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murder

peter799
6Mins Each
5
ISSUES
03. The Birthday Incident
Updated Nov 3, 2016
PG-13 Completed
21
6115
2
Crime
Suspense

Birthday or deathday? A man is stabbed to death when the lights go out during a birthday celebration. And Paul, Adrian's friends, stands accused of the murder. Adrian knows Paul is incapable of such a cold-hearted deed but how will he prove it?

Third in the series of cases involving Adrian.

This is the fourth story that I wrote involving Adrian and was supposed to be the fourth in the series. However, the actual third story is as of yet still incomplete. So, this shall be the third in the series for now.

Suspense
Crime
Suspense
Read More
Solo Work
03. The Birthday Incident

Birthday or deathday? A man is stabbed to death when the lights go out during a birthday celebration. And Paul, Adrian's friends, stands accused of the murder. Adrian knows Paul is incapable of such a cold-hearted deed but how will he prove it?

Third in the series of cases involving Adrian.

This is the fourth story that I wrote involving Adrian and was supposed to be the fourth in the series. However, the actual third story is as of yet still incomplete. So, this shall be the third in the series for now.

Read More
Solo Work
peter799
6Mins Each
6
ISSUES
01. The Murder Incident
Updated Oct 7, 2016
PG-13 Completed
38
7755
10
Crime
Suspense

How do you solve a case where the death occurred twenty storey high inside a locked room where the only ways of escape are a window that leads to a fall straight down to the ground with no ledges or fire-escapes, and a door that was locked from the inside?

How do you do it when you don't even know howthe victim was killed?

1st in the series of cases solved by Adrian.

This is my very first detective story that I wrote in 2012. I had published this earlier here at Penana but had removed it. So, here it is again.

The story is 6 chapters long and already completed. I'll upload a chapter a day for the next 5 days. Hope you readers like it. :)

Suspense
Crime
Suspense
Read More
Solo Work
01. The Murder Incident

How do you solve a case where the death occurred twenty storey high inside a locked room where the only ways of escape are a window that leads to a fall straight down to the ground with no ledges or fire-escapes, and a door that was locked from the inside?

How do you do it when you don't even know howthe victim was killed?

1st in the series of cases solved by Adrian.

This is my very first detective story that I wrote in 2012. I had published this earlier here at Penana but had removed it. So, here it is again.

The story is 6 chapters long and already completed. I'll upload a chapter a day for the next 5 days. Hope you readers like it. :)

Read More
Solo Work
McRay
4Mins Each
2
ISSUES
Rivers
Updated Oct 24, 2020
PG-13
2
51
0
Angst
Tragedy

Having lost his long term friend a year ago, having abusive parents, and suffering from depression. Teenager Elijah White's life is turned upside down when a seven-year-old homeless boy named Rivers wandered into his school. Will Rivers end up changing Elijah's life for the better? Or will Rivers end up changing his life for the worse?

General
Angst
Tragedy
Read More
Solo Work
Rivers

Having lost his long term friend a year ago, having abusive parents, and suffering from depression. Teenager Elijah White's life is turned upside down when a seven-year-old homeless boy named Rivers wandered into his school. Will Rivers end up changing Elijah's life for the better? Or will Rivers end up changing his life for the worse?

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Solo Work
Richard Nworie
9Mins Each
9
ISSUES
Shadow
Updated Oct 25, 2020
G
8
501
0
Crime
Thriller

The story covers a number of issues we face in the modern society such as political indecision, racism and religious bigotry along with an interesting and compelling storyline. Please keep an open mind while reading.

Bad politics has left the people of a country for dead. Poverty and corruption rule. As a result of this political tumult, the people begin to commit crimes and cause havoc. A man begins to make calculated kills. Can anyone stop this murderer while saving the country from its self? Can the society learn to embrace diversity and live in peace? Can the leaders learn to make the right decisions? Find out in the book.

Action
Crime
Thriller
Read More
Solo Work
Shadow

The story covers a number of issues we face in the modern society such as political indecision, racism and religious bigotry along with an interesting and compelling storyline. Please keep an open mind while reading.

