The Cadaver

“It started with a whisper. Or so they said, anyway.”
.
Ambrose stared at the poster, shrugging as he mused silently to himself. He was presently attending to a cadaver which had just arrived this morning, an unlucky man who was struck with a freak car accident just outside the mortuary.
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Sighing, Ambrose reflected on this wastage of life. It was sadly prevalent nowadays, what with all those reckless idiots throwing their life around everywhere.
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He picked up a pencil and a measuring tape, proceeding to calmly note down the sizes of the dead client, gently picking up the decomposing human carcass. The mortician cussed, eyeing the bleeding stench that oozed out of the ears, stepping back to wipe his hands. Picking up the gloves, he snugly fitted it over his fingers, the accompaniment proving quite comfortable.
.

He picked up a pencil and a measuring tape, proceeding to calmly note down the sizes of the dead client, gently picking up the decomposing human carcass. The mortician cussed, eyeing the bleeding stench that oozed out of the ears, stepping back to wipe his hands. Picking up the gloves, he snugly fitted it over his fingers, the accompaniment proving quite comfortable.

.
“Now. To business, my dearly departed.”
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If you had observed Ambrose carefully, you would have seen a shadow flash quickly over his face. It was of… What was it? Revulsion? Pity? Or was it sadness? Whatever it was, it didn’t last, and soon, he was prodding the corpse with his gloved hands, trying to acertain whether the death was a real accident or otherwise.
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“It certainly wasn’t a murder, that’s for sure.” he quipped.
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He began to remove the gloves, moving on to the selection of textiles for the funeral. The man was slated for burial next Tuesday. He had to act quickly, there were only three days left. Nimbly and deftly, the scissors ate away at the cloth, size upon size of different values. The sewing machine hummed quietly, threading the pieces affectionately, mimicking the actions of a matchmaker. 
.
Soon, in a short time span of 20 minutes, the tapestry was complete. A beautiful mosaic of colours, it was a burial shroud fit for a king. Ambrose stepped back further to get a more complete look at it. It certainly was beautiful, but something seemed off. Why? Puzzled, he shifted his angle and peered hard at it. Why couldn’t he shake that vaguely ominous feeling? Then, all of a sudden, it hit him. There were words in that thing, pieced together by the many different fabrics interwoven into it. It seemed too improbable to be intentional, but… Coincidence coudn’t have been the only factor, right? It was too clear.
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“Help me”. Those two words, clear as day, jutted out from the jumble of colours that served as its background. 
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Ambrose took a seat, staring meditatively at the lines which conjured those words. He was admittedly quiet, his eyes spying intricately at the clothing, which had not adorned the client yet. Turning back to the corpse, he was surprised to see it bleeding again, even though he had prepared the cadaver earlier in the afternoon.
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“You’re not dead….are you?” he whispered.
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As if in response to his question, the supposedly dead person’s clenched hand relaxed. With a shiver completing a marathon down his spine, Ambrose forced himself to think logically. 
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“Nobody survives a freak accident like that. At least, nobody should… It’s a coincidence, right? Or… Not? Oh, God.”
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With his brain in cognitive overdrive, Ambrose proceeded to check the corpse’s pulse. “Please don’t let there be one…”
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He took the man’s pulse gently, lightly pressing againt the point, careful not to break his body. It was mindstopping. The cadaver had none. He was genuinely dead, or so he thought. Years of experience and training for a twenty-five year old man apparently wasn’t enough.
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“You’re dead. It is time to move on, my sweet.”
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Then, right then, he felt a faint thrumming beneath his fingers. “Sweet Lord, no…” In horror, he stared at the body, feeling light-headed. How – and why – on Earth is this happening? Things like that shouldn’t happen! Ambrose was a logical man. This was his defining characteristic, and that was also the reason why he was a mortician, as only people like him could deal with the dead and not feel creeped-out. But this defied logic, and Ambrose was ill-equipped to handle that. 
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“S-stay calm, Ambrose”, he told himself, in a desperate bid to keep his sanity from running away. “Maybe, in my panic, I felt my own pulse or something. Yeah. Let’s move on to Test number 2, Ambrose. Cut the cadaver, and if blood spurts, he’s still alive. Yeah, it’s foolproof, let’s do that.”
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He cringed at the thought of having to ruin his preparation. The knife sat inviting, before being clasped in the fingers of the undertaker. Making a small nick at the skin, he paused.
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“No. I shouldn’t.”
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“Sir, if you’re not dead, please. Appear before me and-“
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Woah. Did the cadaver just.. Twitch? Damn, there is no way that this is really happeni- Damn.
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Before his very horrified eyes, the cadaver actually opened its glassy eyes. Or rather, it should be glassy, but right now, it was bright, and very lifelike. Backing away from it hastily, Ambrose felt his pulse quicken. Uttering a stangled cry, he prayed that nothing more would happen, that the corpse wouldn’t suddenly just stand up and pretend to be alive.
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But… Maybe it was never dead in the first place?
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————————————————————————————————————————————-
Monday
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The service bell chimed beautifully as the man patted it gently. He was summoned to the premises last night, by call. Thaddeus looked sleek in his garments, his striped Savile suit crisply pressed and snugly fitted upon his body. He looked at the coffins which aligned the shelves, the teak and mahogany invitingly accompanied with its silken innings.
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“Hello?”
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“Yes, can I help you?”  Ambrose quipped from behind the counter, his head poking out from above the counter. He was currently preoccupied with settling his bills, looking through his account books.
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“I’m Thaddeus Ferrisworth. I was called here on special purpose.”
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The funeral director looked at the other, taking a gander of the man’s appearance. He was sure that his senior did not had the current look he had then. Ambrose offered his hand, taking his glasses off.
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“Hey Teddy sir, Amby here. I called. There’s something I want to show you.”
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Thaddeus stared at him. The owner, Ambrose? Nevertheless, he shook the mortician’s hand, nodding as he followed the man to the preparatory room.
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Thankfully for Ambrose, the corpse had not shown signs of activity since it had opened its eyes. It was still staring emptily at the ceiling, silent and unmoving. However, the open eyes no longer freaked Ambrose out much. It was the fact that rigor mortis had yet to set in that chilled him. 
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“Ambrose, why haven’t you shut his eyes? It’s a basic sign of respect.”
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“I did… It opened again.”
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“….It’s not dead, is it?”
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Thaddeus picked up a wooden stick, pressing lightly on the skin. He did the necessary checks to ensure the death of the person. The result showed positive – the man was dead. Really dead.
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“Are you trying to joke with me?”
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‘No, Thaddeus, I’m not, it really did open its eyes!”
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There was an uncomfortable silence. Ambrose could sense that Thaddeus didn’t believe him. Exasperated, he sighed, and ran his fingers through his hair. He wasn’t seeing things, was he? But the corpse really did exhibit signs of life! 
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“Ambrose, maybe you were – ” Thaddeus never got to finish his sentence, as Ambrose swiftly cut in at that moment.
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“It really did happen! And even if it didn’t, how do you explain the fact that rigor mortis hasn’t set in?!” Ambrose demanded, irritation and anxiety lacing his tone. 
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“Have you tried everything they taught you?”
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A slight twitch made itself apparent on the younger man’s left eyebrow. “I wouldn’t have called you if I hadn’t.”
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“Well then. There’s one thing left to do then, isn’t it?”
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“What do you mean? You can’t possibly- It’s unethical!”
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“Yes, club him on the head and doll him up. What? Desperate measures.”
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About haziqfoxayy

Full time student. Part time wandering fox and storyteller.
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