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A Rusty Scalpel
Hidden the depths of the forest lay a looming white building darkened by the pain of the suffering inside. The year was 1901, and madness seemed like an epidemic spreading across the world. The stricken multiplied like rabbits and there seemed not enough places to put them.
On that gloomy Sunday morning, the skies were gray and the sun struggled to shine as it fought with the clouds. The iron gates cast their shadow across a desolate land, the butcher knife-like spikes keeping the mad penned like livestock. Crows circled over ahead, a final warning bell.
Elizabeth sat in the carriage, her mouth gagged and her limbs chained, rendered unable to heed these warnings.
Her muffled screams were ignored by the driver ignored by the driver up front,
her husband's butler. Panic crawled up her body like a horde of insects. As the gate creaked open, her screams increased. Desperate tears streamed down her eyes like streams, making her blue eyes the bright red of raw meat.
The gates snapped shut with a band that reverberated across empty air, closing like an animal trap.
The crows cried again. Last call. There was no turning back. Unlike her, the crows were free to perpetually circle and cry.
Rough hands loosened Elizabeth from her grips, leaving bruises as they roved her hand. A hand gripped her like a vise, making escape impossible. As she neared closer, she heard the moan and screams of those inside that cut through her skin like a morning chill. Thrust into the asylum doors, Elizabeth cried a final plead that fell upon deaf ears.
Across the gray room was a sea of white sheets part of a bed bolted to the wall. Shackled to each bed was a person. Their bones stuck our of their malnourished bodies like mountains on flat land; their eyes were as hollow as vases, the life once there carved out of them.
One man yelled at nothing, his fist held high.
Elizabeth was led to a bed of her own. That would be where she would lay until it was time.
Elizabeth was awakened one morning by rough rolling hands. Before Elizabeth would have asked why. Before Elizabeth would have screamed and she would have fought the Hands. Before... Well this wasn't before. Elizabeth had had her spirit carved out of her; the light had been gouged out of her eyes. She didn't question the Hands on her anymore; the consequences of her queries were always too great.
When her husband married her, he told her that she was beautiful. That she deserved the world and that he would do his best to give it to her. Looking at her surroundings, she could not help but think how sickly ironic those empty promises were. How quickly her beauty faded, how quickly she was replaced by his twenty-year-old mistress.
Head bowed once more, Elizabeth let herself be led. She let herself be shoved on the operating table.
A shadow hovered over her, and footsteps nearing closer revealing a monster with empty eyes and a rusty scalpel in his hand.
The doctor came toward her, his shadow hovering over her helpless body. Elizabeth would have screamed but her screams were spent. Once more she felt the restraints slip over her wrists and ankles. Her heart leaped to her throat as she struggled to breath.
The doctor's hands advanced toward her. Elizabeth took a deep breath, her body shaking like a leaf. Then she felt the scalpel puncture her scalp. Only then did she scream. Only then did she squirm. Once again it was to no avail as she felt her brain being hacked apart as his scalpel divided it with meticulous precision.
Suddenly the world faded away and she felt herself being sucked into death's cold embrace...
In quite a different world, a man feasted in his mansion with his mistress at his side. His wife was his wife in name only. The silly, stupid woman had fought him at every turn. He had done his best to tame her but she had resisted him every time. Finally he had been forced to lock her up for the beast she was. Soon after the surgery, she might be cured.
Little did he know how close she lingered. Her body no more, Elizabeth was a spirit with a heart as heavy as a sack of stones. In death, she did not forget that she had been tossed aside like a child's play toy.
Elizabeth was no toy and she would prove this. She was not something to be played with and then tossed away. No. Oh no. Maybe he might think twice if given a death similar to hers.
She came upon his- once their mansion- like a wolf upon its helpless prey. Hah. Now he would know the feeling of a scalpel digging through his scalp like a garden rake. Now he would know the fear that had consumed her when she was alive, that had sunk all of her hopes like a stone. Now, now, now.... Now it was his turn. If she had been alive, her body would have trembled in her excitement. Instead, she only felt a queer little shudder inside her.