Bad politics has left the people of a country for dead. Poverty and corruption rule. As a result of this political tumult, the people begin to commit crimes and cause havoc. A man begins to make calculated kills. Can anyone stop this murderer while saving the country from its self? Can the society learn to embrace diversity and live in peace? Can the leaders learn to make the right decisions? Find out in the book.

Read More
Solo Work
peter799
2Mins Each
10
ISSUES
04. The Shower Incident
Updated Sep 26, 2014
PG-13 Completed
24
5832
0
Crime
Suspense

A woman is found dead in a shower by a housekeeper in a hotel. The housekeeper contacts her friend Peter and requests that he call his friend Adrian to help investigate the case. Adrian is a private investigator who is well respected by the police department of the city. See how he unravels the case and finds the murderer.

This a short whodunit that you can finish in one sitting. Rated PG-13 because of themes of murder.

4th in the series of cases solved by Adrian.

Suspense
Crime
Suspense
Read More
Solo Work
04. The Shower Incident

A woman is found dead in a shower by a housekeeper in a hotel. The housekeeper contacts her friend Peter and requests that he call his friend Adrian to help investigate the case. Adrian is a private investigator who is well respected by the police department of the city. See how he unravels the case and finds the murderer.

This a short whodunit that you can finish in one sitting. Rated PG-13 because of themes of murder.

4th in the series of cases solved by Adrian.

Read More
Solo Work
peter799
7Mins Each
4
ISSUES
02. The Restaurant Incident
Updated Oct 18, 2014
PG-13 Completed
24
3482
1
Crime
Suspense

A romantic dinner date takes a dark twist when a man is murdered in the very restaurant that Antei and his date, Alessa, are in and the accused is none other than Alessa. Antei knows Alessa is innocent and must seek the help of his detective friend Adrian to clear Alessa of the crime and find out who the real murderer is.

2nd in the series of cases solved by Adrian.

Another story I wrote two years ago and published here as is without any edits. If you have any suggestions or criticisms, feel free to leave a review.

Suspense
Crime
Suspense
Read More
Solo Work
02. The Restaurant Incident

A romantic dinner date takes a dark twist when a man is murdered in the very restaurant that Antei and his date, Alessa, are in and the accused is none other than Alessa. Antei knows Alessa is innocent and must seek the help of his detective friend Adrian to clear Alessa of the crime and find out who the real murderer is.

2nd in the series of cases solved by Adrian.

Another story I wrote two years ago and published here as is without any edits. If you have any suggestions or criticisms, feel free to leave a review.

Read More
Solo Work
El Monel
4Mins Each
1
ISSUE
One More or No More
Updated Sep 2, 2016
G
0
971
0
Tragedy
Crime

As I sat in there in the cold lobby of the city morgue, all I could do was hope that the police officers that had brought me here were wrong. All I could think about was the last thing I said to her, the last time i saw her.

While I waited for the mortician and the first officer to come and get me I tried to think of any way to get my mind off of the stark white lobby I was sitting in, but all of my senses were being overwhelmed by the hospital like environment. All I could smell was the fake flower fragrance of febreeze trying to cover up the scent of what could only be death.

The only thing I could look at were the dusty, fake purple flowers in the corners of the room, dimly lit by the florescent lights above. All the time I was waiting the buzzing of the lights infiltrated every corner of the room and my thoughts, the only other sound was the occasional cough from the woman sitting at the front desk.

Finally after what felt like a lifetime the officer came back with an elderly man whom could only have been the mortician or his assistant. They said that her body was ready and that I could come back now. Could, what an interesting choice of words. If I could have I would have waited in that room for the rest of my life if it meant that I could believe that she was still alive, still out there somewhere. That she was just at a friends house and her phone was off. But I had to face reality, I had to go back there, if not for the police then for myself. I had to know. I had to know if it was Jade.

The two men led me through the maze of white halls until we got to a pair of steel doors. They opened the doors for me and I walked into the dimly lit room and saw a white sheet over a table in the middle of the room. It looked to be straight out of a crime movie, the overhead light shining bright over the body. The only difference was that you can't smell the death through the T.V. As we walked up to the table I started to loose my nerve and panic. It couldn't be Jade, it just couldn't. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack as they pulled the bleached white sheet from the head of the body.

