Category Archives: Short Stories
Things I’ve written.
(DISCLAIMER: This story is fictional though the towns and prison do exist.This is the final draft of the fiction story I wrote for my Creative Writing class previously published under a different title, Redemption at Mansfield Reformatory. The word limit was 2,000, the protagonist had to be different from me in at least two ways, I had to have at least one example of flashback, I could only have a maximum of 3 characters, it had to be set in modern time (no Victorian age, or futuristic), and the story had to be believable that it could happen in real life.)
I can see it now printed in major newspapers across the nation, “Sarah Wesley inside the head of psychopath killer Fredrick Peters!” Chicago Tribune may pick me up after this story. Butler is a town full of evangelicals, and Christian tradition. I am one of the few in town who openly lives gay in our small community.
This was a story of a lifetime for a reporter like me. Being bisexual my editor assigned me to cover those stories because he thought being gay made me an expert on the matter. My editor could be a total ass. He actually told me several times over the years that I should find the Lord or be damned to hell for my sin. Maybe hell is where he is sending me today to interview a psychopath.
Mansfield Reformatory is a maximum security prison built in Romanesque architectural style about thirty minutes north of Butler, Ohio. From the outside an onlooker could mistake this prison for a castle. On the inside, this prison is hell for inmates. Mansfield reformatory is one of the toughest prisons that houses murderers serving life sentences or waiting on death row. It sits on one hundred and forty acres. It’s the Alcatraz of Ohio.
The stench of disinfectant, urine mixed with sweat was almost too much to bear as I followed the guard down the dark corridor towards the area set up for the interview. Anticipation and angst gripped me as I tried to focus on questions I was going to ask instead of the stench and spine-chilling appearance of the run down prison. The guard escorting me was of enormous physique. His muscles protruded his short sleeve shirt and he was over six feet tall. He had the typical military cut where his hair did not pass the nape of his neck. He never spoke as he led me towards the prisons center west wing where things were set up for my interview with the notorious Butler man Fredrick Peters, the local bus driver who kidnapped and murdered Charlene Lewis, a female coworker.
Charlene, the victim, was in her early twenties, and a graduate from Ohio State University. The bus driving job was a temporary one while she waited to get into her field of expertise. She had resumes all over the country. She wanted to be a meteorologist in a big city like New York. She could have had a job at the local station where she did her internship but she never wanted to be a small town girl. The bus depot gave her the opportunity to pay for college and the flexibility with the schedule while waiting for the answer from New York. She was brutally murdered two years ago and my editor is sending me to cover the story.
The sound of the keys clanking together echoed through the corridor as the guard took them from his belt to unlock the barred door to the visitor’s room. The crime scene images rushed through my mind. You could see footprints made out of blood next to her lifeless body. There was a pentagram drawn in blood just about her slightly exposed cleavage. Items are seen disheveled around the room. There was a black cloth placed over her with another pentagram smeared in blood covering her waist line. There was blood spatter along the walls. It was evident that Charlene struggled for her life fiercely. The streak of blood that ran across the wall leading to the door appeared to represent a woman crawling along the wall trying to get to the exit. A final hand print next to the door frame smeared towards the floor must have been Charlene falling to her death from the final blow to the back of the head.
Fredrick Peters was a bus driver for ten years, accused and found guilty of first degree murder. He waits on death row in Mansfield Reformatory where I will interview him. Fredrick stood 5’6, light brown hair with a receding hairline and a five o’clock shadow. He lived in his mother’s basement at the time of the crime. He never had luck with women or maintaining friendships according to all the information I gathered from my research, interviews, and news articles. Looking at him through the barred door, chained to the seat he doesn’t seem threatening, until you look into his eyes. The door echoed with a loud creaking as the guard opens it.
“Here you go ma’am. You have one hour with the prisoner. I’ll be right outside if you need anything. I want to advise you that this session is being recorded and will be archived with the prison.” He stepped to the side and I entered. The loud clank of the door closing startled me and I dropped my briefcase. I scurry to pick up the photographs that fell from the briefcase. I pause at the final photograph needing put back into the briefcase. This photo always catches my eye to review. I stand and look over it for a moment.
Charlene’s body was sprawled out on her back in the photo. She is soaked in blood. Charlene was a blonde but you couldn’t tell from the crime scene photo. Her hair was saturated with blood. It was dark, and most of it dried on her arms, legs, hair and face. Some of her wounds according to the coroner show she was tortured for days before a final blow to her head from a blunt object killed her.
