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☠︎S͓̽h͓̽o͓̽c͓̽k͓̽i͓̽n͓̽g͓̽ ͓̽N͓̽e͓̽w͓̽s͓̽!͓̽☠︎

By 𝐑𝐌 𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐭𝐨𝐧Published 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 5 min read
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I read an article this morning that South Carolina is seeking to resume executions of its death row inmates. South Carolina’s current execution law requires inmates to be sent to the electric chair (although they may choose one of several other alternative methods). I have written this purely fictional account of a convict’s fateful tussle with ‘Old Sparky’.


Barnabas Baxter is dead. His hideous shadow shall darken this world’s footpaths no longer. Death has staked its rightful claim to his corrupted soul.

Barnabas “Barney” Baxter was an evil man by all accounts. His smile was evil, his laugh was evil, his mind was evil, and even in the deepest recesses of his heart and soul, nothing but darkness and evil existed. Barnabas Baxter treated this world with contempt, and he will not be missed. Not by a single soul. Good riddance, Barnabas Baxter!

Baxter languished on South Carolina’s death row for nearly a decade as he exhausted his appeals and tested the patience and goodwill of the state’s courts and its citizenry.

His appeals denied, Barnabas Baxter’s departure plans were alas consummated for a fateful encounter with “Old Sparky”, South Carolina’s century-old electric chair with an unblemished record of 32-0.

Baxter was convicted of eleven heinous murders dating back to 1996. Widely known to the world as “The Carolina Reaper”, Barnabas stalked his victims across the Carolinas for more than a decade. Some experts believe his deadly body count is in excess of fifty, although Baxter refused to provide any confirmation or details.

In the days leading up to his dance with the Devil, Barnabas Baxter turned away spiritual advisors, claiming, “God is dead!”

He left this final letter in the care of a fellow death row inmate:

“Bon Voyage, Fuckers! My only regret is that I didn’t take more of you weak, pathetic sons-a-bitches with me! May a plague be visited upon the entire lot of you. Sweet Dreams ~ Barney (‘The Carolina Reaper’)”

As he was led to his execution, Barney exhibited no signs of fear or regret or anguish. His impenetrable eyes and enigmatic countenance offered little solace to those searching for some sign of remorse.

The small viewing room was filled with family members of the victims and a smattering of reporters and state dignitaries. There was an eery, haunting buzz in the stale night air giving an almost-surreal ambience to the occasion. The resounding echo of strained footsteps and dragging leg-iron chains chilled the mood and set the ominous atmosphere for the evening’s historic event.

Outside, the streets were lined with jubilant crowds in a festive party atmosphere. Many in the crowd gleefully cheered and displayed large signs, much like you might see at a sporting rivalry; these signs, however, were scrawled with morbid words celebrating the dreadful affair. Some signs were clever or distastefully humorous, still others spewed venomous hate and vengeance. News crews jostled for position to get the best coverage.

As Baxter was being strapped into Old Sparky, his evil eyes scanned the crowd, his head slowly twitching as it ratcheted back and forth. His sinister grin fell upon a hushed crowd that refused to offer him the initial satisfaction of little more than a low groan. Barnabas Baxter was receiving his just desserts, and nobody was going to shed a tear for him, save some tears of joy at his painful curtain call. Finally, in defiance of the Warden’s admonition to remain silent, a woman’s voice pierced the silence, “ROT IN HELL, BARNEY!”

Barney responded with an indignant snort and a scornful scowl.

The Warden awaited the designated hour beside a red wall phone for an unlikely reprieval call. It would never come.

The moment drew near, and the crowd sat in pensive silence. The Warden broke the haunting stillness with a reading of the Execution Warrant: “Barnabas Maximilian Baxter, you have been found guilty of capital murder by a jury of your peers and sentenced to death by means of electrocution in accordance with the South Carolina Penal Code. Two Thousand Volts of electricity will surge through your body until you are pronounced dead. This Warrant has been signed by the Governor of the State of South Carolina and confirmed by a panel of three reviewing Justices. May the Lord have mercy on your condemned soul.”

A hood was fastened over Baxter’s head covering his face, and wires were affixed both to his head and right leg. Several long minutes of hushed preparation then followed before the Warden gave the sobering order in a commanding voice, “Proceed on my count . . . three . . . two . . . one . . . HIT IT!”