I got back to my apartment around four in the morning, but even though i was exhausted i couldn't sleep. The memories of the morgue were etched into my mind. Walking through those cold steel doors, making my way up to the autopsy table, then looking at her body. Her cold dead body. I couldn't get the image out of my head. All I wanted to do was forget the way she looked and remember her for what she was, but now all i could remember of her was her pale blue lips, her sunken eyes, and her cold dead skin. This was not how i wanted to remember her but it is now the only image i have of her to think about.

After i saw her body I told the officer that it was her, it was Jade. He gave me a somber apology for my loss but that didn't help. At first I felt an extreme pressure building up in my chest, my throat began to clench and I though i was going to break down right there and then. But then it all vanished. I felt nothing, my mind went blank, anything the two men said was lost to me, everything i saw was a cold and hollow shell as if I was watching an old black and white movie. I felt, nothing, and i liked it. i actually liked it...

That morning I went to work like nothing happened. Whenever someone went by me they looked at me, and then looked away, they must have been able to tell that something had happened, but it wasn't until later that afternoon that someone actually asked me if everything was all right. It was one of my friends from work, Sarah Hart.

Other
Tragedy
Crime
Read More
Solo Work
One More or No More

As I sat in there in the cold lobby of the city morgue, all I could do was hope that the police officers that had brought me here were wrong. All I could think about was the last thing I said to her, the last time i saw her.

While I waited for the mortician and the first officer to come and get me I tried to think of any way to get my mind off of the stark white lobby I was sitting in, but all of my senses were being overwhelmed by the hospital like environment. All I could smell was the fake flower fragrance of febreeze trying to cover up the scent of what could only be death.

The only thing I could look at were the dusty, fake purple flowers in the corners of the room, dimly lit by the florescent lights above. All the time I was waiting the buzzing of the lights infiltrated every corner of the room and my thoughts, the only other sound was the occasional cough from the woman sitting at the front desk.

Finally after what felt like a lifetime the officer came back with an elderly man whom could only have been the mortician or his assistant. They said that her body was ready and that I could come back now. Could, what an interesting choice of words. If I could have I would have waited in that room for the rest of my life if it meant that I could believe that she was still alive, still out there somewhere. That she was just at a friends house and her phone was off. But I had to face reality, I had to go back there, if not for the police then for myself. I had to know. I had to know if it was Jade.

The two men led me through the maze of white halls until we got to a pair of steel doors. They opened the doors for me and I walked into the dimly lit room and saw a white sheet over a table in the middle of the room. It looked to be straight out of a crime movie, the overhead light shining bright over the body. The only difference was that you can't smell the death through the T.V. As we walked up to the table I started to loose my nerve and panic. It couldn't be Jade, it just couldn't. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack as they pulled the bleached white sheet from the head of the body.

I got back to my apartment around four in the morning, but even though i was exhausted i couldn't sleep. The memories of the morgue were etched into my mind. Walking through those cold steel doors, making my way up to the autopsy table, then looking at her body. Her cold dead body. I couldn't get the image out of my head. All I wanted to do was forget the way she looked and remember her for what she was, but now all i could remember of her was her pale blue lips, her sunken eyes, and her cold dead skin. This was not how i wanted to remember her but it is now the only image i have of her to think about.

After i saw her body I told the officer that it was her, it was Jade. He gave me a somber apology for my loss but that didn't help. At first I felt an extreme pressure building up in my chest, my throat began to clench and I though i was going to break down right there and then. But then it all vanished. I felt nothing, my mind went blank, anything the two men said was lost to me, everything i saw was a cold and hollow shell as if I was watching an old black and white movie. I felt, nothing, and i liked it. i actually liked it...

That morning I went to work like nothing happened. Whenever someone went by me they looked at me, and then looked away, they must have been able to tell that something had happened, but it wasn't until later that afternoon that someone actually asked me if everything was all right. It was one of my friends from work, Sarah Hart.

