The Mortician

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Everyone knew the mortician was a crank and a drunk. There were so many dead bodies over the years in Aspect, Haliopolis that someone had to deal with them and finding out how they died.
But Eustace was useless, everyone knew it.

The lights barely had time to flash on before the mortician was greeted with the first few cadavers of the day. He stood scratching his eyebrows, overlooking his work bench. He was an old man, but then everyone had said that for over 50 years and here he still is.

A big gut with long and spindly arms and legs and a slightly crescent shaped face. Small glasses sat upon a round nose, bushy eyebrows completing his mad scientist look.

Eunice, his orderly, had already put out the scalpel, ladle, surgical needles, eyelid caps and the wire to sew the mouths of the cadavers shut. He had a tendency to recite everything he had out before him, as though he might forget, if he didn't do it.

He stood, one hand on his hip, nodding and overlooking the notes on the bench.

 "Your coat and gloves, doctor." Crowed a female voice behind him.

 "I know, thank you Eunice," the mortician replied walking over to the hanger with his lab coat and apron hanging from it "and Eunice? You don't have to call me doctor, you can call me by my name, it is what it's there for." He chuckled to himself as he tied his apron around his lab coat, and took out some surgical gloves to put on for the first autopsy of the day.

 "I don't know your name doctor." Whispered Eunice.

The mortician turned around to see nobody there, assuming his assistant had simply left the room to get ready for the autopsy ahead. Looking at the notes for case 001 of the day, he could already tell this one would be tough to solve. 

The mortician reached into his pocket, took a swig of whiskey from his flask, burped a little under his breath and sat down in his comfy swivel chair. He took a final swig, for courage, before putting it back in his pocket.

The notes detailed patient 001 for today was a lady called Finella Wanes, she was 46 years old and went missing around 23 days ago, she was found completely nude and had no external injuries to her body. She had been beheaded, presumably after death, or perhaps during death, however, her head was found a short distance away. No weapon, or evidence was found at the scene.

 "Doctor?" Eunice called out to the mortician.

 "My name is Eustace, Eunice!" He shouted back, slamming the file down on the bench. He stood up and walked over to the metal table with Finella Wanes laying on it and pulled back the zipper of the body bag.

 "Eustace, what happened to her?" Eunice asked innocently.

Eustace turned around to see Eunice but she had left the room again, likely to cry or vomit, he thought to himself. He regarded what was before him and he knew he had seen a case like this before. But where he wasn't sure. He crossed the room to get a face mask, so as to not contaminate any of the remains of Finella.

Crossing back to the table with Finella upon it, her head was face down, so when he turned her head around with his hands, and he saw something he hadn't seen in a very long time, he dropped her head about 30 centimetres from his hands onto the solid table. He knew he had to get something from the shelf, so he quickly darted to the back of the room and took down the large glass tube with an enforced glass bottom.

Walking back to Finellas head he could have sworn he saw it move a little, and he placed the tube very carefully over it where it laid. He breathed a sigh of relief and sat back down on his swivel chair behind the bench.

Reaching into a drawer, he pulled out his thick leather bound book and started looking through the pages. Eyes darting back and forth, straining to find what he was here to see, his eyes began to get heavy and he quickly drifted off to sleep.

The year was 1592.

The local village guard had been summoned, as well as the mortician, to see what all the commotion was about. Nobody had heard anything since that time Daphne's cow fell into a well cover and needed rescuing.

That wasn't saying much because it meant word travelled faster and something strange was going on - everyone was frightened. Strange creatures had been spotted disguising themselves as rotted heads.

There was no telling where they came from, though the villagers of Aspect had only one being in mind - the devil himself had come to punish them for their sins. So many were dying and their heads were going missing, only to be found days later, strange growths from their mouths and scalp.

The farm hand ran out to get the mortician and village guard Hammel Geets, and together, they were heading to the scene of the latest in a string of bizarre deaths.
 "Squire, we have to hurry, they are all of a panic!" Marshall Quain, the farm hand, walked next to the mortician, the village guard on the far side. They walked in a line, with Marshall quivering as he held aloft a lamp. It was not long after sundown, so there was a little light, though they definitely had to watch where they were treading.

 "Your impatience will not solve this blight, you know?" Replied the mortician. "We morticians never rush to find the answer, and we always get the job done, for I am Eustace P. Smoot, mortician of the highest esteem!"

The men strode along, they were mentally preparing themselves as best they could. The village guard at a loss for what to say, kept his head down for most of the journey.

Approaching the village, everything was dark, they were going to Clarence Verdan's house. He had been found dead by the house-keep who was sat looking faint outside as the men approached.

 "Show us to the body girl, come now!" Eustace and Hammel pushed past Marshall, helping the house-keep to her feet. Taking the lamp from him, she rushed into the house and pulled back a curtain, to reveal her master, laying dead in his bed clothes.

What made it unusual is that his head was apart from his body, laying a few inches away from the body, yet no evidence of blood could be found on the bed, suggesting his death came prior to his head being removed after, by what looked to be a case of being pulled away from the neck.

Clarence's house-keep left the room and sat outside again with Marshall, now feeling pretty queasy himself. Eustace and Hammel examined Clarence and the room about him.

 "What happened to the man, Eustace?" Hammel asked him, he stood looking at the neck muscles hanging from the remains of Clarence's head. Watching it intently, he noticed movement inside. "It's ruddy moving!" He slapped his hand over his mouth, to hide that it had fallen open.

