Tales Behind the Tombstones

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 2 (v.1) - Ouija at Waverly.

Submitted: June 12, 2017

Reads: 404

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A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 12, 2017



2.Ouija at Waverly




Sometimes those without voices

Have the most to say

But heed thy warning

You may not wish to hear their stories.

Be careful what you call forth

They shroud not all in light

When talking to those crossed over

Make sure you say goodbye.



Fiona shrugged her bag onto her shoulder and slammed her locker shut. The bell had rung signalling the end of the school day and she was eager to get home. She was a senior at Jefferson County High School. Her boyfriend, Brad was a quarterback for the JCHS Warriors. He would wait by the front entrance near his black, Chevy Impala to take her home. 

She bounded down the footpath towards Brad’s car. He was leaning against it casually and flashed a grin at her as she approached.

“Hi, baby!” He said as he stepped forward to hug her. She leant into his embrace and breathed in his masculine aroma. He wore Tuscany, and the smell made her weak at the knees. At the touch of his soft lips on hers, she smiled; eyes closed, she felt around for the car door behind her and pulled, all the while with lips locked in a lingering kiss. She cut the kiss short and slid into the bucket seat–he tended to get lost in longing–he hesitated, a sheepish look on his face. He gracefully slid over the bonnet and climbed into the driver’s seat through the open window, grinning at Fiona as he revved the engine. They took off towards Fiona’s house leaving a trail of burnt rubber and smoke. Fiona could see kids fist pump the air and cheer through a haze of smoke in the rear-view mirror. She grinned.

“What?” Brad flashed his pearly whites at her.

“Eyes on the road, stud.” 

It was fall; brown, orange and yellow leaves drifted towards the ground to join the various others already settled there. It was October 31st, Halloween. Fiona’s favourite holiday. She loved trick or treating and did it every year with a bunch of her high school friends. As the car turned left into her driveway, she kissed Brad goodbye and bounded to her front steps. Her parents were not home from work yet, so the house was empty. She ran up the stairs two at a time and flung her bag down on her bed, sighing happily. Everything was as it should be. Perfect boyfriend. Perfect grades. Perfect friends and perfect life. 

The phone rang suddenly, shaking her out of her daytime reverie. 

“Hey Fi,” said the voice on the other end. It was Stacey, her best friend since elementary school.

“Hey Stace, what’s up?” she responded.

“I’ve already teed it up with the guys. We are doing something way better than trick or treating tonight. You keen?”

Stacey always had crazy ideas but usually, no one listened. “What did you have in mind?”

“Have you heard of Waverly?”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Come on, Fi. It is Halloween, and I am tired of trick or treating. Let’s do something crazy this year.”

“Isn’t that place locked down outside of group tours?” 

“Yeah but Caleb is bringing bolt cutters. Come on, it’ll be fun.”

“You know they have regular patrols, right?”

“The security guy only comes past once an hour, Fi. It’ll be fine. Just come. Brad will be there.” She said, jeeringly.

“Fine,” Fiona said, feeling defeated. 

“Okay, cool. Brad will pick you up at eight.” Fiona heard the click as Stacey hung up the phone. She never said goodbye. It wasn’t her style.

Fiona sat staring at the clock wondering what she had just agreed to. Breaking into Waverly at night was one thing, but what did Stace have planned once they got inside. She had heard stories of Waverly since moving to Jefferson County more than a decade ago. The notorious Sanatorium was in southwest Louisville, Jefferson County and was apparently a hot spot for paranormal activity. Growing up, she had heard numerous stories of people going in but not coming out. Fiona shuddered at the sudden chill in her spine. Having driven past there several times she recalled the infamous bat-wing like structure. 

It was a large brick place with windows spanning across every floor. The design was to get as much sunlight and air into the building as possible; they believed sunlight and fresh air would aid in curing the disease, along with horrendous and often fatal procedures involving chests being opened with a scalpel and ribs being separated. It was first opened on the 26th of July 1910 and was originally a two-story hospital that was used to house and care for forty to fifty tuberculosis patients. As the white plague spread throughout the County and surrounding areas, the need for a bigger hospital arose. With added wings, it became the bat-wing that inevitably sat abandoned and crumbling.