Read More
Solo Work
iEatWaffles
7Mins Each
3
ISSUES
They Said What
Updated Jan 15, 2018
PG
0
3076
0
Sarcasm
Humor

If everybody just stayed to themselves nobody would get hurt. I learned that the hard way. Don't ask questions unless you're prepared for the answer. People tell me all the time just open up you'll feel better. I'm living just fine without anybody. I only need me, myself and I and that's all I'll ever need.

Action
Sarcasm
Humor
Read More
Solo Work
They Said What

If everybody just stayed to themselves nobody would get hurt. I learned that the hard way. Don't ask questions unless you're prepared for the answer. People tell me all the time just open up you'll feel better. I'm living just fine without anybody. I only need me, myself and I and that's all I'll ever need.

Read More
Solo Work
Alexander Temple
13Mins Each
3
ISSUES
Accused
Updated Oct 9, 2019
PG-13 Completed
0
427
0
Crime
Short Story

A mentally handicapped man has been accused of murdering a girl.  I decided to defend him despite I was unsure if he was guilty or not.  This would change my life and my family and I would have to live with people thinking that I was willing to defend the scum of the world!

General
Crime
Short Story
Read More
Solo Work
Accused

A mentally handicapped man has been accused of murdering a girl.  I decided to defend him despite I was unsure if he was guilty or not.  This would change my life and my family and I would have to live with people thinking that I was willing to defend the scum of the world!

Read More
Solo Work
Junes
2Mins Each
4
ISSUES
Mad-Eye
Updated Mar 25, 2017
G
2
1474
0
Thriller
Crime

“You cannot ignore it anymore Oswald. Our patients are dying. They are getting killed by someone who is still out there. Every patient’s life is in danger. We have to do something Oswald.”

“No one care about the patients Clarissa. To us it’s just one retard less. Less inmates means less work.”

“And what about those who were murdered, Viktor? They need justice. This. Can’t. Be. Ignored. Anymore.”

“I don’t care Twill. Do what you are supposed to do.”

“Of course I will.”

********

Someone is out on a killing rampage in West Baskerville Psychological Institute. Targets aren’t particular. Patients are chosen like the numbers in the game of Bingo. Random. The first victim was an inmate from the building A, The building for the criminally insane. No one seems to find any pattern or similarities, but there is a peculiar exception. Their eyes were carved out of the eye sockets before they died.

Suspense
Thriller
Crime
Read More
Solo Work
Mad-Eye

“You cannot ignore it anymore Oswald. Our patients are dying. They are getting killed by someone who is still out there. Every patient’s life is in danger. We have to do something Oswald.”

“No one care about the patients Clarissa. To us it’s just one retard less. Less inmates means less work.”

“And what about those who were murdered, Viktor? They need justice. This. Can’t. Be. Ignored. Anymore.”

“I don’t care Twill. Do what you are supposed to do.”

“Of course I will.”

********

Someone is out on a killing rampage in West Baskerville Psychological Institute. Targets aren’t particular. Patients are chosen like the numbers in the game of Bingo. Random. The first victim was an inmate from the building A, The building for the criminally insane. No one seems to find any pattern or similarities, but there is a peculiar exception. Their eyes were carved out of the eye sockets before they died.

Read More
Solo Work
Laurie Grensky
1Min Each
1
ISSUE
A Time to Kill
Updated Sep 15, 2019
PG-13
0
323
0
Thriller
Romance

Nothing bad was ever supposed to happen in Monterey. Monterey was a safe place. Now nothing will ever be the same after the discovery of Jason Hawthorne's unconscious body from Crystal River.

Moving back home, Will Gilmore and his family cross the country, hoping to come back to a place he likes to call home. Only discovering that this once wholesome town is now forever changed.

Drama
Thriller
Romance
Read More
Solo Work
A Time to Kill

Nothing bad was ever supposed to happen in Monterey. Monterey was a safe place. Now nothing will ever be the same after the discovery of Jason Hawthorne's unconscious body from Crystal River.

Moving back home, Will Gilmore and his family cross the country, hoping to come back to a place he likes to call home. Only discovering that this once wholesome town is now forever changed.

