlett.”

“Well,” turning toward the men in hazmat suits, Walter commanded them. “You two get the gurney and body bag. Wrap her up and leave her in the room. Steve give me her med file.”

Steve turned to the keyboard and entered all the relevant information. A few minutes later the printer lurched into action. The tall woman got up.

“You sit down. No one leaves this scene until we process it.” Walter stared through the mirror as Mrs. Flora Hewlett's body was zipped into the dark bag. The two men glanced toward the mirror knowing that their every move was being watched

“You two, follow me.” Steve and the tall woman followed Walter out. He led them into the mirrored room. All four stood against the wall.

“Why are we in here, Walter?” The tall woman looked as if she was going to be sick.

“I want you to know the smell of death. Sit down.”

“In here?”

“In here.”

Steve handed Walter the medical record. Walter immediately handed the record back.

“You read it now. It's what you should have done first.” Steve stared vacantly at the pages in front of him. Walter's voice was intense and low, “Read it.” Steve shuffled through the first two pages—basic demographic information—until his eyes caught “accident report.”

“What do you see there, Steve?”

“An accident report from over thirty years ago.”

“For the good of the order, please read it aloud for us.”

“All of it?”

“Well, let's just hit the highlights, shall we?”

Steve scanned Mrs. Flora Hewlett's medical record. The silence of the room was impacted by the smell of Mrs. Hewlett now decaying body.

“Why don't you regurgitate for us what you just read, Steve?”

“Mrs. Hewlett was in a severe accident some 30 years ago . . .”

“Go on.”

Steve's voice caught and then his words stumbled forward. “Her face was smashed into the windshield and required significant reconstructive surgery with bone implants in her right and left cheeks.” A groan came from one of the hazmat suits.

“What else do you find interesting in this report?”’

“The car slid on its top for nearly 1/8 of a mile . . .

“And?”

“Mrs. Hewlett's right fingertips were scraped off.”

“And how did the surgeon deal with that problem?”Another groan came from the other hazmat suit.

“But, she used one of the extraction codes for terrorists!” The tall woman was nearly bent in half.

“Steve, would you pass the demographic pages to your partner here?” The tall woman quickly grabbed the pages, scanned them and burst into tears.

“What is the name of Mrs. Hewlett's grandson?” Almost inaudibly all the agents heard, “Trace”.

“And what it the extraction code you thought you heard?”

“Tracer.”

Walter sat for a few minutes of unbearable silence. “What would you like me to say to Mr. Trace Hewlett?” None of the men moved and the tall woman kept crying.

“I will be right back.” Walter marched back into the monitoring room, picked up pads of paper and pens and marched back into the mirrored room.

“I need each of you to write out your account of what happened with Mrs. Hewlett.”

“But you've got it all on tape!”

“You will sit here at this table and write your account. You will be monitored. Get to it.”

Walter slammed the door on his way out. From the monitoring room he called the morgue. “We've got another body to be picked up in Suite 42. Yes, another one. Please don't pick it up for another hour. It's not ready yet.”

Walter hung up the phone then looked at the four struggling as they wrote their reports. As he left the room he heard someone vomiting.

“Good!” thought Walter, “Those fools need to learn their lesson.”


Copyright 2010 M.R.HYDE