There was no known vaccine for the illness and many hundreds of people died until the hospital closed its doors in 1961. They constructed tunnels because of the large number of dead bodies moved daily and discreetly, so it wouldn’t unnerve the sick and dying patients in the Sanatorium. Stories spread of tragedies involving a surgeon and a nurse who had an affair. Co-workers found Mary Hillenburg hanging in room 502 in the late 1920s. According to rumours she succumbed to infection during a botched abortion carried out by Dr Hans Heinrich Mort when he found out she was pregnant with his baby. Another nurse committed suicide from the same room. Perhaps just horror stories, but still terrifying. 


A car horn suddenly honked, startling her. She stood and peered out of her window at the familiar impala that sat idling in her driveway. Her parents had still not returned home, so she left a note on the kitchen counter, grabbed her keys, cell phone and locked the door behind her. 

It was dark; nearing eight o’clock but they decided to grab a bite to eat before heading to Waverly. Her stomach rumbled; carrying their sentiment. 

After the group of five devoured their meals, they all piled back into Brad’s car and headed for Waverly. Fiona sat in the front seat quietly nervous. Stacey, Caleb and Michael were in the backseat, swapping scary stories and heckling one another.

“You okay, babe?” Brad said, turning to Fiona. “You’re as white as a sheet.”

“I don’t have a good feeling about this, Brad.”

“It’ll be fine, babe. They are just stories. Nothing to worry about.” He said as he patted her thigh gently.

The headlights pierced through the darkness of the evening and lit up part of the batwing as they drove past. A cold chill went down her spine again. Caleb instructed Brad to park in a side street so as not to arouse suspicion when the security came past. A few nights prior, Michael and Caleb had staked out the place to figure out when the patrolling officer was likely to come past. Every hour on the hour.

Brad turned down a nearby street, dimmed the lights and killed the engine.

“This is it!” squealed Stacey, excitedly. She worried Fiona sometimes. Stacey grabbed her backpack and flung it over her shoulder as she exited the car, Caleb and Michael close behind her. Brad pocketed his keys and walked to Fiona’s door, pulling her gently to her feet and placing his arm around her tiny waist.

“Babe, you’re shaking.” He took his JCHS blazer off and put it around her shoulders. She leant against his warm body as he kissed her forehead. “I’m here babe. Okay? I won’t let anything bad happen to you, Promise.”

Stacey jogged over to them. “All right. Let’s go. Caleb? Did you bring the bolt cutters?”

“Do I look like an idiot?” Caleb retorted, grinning as he pulled the bolt cutters out from under his jacket.

“You want an honest answer?” Stacey fired back. Caleb feigned hurt for a moment, then smiled and blew her a kiss.

“Dream on, Caleb.” She said, laughing. “All right let’s go.” She added, glancing at her watch. “Security should come by in ten minutes.”

They all headed to the side of the building near a back street. Darkness entirely enveloped it; no streetlights and only a crescent moon offering any source of light. Hopping over the wooden fence, they all crept toward to the steel boundary. Caleb pulled out his bolt cutters and cut through the chain wire. They all trundled towards the building and entered through a large, red door. Caleb closed the door behind them all a little too loud making Fiona jump.

“Jesus Christ, Caleb!” Stacey shouted.

“Worried I might wake the dead?” He said, laughing.

“Ugh, follow me.” She said, heading towards the stairwell. They walked up several flights of stairs, Caleb and Michael laughing and acting like clowns the whole way. Finally, they had reached the fifth level. Stacey walked with purpose and said nothing until they reached room 502. 

“I thought we could do it here.” She said, reaching into her bag.

“Do what?” Fiona asked.

Stacey pulled out an antique-looking Ouija board. Made from aged elm and had the letters, numbers, hello and goodbye burnt into the wood. The worn markings looked like moons and suns occupying the four rounded edges of the roughly rectangular board. The planchette was elm, smooth and tear-shaped with a small glass window at the curvy end. 

