The Graveyard Shift
Eleanor Swasey's role as night administrator for Metro Hospital was never dull. The job was full of unusual and unexpected events. However, the evening of August 16 seemed eerily quiet and mundane.
When Eleanor completed her rounds of the nursing units, she pulled out her stack of paperwork and hummed softly to herself as she reviewed the files. The telephone interrupted her thoughts.
"Good evening, Eleanor Swasey speaking," she answered, noticing it was about 9 p.m.
"Mrs. Swasey, this is Albert Dietrich of the Dietrich Funeral Home calling. The Daily family has requested that we handle the Mavis Louise Daily case. She expired late this afternoon. We expect to arrive at 10 o'clock this evening. Could you arrange to complete the paperwork and release the body to us by that time?"
"No problem, Mr. Dietrich," she responded pleasantly while goose bumps danced up and down her arms. She dreaded the trip to the hospital morgue. It always gave her the heebie jeebies. Unfortunately, Metro's morgue did not resemble its TV counterpart. It was not a brightly lit room housing a library of bodies that were neatly catalogued, shelved, and masked behind shiny steel refrigerator doors. No, the bodies in Metro's morgue looked more like a mass of general-admission concert fans camping in sleeping bags the night prior to an event.
The morgue was so creepy that Eleanor never went in alone. She always brought an assistant and a flashlight with her on her journey. On that particular evening, she asked Sonya to join her. When they entered the dimly lit room, she shivered slightly as the blast of cool air enveloped her. She could see the outline of several bodies secured in bags and lying on gurneys. The two women began to flash their lights on the identification tags attached to each of the bags.
The first tag listed Zelda Pinsky. "Nope," Eleanor said to Sonya. Then Eleanor thought she heard an unusual noise. "What's that?" she whispered, grabbing Sonya's arm tightly.
"It's nothing, Eleanor. Dead bodies sometimes move and make noises. Ignore it," Sonya advised her as she pried Eleanor's fingers from her arm.
Eleanor continued to the next body. "There it is again. Do you hear it?" she asked.
"Really, it's nothing. Don't worry," Sonya repeated.
Eleanor was insistent. "I am telling you, I heard something."
Then Eleanor moved to the next gurney and shined the flashlight where the tag should be. The light revealed a pair of high-top tennis shoes extending from the pant legs of a white uniform.
"AAHHHHH!" Eleanor screamed, jumping back and crashing into several gurneys. The impact sent the corpse-laden gurneys rolling in all directions as if they were runaway shopping carts scattering in a parking lot on a windy day.
Then, the tennis-shoed body sprung up to a sitting position. Summoning all her courage and clinging tightly to Sonya for support, Eleanor shined the light toward the face.
Click Part 2 to find who was attached to that tennis shoe!