Tuesday 8 March 2011

Life After Death

By Sarah Mcardle

She didn’t claim insanity, not once. She never appealed on the grounds of mental instability. She’d have had to talk to do so, and she could, but she chose not to.
At first this was a problem. They needed a confession. They needed their words to pierce through her conscience and provoke an action from her heart. This wasn’t possible. Her heart was swamped with the task of keeping her alive.
They didn’t give up. They asked different questions, came at her from different angles. They had seats, yet they always chose to stand, always looking down. They had a clear obsession with eye contact, though their attempts to make it were wasted on her. Her posture suggested that she was being hung by the neck, too lifeless to move. She wasn’t lifeless, not yet.
When she first came to this place, her brain was restless, overly active. She often fought with herself, using her questions as interrogations and using her accusations to punish herself. She didn’t require their services; she could chastise herself quite easily. It didn’t matter to her if she was guilty or not. It was irrelevant by every measure of the word. But she wouldn’t confess. She’d have to speak first, and she could, but she chose not to.
Time passed, as it does, but every day was the same to her. They threatened to send her away, send her away to a place that she would stay for a very long time. They often emphasised that last part. But they didn’t understand that their words were wasted. They may have filled the air between them for a few seconds, but they never reached her ears, they never registered in her brain.
She didn’t refuse her meals, but she didn’t eat them either. They came and forced water down her desiccated throat daily; her body appreciated the gesture, but she showed no physical inclination towards it.
She didn’t carry a lot of weight on her when she arrived here, but now she hardly possessed any at all. Her bones noticeably stuck out where there wasn’t enough flesh to cushion them, and you could see her ribs too clearly without her having to breathe in. Just from looking at her frail physique you could tell that she was ill. They noticed this, but they never fully acted on it until the day that she closed her eyes during one of their interrogations.
They checked for her pulse, but they found nothing. She was whisked away to a place where machines awaited the arrival of her body. Upon her entrance they began to force feed her with the aid of a nasogastric feeding tube. Her situation didn’t change, so they made the decision to cut her open. Her body’s survival instincts had kicked in, resorting to chewing through her muscle fat, to the dismay of her organs which were now rapidly beginning to fail her. A tiny hole in her heart quickly gained their attention. Assuming that this hole was the problem, one of them opted to undertake the task of sewing it up. She died within seconds. There was only one person who could fix the hole in her heart, and she had killed him.

Sarah is presently in her final year
of studying for a BA in English and Creative
Writing at Salford University.
Her area of interest is Short Fiction.

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