“Stace, I don’t know about this.” Said Fiona, nervously

“Yeah. Mary might appear and hang you in the doorway.” Caleb said, jeeringly.

“Or the ghost of the suicidal nurse might push you out the window,” Michael added, wiggling his fingers in Fiona’s face. 

“That’s not funny,” Fiona said, feeling her face flush with embarrassment.

“Shut up guys,” Brad said, tightening his arm around Fiona’s waist.

“Come on guys, don’t be pussies,” Stacey said. She entered the room first, pulled a tiny side table over to the centre of the room and placed the Ouija board on it with the planchette at the goodbye position. Caleb followed, then Michael and last, Brad and Fiona. They all sat in a rough circle around the table as Stacey pulled out five candles and placed them around the board; she retrieved a lighter from her jacket pocket and lit them.

Caleb screamed suddenly. Everyone jumped, including Stacey, who accidentally bumped the last candle she had just lit. It toppled over and put itself out on the dusty floor. He snorted at their reaction. Stacey punched him hard in the arm.

“Ouch! That hurt!” He yelped, still laughing.

“Stop being a jack arse!” She hissed. 

“Yeah,” added Brad. “Not cool, man.”

“But funny, right?” Caleb said, still snickering. Michael smirked; he and Caleb bumped fists.

“You guys are arseholes,” Stacey said, picking up the candle and reigniting it. “Come on. Stop dicking around.”

Michael snickered.

“You’re so immature, Michael,” Stacey said. “Okay, everyone each place two fingers on the planchette.” They obliged. Several minutes passed.

“What now?” Michael asked.

“Sh! Be quiet and focus.” Stacey said, sternly.

Stacey explained the rules to everyone; to remain silent while she asked the questions, under no circumstances should anyone take their fingers off the planchette until the session was over and most importantly, to make sure they ended the session by saying goodbye. Not saying goodbye kept the portal to the other side open and allowed malevolent spirits to cross through it. The Ouija board was an important tool in the paranormal community used for communicating with the dead, but if not used correctly, could also act as a gateway allowing them to come through to the living realm.

“Are there any spirits out there that wish to commune with us?”

The planchette vibrated, then moved towards the yes position. Everyone stared at it, in disbelief. “Michael, stop moving it!” Caleb barked.

“I’m not, bro!” he shot back, taking his fingers off the planchette. 

“Michael!” Stacey shouted. “I told you not to take your fingers off it! Put them back. Now!”

Michael reluctantly returned his fingers to the surface of the tear-shaped object as Stacey continued to speak with the dead.

“Spirit, what is your name?”

The planchette spelt out, ‘M–A–R–Y’.

Fiona teeth hurt as they involuntarily chattered and the hair on her neck stood up. “I don’t like this, Stace.” Brad held Fiona’s free hand and gripped it gently, he gave a nod and smiled at her.

“When did you pass on?” Stacey continued.


“How did you die?” Caleb interrupted, excitedly. Stacey shook her head at him with a concerned look on her face. 

“What?” he said, shrugging. “This is hardly real. Someone is moving it.” He gazed around the room at each member of the group with a goofy smile on his face.

The planchette moved again, spelling out ‘M–U–R–D–E–R’. The object became erratic, moving energetically all over the board in sporadic, quick movements. It made little sense, not spelling anything out. Everyone took their fingers off the board suddenly; the planchette continued to move around on its own. 

“Whoa!” Michael shouted. “How is it doing that?”

“Gotta be magnets or something. Some kind of parlour trick.” Caleb said casually, glancing at Stacey.

“It’s not a trick!” Stacey called. “Put your fingers back on the planchette, quickly.”

Caleb and Michael obeyed, Brad slowly returned his fingers to it and Fiona hesitated.

“Come on, Fi,” Stacey said, motioning toward the planchette with a nod of her head.

Fiona returned her shaking fingers to it as did Stacey.

“Do you have a message for anyone here?” She resumed.


“Who is the message for, Mary?”


“Stace, I really don’t like this,” Fiona said, trembling. “I have a terrible feeling about this.” Stacey kept talking to Mary.

“What message do you have for us, Mary?”


