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18th December
posted by amber

Hospital Death

The body lay on a bed, tied down with wires and tubes. An electronic device nearby gave off a steady tone.

“Someone shut that thing off,” I said, then asked, “Why exactly are we here?”

“I know it looks like a natural death, sir,” one of my men told me. “But the family is convinced it’s a homicide. They say she was on the mend. And then there’s this.”

The transparent tube bringing air to a clip near the woman’s nose had been severed cleanly.

“Is that enough to kill her?”

“The doc says no. And he says they often get cut if patients move their bed up and down too much – the tubes can get caught in the mechanism. So – what do you think? Should we call in the crime scene gang? Or should we let the docs do what they want and get her to the cutting room to save her organs for donation?”

“Give me a minute.” I sat down beside the woman in the next bed. “Did you see what happened?”

Without missing a stitch in her knitting, she said, “It’s been like Grand Central Station around here. The new husband kept coming in with a lawyer – he’s quite a bit younger than her – trying to get her to change her will. Her son and daughter and their spouses and the grandchildren are here all the time, fussing over her. Then there were the ladies coming in to trim her nails or massage her feet, and her secretary because God forbid she’d fall behind on her correspondence. She had a stylist in to do her hair this morning. From the way she carries – carried – on, I guess she was someone important. I never heard of her.”

I thanked the woman, then went behind the curtain and took a last look at the victim. Her hair was as I recalled it, dishevelled.

I stepped into the hall and told my men, “Yes, call out the troops. And have them confiscate all the pillows in the room and the scissors of the woman in the next bed.”


“Yes, her. The nice lady with the yellow skin whose chart says she’s waiting for a new liver.”

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.

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