It always feels like a love-hate relationship when you're in love with something you fear.
The center of affection was a dreary, decrepit thing, worn out over the ages and grunting at every movement. From its rusty pipes, sometimes failing to do its job, to the gray wallpaper sometimes peeling to reveal its wooden insides, and a roach sometimes roaming around the other corner. Many of the rooms consisted of pictures of past employees ranging from well-photographed to painted from the lack of better technology, many of which obviously did not stick around. The only room with any bit of a different atmosphere had to be the mortuary room, where forensics and embalming took place. It was much colder and unfeeling than the sad, gothic tone of the rest of the building, metal lockers piling the wall and a coffin at the side, a different former person inhabiting it every other week.
Yes, it was sad and pathetic, but Alex Morrison loved every bit of it.
Alex was a morgue assistant working at the morgue, an undergraduate student hoping to get a degree in forensic science. He loved everything about the human anatomy, from what makes it to what breaks it. Working at a morgue would get him close to human bodies and more exposure to what having to take care of them would be like. He didn't mind having to be surrounded by the deceased, in fact, all it did was increase his curiosity of what they were like before death instead of making him depressed like any other person.
The boy was nearing his twenties, was of average height, and had pale white skin heavily dotted with freckles. He had a tossle of curly ginger hair and round chestnut eyes, sparkling with eagerness. Anyone would be wondering why such a jolly boy would be working at such a dreadful place.
His boss, however, was a different story. Raj Xansur's mere demeanor and appearance was much more fitting. He had long black hair reaching his backbone, somewhat messy and a bit oily. His eyes were narrow and pitch black, and at first glance you'd almost think he was an animated corpse. He had dark brown skin and a hooked nose, seemingly of South Asian descent (Alex had asked him where he came from, all he replied was "yes.") He was always seen wearing a surgical mask and a turtleneck with his labcoat over it, and he spent an unhealthy amount of time in the mortuary room working, even when there were no bodies to take care of. To Alex it seemed like he only got two hours of sleep each night, and yet he was still going strong.
Alex always wondered what was up with that, although really not out of concern but more for hoping to find a way to get less sleep and more work done. So, he decided to investigate.
On a Sunday morning there was a new body sent in from a grieving family. The grandfather's time came and he passed, and naturally the family wanted a respectful funeral, so they sent him into the morgue for the traditional embalming and dressing up. Once the family had left and Raj rolled the body into the mortuary room, Alex followed in, wondering when to bring up the question as Raj prepared to embalm the body.
"Hey... Mr. Xansur?" Alex tapped on his shoulder.
Raj turned his attention to him.
"So you work an awful lot, you know, all dedicated and what not?" Alex began, "I'm sure you must really want to satisfy mourning families since, uh, their relative is dead, but how come you spend so much time working? You barely get any sleep, and you hardly ever leave the morgue!"
Raj stared at him, contemplating what to answer, then signed, "I don't care to spend any time on social activities, I only care about work."
"But there has to be a time where you get tired, every person needs a break!" Alex protested.
"Not me, I'm always well-rested," Raj signed.
"Two hours, sir, two hours of sleep isn't enough to keep any person well-rested," he countered. "Do you have some sort of energy drink? Some kind of medicine to keep you up and going?"
"Really?" Alex's eyes lit up. "Do you think I can have some of whatever you're taking? I'd really love to work on more hours for, you know, exposure!"
"No, it's prescription," Raj turned away to grab the first tool to get started, then looked at Alex again and signed, "besides, you're already productive enough as it is."
Alex left it at that, and the embalming progress began, lasting until noon. That was when he decided to take a lunch break and left the rest of the embalming process to Raj, who never really took lunch breaks anyways. After a long, satisfying meal, Alex came back to continue on what was next, but Raj was nowhere to be found, and the body was left alone. Not wanting to mess anything up, he decided to just wait until he returned, roaming around the room and looking at whatever waited for him. After a while of exploring he looked back at the body, and something caught his eye. As he walked closer to inspect it, what he saw sent chills up his spine.
There was a huge chunk of the body's right side missing.
