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Fantasticoe 2001 -  10th Anniversary Issue


The Murdock Center

Stephanie Lloyd

 “He’s one ugly Son of a Bitch, isn’t he?” I said gesturing to the man behind the Plexiglas.

 The mother on my right beamed me the look of death. Oh, well, I never really did fit in with the rest of the mothers in the PTA. I don’t know why I suggested this. I should have known they would all just become more afraid of me than they already were. But at the time I had thought this would be a good idea…put some fear back into the out of control children. Every mother wanted her kids to be obedient. Hell, my kids were. That was the only reason the other mothers agreed to this damn field trip. I was already regretting saying anything at all. I usually just sat in the back of the room at those fucked up meetings biting my nails and trying to figure out if the principal was a man or a woman. I assumed a woman because of the clothes but she had a beard for crying out loud!

 I shouldn’t say that.

 “Children today have no respect,” said Eleanor Williams. “They do what they please and they don’t ever listen. My own kids are driving me crazy! I tell them to do one thing and they go and do the exact opposite just to spite me.”

 There was a bunch of murmuring as other mothers agreed. There was another wave of petty crimes committed by youngsters at the school throughout the past month…mostly vandalism but there were a few acts of violence—playground fights, fist flying in the halls, even children hitting their teachers. The PTA had called this emergency meeting after a fifth grader named Allison Fletcher almost beat another little girl to death over a piece of cheesecake.

 “There are the Salati children, though,” said Amy Leonard, breaking my train of thought with a voice roughened by years of smoking. “They are just darling. The oldest is…what? Sixteen? And he is just a sweetie! He helps old women cross the street, is polite as can be, and he even helped my husband build the tree house for little Bobby last summer. He’s a regular Boy Scout. Why can’t all kids be like that? I have never heard a Salati child be disrespectful.”

 I was shocked. My kids? They were praising my kids? Did they forget whose children they were?

 Everyone had turned around to look at me. They had the strangest looks in their eyes. They were staring at me as if I was a witch or something. I wasn’t. Just that woman whose husband is in the Mafia. I admit it. My husband does some shady business deals that take him away from home often. He’s even stumbled in the house drenched in blood before. I don’t mind as long as he doesn’t tell me what he does. Because if he did I’d have to arrest him even though we have been married since we were just 18-year-old kids. It’s my job. I’m a cop. Sort of.

 “What?” I had asked startled as I looked around the small cafeteria. I looked down to the brown and tan checkered floor at Amy who was playing with her toddler and then back up at Eleanor at the little collapsible podium she was so proud to stand behind. “My kids are just ordinary kids. Okay, so there are six of them, I understand how that, in this day and age, could be considered abnormal, but my husband is Catholic and…and stop staring at me, damn-it! It makes my skin crawl.”

 I admit that this wasn’t the best thing to say, judging from the several accusing stares I got.

 “How do you do it, Susan?” one mother asked, bouncing her young daughter on her knee.

 “I bring them to the Murdock Center every now and then,” I confessed. “And it helps that Lou drags them to Church every damn Sunday and holiday.”

 “The Murdock Center?” Eleanor asked leaning towards me. Her dark eyes glared at me from her fleshy face. Damn she was ugly. Everyone had heard of the Murdock Center. It was a place where the worst of criminals went to die. But even though everyone knew it existed, not everyone acknowledged its existence. “What is so beneficial from taking your kids to an institution for criminals?”

 “I can’t explain it verbally… but if you see for yourselves… Why don’t we take the kids on a field trip there?” I offered. “My kids could use another trip.”

 Without further inquiry they had agreed.


So here we were at the Murdock Center. Every mother and fifth grader. My daughter, the only daughter I have, Angie and I were the leaders.

 “These children are going to have nightmares!” some mother whispered to another.

