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Chez Marquis Stories
The Last 17 Minutes
Tags: extreme ff nc
Female prisioners are executed by executrix by a gunshot.
They had come for the women in their cells. The women had known of the date of their execution since the night before, having been sentenced at various stages ranging from a few days to several weeks before. Each was brought separately to the hlding cell where they were chained to a bench.
Sara was the last to be brought in. The two guards had opened her small, dim prison-cell door and without a word, had walked in and lifted her to her feet. Her hands had been cuffed behind her back and she was led out of the cell, down a long corridor, briefly through a small courtyard and into the holding cell. There, four other women were already waiting.
Saraís hands were momentarily freed and she was Ďsat downí on the end of the second bench. Her wrists were then cuffed to eyelets in the bench either side of her. Without looking at her again, the guards had left the cell and bolted the door behind them. There was another, large sliding door, at the front of the cell.
The other women were restrained in the same manner as Sara, two on the front bench and two more on the same bench as herself. There was a clock in the corner. It read 9.51pm.
All of the women wore the same outfit, a single thick cotton shift that went from neck to knee, off-white and obviously previously unworn. Underneath they had been given thick cotton knickers. Saraís racing mind told her that of course the smock was unworn - the condemned would be buried in these outfits. She felt tears on her face.
The holding cell was silent, nobody spoke. In one corner a female guard sat quietly watching the group. Sara didnít recognise her as one of the regular prison guards. There were two women sat on the bench next to Sara and two more on the bench in front. Sara recognised the girl immediately next to her as the one from the cell next door to her, but the others were strangers. The long raven hair of the woman in front of her suggested she might be Anna-Marie Fetz who had famously murdered her sisters. If so then she had been awaiting her death the longest, her trial having been reported on the ethernews several weeks ago, before Saraís arrest. Sara knew that Alice, the girl next to her had been caught red-handed distributing anti-state literature from her familyís etherlink and she herself had been found guilty of manslaughter. She had hit a man who was "coming on too strong", but for some reason he had died.
Sara looked at the clock, 9.56pm. She wondered how they would do it. She knew, of course that they would be shot, but knew that methods varied across districts. There had only been one execution in the female wing since she had been incarcerated a little over a week ago and that had been in another section. Had it been in Sarahís section then she would have been shot then too - executioners visited sections on a monthly cycle, so inmates might be executed the day after arriving but no longer than a month after. Two days ago she had sat in her cell trembling as the state executioner visited the adjoining wing. She knew that a 26 year old girl was to be executed that evening for practising abortion and had found herself unable to dwell on any other subject as 10 oíclock approached.
She kept wondering what the girl was feeling, imagining her being tied to a stake or a chair or something and then&ldots; Sara had started crying and had covered her ears with her hands but although the execution area was over a hundred yards away had still heard the muffled BANG as the shot or shots rang out. She imagined a young female body falling to the ground. Sara had trembled for hours after that imagining her own impending death. "I canít believe it", "I canít ", "They canít" she kept mumbling to herself, unable to accept that she had just heard a woman being executed&ldots;, shot.., killed. Forever. Someone or "someones" had just pointed a gun at a young woman and pulled the trigger. Killing her. How could this happen?
It was now 9.57pm. Time was crawling. Why did they execute people at nine in the evening? What was the point of this? Sara had spent the day in utter fear and emotional agony. She couldnít see the point in this&ldots; surely people were always traditionally shot at dawn? All day Sara had thought things like "Thatís the last time Iíll ever get dressed", "The last time Iíll ever eat", "The last time Iíll ever use the toilet", and as evening began, "Iíll never see the sun again Ė tomorrow&ldots; I wonít be here, Iíll never be here again". It was torture.
Two minutes to go, two, maybe a few more minutes to live. Sara cast her frightened eyes around the holding cell again. What would the do, herd them al out and line them against a wall? Oh God.
The short woman with cropped blond hair in front of her was quietly crying, her neighbour - the Fetz woman - sat still and composed. Sara couldnít see their faces as their backs were to her.
