inspired by a true story
They found the last body on Mourning Ridge just before sundown
The Sheriff was there and so was her deputy and Borgia Sainbury the Chief Undertaker of Mourning Ridge Cemetery and Funeral Home was there too. Borgia looked up at the Sheriff and said “ that makes 46”.
The headless corpse had been tied to the ornate iron gate that separated Mourning Ridge Cemetery and Funeral Home from the rest of the world. It was a messy set of human remains and it was starting to attract flies that the women flicked away from their faces when one of the pests settled to close to their eyes.
In the back seat of the Sheriff’s Jeep a set of dark red eyes glared at them and a voice called to them in a long dead language that they all understood, “ It wasn’t me! Do you hear me? It was him it was Abendroth Danvers! He’s back! Listen to me I’m innocent!”
They all laughed as the sunset because no matter how you looked at it that was a pretty funny comment to be coming from a Demon.
After he was booked and then convicted by the Sheriff and the Merchants Association of Duwamish Bay the Sheriff began as she had for years and years to prepare for the execution of her inmate.
“ Do you have to do that in front of me? “
The Sheriff looked up and said, “ as a matter of fact I do Danvers. You know the rules. You’ve lived here long enough”
“ I’m not Danvers, I’m Waldgrave, Waldgrave Jaborandi. I’ve told you. I’m not Danvers. Not now anyway”. Waldgrave sounded so scared that Sarah almost dropped the metal sling and the rope in her hands.
When she saw it was just Waldgrave she went back to work.
“ Look Waldgrave. Answer me this… are those Danver’s hands? Danver’s teeth? Well are they?”
“ Yes they are.”
“ Good then we understand each other. Those hands killed 46 people in the past four months and those teeth well, those teeth acted in the crimes too. That’s all I care about. You were in possession of those so you are responsible. Sorry.” Of course she didn’t sound sorry. It wasn’t a Warden or a Sheriff’s job to feel sorry.
“ Listen to me, Danvers is coming back. I couldn’t stop him.”
“ Oh, and I’m sure you tried very hard to do that.”
“ Yes I did Sheriff. I don’t care what you think of me but that’s the truth. I like it here. I don’t want to leave. I wouldn’t have done anything to endanger myself or my home here.”
Then Waldgrave saw what the Sheriff had in her hands and he looked up and whispered, “ my neck…you’re going to break my neck.”
Then he turned away from her and slid to the floor cradling his head in his hands “ I can’t believe this. Its not right”
“ Listen Waldgrave…46. Four – Six, 17 were from Duwamish Bay. That wasn’t right either.”
“ 98.” He said .
“98” Waldgrave told her, “ You forgot to check Lake Undercroft. It’s 98”
And so it was.
The next night Sheriff Guzman and her Deputy prepared Waldgrave for his execution.
When they were done tattooing his face and after they had cut off his left hand Sarah and her Deputy drove him out to Lost Harbor Road and to the oak tree they kept out there for nights just like this one.
Next to Waldgrave on the seat was coiled piece of rope, a burlap bag dotted with small red stains and of course the ax.
Waldgrave looked out of his window so that he didn’t have to look at what was on the seat next to him. He watched the Harbor Gorge fill with unnaturally blue moonlight and he knew the air outside the car was turning fetid and humid. It always did on execution nights.
He asked “ You know what will happen if you break my neck before you execute me. “
“ That’s the idea.”
“ But I didn’t commit those murders, Danvers did. The very most I’m guilty of is demonic possession and that wouldn’t even get me life in Sawajinn. You could even have my sentence commuted to Fallen. Why are you doing this? “
The Sheriff slammed the brakes on and before the vehicle was at a full stop she was outside of the Jeep and throwing open the back door. She reached in for Waldgrave and pulled him out and threw him up against the car hard enough to shatter the bulletproof window.
“ Do you honestly want me to believe that a demon clever enough, strong enough to hide in the same body for over 100 years was powerless to stop a mortal, a flesh and blood mortal from killing 98 people? Its bull and you know it Waldgrave.”
“ It’s the truth Sarah!” He tried to pull his face away from Sarah’s teeth.
“ They’re mortal Sarah, they’re not stupid and they’re much stronger then any of us give them credit for. You’re executing me because you’re afraid. You all are. Because if one psychotic human could best me that means all of you…all of us aren’t as safe as we’d like to think we are here in Duwamish Bay. Killing me won’t change that. “
Then the Sheriff reached through the open door, grabbed the ax and swung it down over Waldgrave’s chest.
It was Waldgrave and Waldgrave alone who finished the ride to Fallen Penitentiary that foggy night.
Danver’s Heart was wrapped in Sarah’s jacket and rode next to Waldgrave.
When Sarah looked into her rearview mirror the face that looked back at her from the back seat wasn’t a twisted demonic face, it didn’t have horns or red skin or a forked tongue.
Waldgrave Jaborandi looked middle aged and ordinary and he had very straight white teeth. Of course his eyes were blood red and when he talked the air seemed to chill slightly but in Duwamish Bay it wasn’t polite to point things like that out.
So Sarah didn’t.
“I’ve decided Sawajinn isn’t appropriate for you in this case” Sarah heard Waldgrave catch his breath and she could hear him saying something, or was he crying? It was hard to tell. She’d never heard a Demon make a sound like that before.
“ It’s 500 years in Fallen Waldgrave and that’s firm. You’ve been convicted of the Crime of Demonic Possession. I took off 100 as time served.”
“ Thank you Sheriff, thank you.” Waldgrave told her.
As they drove up to the darkened barred windows of Fallen Sarah told Waldgrave, “ I’m sending Danver’s heart to Sawajinn, it’s the most I can do for you and it’s the best I can do for his victims. I mean he’s going to rot in a prison designed for, well, the kind of people that live in Duwamish Bay. You couldn’t pay me enough to watch what’s going to happen to him there. Still it’s 98 dead, but if you wouldn’t have been there…who knows how much worse it could have been.”
Then Sarah asked and you could hear that she probably already knew what Waldgrave was going to say “answer me this Waldgrave, was Danvers human?”
“ I’m sure of it.”
Shadows gathered around the Jeep and then the Wardens rose up out of the darkness.Sarah kept her hands on the steering wheel and tried very hard to keep looking straight ahead.
One of the Wardens opened the Jeep door and the other reached in and motioned for Waldgrave to step out. ” You know Sheriff, I am afraid. ”
Sarah was looking far away into the darkness and she thought of that dark human heart that shouldn’t exist being taken to the dark Prison at the end of the world and she said, “ we all are Waldgrave, we all are.”