Without warning, the planchette whistled through the air and embedded itself firmly in the wall behind Stacey’s head. All five candles extinguished simultaneously. Fiona screamed and ran out of the room, down the stairs and through the lower level of the Sanatorium; she did not stop until she was at Brad’s car. By the time her friends had caught up to her, she was still struggling to get her breath back.

“What the fuck was that?” Caleb asked.

“Yeah, nice tricks, Stace,” Michael added, grinning like an idiot. “We should do this again next year! What a hoot!”

“This is serious, guys!” Stacey cried, fear showing in her quivering voice. “We did not close the se-”

“I’m confident Mary closed it for us.” Interrupted Michael, guffawing.

“It’s not a joke, Michael!” Fiona wailed, bursting into tears. Brad put his arms around her and held her close. 

“Come on guys, it’s just a game. No one takes that Ouija stuff seriously.” Caleb said. “They sell those boards in toy stores for Christ’ sake.”

“Doesn’t make it any less real, Caleb,” Stacey said. “How can you see what we saw and believe it wasn’t real?”

“Yeah, guys,” Brad spoke up. “You saw the planchette moving when no one was touching it. And what about it flying across the room like that? It didn’t do that on its own.”

“Stacey did it,” Michael responded, cool as a cucumber. “I don’t know how she did it, but I know it was her.”

“That wasn’t me!”

“Sure, it wasn’t,” Michael said. “Nice try Stace, but you can’t scare me.”

Stacey sighed, exasperated. “Think what you want.” She muttered. “But it wasn’t me.”

Brad looked down at the face of his wristwatch. “Guys, it’s almost eleven. We should get going.” He helped a shaky Fiona into the front passenger seat of his car and the boys jumped in the backseat.

“You guys go,” Stacey said. “I have to get my stuff.”

“Stace, you’re not going back in there!” Fiona shrieked.

“I need to get my stuff. I will be fine, Fi. Promise.”

Fiona watched helplessly, her face knotted in concern as Stacey jogged back to the Sanatorium. Something wasn’t right. She could feel it. Before the boys could stop her, she darted off, matching pace with Stacey.

“Fi!” Brad called out, but Fiona didn’t hear him.


Stacey moved up the stairs towards the fifth floor. It was chilly for an October night; she shuddered. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Her legs were shaking, but she needed to get her things and close the session properly. She had ill feelings about the way it had ended and felt obligated to fix it. It was her idea to go to Waverly, her idea to drag her friends along, and her idea to bring the Ouija board. She honestly didn’t think it would work, but it did and that terrified her. Still, she headed towards room 502, regardless. 

The familiar sign hung over the doorway. Beyond that was her Ouija board and the planchette still firmly embedded in the concrete wall. She stepped into the room and, realising that she had been holding her breath, exhaled deeply; soft mist exited her parted lips.

‘Okay, just grab your stuff and get out, Stace.’ She muttered to herself.

She grabbed the extinguished candles and Ouija board, stuffing them into her backpack. She found the planchette embedded deeply in the concrete wall; she tried to pull it free, but it wouldn’t budge.

Suddenly, there was a noticeable drop in temperature; the air felt heavy and Stacey struggled to breathe. She turned her head to the right and saw a spectral shape appear in the doorway; it shifted and blurred in and out, eerily robotic in its movements. The apparition was female, solid-like in its appearance but transparent. She was wearing a nurse’s uniform; bloodstained from about the waist down. It shook violently, head against her shoulder as she moved closer to Stacey. Suddenly Stacey questioned why she returned to the dilapidated building, and on her own. She tried to scream for help; she mouthed the words but had no voice. The creepy nurse straightened her head; the dark pits that formed her eyes stared directly at her. She raised an arm and pointed towards her. Stacey turned around, barely glimpsing a male apparition before a solid blow caused her to lose consciousness. She fell limply to the floor.


Stacey woke suddenly. Her head throbbed and as she opened her eyes, she could make out a faint, flickering light and the distinct smell of kerosene. She blinked several times and made out various silhouettes and shapes around the room. Panic set in when she realised, they had shackled her to an old, rickety gurney. Leather straps bound her ankles and wrists tightly to the rails at the sides of the surgical bed. 