One of the most memorable things that stick out about this photo is the way Charlene has her arm resting across her forehead with her palm turned out. It haunted me because she looked like she was begging for the torture to stop. I wanted to ask Fredrick about this particular photo. I wanted to know if she was begging for him to stop. I didn’t want the usual answer that he is a psychopath and that is what they do. I wanted to hear him tell me in details as to what was going through his mind at this moment in this photograph.
Charlene was missing for a week before her body was found. The authorities were called to a home that sat vacant and was on the market for months. An anonymous caller told 9-1-1 dispatcher that a woman was lying dead inside the house. The police report claims that Charlene was held captive in this empty home for a week tortured before being brutally murdered by Fredrick Peters.
“I’m Sarah Wesley, with the Butler Gazette.” He was chained wearing a dark gray jumper with numbers 74666 printed on the right breast area in black print. The irony of the number he was assigned ending with 666 didn’t surpass me. The concrete floor had iron loops that came out of the floor where the thick chain was connected. The iron wrist cuffs connected to that thick chain that held him to a chair that also was bolted to the cement floor. His ankles were locked in shackles that were bolted to the chair that left his legs immobile. The stench of cigarettes filled the room as he lit one for himself. The smoke bellowed from his mouth as he sat there staring me down. Every time he reached up to his face to take a drag the chains clatter echoed the room we sat in. Death row inmates were allowed to smoke.
“Look at you…such a pretty thang.” His head was tilted and his eyes were sizing me up. I stayed focus on the task at hand being careful not to show him any anxiety.
“I was expecting a blond.” He took a drag from his cigarette and blew the smoke in my direction.
“Sorry to disappoint you Fredrick.” The voice recorder was going but I held my pen above the tablet of paper ready to write down his every word as back up.
He licked his lips and his voice became deeper. “Yes…blonds are entertaining.”
“Charlene was blonde but you couldn’t tell from this picture.” I slid the crime scene photo across the table and placed it in front of him.
He placed one finger on the photo and just sat there for a moment looking at it. His demeanor changed yet again. He seemed happy to have a chance to see her again. He took a long drag from his cigarette and as he exhaled, “She was a piece of art.”
His hands were aged and scarred. He sat there with his finger on her image of the picture.
“So tell me why you killed her Fredrick.” I leaned forward placing my arms in front of me on the table being sure to make eye contact.
“I didn’t kill this beauty…I saved her…I set her free…she is with my master now…” He shoved the picture towards me. He threw his cigarette butt on the floor and leaned back in his chair. “I set her free! She is where she belongs now.”
I glanced over at the cigarette butt he threw on the floor and looked back at Fredrick.
“She’s dead Fredrick. What do you mean you set her free?” I picked up the pen with my left hand while staring at him waiting for an answer.
“She was an abomination! She was called by my master. I do what I’m told. He’s here now…my master. He wants me to save you too. You’re an abomination aren’t you Sarah?” His eyes fell on me and a chill came across my entire body. I kept focus on what this interview meant for me to keep my anxiety under control as it grew. “So your master wants you to kill women?”
“Not just any women…women who live sinful lives…like you do.” A smirk crossed his face.
“You mean gay?” I said with contempt.
“Yes!” He answered with an emphasis.
“We have limited time Fredrick, how about you tell me how you killed Charlene…since we know now why you chose her.” I pulled out some news articles from my briefcase. My anxiety now anger.
Fredrick lunged forward toward me. I could see the violent lust in his eyes. I could tell he wanted to cut me from navel to neck.
“These news articles…” I slammed them down on the table with force. I pushed them towards him not taking my eyes off of him. “…clearly state you were a devoted religious man.” This angered him more. His voice morphed into a very deep scratchy one.
“My master goes by the name Lucifer. Sinners…he is preparing for war….” He retrieved another cigarette from his pack of Camel blacks and placed it in his lips.
“I went to church looking for sinners….sinners…all of them…” He lit his cigarette and took a long drag. “I knew Charlene from driving bus…but I knew she had to be next when I saw her at church that Sunday. She even brought her girlfriend to put on a show.” Smoke again was bellowing out of his mouth.
“So rumors are Fredrick that you actually worship Satan? Were the pentagrams to throw off inspectors or your signature? Do you belong to some cult locally?” I continued to try to get information out of him about the crime for my story.
He started laughing like a madman. His laughter then turned into mumbling. He began to rock back and forth slowly. His eyes rolled to the back of his head as he lunged backwards.
