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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Thrillerz

When an autopsy goes horribly wrong, the unbelievable happens!

My name is Zack Greenlee and as God is my witness, the story that I’m about to tell you is true.  Although you may find it unbelievable, I can assure you that I do as well.  No matter how absurd and far-fetched it may sound, I know for a fact that it’s the God’s honest truth, because it happened to me.

And I have the scar to prove it.

It all started on Christmas Eve when my wife and I sat down to have dinner with a few of our friends, something that we’ve done every year for the ten years that we’ve been married.  But before I go any further, let me just say that this particular Christmas was one that I will never forget, for what I experienced on that night changed my life, and my outlook on the value of it, forever.

I was sipping on a glass of red wine that my wife had poured for me while I enjoyed the company of our friends, laughing and talking and having a good time.

Suddenly, the world around me came to a screeching halt. I fell from my chair to the floor, unable to move or to speak.  As I lay flat on my back, I could see my wife and my friends hovering over me, my wife screaming and crying.

“Call 9-1-1!” I heard someone yell.  “Now!”

I could hear them speaking, see them moving about, but I could not respond.  No matter how hard I tried to speak, my lips wouldn’t move.  My unblinking eyes stared openly at the ceiling.  I even heard the doorbell ring and the paramedics asking questions as they made their way toward me with a stretcher.

“I’m not getting a pulse,” I heard one paramedic say.  The disk of the stethoscope was cold as it touched the bare skin of my chest.  The paramedic shook his head at his partner, silently telling him that there was no heartbeat.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” one of the paramedics spoke.  “But there’s nothing we can do.”

Then total blackness and the sound of a zipper.

“My God, I’m in a body bag!” I screamed, my words heard by no one other than me.  “I’m not dead!  Let me out of here!”

Then came the sound of a zipper again, and then light, sweet glorious light.  “Oh, thank God!  They finally realized that I’m alive!”

“Sorry to call you out on Christmas Eve, Doc,” one of the paramedics said, although I had no idea what either one’s name was, only that they were both male.

The two of them lifted me up, pulling me from that black abyss of nothingness, but then laid me down on a cold steel table, the iciness cutting through the back of my shirt.

“Can’t any of you hear me?” I screamed.  “Look at me!”

As before, I was flat on my back, staring up at an oblong fluorescent light that was nearly the same length of the table.

“Blink, dammit!”  I commanded myself.  “Lift a finger, wiggle a toe, do something!”

“It’s no problem,” I heard “a different man.  “I didn’t have any plans tonight anyway.  Besides, I’ve got my assistant here with me tonight.  We’ll get this one knocked out in no time and be home in time for Santa Claus.”

“Why is this man undressing me?” I wondered.  “And why is he cutting my clothes off instead of unbuttoning my shirt and unzipping my pants?”

Then he gave me a shower using cold water, and in the dead of winter!  Was he trying to kill me?  I’d surely get a bad case of pneumonia after that ice bath!

At least he put a pillow under my head before he did it.

“Such a pity,” I heard him say.  “It’s sad enough to see such young people die, but at Christmas..tsk tsk tsk.”

He was standing over me as he strapped a microphone over his ear and adjusted the mouthpiece.

“But I’m not dead!” I screamed.  “Listen to my heartbeat!  Check my breathing!” Of course, I was only screaming at myself because my lips remained sealed, my eyes unblinking.  With sudden horror, I realized that I was lying in the morgue, and the man standing over me was a coroner.

He turned on the light above the table.  I wanted desperately to shield my eyes from the glaring luminescence, but I couldn’t.  Surely, I’d go blind if I stared at it for too long.

“Today’s date is Sunday, December 24, 2017,” he began speaking.  “My name is Doctor Samuel Fox, Chief Medical Examiner for Winston County, Indiana.  Name of deceased is Zacariah Dominic Greenlee, as identified by driver’s license and county toe tag.”  Dr. Fox laid the clipboard that he had been holding beside my bare leg, and began his external examination of me.