She struggled against the restraints, desperately trying to free herself. The room spun as she hyperventilated. An unnervingly familiar man stepped out of the shadows. Dressed in white surgical garb, he was bloodstained and dirty. Stacey watched him jitter towards her; he stopped when he was barely a foot from the bed and grabbed a scalpel off the surgical tray nearby. It looked rusty and weathered, aged beyond several decades. She followed the cutting implement with her eyes as he moved it towards her; she continued to struggle against the bindings, but it was no use. As she looked down, she found she was naked with lines in purple marker drawn roughly in cross-sections on her abdomen. She fought hysterically against the shackles. He pressed the tiny blade against her skin until it broke through the flesh. She let out a blood-curdling scream as ran the scalpel along a horizontal line, opening her from hip to hip.


Fiona hesitantly entered the derelict dwelling. Darkness consumed her. Her eyes struggled to focus against the dimness as shadows twisted and moved between doors and windows. One foot in front of the other, she cautiously walked down the central corridor on the ground level. She found herself on the concrete staircase again; creeping up one floor at a time, warily pausing at each landing. She reached the fifth floor, glancing up and down the corridor for any sign of Stacey. Suddenly an invisible force lifted her several feet into the air and tossed her down the vacant elevator shaft. Everything around her spun; her vision faded as she lost consciousness. She lay sprawled out on top of the elevator that lay motionless just below the third-floor landing.


The boys jogged into the Sanatorium with Brad leading the way. 

“Ew, what is that smell?” Michael asked, pinching his nose. The smell of death and decay lingered in the air.

“Ugh, I don’t know,” Brad replied. “But the girls are in here somewhere. Let’s find them and get out of here.”

As they entered room 502, they noticed the Ouija board and candles were no longer on the table. The planchette partially buried in the wall, below it sat Stacey’s backpack with the board poking out of the opening. Suddenly a hauntingly sweet voice carried itself through the wind. “Caleb…,” it said. 

He split from the others to follow the voice thinking it was Stacey playing a practical joke on him. It led him down one corridor after another and into a room. A gurney sat in the centre; fresh blood was all over it, dripping onto the floor. A tray of sharp implements and other surgical tools sat covered in bloody handprints beside the bed. His breathing was unsteady as he surveyed the room. 

“Stacey!” He called, swallowing hard. “You won’t scare me.” 

A sudden cold crept over him and he shuddered involuntarily. ‘Always trying to scare me…’ he mumbled. 

A dark figure loomed in the furthest recess of the room, concealed slightly next to a large, steel locker.

“Stacey?” Caleb stepped forward, feeling bolstered. “The jig’s up. I know you’re there.”

Incoherent whispers all around him, he spun in circles trying to figure out who was uttering them. “Stacey!” He cried, more urgently.

Without warning, two figures came at him. A surgeon pinned him to the gurney as a nurse tightened the leather shackles around his extremities. His cries became muffled as they forced a wad of dirty rag into his mouth and secured it with several layers of medical tape.

The nurse put her finger to her lips and cocked her head at him. He lay there terrified, staring at her when he felt something pierce his left temple. He couldn’t move his head but looked to the left. The surgeon rotated the arm on the handheld drill, slowly and meticulously boring a hole into Caleb’s temporal lobe. He went clammy with shock; his eyes widened in horror as the stainless-steel drill perforated his brain.


The patrolling officer had noticed the group enter the building. He thought it was suspicious and called in the local law enforcement. Locals called the police precinct to report loiterers hanging around the building every other night; it was a hotspot for the local kids to hang out. After waiting thirty minutes and no police arriving, he parked his car and head into the building.

He stepped out, locked the vehicle and headed for the rear entrance to the ground level. Upon entering the building, he fumbled for his torch and switched it on, panning it around the dusty, abandoned foyer.

“Hello?” He bellowed. “Is anyone there?”

A dark shadow swept from one doorway to another. He sucked in a breath and squinted at the door it had disappeared into, trying to make out its form. Dust particles fluttered and danced in front of the torch-light as he concentrated it on the open door.