Nobody really believed the devil had come to Aspect, only now he had proof of his own. Eustace pulled a metal fork of sorts out of his pocket and rammed it inside Clarence's neck.

 "Erm...sir!" Started Hammel before he was interrupted with a hand gesture. He was really starting to feel sick, the colour drained from his face, his stomach lurching as he tried not to breathe in the at one before him.

 "I am working on...a-ha!" Eustace have the pronged fork a swivel and with a crunch, pulled it out with what appeared to now be a dead spider. The men stood studying the creature. It had long legs that resembled human fingers and a strange marking on its back. Fangs used for eating human flesh. "Make that seventeen, Hammel - and you owe me a shilling!"

Just as Hammel turned to vomit a noise came from outside.

 "Doctor?" Eunice enquired, waking him up sharply.

 "I was researching into the case, Eunice and I told you, call me Eustace, isn't it time for your break?" He abruptly replied.

 "I came to check on you, thank you doctor, I mean, Eustace." She called as she left.
Eunice was gone before Eustace turned around, he had always credited her with the ability of being able to slip away unnoticed and how the trait could do her well in times of emergency.

He put the old book down on the bench scratching his head and stretching, when he noticed something had changed about the room around him. The glass jar containing the head of Finella Wanes had moved and her head now missing.

The mortician quickly went into panic mode, looking frantically around his morgue, but the head was nowhere to be seen. He would have to wait until Eunice got back from her break before he could intensively question her over the whereabouts of Finella's head, and if need be, contact the police about the theft of a human head and desecration of human remains.

At a loss for what to do, Eustace went back to his chair and slumped down in it, to look through his rather large, flesh-covered book to wait for the return of Eunice. His patience paid off when he came across article he had seen about a serial killer nicknamed the "Spider" who had been lopping off heads and draining the fluids from the bodies.
This wasn't the case he was looking for, but he now knew he was close, if only he could remember. 

There was a crash of glass behind him and, like a flash, Finella Wanes head dashed across the floor, egg-like protrusions visible across her scalp. Spiders leg-like appendages helped her head move with ease, scaling the wall in a few seconds.

It sat glaring across the room at Eustace, panicked with his mouth open, not able to take his gaze from Finella's face, clearly dead, yet somehow animated by this creature - sort of like a spider, that stuck through Finella's mouth, and some sort of tongue dangled from the hole where her windpipe once was.

He wasn't about to admit he was drunk but all the same, the sight of this thing was making him feel rather queasy, if only Eunice had come back from wherever she had gone this time. He looked across to Finella, who looked evil, dropped one of the yellow sacs that was on the back of her scalp.

Miniature Finella heads, with spider closed mouths darted up the wall and out the window left open at the top of the room. Just as Eustace registered the screaming coming from outside, he fainted and lost all track of where he was.

 "That's five today squire, if we have any more, we won't have any room for the table to eat at tonight." Marshall remarked quietly to Eustace.

 "I know boy but what else can we do about it, it isn't lie we can force everyone to comply with what we think is necessary. I am but a simple servant and you, well you are a step up from a cleaner, you woudn't know what it is like to have to save people all of the time.

 "But you help dead people, not the living." Marshall retorted and he stood up, both of his legs covered in pig, cow and horse manure, he had goat manure in his hair and some chicken poop on his work clothes. 

Eustace sat looking at the boy before him. He was reminded of himaelf many years ago. "You coming to the town meeting lad?" he inquired.

 "No, I am not old enough to sit in, I will have to go sit with the children, such fun!" he mocked and stormed off towards the barn, where the children were. 

Eustace arrived at the town hall a few moments later, appearing sober, but was in fact, very drunk, it had been a long day of slicing and dicing, he didn't want to have a town meeting at 9.30pm. Everyone was shouting over each other and too weary and annoyed to distinguish who was who, Eustace sat at the back and pulled his hat over his eyes, folded his arms and went to sleep. 

He woke up and there were only three people left in the town hall with him, Hammel, of course, the judge, Barin Hymes and the vicar, Percille.

 "We have to destroy them!" growled Hammel, Eustace thought he should calm down before he ruptures something, those kinds of veins lead to a manner of different problems.

 Percille stood shaking his head "No, while I agree it appears the devil has come to Aspect, we must not fight fire with fire. I say we flee and we hide!"

 "Bulderdash!" screamed Hammel, but it was against his nature to run from anything, they were spiders that somehow kill people and rip their heads off, it is hardly like the Chinese people in the Far East, who had recently been fighting of a prehistoric creature from beyond the grave. He was not scared of a puny spider.

 "They aren't just puny spiders, Hammel." Eustace said, just loud enough to be heard. "These spider-fingers as they are called come from outer space, sent by demons so foul, that nobody has dared mention their name."

All three men looked at him with open mouths.

 "Why would I lie, I am the one who has extensive knowledge in the field of anatomy, physiology, disease and death. I don't make things up for the sake of it!"

 "Settle down, Eustace, have you been drinking again? Tell me, which galactic qudrant do these.. aliens.. come from exactly?" Barin chimed in, ready to mock him. He waved his hands about his hed, nearly dropping his tankard.

 "Just behind the Andromeda galaxy, in an exoplanet that won't be dicovered until 2022, witches made a deal with the devil to send creatures from the underworld. The very next day is when it all began. You were not even living here at the time, judge."

The tankard Barin had been holding tightly now flew past Eustace's head.


Submitted: October 20, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Maves Place. All rights reserved.

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