Read More
Solo Work
paul robison
3Mins Each
147
ISSUES
BROKEN DOLLS
Updated Mar 30, 2017
R
8
19012
23
Thriller
Crime

Fools, because of their rebellious way,  and because of their iniquities, were afflicted.

Psalm 107: 17

THEY TOLD HER SHE would die here.  This place that she did not know, this dark, dank, rancid dungeon where nobody wished her well and most spoke languages alien to her....this place she would call home for the rest of her life.  That's what they told her.  It was getting harder to disbelieve them.

There were people in there who wanted her dead, some in retribution but most to establish their own notoriety.  It would be a sure path to fame to kill her or one of her friends, known collectively as the Monte Carlo Actress Killers.  That was the moniker that stuck in the international media.  More imaginative than the Gang of Four, the Falling Stars, the Desperate Glamor Gals.  Less chilling, to her at least, than the one that ran on the front page of Le Mondethe day after the verdict: Poupees Cassees.

Broken Dolls.

So she waited.   For a miracle.  For newly discovered evidence.  A confession from the real killer. A sympathetic ear to her appeal.  Or just the morning when she'd wake up and discover this was all a dream.  The last three-hundred-and-ninety-eight mornings, she'd opened her eyes and prayed that she was back in Hollywood, or, better yet, back in Hammersmith, London, England, her birthplace, studying more acting for the entertainment-starved American masses.

And she watched.  She turned every corner widely and slowly. She kept sitting up. She tried to avoid any routine that would make her movements predictable, that would make her vulnerable.  If they were going to get her in here, they were going to have to do it the hard way!

It began as a normal day like any other.  She walked down the narrow corridor of H Wing. When she approached the block letters on the door's glass window----INFIRMERIE---she stopped and made sure her toes lined up with the peeling red tape on the floor that served as a marker, a stop sign before entering.

"Bonjour,"she said to the guard at the station on the other side of the hydraulic door, a woman named Henriette.  No last names.  None of the prison staff was permitted to reveal anything more to the prisoners than their first names, and those were probably false, too.  The point was anonymity outside these walls:  because of it, the inmates, once released, wouldn't be able to hunt down the prison guards who hadn't treated them so nicely.

"Hi, Mischa."  Henriette always greeted Mischa in her best English, which wasn't bad.  Better than Mischa's French. After a loud, echoing buzz, the door released with a hiss.

The prison infirmary was the length and width of an American gymnasium, but it had a lower ceiling, about eight feet high.  It was mostly one open space filled without about two dozen beds.  On one side was a long cage---the "reception" area-----where inmates waited their turn to be treated.  On another side, also closed off and secured, was a room containing medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.  Beyond this room was a high-security area that could hold five patients, reserved for those who had communicable diseases, those in intensive care, and those who posed security risks.

Mischa liked the infirmary because of the strong lighting, which lent some vibrancy to my otherwise dreary confinement.  She liked helping people, too; it reminded her that she was still human, that she still had a purpose.  And she liked it because she didn't have to watch my back in here.

She disliked everything else about it, unfortunately.  The smell, for one thing---a horrible cocktail of body odor and urine and powerful disinfectant that always bowled me over when I first walked in.  And, well, fuck, nobody who comes to the infirmary is having a good day.

She tried to have good days.  She tried very hard.

It was busy when she walked in, the beds at full capacity, the one doctor, two nurses, and four inmates who served as nurse's assistants scurrying from patient to patient, putting figurative Band-Aids on gaping wounds.  There'd been a flu going around, and at JRF, when one person got the flue, the whole cell block got it.  They tried to segregate the sick ones but it was like rearranging chairs in a closet.  There just wasn't much room.  JRF---L'Institution  de Justice et Reforme pour les Femmes----operated at more than 150% capacity.  Cells designed for four held seven, the extra three people sleeping on the floor.  A prison intended for twelve hundred was housing almost two thousand.  They were packing them in like sardines and telling them to cover our mouths when they coughed.

Mischa saw Rihanna at the far end, wrapping a bandage on an Arab woman's foot.  Rhi, like her, was a nurse's assistant.  The warden ordered that they not communicate, so they were assigned to different cell blocks and different shifts in the infirmary.