“You should come out now!”

Whispers surrounded him. The dark shadow darted back to the door it had come from, disturbing dust and dirt in its wake.

“I won’t tell you agai-”

Suddenly, he felt a sharp, stabbing pain in his neck, and warm liquid spewed onto his light blue shirt.  Eyes wide, he grabbed at his throat with trembling hands. The wound was deep, his jugular severed; blood spurted out of the gaping hole with each slowing beat of his heart. Hands desperately trying to hold the wound together, he crashed to his knees and landed face first on the dirty concrete as his pupils dilated and the light faded from his eyes.


Brad and Michael stood silently in room 502. Michael picked up Stacey’s bag and put it over his shoulder. Brad stepped out into the hallway, looking for any signs of his friend’s whereabouts. As he looked down the corridor towards the way they came in, he saw a shape move from one side of the hallway to the other. He left Michael in the room and headed back towards the concrete stairwell. He first checked down the stairs. Nothing. Not a sign of movement anywhere. He crossed the dusty floor and peered into the elevator shaft. Below was the crumpled body of Fiona.

“Fiona?!” He cried out, hysterically. 

He attempted to climb down to the third level to check on his lifeless girlfriend. Suddenly a thick rope was around his neck and lifting him off his feet. He grasped at it as it tightened around his throat, and he desperately fought to fill his lungs with air. His face turned purple and eyes bulged out of their sockets as one final twist of the rope claimed his life.


“Brad?” Michael called out timidly when he realised that he was alone in the room. He shifted the bag further onto his shoulder and headed towards the door. Suddenly the planchette flew across the room, barely missing his face, hitting the opposite wall and falling noisily to the floor.

“What the fuck?!” He yelped, jumping back. He laughed it off nervously as he picked up the planchette and tossed it into Stacey’s bag. Without warning, an unforeseen force sent him flying through the window behind him, sending glass shattering in all directions; he tried to grab onto something and sliced his hand open on a piece of broken glass before plummeting to his death. His scream ended abruptly when his head collided with the pavement below.


The Sanatorium sat silent, looming over Jefferson County. Fiona’s eyes fluttered open as she regained consciousness. She groaned and rolled over; her ankle was sore, and she had minor bruises and cuts on her face and body. As her eyesight adjusted to the dimness, she caught sight of a figure hanging above her. Before she could make out what it was, it came crashing down on top of her, knocking the air out of her lungs. She heaved and rolled the heavy form off her. Brad’s bulging eyes stared at her from his purple face. The noose around his neck was snug; she pulled and tugged at it desperately but could not free him. She wailed as she collapsed over his lifeless body; he was still warm. There was nothing she could do to save him.

Strange noises echoed throughout the building; she had no way of knowing how long she had been unconscious for. Rising slowly to her feet she climbed out of the elevator shaft and into the third-floor corridor. 

Heading upstairs she made her way to room 502, thinking Stacey might still be up there. Upon entering she found the Ouija board, candles and the planchette missing. A breeze blew in from the window ahead of her, and as she walked towards it, she realised the window was smashed. She leant over the windowpane, slicing her hand open on a small fragment of glass still lodged in the timber frame. Michael’s tangled, misshapen body lay below in a pool of his own blood. Open wound in her hand, she ran out into the corridor and dropped to her knees, sobbing loudly. With a lump in her throat and tears in her eyes, she blindly followed the noises. They seemed to come from all around her. She darted in and out of rooms along the hallway, hoping she might run into Stacey or Caleb and that they might still be alive somewhere.

Entering the fourth doorway to the left, she tripped and couldn’t regain her footing quick enough; she lurched forward and landed bent over a gurney, cutting her hands on rusted surgical implements on a steel tray. An eerie glow flickered in one corner of the room, offering her a small amount of light. Metal objects rattled on the tray as she steadied and pushed herself upright. She cut herself on a sharp implement and swore loudly. 

