Disclaimers: This is my take on the events leading to the death of Mathew Shepherd, there have been some changes in gender and name. There is strong violence and a rape scenario, so please if it is not something you can handle reading please go back to the forum. I want to thank my betas for correcting this for me.

This one is dedicated to Judy Shepherd who I had the pleasure of meeting and is a strong woman.

Thanks to all of you that read the stories and write me. I appreciate you taking these journeys with me and for letting me know how much you like them.

Copyright © 2006 by Athenian Bard. All Rights Reserved.

Madeline Shepherd: The Heroine's Death:Based on Matthew Shepherd

  I was just a normal girl, going out with my friends on the night of October 6, 1998; I didn't know that would be the last night I went out. It wasn't my intention to be the cause of a movement, I just wanted to live my life–but because of how that life ended others will hopefully get to live their lives in peace thanks to the Hate Crimes Act. My name is Madeline Shepherd: I didn't want to become an icon or martyr how ever you want to view it. I only wanted to be Human rights attorney. I had only lived in Laramie, Wyoming for a short time, since my dad moved here. I was so excited when I got into the University of Wyoming. I would get to stay close to my dad. I wanted to hang out with my friends, to live my life. I wasn't allowed to my American dream was snuffed out October 6, 1998.

It's finally Friday; I can unwind and forget about the poly sci paper that's due next week. Looking down at the watch on my right arm it's almost four o'clock. I have time to run home and change before heading to Fireside –the local gay bar. Joanne and Carrie are supposed to meet me. Running into my dorm room I quickly change into my new outfit–painted on jeans and a low cut leather vest which was serving as my top for the night–that all those tips from the diner helped pay for. A quick check in the mirror making sure my outfit is all in place, I look hot. Keys, keys would definitely be good right about now. I glance at my watch, crap its six o'clock. I know I am going to get razzed for being late, shit. Jacket, keys, wallet, I am good to go.

Jumping into my blue Chevy Impala I gun it to the bar, where my friends are probably waiting for me. Shit, a red light, looking at the car next to me there is a car with a cute red head. Giving her my patented smile, the one that has gotten me my share of numbers, she seems interested, oops there's a boyfriend in the car, green light! Making it to the bar I park in my usual spot. Walking into the bar I don't see Kerry or John, hmm I beat them here. That is new.

Ring ring, "Hello?"

"Hey Maddy, this is Kerry."

"Where are you losers, I actually beat you here," laughing at the turn of events, I walk over and take a seat at the bar.

"Yeah, I just got a call from Joey. You know that project we had been working on for our Psych class?"

"Yeah, what about it?"

"Well the other girl in the group screwed up the test sample so we can't make it. I'm sorry. You know I'd rather be there with you than working on this project, but it's a major chunk of our final grade," a loud sigh is heard on the other end.

"Its fine, I will just get together with you guys later."

"Are you gonna stay there?"

"Yeah, I got all dressed up I should at least enjoy it."

"Ok, if we can make time we'll stop by later. Have fun kid. Be safe."

"I will," saying our goodbyes we hung up.

Signaling for the bartender I ask for a beer. Waiting for the bartender to come back, with my drink I survey the room. There aren't a lot of people here, but then again it's only nine o'clock, the rush doesn't usually start until ten or eleven. Turning around and taking my beer, I walk over to one of the booths so that I can keep an eye on the door, just in case some one interesting comes in.

I don't know how much time went by but I'd drunk all of my beer, and was really starting to reconsider being here. I should probably just go home and work on my paper. Glancing at the door a beautiful red head walks in; hey it's the red head from the car. I wonder what she is doing here, I thought that guy was her boyfriend, could have been her brother. While deciding whether or not I should approach her she walks up to me.

"Hi, is this seat taken?"

"No, it's not. By all means take a seat."

"Thank you. Aren't you the girl who winked at me earlier? You drive an Impala, right?"

"Yeah, sorry I hope I didn't piss off your boyfriend."

Laughing she answers, "he isn't my boyfriend, just my over protective brother. He was just dropping me off, because my car is in the shop. If I had a boyfriend would I be in here?" She said cocking her head to the side.

"I don't know, you tell me?" I said matching her pose.

She laughs at me, "are you here with anyone?"

"Naw, my friends dumped me for their psych project. What about you?"

"Nope, I am here all by my lonesome. Would you like a friend for the night?"

"Sure, why not. Can never have to many friends," She is flirting which is always a good sign. And they say I have no moves.

"My name is Madeline Shepherd; my friends call me Maddy for short. What's your name?"

"It's Kristen Price, Kris for short."

"Kristen, it suits you."

"Thanks. Do you wanna go somewhere this place is dead," she said gesturing around the bar. Not being one to turn down beautiful women, I pay for our drinks and stand up. Offering her my hand I lead her out of the bar.

"So now where to my lady?"

"Where is your car? I know a really cool spot where we can skip stones."

Leading her over to my car, I open the door for her. Getting behind the wheel, she gives me directions. While driving I take glances at her out of the corner of my eye. She is not Hollywood pretty but still attractive. She isn't quite as tall as me with a petite frame and her wild red hair, she has this excited nervous air about her, but then again so do I. Not quite sure where we are, she tells me to stop the car, that this is the place. Looking around I don't see a pond anywhere in sight. Now utterly confused, I look at her and she has this creepy amused look on her face now, one that makes my skin crawl. Maybe leaving the bar with a complete stranger isn't such a good idea after all.

She takes my keys out of the ignition and tells me to get out of the car. Not liking where this is going, "Umm, how about we go back to the bar? I suck at skipping stones."

