The Autopsy of Christianity Stoops: By Ester Lighthorse
It was one of the few times in her life that she was almost NOT able to take control of her temper and make herself stop. She very nearly killed Don right there in the airport terminal. It would not have been the end of the world if she had, but it wouldn’t exactly have been an easy situation to deal with.
Instead she found herself coming out of her haze of rage as she saw that her fingers were buried deep in the neck of Don, his lifeblood seeping around the fingers that finally realized what they were doing.
Regina’s breath caught in her throat as her brain registered the red blood that poured forth from Don and onto her hands. She pulled her hands away from his throat and it seemed as though they cried out in silent protest, begging to finish the job of silencing yet another unworthy comrade whom they had detested for so long.
She felt the ebb of his life tip-toeing in the precipice of death. She was not sorry for what she had done, but she was sorry she found it necessary to save him when she was so close to completely and totally expunging the idiot from the face of the planet.
Closing her horribly solid black agate eyes Regina took a slow, deep breath and reopened her eyes. They were back to their normal aqua blue color. She realized she was still atop Don, her right knee buried in his groin, and she moved her knee and straddled him. She took his arms and arranged each one straight out and then moved from her straddling position to pull Don’s legs straight.
Then she reached over to where the broken flowerpot pieces lay scattered amidst the dark, peaty soil that it had once held and grabbed two fistfuls of the soil.
She did not feel the pair of young eyes watching her.
Taking the soil over to Don she placed it on his neck, laying it thickly where the blood had been draining from his body. Three more times she grabbed large fistfuls of the soil and placed it on Don’s neck and face and in his ears, nose, eyes, and mouth. When she was done she leaned forward and whispered into one of his soil-clogged ears.
Don’s eyes flickered open and he sat up suddenly.
“Regina! You’re all right!” Don spat clots of soil from his mouth and began to furiously slap the soil from his face and eyes and ears and nose. “Where is he? Where did he go?!” Don demanded as he tried to stand up. His ankle buckled and cried out at the sharpness of the hot pain, crumpling back down to the floor.
“Yes, Don! I’m all right!” Regina said in a frightened voice. She caught Don as he crumpled to the floor after trying to stand, “No, Don. Don’t try standing. Your ankle might be broken. Oh, Don!” She threw her arms around her husband and hugged him fiercely. “The man threw the flowerpot at you and then ran. I was worried you were badly hurt and did not see which way he ran as I was tending to you. Oh, thank God you’re okay!”
Regina helped Don slap away the soft clumps of soil that clung to his shirt. His hair stood out from his head in crazy directions, the silver of his age darkened by the dirt in his hair. Don felt the moisture on his neck and his shirt felt sticky with it. He touched his hand to his shirt and then looked at his hand. For some reason he was sure he would see that the moisture on his hand would be his own blood. It wasn’t.
“Oh you poor dear,” Regina crooned. “He threw his drink on you right before he punched you! You stumbled back and gave him quite a kick to the chest, and then he fell, picked up the flowerpot, and threw it at you!” She touched his cheek and he winced away in pain. “Don’t worry, Hon. I called security from the phone over there. They will be here any minute. Don?” He was looking at something on the floor with a curious expression. “What is it?” He put a finger in his mouth, felt around a moment, and then picked up two small items from the floor.
“The attacker knocked out three of my molars!” Don exclaimed and then put his finger back into his mouth to confirm. “Here are two of them,” he held out his palm. Two crowns of two molars stared up at Regina from his palm. She took in the sight with genuine surprise. Don began to look around on the floor for the third crown, not that finding it would really make any difference. “Do you see the third tooth?” he asked her.
“Uhm, no,” she answered as she too began to search for it. “Maybe you swallowed it.”
Two hours later Don and Regina Stoops were the only passengers on a specially chartered flight from Los Angeles, California, to Epperson, Colorado. Don’s right leg was in a cast from the knee down. His ankle had been broken. When the security personnel at the airport had discovered that Don and Regina Stoops had been attacked they initiated an immediate shut-down of that section of the airport and embarked on a room by room search for the perpetrator. Unfortunately, the wily attacker had made his getaway.
The attack on Don and Regina Stoops was all over the news, national and international. Regularly scheduled shows had been excitedly pushed aside on nearly every television station to instead focus on bringing to the public the latest information of the unfolding drama of what was now being referred to as the ‘Crisis on Calvary.’
News anchors around the world relayed the story of how Don and Regina Stoops had found their son collapsed on the kitchen floor of his home just that morning. He had come around and complained to his parents that he was having a hard time breathing and his chest ached terribly. At first he had refused his parents’ pleas to be taken to the hospital, but when he felt his breathing become more difficult and his chest hurt even more Christianity relented. Don and Regina had taken him to Kelsey McGregor Memorial Hospital where he died a short time later. Memorial services were pending the autopsy results.
The television channels would flash pictures of Christianity and his parents at various stages of his life as the voice of the news anchors continued in the background. Arial pictures of the swelling crowds at Kelsey McGregor Memorial Hospital were also shown. The crowds there had grown ten times in size after the news of Christianity Stoops’ death had been broadcast.