“It is time for me to go now…my master wants me.” I heard a sizzling and wasn’t sure where it came from but it echoed out into the room before he started to convulse. Foam began falling from his mouth. I yelled for the guard with a screech, “GUARD!” Fredrick somehow was able to get a vial of cyanide to commit suicide. What a story this will be I thought to myself.
Looking back on that event today it still gives me chills. What my editor thought would be a prod towards my gay lifestyle ended up being the break I worked hard for. I published an article on that event and it ended up turning me into a world renowned news reporter sought after for employment.
My Life In Puzzle Pieces
Thomas Lee Kegley Jr.
Well what can I say about Tom. Man he is one of the best guy friends I have in my life. He was always so sweet on me in school, and even now as adults. I am a lucky gal to have him as a friend. He has defended me, been a shoulder for me, and helped brighten me in dark times. He stood by me even as fucked up as I was in high school.
The two of us were quite different. I skipped class, done drugs, smoked cigarettes, and lived like a rebel. He was the clean guy. Now that I look back he was the safe guy. I never felt threatened by him ever. I never felt like he was after a piece of ass and I never felt like he judged me for being so fucked up. He made me laugh a lot.
I have a few great memories with him that I cherish. The best one was from our high school days. I wanted to skip first period and wanted him to live on the wild side and skip with me. You see I never viewed him as the bad boy. He was the good guy I wanted to corrupt. I laugh even now thinking on it. I have to admit I crushed on him slightly back in high school but fought it because I knew it would have ruined what he was for me if we had dated so I kept my mouth shut. I believe that is why we are still friends today. I often wondered if he felt the same way in high school but never asked. It doesn’t really matter now. What does matter is we are great friends forever.
He skipped that day with me or attempted to. Our principle caught us in the park across from the school and we decided that running was the best option. We hid from her in bushes. When she went back towards the school we came out and I knew we were busted so I had to come up with a plan. I felt so guilty that I had talked Tom into skipping with me and I felt I had to get him out of this. So I told him I had it covered and not say anything when we got to her office. Believe it or not we got away with two passes to class. I can’t even recall what I told her but she bought it hook, line and sinker. What a great memory.
He is a sweet guy with a great sense of humor. I love him and his friendship. Thank you Tom for being such a great guy friend to me all these years and the years to come in the future. We are FOREVER connected pal.
My Life In Puzzle Pieces
My blood, my cousin, and my friend. Growing up the age difference between the two of us kept us from growing up like some other cousins I have but I love her just the same. She has always been protective of me and I am thankful for that.
We are like minded even though we are spread farther with age difference. We are alike in many crazy ways. I always viewed her as wild in her youth…I was wild too.
We lived. We learned. We grew. We live far apart but are always connected by blood and that loyalty doesn’t get severed easily. I love you Cella and will always cherish you being my blood.
My Life In Puzzle Pieces
Kathy Larson Dahlen
I met Kathy through my husbands circle of friends from his workplace. I remember I was nervous about meeting her. My husband and I have a lot of differences with people we choose to hang out with or get to know. I am a very bold personality and open about who I am, what I believe and sometimes that can offend those not use to that type of personality. I worried that Kathy might not have liked me.
She seemed very shy when I first met her but once I started talking to her I knew she was one from my husbands circle of friends that I would cherish having in my own circle.
She was there for me when my husband and I hit a very rough patch in our marriage. I realized how rare of a gem she was to me at that time. She was one of the very few surrounded around my husband that didn’t take everything I vented about or talked about back to him or any other person. She gained so much respect from me with that trust that I will forever cherish her now as a friend.
We don’t get to hang out much at all due to work schedules, and busy lives but we are connected through social media. She is a beautiful person and I am very thankful to have met her. I am lucky to call her a friend. Thank you Kathy for being you and being my friend.
My Life In Puzzle Pieces
Jennifer and I were destined to be friends. I met her at the bus company I work for now. I was disabled in 2005 and haven’t worked any job until I went out to get the bus driving job in 2012. She came into my life at a turning point. I was having a hard time being a disabled person with no real social connections outside my computer box. I was transforming on such a deep personal level when I met Jennifer. I knew shortly after meeting her that we were meant to meet.
I found out shortly after I had met her how much we also had in common. Where we came from, things we’ve been through, and the way we wanted to live our lives in the present with little negativity. She has such a huge heart. I feel so close to her she could really be my sister in real life. She is one special lady to me. I cherish her friendship. She is patient and understanding. She accepts that I am disabled and I have limits. She loves me just the way I am and I love her just the way she is. She will be my friend forever I know it.
Thank you Jennifer for being such an inspiration to me. Thank you for being a positive light in my life of dark. I love you friend.