She went up to the portrait hanging on the wall. Smiling with savage glee, Elizabeth floated up to it and yanked it off the wall. The sound of the portrait ripping could be heard throughout the hallways and came down with a bang, the shock of its fall startling the mistress.
''Don't worry,'' the man said to his mistress. ''I'll fix it.''
The mistress nodded, sitting back with a startled face. Elizabeth could still feel the woman's heart jumping like a startled rabbit.
Elizabeth smiled, the frost of malice crusting her cold lips. She would make the mistress much more afraid then that. She would make his whore plead for mercy like she once did, and then she would not give it to her. Elizabeth would make her scream until her throat too became raw meat.
The chandelier came hurtling down, glass spraying the air and the fire from the candles roaring defiantly in the air and spreading throughout the house. As her husband looked around with the expression of a caught animal, the expression Elizabeth felt creep up her face long ago. Elizabeth forced the carpet up his ankles. He tried to run, but she tightened her grip, tripping him. The carpet served as his restraints and she had turned the mansion into his own corner of hell. He screamed then, banging his fists against the wall in pathetic desperation. His breaths came out in short gasps, fear and smoke making the struggle to breathe that much harder.
And then the scalpel... But no. He could not get away that easily when she had been trapped mercilessly. She would have her fun first.
''Henry,'' she called. ''Henry...''
He searched frantically at empty air.
His mistress, her former servant, screamed behind him. Elizabeth threw a vase at the wall, the bitterness she had been holding inside coming out as a churning laugh.
As her husband's terror grew, she laughed more. Finally she felt the laugh be replaced by steely rage. ''Henry...'' she cooed, letting herself appear before him in the state she was when she died.
''Elizabeth?'' He saw everything then. He saw her malnourished body, ribs sticking out. He saw the rusty scalpel jutting out of her split skull, and the blood coursing down her neck. Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes. He was seeing everything, everything that he had caused and everything she was going to make him pay so greatly for.
She allowed herself to appear for a moment, and he screamed once more. His scream echoed off the rafters and through the vacant hallway. It seemed so amusing to her then. Long ago her husband had seemed like this looming powerful figure but now she had reduced him to this pathetic trembling body. Now she, with the knife in the air, finally had the upper hand. Finally, she had won.
''I'm sorry, Elizabeth,'' he said, beginning to whimper like a kicked puppy. ''Oh Elizabeth, I'm so...''
She blew out the candles and he allowed the rest of his sentence to flicker out too. His breath shuddered, his teeth chattering and his limbs shaking.
By now, his screams and the screams of his mistress mingled together in a sick symphony.
The lights of the candles turned back on.
Suddenly a butcher knife from the kitchen shot through the air like a pistol. He proceeded to scream, a sound so beautiful to Elizabeth's ears...
The knife was her scalpel and she was finally the doctor who had defiled her. She grinned as it dug into his scalp, before coming out and finding its way back in again and again and again with a soft thud each time. She smiled as the screams forced themselves out of his throat like slithering snakes.
His mistress tried to run but Elizabeth locked the door. She wouldn't get off either, no. Now it was her turn. The knife came out from her former husband's head and flew toward her...
''Please,'' the mistress begged, tears running down her face. ''Please don't. Please. I'm sorry.''
Oh of course she was. Of course. Elizabeth's cackle echoed off the rafters, louder than the ones that proceeded it. The mistress' tear-filled eyes only widened more.
Mercy, mercy, mercy.... Another one begging for the mercy that Elizabeth never had. Oh this woman would not have been sorry if she knew what had been going on in the asylum, so long had it been away from her.
Elizabeth let the knife dangle in empty air. ''Oh it's your turn, your turn, your turn...'' Her smile widened.
The last sounds that excuse of a woman made were the screams coming from her throat.
The dead bodies of Henry LaVagne and his servant were found in the morning by his butler. The house was sold, but not without whisperings that a ghost haunted its great depths.
Years later, reports from its subsequent owners flooded in to whoever would listen. They all claimed that the sounds of female screaming could still be heard and that the place gave off a strangely dark feeling.
Years later, Elizabeth still smiled as she came across the graves of her husband and his mistress and remembered their ghastly downfall.