 “Fucking kids could use a little scare,” I said loudly. Eyeing the plump little Allison Fletcher who stood before me with her mother. The sight before her didn’t seem to bother her that much…but then again Allison wasn’t a man. It would be more interesting to see her reaction to what we do here to the women.

 I looked back at the ugly motherfucker before us. He was once a tall, gangly man with dark, brooding eyes. Now, it was difficult to tell that he was a man. He had no eyes only two gaping black holes where the eyes should have been. His nose had been clipped. That had been Willie’s work. Willie was part Sioux and that was how they had punished people back in the hey-day of his tribe.

 The man before us was naked, hanging upside-down on the wall. He used to be hung from his toes until they started to fall off. He had some major bumps on his head from those falls. There was a bloodstain on the cement floor beneath him but I couldn’t remember if that was from him or the guy before him.

 The little plate by the window said him name was Jim Vincent. He was a sex offender. It had a list of every one of his victims and their ages. The majority of them had been little boys between the ages of 8-14. Vincent disgusted me. I remember busting him. I had relished the thought of him being sentenced to the Murdock Center.

 The best part was that Vincent’s cock had been cut off and that had hung it by a string in front of his face. Before we had his eyes removed, he had watched it all day. We never fed the man and eventually he had gotten so hungry that he had eaten his own penis. I wanted to tell the mothers this tid-bit of information but I had a feeling they would not appreciate it half as much as I did.

 “Excuse me!” I said trying to get everyone’s attention. “This is only the first stop on our little tour. Let me do some explaining. Dr. Hector C. Murdock built the Murdock Center in 1989. Its original use was as a center to study criminals, as they are when they think no one is watching them. This went on for about ten years. In 1999, Dr. Murdock was murdered by one of the men in the institute. In retaliation, one of Murdock’s colleagues had the man tied to a chair and beaten by all the women in Dr. Murdock’s large family. The women used fists, claws, baseball bats, and hot oil to administer pain until finally the man was dead. A long trial followed and helped in the passing of the Inhumane Act of 2011. Although it had helped that the number of hate crime incidents had risen from 7,755 nationally in 1998 to 15,435 nationally in 2009…almost doubling the number of hat crimes committed in the US. A growing number of sex crimes and random acts of violence had also steadily increased throughout the year.

 “For those of you who don’t already know this, the Inhumane Act states that any person who commits any act of violence that is declared inhumane, no matter what state of mind the criminal may be in at the time of the crime, is punishable by an inhumane death. We administer those punishments here. We have professional torturers who know the most painful way for these criminals to die and each punishment is a reflection of the crime. In this case, it was a sex offender who had mutilated the bodies of his victims. I’m afraid we won’t be able to see many of the wings…but since I run this place just let me know and I will be more than willing to give you a private tour sometime.”

 “I’m getting out of here,” replied one mother, disgusted. She walked right pass me, her hand over her child’s eyes. Several other mothers followed her with their children but I was pleased to see that Allison and her mother were staying.

 “Well, now that we know who are the weak ones and who are the strong one let’s continue the tour,” I said faking joviality. I walked them down the chrome corridor. Our footsteps echoed through the building…no one spoke as we passed mutilated man after mutilated man. I took them out of the sex offender wing (and noticed that a few more had fallen off along the way) and into the violent acts wing. I had thought to take them down to the robbery wing to show them the guy with all the play money shoved right up his ass, but there was only so much time and I wanted Allison to see something.

 We passed a young woman who had suffocated her baby almost immediately after the birth and I had thought to myself that I hoped she would still be alive when I took my eldest son’s new girlfriend here. But it wasn’t an appropriate crime for this group.

 “Ah, here she is,” I said stopping in from of another large square of Plexiglas. I smiled at Allison, “Take a good sniff, you can smell the death in the air.” Death had a distinct smell and I had to admit that the Murdock Center reeked of it.