She laughs at me, one of those cartoon evil-villain laughs. Oh shit this chick is twisted, what have I gotten myself into. She opens the car door and gets out walking toward a fence. Not knowing how to hotwire my own car I get out to follow her.

"Hey, I really want my keys back," I yell. But she keeps walking further and further. That's when I notice we aren't there alone; there is the guy from in the car earlier. He is one big guy, although by looking at the guy I can see his intellect doesn't match his muscle mass. The bile in my stomach starts to churn, this isn't good. I can tell this guy isn't here to offer me tea and cookies but to do serious damage. Thinking it best I get back into my car, I hop in and lock the doors. Looking back in their direction I see her give him a kiss, I'm going to be sick. She points in my direction, and in slow motion I see them getting closer to my car like the grim reaper.

This can't be real, it just can't be. Tightly shutting my eyes I repeat, "There is no place like home, no place like home, no place like home," clicking my heels together, as I repeat the mantra from the Wizard of Oz. "Damn, it worked for Dorothy."

Glancing out of the passenger side window, they aren't there. Where did they go?

Whoooossh, glass breaking and landing everywhere, I try and shield my head from the flying fragments. I feel his beefy arm reaching in and unlocking the door, climbing over to the passenger side I try to hurry out the other door. Getting the door unlocked I fall out of the car, catching myself with my hands. Standing up, I start full out running, running for my life. I just know this guy doesn't want the answers to the math homework. I hear footfalls behind me as they try and catch me.

"Come back here you little bitch!" he yells.

That's when I hear a car come to life; sparing a glance behind me I see the red head in my car aiming it for me. Pushing my legs as fast as they can go, my heel gets caught in a gopher hole of some kind. I fall, slowly, in the time it takes me to hit the ground I know I am now fighting for my life. This isn't going to be like the homophobic little fights I've been in before; this one is live or die they aren't playing games.

I feel his sweaty palms on my ankle, rolling over I start kicking. I get one to his groin. Quickly getting up I run, the fence, if I can just get over the fence, she catches me off guard. Down I went. Everything slowly goes black with her standing above me, all I see is red.

Opening my eyes, I am not sure how long I've been out. I look around, they are gone. Feeling a chill go across my body, looking down I see that my clothes are gone only left in my underwear. I give into the feelings of fear and hopelessness and pass out again.

SMACK, "huh, what?" Looking up I see he is back, there is someone behind him. I can't focus my eyes on him. Closing and opening my eyes again, this guy is taller but less muscular. The way he is eyeing me up lets me know exactly what he has in mind for me. A woman's worst nightmare, one I hoped I would never have. My breakfast of a Danish and coffee comes back, spilling onto the beefy guys shoes.

"You Bitch. But that's ok, me and Russell got plans for you," he said leering at me. Russell–who I am guessing is the other guy- comes to my other side, he yanks my hair back exposing my neck. He slowly pulls out a big knife, running it across my neck. I close my eyes; I feel tears escape. His breath smells rancid of cigarettes and beer as he puts his face closer to mine, "What makes you like this?"

When I don't answer he slaps me across the face, "answer me. What makes you a dyke? " The one named Russell asks.

Steeling whatever courage I have left in me, "Oh I don't know probably the same thing that makes you a bumbling Neanderthal who will end up marrying his cousin. I don't know just a guess," crack, I can feel blood pour down the side of my face from him hitting me in the head.

"I thinks it's because she's never had a real man, what do you think Russ?" His voice hyper and excited.

"I think that's what it is Aaron. What do you say we give her of a taste a real men?"

I will not cry, I won't give them the satisfaction of breaking me, I chant to myself as I feel them get closer to my body. I shut off my mind, a little of my soul dies while I stand there bared for them to hump like dogs. When they are finished, which feels like a lifetime, they give each other high fives as to what an excellent job they did at screwing the little dyke. Assuring themselves that no one could still be gay after that.

"I bet that's the best lay you've had in your entire life. No woman could give you that."

Summoning as much strength as I could, "actually my last girlfriend had a bigger dick than you. So I wouldn't be feeling too proud. Oh and Russell can you tell your mom to stop calling me, there won't be a repeat of what happened last week."

"You little.." that was the last thing they said before they preceded to beat me. Kicks and punches radiating over my body, causing me to seek the relief of losing consciousness.

When I regained consciousness, there was a man standing over me-I think Aaron. Cringing, as I feel his hands on my neck. I try to fend off anymore advances, by turning and biting his fingers.

"Owe, damn it! Well at least I know you're still alive. Gina call 9-11, she's alive!"

"Thank you," was all I said before I passed out again.

Next thing I know I am being lifted into a helicopter, at least I think it is by all the wind, "tell my dad I didn't cry. Tell him I tried, but they were to strong. Please," those were the last words I ever spoke.

I fell into a coma and died on October 12, 1998, six days later. I lived my life on my terms, loving who I wanted. I died bringing awareness to the daily sufferings the many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youths go through. Russell and Aaron were both prosecuted and are currently serving life sentences in prison. They may not have known it but their act of hate brought justice into the lives of the ones they hate. Giving them a voice, and protection under the Hate Crimes Act a bill they helped come into fruition. Because before my death in both federal law and Wyoming state law, crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation weren't prosecutable as hate crimes. Shortly after President Clinton pushed legislation through Congress adding sexual orientation to the hate crimes law . I only brought awareness to the issue of violent hate related crimes, but it still requires the diligence of those I left behind. So if I am forced to be a martyr, don't let my death mean nothing, stand up for injustice, because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

The End

Thank you for reading and I hope to hear from you. I want to thank my beta readers again. Athenian Bard

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