The favorite urban legend of the Mortuary School was the drunken student in the morgue. Either a student or a local boy– depending on the version. He and some friends go rabble rousing in the town. They get back to the campus completely sloshed. There is a dare to streak through campus and go into the morgue. His friends bar the door, and he passes out on the slab unable to get back out.
A class comes in early the next morning to perform an autopsy or an embalming on a cadaver. They find the boy naked on the slab. Sure it’s odd he has no tags, but what the hell it’s not like we have an over abundance of cadavers. There are many variations on the ending. In some he wakes up right before the first incision. Or during. In the funny ones he’s ousted by the gasps and pointing of female students at his erect penis. In the dark ones no one ever notices…
Victoria felt the ridges of the staples in the in the cadavers through the fingers of her latex gloves. A big cross on the man’s chest. One of the problems with the myth is that a school has no problem with reusing a cadaver on the newbies. Were these staples from the original autopsy or a subsequent? Hard to tell. The students observe one, but they never actually perform. The man’s toe tag reads Robin Smith. Must have died from embarrassment of his name.
She jabbed him in the chest with her index finger. The flesh was cold and spongy. It lacked the smooth elasticity of her own. Or the rigid stone of Rigor Mortis. She could have poked straight through him if she had a mind to. Victoria was always fascinated with death. She always watched it with an academic eye. It was something that only happened to grandparents and pets. It changed from hobby to career when a Pinkerton ran a Charger through a coal picket line.
Electricity jumped from her fingertips. All the air rushed from her lips. The hands on the clock lurched forward.
Another hand wrapped in latex wretched her hand away from the body. There was an audible pop like a circuit at been broken. Victoria felt her blood rush from her head. Her fingertips exploded. She clenched her hand and crumbled into the other man in scrubs.
She recovered in seconds and remembered propriety.
“What the hell was that?”
“N-Nothing,” Victoria replied. “It was just…the smell. Yeah, how long has this stiff been lying out?”
The pathologist cocked a perfectly manicured eyebrow at her. He shook his head and took the hedge clippers from the tray. She never did like how mundane the tools were. The everyday implements that could dismantle a human in minute. She thought that maybe the tools were more specialized in a County Coroner with a budget. Then again a Coroner with a budget wouldn’t be looking for a pair of hands out of Mortuary school.
He nodded towards the other side of the room. Maybe it was a charitable act. Get her away from the cadaver when he first plunged the tip of the snipers right above the groin. They would bite along the line of stitches swiftly chomping through sinew and the rib cage. She pondered if there was even anything recognizable left inside. If the cadaver’s internals were pulped from the frequent demonstrations. She hit play on the docked Ipod. Mozart streamed from the speakers.
While her back was turned he took the first plunge. She heard the blade slurp when he swung open the maw. Victoria whirled on the balls of her feet when she heard the Pathologist’s bagged shoes slosh back from the table. A vermillion line dripped down from his goggles, spotted his face mask, and splattered his apron. His eyes were just whites, and the bare spots on his forehead between splotches of blood were ashen.
The blood on the floor soaked through the baggies right down to her socks when she approached the body. The scent of formaldehyde danced in her nostrils – that new corpse smell. The cadaver was rapidly draining its fluids that should have been long gone by now. Victoria approached as if in a dream. She laid her hands on the great wooden handle of the shears. The Pathologist stood frozen in place.
She could have sworn she saw the slight heave the cadaver’s chest. A rookie mistake. Every teacher had to remind the Morgue virgins that it was just their imagination. She plunged the blade further. The blood kept coming. The cadaver’s eyes flashed open. He lurched forward and took her wrists in his hand. Victoria furrowed her blood spattered brow and closed the scissors. The cadaver was split down the middle.
He wouldn’t stop screaming.
It’s alive! It’s alive!
She thrust the blade deeper into the even softer tissue. The hedge clippers continued gnashing its teeth until he stopped. The Pathologist laid a dripping red hand on her shoulder. She knocked him flat on the ground when she withdrew the scissors. She was suffocating. She tore her face mask loose and shredded her apron. She widened the neck line on her scrubs. She still couldn’t breath. She clawed at her bare white neck before collapsing on the slab.
Submitted by Chase Henderson