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Monday, November 11, 2013

Finely Tuned (Part Two)

        Sing Sing was not well known for its comfort, a fact that Bernie became painfully aware of as he sat in his cell on death row. His trial had lasted all of three days before he’d been found guilty of twelve counts of assault and four counts of murder.

For a quick refresher on what came before read Finely Tuned -the management

            He had shown little remorse in court. Instead, he’d just seemed stunned, baffled even, that anyone had caught up to him. The press had taken to calling him the Subway Ghost due to the fact that no one had ever witnessed him attack anyone, they had simply seem wounds appear like magic from thin air. He’d only been caught because one of his piano wires had tangled around a victim’s wrist and had gone taut, slicing open his own fingers in the process. He’d been caught red handed in the most literal sense, and in what seemed like only a matter of seconds he’d found himself in front of a jury with a court-appointed lawyer who smelled strongly of smoke.

            It was dusk on a Wednesday, and Bernie was scheduled to have his last meal in his cell before being transferred to the Death House for his execution. The problem was that the meal that he really wanted was something his father had cooked when he was a child and considering the fact that his father was refusing to see him, the chances of that were pretty slim.

            There was a grinding, squealing noise as the cellblock door ground open and the unmistakable clopping sound of a lawyer’s patent leather shoe soles tapped down the corridor.

            Bernie looked up as his lawyer smiled down at him, his hair slicked to the side like a Hollywood star, his white suit impeccably pressed, “Hello, Bernie.”

            “Mr. Timaeus.” The murderer shook his head, “If I didn’t know better, I’d say that this is what you wanted all along. You did a piss-poor job of defending me.” his voice was eerily smooth, even to his own ears and the absurdly rational part of his mind reasoned that it was a result of his brain being overloaded with terror.

            “Oh, come on,” Mr. Timaeus smiled, revealing rows of level, shark-white teeth, “You are guilty as sin and everyone knows it. The best I could do was bargain for your life.”

            “And you failed at that, too. Well, at least I’ll die the way I lived: strapped to a chair and screaming.”

            The lawyer shrugged and leaned against the bars, “You can’t tell me that you don’t deserve it, but tears and recriminations are not why I’m here.”

            “Why are you here then?”

            “I have something for you.”

            Bernie scowled, “Keep it. It isn’t like I can take it with me.”

            “Trust me, you’ll want it.”

            “Is it a sponge? I’m pretty sure that the state supplies them.” Bernie babbled, hysteria leaking into his voice.

            “Please be serious.” Mr. Timaeus squatted down, carefully pulling his pant legs so as to not stretch the fabric, “Come closer to the bars so that I can give it to you.”

            Bernie shuffled over, the metal hobbles on his feet clanging loudly as he did so. He had never been an overly attractive man: his hair had been bone straight and muddy brown before it had all been shaved in the delousing process, and his eyes were as clear and piercing as pond water. His chin was a little too round and his back a little too slouched, but he had never been truly ugly either. He fell into the strange realm of being attractive in his mundanity.

            Now, however, he looked like something that had been found washed up on the East River. Prison had not done him any favors, and the sudden gauntness of his skin made him look like some sort of horrible revenant.

            He stared at Mr. Timaeus from only a few inches from the bars, his sharp mouth pulled into a barely sane half-smile, “Alright. What did you-?”

            The lawyer’s hand shot through the bars and wrapped round his throat, interrupting the condemned man and dragging him hard against the metal. With flexibility that was inhuman to the extreme, Timaeus twisted his head to the side and sank his teeth into Bernie’s neck, the gap in the bars just wide enough for him to push his face through.

            The inmate struggled, but Mr. Timaeus’ grip was like iron and fighting against him was like fighting against an immobile obelisk. After a few short seconds of searing pain, Bernie relaxed, his eyes fixed straight ahead as a burning, horrible pleasure seeped through his skin and into his blood stream.

            The lawyer’s mouth sucked noisily at Bernie’s opened jugular, but the condemned man was beyond hearing: every nerve ending pulsated with fire in a way that no orgasm ever had, and when Timaeus released his grip, Bernie sank to the floor in a heap.

            The lawyer daintily wiped the blood from his perfect lips and smiled, “I remember how this felt, Bernie, I went through this too. However, I don’t envy you what is going to happen during the next few hours but it really can’t be avoided. You’ll thank me in the end.” he turned and walked to the door lightly.

            Bernie’s legs began to violently twitch, and all too rapidly the heady, sensual explosion that had been echoing throughout every system in his body evaporated, leaving behind a searing pain the likes of which he had never experienced.

            When the guards came to transfer him to the Death House, he was groaning and panting with anguish, his face contorted into an animal-like grimace. They had to drag him from Death Row, and the noises he made were so haunting that the other inmates cowered in terror, not one of them brave enough to lift their heads from their trembling hands.

            By dusk the next day, Bernie lay on the floor in a pool of his own sweat, his eyes rolled back in his head and half growled words in a language that no one could even begin to guess about rolling from his flapping jaws. He didn’t even lift his head when the customary seven guards came in to escort him to the chair, the chaplain with them so shocked by Bernie’s appearance that he crossed himself convulsively and stumbled backwards to avoid having to touch the prisoner.

            Bernie’s eyes snapped open and he smiled like a snake at the chaplain, his voice like ice when he growled, “Sepelias me stantem mori pro anima mea et acclinis perdidi.” the guards dragged him away as the chaplain shuddered and followed behind, cursing the fact that he didn’t actually speak Latin.

            The execution chamber was already full of the customary people: seated behind a low wall were twelve court-appointed witnesses, none of them looking overjoyed to be fulfilling their duty, and the prison warden, the state electrician and two doctors stood awkwardly around Old Sparky, the squat, evil-looking electric chair that everyone’s eyes were drawn to and yet no one could stare at for long. The guards strapped Bernie into place and set a wet sponge on his shaved head, and the warden read aloud the death warrant, but the prisoner was far beyond hearing.

            The execution went very well, all said and done. Bernard Hughes died after two minutes, his shirt soaked in red from when the capillaries in his nose burst, his mouth quirked into an almost sadistic grin. But the strangest bit of Bernie’s life had just begun: fifteen hours after he’d been pronounced dead, he found himself sitting alone beside a river with the stench of his own burned skull wafting through the night.

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