She could see Alice next to her, eyes closed, trembling visibly as was Sara herself. She caught the eye of the guard in the corner and quickly looked down, somehow ashamed to be about to die, to be so scared. She tried to move a little to get comfortable, but it was her hands that were getting to her. She suddenly felt an intense panic of claustrophobia that she couldnít move her hands, she suddenly lost control, gave a little shriek and started jerking about Ė trying to stand up, trying to free her hands from the bench cuffs.
After a few seconds she slumped back, recovered and resigned. She remembered thinking, again as before, "My hands will never be free again". First they had been tied behind her back, then to this bench. Next time to&ldots; to whatever, the damned stake or chair or wall or whatever.
She glanced around again Ė no-one was looking at her, everyone was either pointedly looking down at their laps, deep in thought, or lost in their own misery. The guard continued to stare at nothing, eyes deliberately unfocused. Sara supposed that it couldnít have been easy, watching over the last few minutes of five women about to be put to death. At the moment Sara didnít care.
Everyone had started furtively glancing at the clock. The female guard stirred in her corner as if preparing herself for action. Time seemed almost to stop.
Suddenly there was a clang at the door and it was violently slid back. Bright light filled the holding cell from the area beyond. Sara could make out the silhouette of a woman against the light, sliding the door to the left.
She looked out beyond the opening door. There was a large courtyard with concrete block walls and a corrugated steel roof - almost like a large garage, but about 40ft square. Between the walls and the sloping metal roof was a gap of a few inches that hadn't been filled. Sara recognised where this place was. She knew that beyond the walls there was a wire fence and beyond that was the outside exercise area. The few times she had been let outside she had barely wondered what this structure was for, but now she knew. Tomorrow, the other women prisoners would be milling about outside, some of them laughing and playing - the deathrow women quiet and lost in thought. How many would think that just a few feet away from them women had breathed their last only hours before?
In the few seconds that her eyes were focused on the enclosed yard Sara's eyes were immediately drawn to the four stretchers on trolleys, lined against the opposite wall. There was no doubt what these were for but Sara couldn't, in her agitated state, work out why there were only four of them? To the left, the far corner of the area was partially screened by another wall, jutting out from the side for 20 feet or so. Although the main area had a concrete floor, from what she could see from this angle, the 20 foot square corner beyond the partition had a floor of sand, almost like a child's sunken sandpit, or that found at a long-jump. The entire area was lit by bright unforgiving halogen bulbs.
Before she had time to study the yard further the woman in black had stepped back into the middle of the doorway. The guard in the corner stood up, and turned to face them, whilst the woman simply said, "Ann-Marie Fetz". Then she turned and walked away behind the partitioned area. A second, male guard entered the holding cell and the stood beside the dark haired prisoner as the female guard produced a set of keys and began unlocking the wrist restraints of the condemned girl. Once free, the guard asked her to stand and then to turn around. Sara caught her eyes briefly now that she was facing towards her, but the woman remained expressionless as the guard re-cuffed her wrists behind her back.
The male guard turned her back round and, grasping her left arm, led her out of the cell. At once the female guard slid the door shut and sat back down in her corner. There was absolute stillness in the holding cell as everyone waited for the inevitable sound.
(The guard pulled gently but firmly as he walked Ann-Marie out of the cell and into the yard - it was so quiet that the girl flinched when she heard the cell door slide shut just behind her. Although she had vowed to remain calm and dignified she was totally horrified and transfixed by the sight of the four gurneys, waiting, hungry&ldots;
The guard walked her past the trolleys and around the partition wall. There was the woman in black. The floor comprised of a sandpit - in the middle was a flat pillow sized sandbag. Behind the woman was a table on which lay a gun. It looked small, and simple. It was made of black steel. Next to the table was the fifth gurney&ldots; The side wall had another door in it - this wall was brick and obviously interfaced with part of the prison. Next to the door was a small grating. Ann-Marie's eyes took in every detail - she felt like everything was in slow motion.
The guard remained, holding her arm. The woman in black, who was attractive despite severe features and a deadpan expression, and who looked to be about 30, pulled a battered laminated card from her pocket and began to read from it.