The crowd was unprepared for the spectacle that followed. You could feel a burst of electrical current in the heavy stale air like a warm surge of static. It gave off a nauseating, nose-hair-singeing odor. A harsh, sharp hissing noise and a rapid barrage of arcing pops and startling crackles confirmed the incredible deadly power of the current.

Baxter thrashed about violently, his wild gyrations not dissimilar to that of a bull rider being whipped about by a mighty, raging beast. Barney’s body tensed angrily under the excruciating pain, his white-knuckled fists clinging hard to Sparky’s armrests. A heavy stream of foaming respiratory secretions oozed out from beneath the mask, and Barney slammed his head with a series of skull-cracking thuds against the chairback, trying to escape his doomed vessel. I will never be able to forget the hideous sound of Barney’s agonizing death gurgles.

The putrid smell of burnt human flesh was overwhelming, and several bystanders began to wretch in horror.

The thrashing ceased, and the Warden gave the command to cut the flow of electricity. The prison physician inserted a stethoscope into his ears and approached the condemned to check for vitals when Barney began heaving, laboring for air, his trembling restrained body erupting into dreadful convulsions.

The physician stepped back as the Warden gave the command, “Clear!” He followed that with a repeat of his earlier command, “Proceed on three . . . two . . . one . . . hit ‘em again!”

Several long minutes passed. The death tremors stopped, and Barney’s body went limp. Old Sparky rumbled angrily under the tremendous strain, and the Warden once again called out, “Cease!”

The physician confirmed the absence of a heartbeat and shook his head toward the Warden.

The foul, pungent stench of smoldering flesh and reeking vomit hung like a heavy cloud over the viewing room. The crowd sat in stunned silence, grappling with the defilement of humanity they had attended. Several spectators had the collars of their shirts pulled up over their noses, others pressed their faces deep into their hands, seeking to unsee and unsmell the horror they had just witnessed.

Chalk another victory up for Sparky: 33-0! It had not been pretty, but it had been successful – Barnabas Baxter was dead, after all, and that is what we came to witness.

As they wheeled his lifeless corpse from the chamber, however, I heard the echoing whispers of Barney’s dreadful voice still lingering in the heavy, putrid night air, “Sweet dreams!”

I shuddered as I finally grasped the true meaning of his ominous warning. Barney had escaped this world, and he had unfinished business. God help us all! What have we done?!

fictionCONTENT WARNINGcapital punishment

About the Creator

𝐑𝐌 𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐭𝐨𝐧

˜”*°•.˜”*°• Time is our most valuable asset. Thank you for spending some of your time with me! •°*”˜.•°*”˜

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (9)

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  • Christy Munson3 months ago

    Outstanding piece! I can imagine how this piece would shine in present tense, too.

  • Lamar Wiggins4 months ago

    😮😮😮👏👏👏 There are not many stories that rattle me because I love horror, but this one, my friend, left an impact. It's amazing how the chosen descriptive words can transport you there. Awesome effect you accomplished!!! On another note, I loved the story behind the execution. Sometimes evil is too strong to be dismantled. Hauntingly surreal. Well done!

  • I'm at a loss for words. Your descriptions were so visceral, vivid and evocative. It was as if I was there among the crowd watching Barney experiencing that slow, torturous death. Now I wonder how many criminals that were put on death row came back as a ghost to take revenge. I've always only thought about murder victims coming back to take revenge but not death row criminals! So I really loved this concept. Very unique, creative and brilliant! I loved your story!

  • Kenny Penn4 months ago

    Whooo damn that was awesome! Got hairs standing up on the back of my neck!

  • Stephanie Hoogstad4 months ago

    Such vivid storytelling! The idea of Barney having “escaped” by dying reminds me of legends about H.H. Holmes after he was hung and then people responsible for his demise started dying, causing people to think that it was the ghost of Holmes handling some unfinished business (or that it wasn’t Holmes that they had hung after all). This truly makes one think twice about capital punishment, even when it is most definitely deserved. Incredible job.

  • Dana Crandell4 months ago

    Excellent storytelling! Vivid imagery and a bit of a "Green Mile" feeling, but "more shocking." (Please pardon the pun.) Oustanding job!

  • Rachel Deeming4 months ago

    I sincerely hope Barney cannot get past Barstable.

  • L.C. Schäfer4 months ago

    Oooh, Green Mile vibes! Good one 😁

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