She felt a catch in her throat, as she did every time she saw her now.  Rhianna had been my closest friend since she relocated (temporarily) to Salzburg to be with her boyfriend.  They'd been living next door to each other for the past five years, sharing each other's secrets.

Well, not alltheir  secrets, it turned out.  But she'd forgiven her.

"Hey." Rhianna whispered in her lovely Caribbean accent.  Her fingers touched Mischa's.  "I heard what happened.  You okay?"

"Living the dream," I said. "You?"

She wasn't in the mood for humor.  Rihanna was a stunning beauty---tall and shapely with large radiant eyes, chiseled cheekbones, and silky, ink-color hair--which made it all the harder to see the wear around those eyes, the stoop in her posture, the subtle deterioration of the spirit that made her the idol of millions. It had been just over a year since the murders, and three months since the conviction.  She was starting to break down, to give in.  They talked in here about the moment when that happened, when you lost all hope.  La Reddition,they called it.  Surrender.  Mischa, herself, hadn't experienced it yet and she hoped she never would.

"Movie night," Rihanna whispered.  "I'll save you a seat.  Love you."

"Love you back.  Get some rest." Their fingertips released.  Her shift was over.

***********

About an hour and a half later, Mischa heard the commotion as the hydraulic door buzzed open.  She had my back turned to the entrance.  She'd been helping a nurse dress a laceration on an inmate's rib cage when one of the other nurses shouted, "Urgence!"

Emergency.  They had a lot of those.  They had a suicide a week in JRF.  Violence and sanitation-related illnesses had been through the roof with the worsening overcrowding.  It was impossible to work a six-hour shift without hearing urgencecalled at least once.

Still, she turned, as guards and a nurse wheeled in an inmate on a gurney.

"Oh, God, no." Mischa dropped the gauze pads she'd been holding. She started running before the realization had fully formed in her head.  The shock of black hair hanging below the gurney.  The look on the face of one of the nurses, who had turned back from the commotion to look at her, to see if it had registered with her who the new patient was.   Everyone knew the four of them as a group, after all.

"Rhi," she whispered.

General
Thriller
Crime
Read More
4 Collaboration Spaces Available
BROKEN DOLLS

Fools, because of their rebellious way,  and because of their iniquities, were afflicted.

Psalm 107: 17

THEY TOLD HER SHE would die here.  This place that she did not know, this dark, dank, rancid dungeon where nobody wished her well and most spoke languages alien to her....this place she would call home for the rest of her life.  That's what they told her.  It was getting harder to disbelieve them.

There were people in there who wanted her dead, some in retribution but most to establish their own notoriety.  It would be a sure path to fame to kill her or one of her friends, known collectively as the Monte Carlo Actress Killers.  That was the moniker that stuck in the international media.  More imaginative than the Gang of Four, the Falling Stars, the Desperate Glamor Gals.  Less chilling, to her at least, than the one that ran on the front page of Le Mondethe day after the verdict: Poupees Cassees.

Broken Dolls.

So she waited.   For a miracle.  For newly discovered evidence.  A confession from the real killer. A sympathetic ear to her appeal.  Or just the morning when she'd wake up and discover this was all a dream.  The last three-hundred-and-ninety-eight mornings, she'd opened her eyes and prayed that she was back in Hollywood, or, better yet, back in Hammersmith, London, England, her birthplace, studying more acting for the entertainment-starved American masses.

And she watched.  She turned every corner widely and slowly. She kept sitting up. She tried to avoid any routine that would make her movements predictable, that would make her vulnerable.  If they were going to get her in here, they were going to have to do it the hard way!

It began as a normal day like any other.  She walked down the narrow corridor of H Wing. When she approached the block letters on the door's glass window----INFIRMERIE---she stopped and made sure her toes lined up with the peeling red tape on the floor that served as a marker, a stop sign before entering.

"Bonjour,"she said to the guard at the station on the other side of the hydraulic door, a woman named Henriette.  No last names.  None of the prison staff was permitted to reveal anything more to the prisoners than their first names, and those were probably false, too.  The point was anonymity outside these walls:  because of it, the inmates, once released, wouldn't be able to hunt down the prison guards who hadn't treated them so nicely.

