Cover of 'In These Words'
Cover of ‘In These Words’

I received many corpses a day.

Whether it was tall or short, young or old, rich or poor, black or white, whole or parted… didn’t matter; all the corpses brought to me were treated equally and indiscriminately.

… which meant I didn’t give a damn about who they had been or what had caused them to be here, under my care. Such was the investigators’ job; mine was simply to make them presentable on their way to the cemetery.

That generally included cleaning the stains on the body, sewing up the severed parts if needed, dressing and finally, coloring the face so that the corpse would look a little less… deathly than it was.

I had been sticking to this peculiar job for over forty years of life. How many ‘forty years’ did a person have? Not many I supposed. You could say I was quite a devoted worker for having stayed in this profession nearly all my life despite getting neither promotion nor pay raise.

Was it because this kind of work required this kind of person like me? Possibly.

During my long years, I had encountered too many bizarreries than I could count: lovers gruesomely cutting each other to death, cult members committing ‘holy’ suicides, parents killing their own children or vice versa. Still, there was one strange case that beat them all.

She was brought to me on a mundane afternoon, together with many other unfortunate victims of tragic and heartbreaking plane crash.

Tons of work to do before the end of the day, I thought to myself and heaved a sigh.

She was the last in queue after I had exhausted myself with her ‘fellows’. Finish this one quickly and go home for a cold drink and a warm bed, I tried to encourage my tired self.

Soon as I uncovered her bleached white sheet, my heart nearly stopped beating with what my eyes were witnessing.

It wasn’t the horrifying state of the corpse that shocked me; rather, it was the opposite.

Her body was marvelously preserved in a state that peaked perfection. Without even the smallest scratch, she laid her impeccable self bare before my eyes like the Sleeping Beauty waiting for the prince’s kiss to be freed from her enchanted slumber.

… except for this beauty’s head was cleanly decapitated just above the nose.

Perhaps, that only imperfection was the reason why she was breathtakingly beautiful.

So, instead of finishing the job quickly, I felt a sudden curiosity to cut her open and see if her inside was just as gorgeous as her outside. My expectation was met.

Drunk in her beauty, I carefully sewn her up.

There was no doubt she was already dead; nevertheless, a crazy thought flashed my intoxicated mind.

Rationality absent, I imagined myself as the prince and thus, kissed her frigid lips with flaming passion while mentally telling her to rise.

… which she did, to my worst surprise.

A peculiar smile that could be defined as a mix of pity and disdain curved up her lips as she spoke, or rather, whispered softly into my ears.

“So sad. You’re no prince, only a toad.”

My words tucked in my throat.

She climbed down her bed and nonchalantly walked to the exit. From her graceful posture, none could tell she’d been an open corpse only minutes ago.

I didn’t stop her.

But it wasn’t the most bizarre thing of this case. Soon as she turned her naked back on me, I began to witness signs of decay spreading on her body.

I wondered if she noticed.

At this speed, it would not be long before she was brought back to me.

Would she still retain her ravishing look then?

This was the result of grumbling stomach and not-so-good pizza at 10 PM.

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