 “I thought it would be nice to see some live torture,” I told my thinning group. “This is a fifteen year old girl who, in a fit of jealous rage, had murdered one of her friends. She had beaten her to death with her very hands and then had chopped her up, branded her, and scattered the bodily remains. She just arrived an hour ago and she has been informed that people will be watching the first stage of her torture.”

 The girl was in fact staring through the glass at the group of people. Her hair was a long, dirty blonde, her eyes were a light green color but there was something in them…something dangerous that I recognized in every one of the criminals who come through the Murdock Center on their way to Hell. This little bitch deserved to die painfully.

 I had given the torturing job to Veronica this time. She was a short, black woman; under five-foot, very thin with a kind face. Veronica was one of my best…she always shocked people with the kind of torture she could think up. Veronica was dressed in a protective suit to keep the fucking blood from touching her. She smiled and waved cheerfully at those of us watching.

 Our criminal, a little whore named Heather, was chained to the wall, glaring at us. I thought she was staring directly at Allison. She probably knows one of her own kind when she sees them.

 I watched as Veronica slipped on a huge glove that had heated, metal letters on the knuckles. With her free hand, Veronica pulled off Heather’s robe. We saw the first hint of unease appear in the criminal’s eyes at this action…but Veronica didn’t give her much time to think as she pulled back her gloved fist and let it fly. It met Heather’s flesh with a smack right over her left breast. Veronica held the glove down as smoke started to appear. We could see Heather struggles, see her mouth open to scream, be we heard nothing. Finally Veronica took her fist back and the word cunt was burned into the criminal’s skin.

 I laughed at Veronica’s choice of words and said, “Ronnie’s good at this,” to the other mothers.

 I chose then not to watch the rest of the torture. I knew what Veronica had planned. I wanted to see what Allison’s reaction would be as Veronica continued to brand the murdering bitch. Allison was watching with a little fearful look but she wasn’t too scared yet. Then Veronica set Heather’s hair on fire and Allison’s eyes flew open and she tried to run away from the sight. But I caught the little shit and held her still, facing the torture scene.

 I tossed my shoulder-length curly hair back and leaned down to whisper in Allison’s ear as she struggled in my strong arms. “Watch, Allison, watch. See how she is burning? See how she is screaming? She’s in so much pain right now she is wishing for death. But she won’t get what she wants…yet. She’s going to live for another couple of months or so until he body gives out from the torture.” I looked up at the Plexiglas and saw that Willie and Bob had come to administer today’s fist beating and smiled. “She’s going to be sore, Allison. She’s really going to be hurting. And you know what? When they’re done they’ll move her to the chains that hang from the ceiling and leave her there for the night. She’ll be exhausted after this but she’ll have to stand all fucking night or else she’ll have to hang from her wrist…painful, very painful.”

 “Lemme go,” Allison said with a shudder.

“Oh, no, you little fuck, you watch and you remember. You’re on the way to this place. And if you ever end up here, I will personally torture you…and trust me, I’m not as kind as these people are. Remember that,” I reiterated releasing her.

Allison took off running. The other mothers said they couldn’t watch anymore. So I lead the back to the sex offender wing from where they could find their own way out. I heard a lot of gagging and angry murmuring as they made their way out. I shook my head at them and went back to look at Vincent. I had a feeling Allison had learned her lesson.

 Angie twirled a strand of her blonde hair around her finger and looked up at me with her puppy-dog-brown eyes. “Guess they got scared, huh, mom?”

 I nodded and smiled. “They all get scared the first time through. They’ll come back on their own. This place has a special pull to it. It’s like a drug. Soon they won’t be able to live without seeing a mutilated body from time to time.” I glanced at Vincent again. “He’s going to die soon,” I said.


 “Yes, sweetheart?”

 “Dad’s not going to end up here is he?”

 I stroked my daughter’s soft curls and tucked one strand behind her ear. “Not as long as he keeps me happy.”

 We smiled at each other and took hands.

 “Come, on,” I said with a grin. “Let’s go down to see what they have done to the guy that beat his wife.”

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