"Hi, Mischa."  Henriette always greeted Mischa in her best English, which wasn't bad.  Better than Mischa's French. After a loud, echoing buzz, the door released with a hiss.

The prison infirmary was the length and width of an American gymnasium, but it had a lower ceiling, about eight feet high.  It was mostly one open space filled without about two dozen beds.  On one side was a long cage---the "reception" area-----where inmates waited their turn to be treated.  On another side, also closed off and secured, was a room containing medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.  Beyond this room was a high-security area that could hold five patients, reserved for those who had communicable diseases, those in intensive care, and those who posed security risks.

Mischa liked the infirmary because of the strong lighting, which lent some vibrancy to my otherwise dreary confinement.  She liked helping people, too; it reminded her that she was still human, that she still had a purpose.  And she liked it because she didn't have to watch my back in here.

She disliked everything else about it, unfortunately.  The smell, for one thing---a horrible cocktail of body odor and urine and powerful disinfectant that always bowled me over when I first walked in.  And, well, fuck, nobody who comes to the infirmary is having a good day.

She tried to have good days.  She tried very hard.

It was busy when she walked in, the beds at full capacity, the one doctor, two nurses, and four inmates who served as nurse's assistants scurrying from patient to patient, putting figurative Band-Aids on gaping wounds.  There'd been a flu going around, and at JRF, when one person got the flue, the whole cell block got it.  They tried to segregate the sick ones but it was like rearranging chairs in a closet.  There just wasn't much room.  JRF---L'Institution  de Justice et Reforme pour les Femmes----operated at more than 150% capacity.  Cells designed for four held seven, the extra three people sleeping on the floor.  A prison intended for twelve hundred was housing almost two thousand.  They were packing them in like sardines and telling them to cover our mouths when they coughed.

Mischa saw Rihanna at the far end, wrapping a bandage on an Arab woman's foot.  Rhi, like her, was a nurse's assistant.  The warden ordered that they not communicate, so they were assigned to different cell blocks and different shifts in the infirmary.

She felt a catch in her throat, as she did every time she saw her now.  Rhianna had been my closest friend since she relocated (temporarily) to Salzburg to be with her boyfriend.  They'd been living next door to each other for the past five years, sharing each other's secrets.

Well, not alltheir  secrets, it turned out.  But she'd forgiven her.

"Hey." Rhianna whispered in her lovely Caribbean accent.  Her fingers touched Mischa's.  "I heard what happened.  You okay?"

"Living the dream," I said. "You?"

She wasn't in the mood for humor.  Rihanna was a stunning beauty---tall and shapely with large radiant eyes, chiseled cheekbones, and silky, ink-color hair--which made it all the harder to see the wear around those eyes, the stoop in her posture, the subtle deterioration of the spirit that made her the idol of millions. It had been just over a year since the murders, and three months since the conviction.  She was starting to break down, to give in.  They talked in here about the moment when that happened, when you lost all hope.  La Reddition,they called it.  Surrender.  Mischa, herself, hadn't experienced it yet and she hoped she never would.

"Movie night," Rihanna whispered.  "I'll save you a seat.  Love you."

"Love you back.  Get some rest." Their fingertips released.  Her shift was over.

***********

About an hour and a half later, Mischa heard the commotion as the hydraulic door buzzed open.  She had my back turned to the entrance.  She'd been helping a nurse dress a laceration on an inmate's rib cage when one of the other nurses shouted, "Urgence!"

Emergency.  They had a lot of those.  They had a suicide a week in JRF.  Violence and sanitation-related illnesses had been through the roof with the worsening overcrowding.  It was impossible to work a six-hour shift without hearing urgencecalled at least once.

Still, she turned, as guards and a nurse wheeled in an inmate on a gurney.

"Oh, God, no." Mischa dropped the gauze pads she'd been holding. She started running before the realization had fully formed in her head.  The shock of black hair hanging below the gurney.  The look on the face of one of the nurses, who had turned back from the commotion to look at her, to see if it had registered with her who the new patient was.   Everyone knew the four of them as a group, after all.

"Rhi," she whispered.

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