copyright 2012 by Madengineer3
"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" (Latin: Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius)
"Mills of the Gods, Grind exceedingly slow, But grind exceedingly fine.", attributed to Euripides
Chad was sort of a useless human being. Unfortunately not only was he a miserable person but he had wealth and position that insulated him even from the law. Chad's main source of income was drugs. Oh no, not what you're thinking, these drugs were worse than those available on the street. Chad imported counterfit cancer fighting drugs from a major Asian manufacturer that wasn't concerned with purity of source materials or the cleanliness of his manufacturing site. Some of the drugs weren't even close to being what they were labeled as, but that was purely by chance. The manufacturer sold Chad a vial of an anticancer drug for two US dollars each, Chad sold them to a mob owned medical distributor for $500 per vial. The final customer would pay in excess of $1500 for that vile that could contain nothing but distilled water, if the customer was lucky. It was the luck of the draw, much like it had been in the old Soviet Union.
In his private life Chad was a bully. He never had learned to love anything except himself. You could say he was a classic narcissist. His wives were there for his pleasure and convenience. In general they married him because he was rich and had a beautiful house. His last two wives did not meet this criteria. One of them was a good person, the other wasn't at all what she seemed. Chad had memberships in the right country clubs and service organizations, not that he served anyone. The service clubs just gave him the appearance of being a good man. Chad had a favorite pastime. When he was finished with a wife he would take great pleasure in slowly destroying her and making her death appeared to be an accident. The death wasn't the bad part, Chad like to "play" with his wives. By play, I'm referring to what he did in his dungeon. Some of his games made the Inquisition look like a birthday party. After all the Inquisition didn't have electricity.
As in all of his business dealings Chad didn't take chances. He always had a legal explanation for anything that went wrong. He also carried a large liability policy so that his own money was not at risk. His wives deaths were covered by a sort of insurance policy. Chad had corrupted the chief medical examiner in his area. The medical examiner was a heavy drinker and had killed a child with his car. The medical examiner was drunk at the time. Chad had a very good lawyer represent the medical examiner and pay off the family so that the death was officially an accident. The medical examiner was paid through a small company that had been purchased by Chad via his importing company. Chad was on record as a minority stockholder in his importing company. The majority stockholder was the medical examiner. The examiner was paid to look the other way and to do what Chad desired.
I can not tell you what made Julie decide marry Chad. But marry him she did. They say love is blind, but in this case love was also stupid. I'm not saying that Julie was dumb, she was just too trusting. The thing that led to Julie's downfall was the death of her personal computer. She needed to get an e-mail out to some friends and the only working machine in the house was now her husband's. In college she actually had minored in computer science and majored in accounting. After bypassing Chad's password Julie sent her e-mail and was about to exit his machine when she stumbled across a hidden directory. She discovered this when Windows Explorer showed a folder on his desktop that had no icon linked to it. Julie was curious and when she saw the contents of the folder she felt sick. Chad was not smart enough to encrypt his secret files. Perhaps, he felt that no one was smart enough to find them. As Julie was reading some of the files Chad walked into the room. Julie tried to explain that she had to send an e-mail at her machine was broken. Unfortunately Chad recognized the screen that she was looking at. Chad decided to get rid of Julie that night. Chad took Julie down to his "play room" and chained her there. Chad then went out to dinner at his favorite club.
Meanwhile, Julie was looking at Chad's collection of pain producing toys. Julie knew that she was in deep trouble; so she did what she always did when she faced insurmountable difficulty. She prayed! Julie was not a nominal Christian. She truly had faith that God was in control. As she finished her prayer and thanked God for hearing her she was surprised to see a large man who seemed to have light coming from him. The man told her "don't be afraid this is part of a larger plan and you are going to be coming with me instead of facing the evil presence here." The man reached out and took Julie's hand and walked across the room, they turned, to let Julie see that her body was still in the chains. The man told Julie "it's time to go home" and in that instant they were no longer there.
To say that Chad was disappointed would be an understatement. Chad brought her body up to the living room and placed her on the couch. Then he dialed 911 to report that he found his wife collapsed, in the living room, when he had come home. Shortly after arriving the emergency personnel call the medical examiner. The body was taken to the county morgue and an autopsy was performed. The cause of death was a ruptured left ventricle. The coroner estimated that Julie was unconscious at the time of this unusual death. He ordered a full toxicological test of her fluids. He suspected that Julie might have cocaine or methamphetamine in her blood. A ruptured ventricle is an exceedingly rare means of death for a person, much less one who was sitting on their couch.
When the tox screen results came back he was amazed that her blood was clean. No signs of drugs or physical trauma were found. The death certificate indicated that it was death by heart failure caused by unknown means.
After the funeral Chad decided to wait before finding a replacement for Julie. He didn't want to arouse suspicions.
About six months later Chad was at a charity event and the person next to him at the table was an absolutely gorgeous brunette. The brunette, Angela, was not wearing a wedding ring and seemed to be interested in every word that came from Chad's mouth. Every answer she made to Chad's questions were highly acceptable to him. Not only was she beautiful but she also appeared to be very wealthy. A new friendship sprang up. Within the year Chad and Angela were married. Unlike his previous wives Angela understood Chad. She understood him better than he understood himself and if he saw himself as somewhat cold-hearted he had no idea of what cold-hearted was! Angela would teach him about "cold-hearted".
Angela produced sexual excitement in Chad that he had never felt before. She was kinkier than any person he had ever met. All of her suggestions, bizarre as they were, produced extreme pleasure for him. For once in his life Chad thought he had found the perfect wife.