“Deceased is a thirty five year old Caucasian male, measuring seventy two inches and weighing approximately one hundred nine kilograms.  The body is unremarkable.  There are no visual signs of trauma to the exterior body; no contusions, no abrasions, and no lacerations.  The sclera of both eyes are white and appear to be healthy.  Mr. Greenlee did not present with any type of corrective lenses in his personal belongings, nor do I see any contact lenses on the eyeball itself.”  He stopped abruptly, leaning in closer.  He was so close, in fact, that I could see the tiny red blood vessels on his nose.  “Hmmph,” he grunted, and then stood erect again.

“What is it, Dr. Fox?”  A different voice, one I hadn’t heard before.

“Probably nothing, but I find his eyes to be quite peculiar.”

“In what way?”  Now I could see him.  He joined Dr. Fox at the table on which I lay, on the opposite side.

“Take a look for yourself.”

So he did.  He was much younger than Dr. Fox, nice looking young man with green eyes.  “What am I looking at?” he asked.

“What do you see, Matthew?  Better yet, what don’t you see?”

“His pupils,” Matthew answered after studying my eyes for a few moments.  “They’re not dilated.”

“Exactly!” Dr. Fox confirmed.  “There’s also no petechial hemorrhaging.  A little strange for someone who suffered a cardiac arrest, wouldn’t you say?  Then again, in this business, you’ll see a lot of strange things.”

Dr. Fox picked up the clipboard, wrote something down, and then returned it to the table.

“Upon my examination of Mr. Greenlee’s outer body, I have no reason to believe that he died of anything other than natural causes.  Now, to begin my internal exam,” he said, picking up a scalpel.

“Oh, my God!” I bellowed.  “Oh, God, please,” I begged.  “Show him that I’m not dead!  Please let him see something that will confirm that I’m still alive!”

The blade of the scalpel went deep into my chest, just below my throat.  The pain was excrutiating, yet in my catatonic state, I could not tell Dr. Fox that he was about to kill me, because I’m still alive!

“Good Lord in Heaven!” Dr. Fox stammered, dropping the scalpel and taking a step backward.

Matthew, who had not been in my sight since looking into my eyes, now stood beside me, his mouth gaped wide open.

“Dead men don’t bleed, Matthew,” he stated, staring down at me with what seemed like amazement.

“They don’t cry either, Dr. Fox,” Matthew replied, pointing to a single tear that rolled down from the corner of my eye.

“Get a doctor in here now!” Dr. Fox barked.  “And tell them STAT!”

“Thank you, God!” I yelled.

“Mr. Greenlee, if you can hear me, please know that I am so, so sorry.  But don’t you worry,” he said patting my shoulder.  “We’re going to help you.”

He did not suture the incision that he made in my chest.  Instead, he held it together tightly and placed steri-strips over it, telling me that he wasn’t going to cause me any more pain than he already had and that it would be taken care of by medical staff that actually dealt with the living.

And they did.

It took one hundred and fifty staples to repair my chest and three days in the hospital while the medical staff tried desperately to figure out exactly what had happened to me.

They came up with nothing.

Every single test that they ran on me came back normal.  There were no drugs or alcohol in my system, nor did I suffer a heart attack or a stroke.  I was labeled a medical anomaly with the term “Temporary Paralysis of Unknown Origins,” whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.  I will probably never know the reason for my ailment, and that’s okay.  The important thing is that I’m alive.

I kept the promise that I made and gave back every cent that I swindled people out of.  Of course, I had to sell everything I owned but I was okay with that as well.  Afterall, it didn’t really belong to me in the first place.

My wife was not happy about being broke so she divorced me and ran off with an insurance agent.  Last I heard, she and her new husband were living it up somewhere out in California.

Some have suggested that I got a good dose of karma, or divine intervention.  It’s possible that they might just be right, so I won’t question either.

But whatever the reason, whether it was something that occurred naturally because of a short circuit in my nervous system, or heavenly assistance from above, I definitely learned my lesson about treating people unkindly, and I can assure you that from this point forward, I will be as nice to others as I want them to be to me.

Submitted: April 25, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Glenda Norwood Petz. All rights reserved.

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