The sudden realisation that the gurney was not empty sent her reeling back in horror. In it was the cold, lifeless body of a man. Suddenly the head rolled towards her and the stony, vacant eyes of Caleb stared at her, his mouth wide open. Half of his head was missing, exposing his brain. She screamed, stumbled backwards and lost her footing again. Something cold and slippery caught her fall. Turning her head to the left, she was eye level with a female cadaver’s abdomen. It was wide open; someone had taken all the reproductive organs out. 


Her eyes were unresponsive and motionless, her face twisted in terror. In the effort to clamber to her feet, Fiona slipped in Stacey’s blood and fell directly on top of her. She rose to her feet again and ran out of the room choking back heaving sobs. Blood was all over her. She wiped her tear-stained face, smearing sticky, crimson liquid everywhere. Her blood. Stacey’s blood. Caleb’s blood. Nausea overcame her, and she fought against the urge to vomit. She stumbled down the stairs, gripping the steel railing. She made it to the second-floor landing before retching. 

Male voices came from below, sounding like they were getting closer and closer. Her friends were all dead; she had never felt so alone and afraid in all her life. Crouching in the darkest part of the landing, she waited for the approaching voices. Her right hand clung tightly to the scalpel. Her throat was dry, her hair stuck to her face in matted clumps and she could hear the blood rushing to her ears. Her heart hammered against her chest so loud it was almost deafening. She suddenly lunged out of the stairwell, driving her scalpel deep into an unsuspecting officer. Gunfire echoed throughout the building. Fiona blacked out.


Several months passed. 

The distinct smell of a hospital greeted her nostrils and her eyes fluttered open. Her vision was blurry, but she noticed tubes, wires and beeping machines connected to her.

“Honey, I think she is awake.” Muffled, yet familiar voices met her ears.

Fiona tried to speak. 

“Hush,” the simple word washed over her like a cleansing tide. Fiona felt a wisp of hair tucked behind her left ear. She breathed in through her nose; Dune by Christian Dior perfume - her mother’s favourite. She tried to blink away the blurry film that seemed to cover her eyes, shrouded silhouettes leaning in towards her though she could tell they belonged to her parents.

“Sweetheart.” Her father said. “Don’t talk. Doctors say the bullet penetrated your left temporal lobe. It is an area that controls speech and motor function.”

Fiona blinked, still struggling to come to terms with her surroundings and what had caused her to wind up in hospital.

“Do you remember what happened, baby girl?” Her father asked, tenderly.

All Fiona could do was shake her head. Her bottom lip quivered; her mother grabbed her hand gently and patted it. “You were shot, sweetheart. You don’t remember?”

Fiona shook her head again. Tears pooled in her eyes, rolled down her cheeks and wet her hospital gown. Doctors rushed in and checked her vitals. They explained that Fiona may never speak properly again. They also informed her that once staff had discharged her from the hospital, officers stationed outside her room were there to place her in police custody.

Confused, she wept as the doctors left to tend to other patients.


Fiona was later tried and convicted as an adult; she had turned eighteen only months before the incident. She could not recollect the events of that night, but all the evidence collected by the prosecution pointed towards her guilt. Convicted of murder, they sentenced her to death by lethal injection; detained in the maximum-security wing of Eastern State Penitentiary until the day of her execution.


Two prison wardens led her along a narrow corridor and into a small white room where they placed her on a gurney. She tried to cry out, but her throat burned, and swallowing felt like sand in her throat. Tears welled in her sorrowful eyes as she looked around the buzzing room. They tightened the leather straps around her ankles and wrists as medical personnel stood silently waiting to carry out the death sentence. 

A nurse hooked Fiona up to an IV as another retrieved a syringe off the tray. She took the needle out of the sterile packaging, fixed it to the syringe and inserted it into a small vial of liquid, pulling the plunger until the syringe was about half full. She checked her pocket watch. It was two thirty in the afternoon. She held the injection upright at eye level, gave it a gentle flick and pushed the plunger slightly, checking for air bubbles. Inserting the needle into the tube, she pushed the plunger in all the way. Her parents sat helplessly, crying behind the one-sided window as the fatal fluid surged towards their daughter’s arm. Within mere seconds, Fiona took her final, shuddering breaths.


© Copyright 2019 H D Cooper. All rights reserved.


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