Time passed and Chad discovered that he didn't feel right. His smart business moves were no longer as smart as they used to be. His supply chain became distorted such that his deniability was questionable. It would now be possible for the bad drugs to be traced back to him. On top of all of this Chad really didn't feel at all well. Chad called his friend the medical examiner and invited him to dinner at his favorite club.
"So, what's going on Chad? You sounded very evasive on the phone."
"Well Doc it's like this; I have an extremely rundown feeling. It's as if I can't get enough sleep at night. I feel hollow inside. The cold didn't used to bother me but now I never can seem to get warm. I need an off the record medical work-up to tell me what's going on. Because of my business dealings I don't want any word of this exam to leak to anyone. Can you help me?"
"Maybe I can. However I may need to talk to some other doctors if what you have is outside of my area of expertise. I can protect you by indicating that the tests are for a 'John Doe'. Come over to the morgue tomorrow night at about nine I'll be there to open the door for you."
"The morgue? Isn't that a little strange?"
"No, I sometimes work very late into the night and that wouldn't be seen as unusual. I sometimes have an expert consultant join me on a particularly difficult case. I also know where all of the security cameras are and how to arrange for them to be off."
"Okay Doc, I'll see you tomorrow night."
"I just don't understand it Chad. Every x-ray film I have taken has been fogged. I must have had a bad or outdated box of film. I'm going to rerun the x-rays. Don't worry, I'm using a very low dose. I opened a new package of film to retake the needed shots."
Fifteen minutes later a very worried doctor came back into the room.
"I don't understand it! The new films are also fogged. Every one of them is fogged. What have you been around? Hold on a minute let me get something."
Moments later the doctor came back with a funny looking gadget. He turned it on and moved it towards Chad. Then the doctor quickly backed away from Chad.
"What's wrong Doc?"
"According to this scintillation counter you are highly radioactive. I have never heard of anyone living with this high a level of gamma radiation. What have you been doing?"
"Nothing! I've never been around radiation. Is the instrument wrong?"
"I might be tempted to say yes except for the fogged x-ray film. That combination of fogged film and a radiation counter reading this high says that this is real. I'm going to have to ask you to get dressed and head home. I don't dare get within several feet of you at the moment. Your wife should be checked to see if she is having this problem also. I'll let you know what the slides show when they get back."
It was a week before the microscopic slides of Chad's blood got to the doctor. The doctor checked them for radiation and found that they were indeed hot, but not so hot that he couldn't examine them. What he found was beyond anything he had ever seen. He found metastasized cancer cells representing nervous, lymphatic, reproductive, muscular, liver, and bone Cancer. Chad appeared to have several totally different cancer types, all in stage IV. The doctor knew that the treatment needed by each of these types was different from the treatment needed by the others. In some cases drugs that would help cure one would exacerbate the others. Chad was a walking dead man!
Due to the fact that the radiation levels were so high the doctor had to let the department of health know what he found. The following day a representative of the state health department, the bureau of energy, the FBI, and the CDC had people talking to both the doctor and Chad. They informed Chad that because of his highly unusual radioactive state he would have to be quarantined at a federal facility. Because there were national security concerns about his "problem" he would be held in a very secure hospital where he would be given all the medical help that could be provided. The choice was the Florence ADX super-max prison infirmary. (Florence ADX is also known as "the Alcatraz of the Rockies".)
Chad had no choice in the matter. The CDC representative gave Chad a shot of haloperidol decanoate, and a drip of the same medication to keep him pliable during his trip to the infirmary. Due to the risks involved he was flown to the ADX facility in a military aircraft. Chad was also in a protective suit on its own air supply so that he couldn't infect others.
When Chad awoke he found himself in an isolation room that had no doorknobs on his side of the door. He found that he was in the typical hospital back-less gown but what was not typical was that the doctors and staff were wearing dosimeters and protective coveralls and air supply any time they entered his room. He could see them removing their coveralls and putting them in garbage bags when they left the room.
Chad was not feeling at all well. What had been an uneasy "hollow" feeling had now become a full body ache that wouldn't go away. The doctors decided that there were certain anti-cancer medications that might help him. They also put him on a "push and puke", a pain medication dispenser that would give him a bolus of morphine any time that the pain became too bad. As he discovered and as the doctors had told him, there was just so much that the morphine could do. Since some of the pain was due to tumors in the central nervous system the amount of pain medication needed to totally suppress the pain would kill him. Each day one of the attendants would come in and inject his I.V. line with anti-cancer drugs. It was on the fourth day that Chad got a good look at the bottle of medicine. He recognized it as one of his imports. Now Chad knew that there was no hope for him.
What about Angela? When the authorities went to check her medical condition and her background they ran into a brick wall. Angela had never had a Social Security card, there were no records of birth for her name, she had never had a driver's license, and her rumored wealth was imaginary. Angela, as far as any human could tell, never existed.
But, of course she did exist. One night Chad was woken out of a fitful sleep to see Angela standing next to his bed. She spoke:
"Hello there Chad. Not feeling too well, are you? I'm here just to give you a going away gift. The gift of understanding. I am responsible for you being here. I was specifically sent to destroy you and I must admit that I have done a good job of it. I'll bet that you never thought that there was such a thing as the angel of death. Well, I am one of them. You will face your last days here in torment. But, just wait until the final judgment day. Then you will pay!"
And she was gone. When Chad told his doctors about Angela's visit they shook their heads. Angela never showed up on the closed circuit video feeds of Chad's room. No microphone picked up the words he said were spoken. They simply assumed that his "visitor" was all in his head.
But Chad knew, deep down, that it was not a dream or vision. He was headed for the real Hell.