"By the powers vested in me by the Unified Nation State government, as laid down in section 63c of the Civic Order Act I have been licensed as authorised and appointed executioner for this section."
"It is your right to be informed that this execution is being holo-recorded and transmitted to the panel of state appointed observers who are situated in an adjacent building, and that this recording will be destroyed once viewed in accordance with subsection 119 of said Act."
"Furthermore it is your right to be informed that these observers will be required to view your body in the presence of an appointed qualified doctor to confirm that life has ceased. This viewing will take place no later than 2300 hours, after which your body will be sealed in a casket and interred by the state."
"Please face the opposite wall and kneel down on the sandbag."
Against her will, Ann-Marie's body was shaking visibly now. The guard gently turned her and led her to the sand bag. Exerting firm pressure on her shoulder he pushed her down onto the sandbag. Ann-Marie heard the guard moving away - a slight scrape of metal on wood indicated the gun being picked up. Kneeling, her body trembling, Ann-Marie tried not to sway as she felt a presence behind her.
"Ann-Marie Fetz, you have been found guilty by a court of law and accordingly sentenced. I have been instructed to put you to death by said court." The woman's voice paused, "I am going to carry out that sentence now."
The executioner raised the gun until it was a few inches behind the head of the kneeling woman, cocked it&ldots;&ldots;, and fired.
The bang echoed around the yard and the kneeling body fell forwards, the head bumping into the sand with the body still in a kneeling position, the hands cuffed at her back. It was almost still for a moment and then slowly tipped over to one side and lay still. Ann-Marie's face looked calm in death, the bullet had not exited the head, designed as it was to create maximum internal damage to the brain only.
The side door opened and another guard stepped out. The two of them gently lifted the body out of the sand and placed it face down on the gurney. A canvas sheet was draped over the top to cover the body. The first gurad wheeled the gurney into the main area and exchanged it for an empty one, bringing that back behind the partition. The other guard used a bucked and spade to clean up the few drops of bloody sand and then smoothed the surface to hide the dents made by the falling body. Whilst they were doing this, the executioner placed the gun back on the table and use the time to quickly fill in a form, certifying that she had carried out her duty.
Within two minutes they were ready for the next prisoner.)
They sat waiting, in silence. Sara had been both surprised and dismayed that they were obviously going to be executed separately and in turn. She didn't want to die alone.
The silence in the room was almost unbearable. Sara could hardly breath, knowing that just a few feet away a woman was (BANG!)&ldots; Sara nearly jumped out of her skin. Alice and the girl next to her both let out short screams - the woman in front was hyperventilating. Although they had been waiting for it, anticipating the noise every micro second, it had still shocked Sara to her core.
So&ldots;, she was dead. They had shot her. Put her to death. And soon it would be her turn&ldots;
Sara jumped again as the door was slid open. Again the female guard stood up as the executioner stepped into the holding cell. "Jane Smith" she called out, and once again executed a sharp turn and walked back into the yard and behind the partition. The blond girl in front was whimpering as the guards unchained her wrists and refastened them behind her back.
Whilst they were doing this, Sara saw in horror the line of gurneys. One of them was occupied! There was a body lying on it. Sara couldn't actually see the body because it had been covered with some kind of sheet but coud make out enough to recognise what was underneath it.
Ann-Marie. They had shot her. There was her body, under that sheet.
Again and again her mind somersaulted in terror and disbelief, as her eyes were compulsively drawn to the body under the sheet only 10 or so yards away. Her eyes kept darting to the empty trolleys and her mind kept filling in the rest&ldots; She hardly noticed the blond being led out and only really came to her senses as the door was slid shut again.
(As Jane was walked out of the cell by the guard, her eyes were drawn to the four gurneys with their single occupant. Soon there would be two bodies there. Oh god this was so awful.
