Home in Florence: Chapter 2

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
“Will I ever get used to this?” Edmund muttered to himself, but that night he was back in the dead room.

Submitted: October 13, 2016

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Submitted: October 13, 2016

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Chapter 2

 

The smell of the corpse and strong wine filled Edmund’s nostrils with every breath he took. It nauseated him. He had sat through the vicious scolding of Galaezzo in the late hours, yet he could not live without getting the feel of that fat off his fingers. He hunted quietly for some harsh rosemary soap to use in the inky blackness the monastery chambers.

His body, as he got into bed, was icy. He could feel his conscious get gloomy with exhaustion, but every time he let his eyes flutter closed, it seemed they were wide open, staring into the dark bulky stone ahead of him in the morgue. With a deep breath Edmund shifted onto his side to calm his overstimulated nerves, conscious of his heart pounding against his frail chest again.

He heard Lucrezia stir quietly against his linen sheets in the neighboring dorter while the faintest tinge of pearl gray touched his window overlooking the stables on the Via de Lamberti. The sun was rising already.

A sudden, violent awakening occurred just as it seemed Edmund had dozed off. Consequently, it was going to happen sooner or later.

"Edmund, get up. It's noon.  Food is being on the table. What kind of new nonsense is this, that you sleep until dinner? Where were you last night?"

Edmund lay staring up at Sigismondo. Sigismondo’s speaking voice was a gruff husky tenor, who’s mouth appeared stiff as he spoke. Abbot Sigismondo, an ecclesiastical title given to the head of a monastery similar to Galaezzo, couldn’t help but leave a pungent taste in Edmund’s mouth every time the elder came near. Two cloudy arrogant eyes had established dominance over his shivering frame and gave him the appearance of always hunching aggressively forward.

"I'm sorry, Father. I'm not feeling well."

Edmund’s excuse resulted in a few quick, firm nods from the avian-like man added to the impression of judgement he conveyed. With hooded eyes, he sauntered out of the room leaving Edmund alone in the dorter wing.

“Will I ever get used to this?”

~

 

But that night he was back in the dead room. There was something pathetic in his actions, his demeanor attempting to hide the consternation and cautiousness he thought felt visible as he through into the mortuary. 

His only serious danger was from the head of the infirmary; but since the monk was also encharged with the administration of the properties of the order, working from dawn to dark supplying the needs of the infirmary, patient-house and monastery, he was not to venture out of his cell on nocturnal inspections.  Most were already asleep in their cells.

The place looked untouched, except for the deceased man lay at the table lay beside another cadaver enveloped in a linen wrap. He reaches out cautiously to pull the sheet back to examine the new companion. He saw that the left leg of the corpse was of a brown color with a green fluid coming out from under the skin. The rest of the body was ash gray, the face completely sunken. There seemed black, swollen lymph nodes, about the size of chicken eggs, in the groin, armpit, or neck. The lids of its eyes were half lidded sporting a dried yellow sclera. He expeditiously jerked the linen back over the new corpse in aghast.

“Bubonic plague?”

 He felt his lips mutter as he backed away. Ironically, fear shouldn’t be the issue when coming across these type of symptoms -  the schooling he attends had been originated to provide more doctors to overcome the plague in the late 1300s. The number of victims of the black plague have dwindled since but most were taught to be wary. He averted his attention back to the previous project.

The student proceeded to work where he had left off the night before, cutting directly to the bowels, and unraveled it. He placed his worn sack on the floor and raised his candle close to where he was exploring. Noting to himself previously, he brought an empty book with thick pages from recycled cotton rags. His goal was to document his discoveries with some brief sketches. There were a number of the organs he had been searching for: the spleen and the liver. He recognized the liver from the bovines and lambs cut up in the markets; bilaterally, just aside of the bone column, were the kidneys

The candle was set next to the cadaver as he continued. picked them up carefully and perceived that they were connected with the bladder by small tubes, like wires. He went on to where the liver was attached, posteriorly; cut the ligaments with his scissors and removed it from the cavity. He studied the shape in his hands, examining the small bladder attached to its lower side, opened it with his knife. A dark green fluid came out.

He moved his candle closer, saw something that he had missed before: the abdominal cavity was separate from the chest cavity by a muscly wall. In the center of this dome were two holes through which passed tubes connecting the stomach with the mouth. The second big channel, alongside the backbone, went up into the chest. He now realized that from the chest to the abdomen there were only two means of communication, one bringing food and liquids. The other baffled him. He lifted the bone structure of the chest but could not determine what the second channel was used for.

His spindly fingers moved carefully to sketch out what was present in front of him but the later it seemed to get the more he felt himself squinting and widening his eyes to focus against the murky dark. The candle spluttered.


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