The news reported that after their son had died Don and Regina Stoops left Epperson, Colorado, and took a flight to Los Angeles, California, to be with family members. Upon arriving at the airport Don and Regina had deplaned and were exiting the terminal when a man approached Don Stoops and yelled at him that he (Don) and Regina were guilty of taking away the light of the world by allowing their son to die. The man then threw his milkshake on Don and punched him. A short fight ensued wherein Don had three teeth knocked out. By the time security had arrived the attacker had made his getaway.
Regina Stoops stared out of the small plane window onto the white cotton candy accumulation of clouds below. To her the story that she had spun on such short notice and planted in Don’s mind sounded thin, quite thin indeed. But, it would simply have to do until she came up with something better. All she needed was a short nap and a little bit of time to focus more clearly on what her objectives were.
She took her eyes away from the window and closed her eyes and breathed in a deep and silent sigh. Without opening her eyes she reached for the button on her armrest that would put her seat into a declining position and pushed it. The seat eased back, not quite as much as she would have liked, but it would do.
Pushing all other concerns from her mind Regina began to focus on what she needed most. First of all, she needed to figure out how she would deal with the discoveries that the doctors doing the autopsy on her son had no doubt already made and would eventually release to the public. What were they likely to say? That they had been doing an autopsy on a man that had two fully functioning hearts? It really didn’t matter whether or not the people receiving such absurd news believed what the doctors had to say. The very assertion of such a thing would dig up and revive too many old arguments, and this time more people would be willing to listen to what the opposition of Regina Stoops had to say. She simply could not have that.
Then there was the fact that almost no one knew that Christianity Stoops was at Ecclesiastical Forensics Pathology. This would have been so much easier to deal with if the bodies had been switched as planned, but it was a moot point to think of such. She had to be the first to mention that her son’s body was no longer at Kelsey Memorial. And wherever she decided to say that her son’s body was it sure as hell could not be Ecclesiastical Forensics Pathology. This meant she had a hell of a lot of lying to do.
Mordecai was a loose end (a loose end of Don’s creation) that would definitely have to be tied or burnt off. The doctors at Kelsey Memorial were not really a problem since Regina knew they would say whatever she asked them to. Don might think he was in control of that top of the line, state-of-the-art facility, but he was sadly mistaken. She was the one who was really behind the decisions of which doctors got to work there, which health programs and insurances were accepted, which new and amazing treatment discoveries were released to the public, and the protocol by which walk-in patients were accepted or turned away. The driver of the hearse that had held her son was nothing more than a sniveling idiot who could very easily be controlled with even the faintest promise of an Eight-Ball. And even if she decided to kill him, which she just might, no one would miss such a forgettable human being.
No. The good folks over at Kelsey Memorial were not the ones that really concerned her. It was the good-for-nothing snoops over at Ecclesiastical Forensics Pathology that worried her. Doctors Roe and Seng had quite the reputation for getting directly to the heart of a matter, defining the problem, and suggesting a course of treatment that almost always worked. She had no control whatsoever over that facility. It was privately run and privately funded, and the doctors that worked there were the cream of the creamiest crop. They were brain-buster men and women who made a very good living leaving nothing to mere chance or simple belief. They were the most dangerous of people since they questioned everything, even their own conclusions.
Regina had never really wanted her son sent to Ecclesiastical Forensics Pathology. All she wanted was the reputation that they had for finding and defining the truth, truth that was supposed to be found in what was the ringer corpse for her son. Unfortunately for her, the situation had more than gotten a little out of hand. It had taken a complete nose-dive into the realm of the Twilight Zone where everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong, and then some.
In the long distant past Regina had had some run-ins with the faculty of Ecclesiastical Forensics Pathology. At first whenever they released a study or a treatment that she did not approve of she set about digging in her heels and doing everything possible to discredit them. However, because of their strict policy of finding solutions through consistent questioning and reasoning she had great difficulty in denouncing any of their claims. Eventually she resorted to agreeing with them on a limited basis, or simply taking whatever findings they made public and misinterpreting them in ways that were subtle, yet terribly damaging to those receptive of the misinterpreted information.
She did not know how much information the doctors performing the autopsy had shared within the walls of their own institution. Deciding to play it safe she told herself to assume they had shared everything with everyone inside their own walls. Yet, without any current negative press about either herself or her son on the news she felt confident that they had not yet shared any of their information with anyone on the outside.
Doctors Roe and Seng would definitely have to go, along with anyone else they told. But you just said they probably shared everything they discovered with everyone in their facility, she told herself. True. Very true. That left only one solution.
Ecclesiastical Forensics Pathology, all of it, would have to go…lock, stock, and barrel.
Regina opened her eyes with a start and glanced over at Don. He was in the next row over, plaster cast ankle propped up on the seat across from him, and head tilted back in a snore. Her lips slowly curled into a slight smile. She knew just how to deal with Roe and Seng and their special little facility.
And as an added bonus, hell, she could get rid of the idiot sitting across the isle.
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