They walked past the body to the execution area. The executioner was there. There was a sandbag on the floor. Perversely, Jane looked for signs of Ann-Marie's execution but there were none. Jane saw the fifth gurney and though she did not cry, tears were welling up in her eyes. She turned to the executioner; "Please do this quickly" she croaked in a quiet broken voice
The woman turned to her and produced a card but through familiarisation, obviously did not need to look at it as she intoned:
"By the powers vested in me by the Unified Nation State government, as laid down in section 63c of the Civic Order Act I have been licensed as the appointed executioner for this section."
"It is your right to be informed that this execution is being holo-recorded and transmitted to a panel of state appointed observers who are situated in an adjacent building, and that this recording will be destroyed once viewed in accordance with subsection 119 of said Act."
"Furthermore it is your right to be informed that said observers will be required to view your body in the presence of an appointed qualified doctor to confirm that you are dead. This viewing will take place no later than 2300 hours after which your body will be sealed in a state casket and interred."
Her voice softened, "I want you to face the opposite wall and kneel down on the sandbag."
Before the guard could guide her, Jane walked forward to the sandbag. It was awkward trying to kneel with her hands fastened behind her back. She had to almost drop into position. Jane, like Ann-Marie, sensed the guard withdrawing and shut her eyes. As she heard the executioner move up close behind her she began to pray.
"Jane Smith, you have been found guilty by a court of law and accordingly sentenced. I have been instructed to put you to death."
"I am going to carry out that sentence now."
Again, the executioner positioned the gun until it was level with the head of the kneeling woman, a few inches away from the blond hair. There was a click as she cocked it, and then she fired. The bang echoed around the yard and Jane's kneeling body fell forwards. Again the head bumped into the sand with the body still in a kneeling position and the hands cuffed at the back. Unlike the previous body it just stayed there, head in the sand and rump high, in much the same position as a person in eastern prayer. The woman in black reached down and grabbed Ann's bare ankles - she pulled them towards her and the body fell flat.
The side door opened and the other guard stepped out. They lifted the body and laid it on the gurney, covering it with another sheet. Once again it was swapped for an empty one whilst a guard cleared up the sand and the executioner completed the paperwork.
As they worked, one of the guards said "Do you think they'll all be this easy Miss Simms? Five clean kills?" The woman looked over at him sharply, "It is not 'killing' Keith, you know that. I do NOT kill. Anyway, as we've three more to process tonight and I've never done more than four without some sort of fuss, well, let's just hope eh?")
In the holding cell, the second bang seemed louder than the first. Again Sara jumped and Alice started crying uncontrollably. Sara stared at the sliding door in terror, who would they come for next? It had to be one from the back bench. Her? Or one of the others. The other two had been brought in before her - she had to be the last.
Why was she so glad of a few minutes more to live? She'd thought she'd want it over with but no, a few seconds more of precious life before oblivion, darkness, cold earth. And she strangely felt humiliated, powerless. She knew that witnesses would be required to see her body. Would she be clothed? Would they strip her of this awful execution smock? Even if she still had the dignity of clothing she hated the idea. She had always been embarassed when people watched her whilst she was asleep, strangers viewing her dead body seemed even worse. Oh my god, what was she thinking? Who cares! I'll be dead! Oh god no, please.
She was startled again by the clunk of the door sliding open and heard a shriek from somewhere beside her. Sara's eyes were drawn to the trolleys. Inevitably, as she knew it must be, the second one was occupied. There were now two bodies on gurneys, covered with cloths. Jesus! That body was that girl. The blond girl they just walked out of here. They KILLED her! A few minutes ago she was a warm living girl and now&ldots; Oh god, oh god, oh god.
The woman in black stepped into the doorway. The sight of her made Sara flinch. She turned towards her chained companions. Who would it be? Alice? Or the younger girl next to her, barely out of her teens, if that. The girl was beginning to hyperventilate now.
A voice rang out, "Sara Bowyer".
Sara almost choked. Her name. But it wasn't her turn! It couldn't be! She was the last!
She thought that she should be struggling as she felt hands unfastening her wrist cuffs but she couldn't move, frozen in fear. She felt herself being turned around and her hands were pulled behind her and locked together. Someone nearby whispered "Goodbye" - Alice? She was in a daze.