The old man's body was embalmed and well dressed, makeup gently brushed on his face so that it was almost as if he were simply sleeping, were it not for his still chest.
By evening, the family came back to collect the body for the funeral, which was set gently in a plush coffin, the cast made of pinewood. The family noticed nothing wrong, as the suit covered the large gash on the right side of the abdomen, which had been patched up. Raj mentioned nothing of it, acting as if it had always been there, but Alex could've sworn it wasn't there before his break. The man died of a heart attack, after all, not a mauling!
Once they left, Alex decided to confront him about it.
"What happened to the body? Was that gash always there?" Alex asked. "Did you take a piece of the body or...?"
"The man had an affliction of a disease," Raj replied. "I had never heard of it before, so I took a sample of his flesh to research it."
"But couldn't you have just taken a cell sample?"
"Don't you have an essay due tomorrow?" Raj mentioned, changing the subject abruptly.
As much as Alex wanted to continue, Raj had a point, he barely even started on that essay and it was worth a huge chunk of his grade, so as reasonable as he should've been he excused himself and dashed up the stairs, the rapid pattering of his feet sending out groans throughout the wooden steps. He retreated into his room, but this would not be the last time he'd investigate.
It was two in the morning, the only signs of activity were a blaring computer screen with a finished essay in display, and an exhausted college student, endlessly going around in circles in his chair out of boredom. It was then that through the thin walls of the morgue that he heard a clatter from downstairs, which made him curious as to what Raj did with his "samples." So naturally he got out of his room and tip-toed down the stairs, careful not to make any noise as to alert Raj of his presence. As soon as he got to the bottom he noticed that the door to the mortuary room was creaked open, just enough for him to look through, but he crept closer anyways and stood halfway there, behind a coffin and peered through.
He could see Raj pulling out a body from one of the lockers, strange since Alex couldn't recall any funerals coming so soon that Raj had to work overtime to get the embalming done. As he watched he noticed how while Raj pulled out the tools needed to embalm a body, one of his fingers was badly bruised, twisted slightly to the right. It puzzled him how dedicated Raj was to his work, even when he was injured, and he felt that frankly how he treated his own body was going to bite him in the ass. As if on cue, right after the thought Raj examined the broken finger, firmly grasped it, then violently jerked it. A loud snap filled the air, and sure enough, the finger was straight again.
Raj unzipped the body bag covering the deceased and examined its features, then he reached for the table of tools. But instead of reaching for something like a needle or a scalpel, he moved his hand down to grab the meat saw. Strange, since when did they ever have a meat saw?
The mortician pulled back the body bag further to reveal the abdomen area. He pulled the meat saw to the area he wanted to cut and started hacking away, enough for it to be considered a chunk, but not enough to cut off too much of whatever organ was in the way. It was strange to Alex how Raj didn't even bother to put on gloves, or even mark the area he wanted to cut off, it was as if he didn't even care how much he took. Once he was finished cutting the desired piece he wanted, he grabbed the edges and pulled slowly and surely, the sinew ripping off and revealing flesh.
Seeing all sorts of sights triggering disgust already made for a bad night, but what happened next really put the cherry on top. As Raj put the meat saw down and held up the chunk of flesh as if it were a simple burger, he pulled up the shirt with his other hand and revealed a thick fold across his stomach, like some sort of surgery scar. Seemed odd but normal nevertheless.
It uncurled to reveal a huge pair of lips, and opened wide, showcasing its big teeth and lolling tongue. In the back of the mouth, he could barely make out his intestines throbbing and pulsing. Raj threw the piece of flesh into the mouth and it chewed it promptly, gnawing it hastily as pieces of red goop darted out. Soon the flesh was nothing but a mixture of pink and red mush, and the mouth gulped it down, its bloodstained teeth the only evidence of it eating.
Alex cupped his hands over his mouth to keep himself from screaming at the display, feeling that on all sorts of levels this was just wrong, just inhumane. He slowly backed away, at first careful not to let out any sort of indication that he was there, then dashed up the stairs and made his way into the bathroom, where he heaved what was left of his dinner into the toilet, not stopping until he felt empty inside.
He heard footsteps just outside the doorway.
Written by ViviHunter