She was outside and didn't remember being led out there. She was walking past the gurneys, she could see the blond woman's foot sticking out from under the sheet. It was a small, beautiful, feminine foot. There were a few sand granules on it. Detail. Strange detail. Her mind was in shock. Then she saw her gurney, the one for her. Yes, soon she would sleep on that.
The woman was there, "Oh, so she's the one who's going to kill me. Strange, I thought it would be a man. Funny now, I can't think why". But where was the stake?
The woman was talking but Sara couldn't hear her. She couldn't work out why she didn't struggle and try to break free. After all, what more could they do? Nothing made sense anymore. Suddenly she was on her knees, how did she get here?
She heard more words: " ...to carry out that sentence now&ldots;"
And suddenly reality kicked in. Oh Christ! Please no, god please, you don't understand [click] no please, listen [BANG]
"Furthermore it is your right to be informed that your these observers will be required to view your body in the presence of an appointed qualified doctor to confirm that you are dead. This viewing will take place no later than 2300 hours after which your body will be sealed in a state casket and interred in state grounds."
The girl, Sara, was mumbling and shaking, obviously in shock, the executioner doubted she'd heard a word. She gestured to the guard who led Sara to the sand bhg and helped her kneel down
"Sara Bowyer, you have been found guilty by a court of law and accordingly sentenced. I have been instructed to put you to death."
"I am going to carry out that sentence now."
Nicola Simms, Section Executioner, positioned the gun until it was level with Sara's trembling head, a few inches away from her. Suddenly Sara became animated and started pleading - and as she was pleading her head was starting to move. With cool proffessionlism, the executioner waited, watching the pattern of frantic movements for a couple of seconds. She cocked the gun and waited until the head was completely turned away and at the perfect angle before releasing. Crack.
Nicola had always liked the noise guns made, and loved the tiny kick the gun gave as it was fired. She watched Sara's body spasm once, and fall forward and waited to see if it would keel over sideways. The head bumped into the sand with the body in a kneeling position - it just stayed there, head in the sand and rump in the air. Nicola admired the beautiful buttocks outlined by the prison smock. She had always found the girls just as attractive after she'd executed them as when they were alive. Actually..
She reached down for Sara's feet to pull the body flat.
Once more the side door opened and another guard stepped out. They lifted the body and laid it gently on the gurney, covering it with another sheet. Nicola was lost in thought as she watched.. That one had been special. All of the girls she put to death gave her a buzz, moments to treasure when alone in bed, but that one.. what had her name been? Sara?
Her mind would replay that death again and again, and not just her mind. After all, it was her job to "destroy" the holo-video recordings of each execution. Furthermore, in a few minutes it would be her job to strip and clean the five corpses for viewing and certification. Again she thought of Sara's perfect buttocks outlined through her shift. Hmmm.
Whatever her enjoyment, it was her professionalism that jerked her back to reality. Ah. Two more to go.
150A: Report of Section Executioner
Name: Ms N. Simms (SE132)
Date: 21st June 2054
Mrs Ann-Marie Fetz (34)
Executed with single shot to back of head.
No incidents to report.
Certified dead in presence of Dr M Ronson, 10:36
Miss Jane Smith (27)
Executed with single shot to back of head.
No incidents to report.
Certified dead in presence of Dr M Ronson, 10:37
Miss Sara Bowyer (23)
Executed with single shot to back of head.
No incidents to report.
Certified dead in presence of Dr M Ronson, 10:51
Please excuse 15 minute delay in preparing Miss Bowyer's body for certification due to circumstances beyond my control. - NS
Miss Alice Downs (32)
Executed with single shot to back of head.
No incidents to report.
Certified dead in presence of Dr M Ronson, 10:52
Miss Christine Wells (19)
Executed with single shot*
Had to be restrained, executed whilst held down, shot to side of head above ear. Post-execution body movement, violent muscle jerking. Injection of Elomophex (200ml) to buttocks, movement ceased within 20 seconds. Coup de Grace at 10:08pm.
Certified dead in presence of Dr M Ronson, 10:53
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