Home In Florence

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Edmund was a child once, not always a plague Doctor. Some say curiosity killed the cat...I say it sparked a crazed maniac's mind to discover more.

(WARNING: Lots of anatomy speak and gore(?))

Submitted: November 23, 2015

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Submitted: November 23, 2015

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"Home In Florence"

Chapter 1

Edmund Rugizello-Ufitzi 

 

There was no corpse in Florence's morgue during the first night's attempt.  

Late 1500's -

Edmund was still a student and apprentice to the old religious scholar and mentor, Galeazzo de'Medici.  He was no more then 16-years-old, along with his peers. They were considered adults when they started developing which was around 13 years old . Edmund lived in the monestary almost all his life - learning the ways to become a doctor in the Renaissance.

 Although his appearance contrasted with his contemporaries, they were considered family. Feebly he stands tall, with wide, drooping shoulders and a ribs to protrude naturally. He was uncommonly long-limbed – but this was normal for an adolescent male.

After years of religious education, more advanced scholars would demonstrate the proper dissection of a large animal...or even better - a human. This would only happen with years of experience. The monestary has had a few open classes where the students watch a person of higher experience teach the anatomy to students. After observing these demonstrations over a period of time a young man could get head strong and believe they can do it right off the bat.

Tonight is the night, he would think to himself, he would sneak out of his sleeping quarters with only his green satchel containing a few kitchen implements, a pair of scissors and an old candle he would use for homework, and discover on his own without thinking of the consequences. 

The smell of the old building was not of death - but old, rotting wood, wet linen and chemicals he had never come across.  Not like death at all, the room enveloped its own creepy aura that was by itself unsettling to the stomach. His chest felt tight as the notion of suffocating from the odour. There was no corpse in Florence's morgue during the first night's attempt. 

On the third night he now found a body in its winding sheet on the planked table.  The cadaver he tenderly unwrapped was older, with white beard patches on a big red face, the skin tight, the fluid under the skin marbleized. Just the sight of the man made his veins run icy. Forcibly swallowing the lump that form in his throat, he began to have second thoughts. The adrenaline was already coursing through his body, causing goose bumps to cascade own the length of his back. The first attempt of pressing the cold steel tip of the kitchen knife into the body's flesh was a disappointing, yet reliving fail. His eyes were squeezed shut. Now he had a moment to change his mind on whether or not he should continue with it. But he had already gone too far. He had to know. 

He used his knife with more authority this time, opening the abdomen with a single clean cut. Where was the blood? He thought to himself, for there was none. Then without much thought, he used his left hand to pry apart the rib cage, which made a noise like crackling wood. It remained attached at the collarbone. He picked up his candle and held the light close to the innards, for this was his first complete view. It was fantastic. He saw something pale red, net like in design,and of solid tissue, which he deduced was the lungs. This network had a black covering, something that he had heard happened to wool workers.

Experimentally, he pressed the lung; a hissing noise came out of the mouth of the corpse. He dropped the candle in fright. Fortunately it did not go out. When he regained his calm and had picked up the candle, he realized that in touching the lung he had forced out the residual air; and for the first time he understood what breathing was, because he could see and feel and hear the communication between the lungs and the mouth, realized what it did to the whole figure. Simply remarkable.  
He used the base of his wrist to push away the overgrown strands of  corn-silk hair that lay plastered to his glistening, pale forehead.  After he had moved aside the lung he noticed a dark red mass; this must be the heart. It was covered by a shining membrane. Probing, he found that all of the tissue was connected to a form shaped something like an apple, almost free in the chest, attached only at the top of the pyramid.


"Shall I take it out?"


He hesitated a moment, then picked up his scissors, cut across the pyramidal membrane. Substituting his knife, he peeled away the membrane as though he were opening a banana. Now he had the heart in his two hands. Unexpectedly, he was hit by an emotional impact. If the soul and heart were one, what happened to this unfortunate cadaver's soul now that he had cut out its heart? As quickly as it had come, the fear departed. In its place came a sense of triumph. He was holding a human heart in his hands! He felt the happiness that arises out of knowledge, for now he knew about the most vita organ of the body, what it looked like, how it felt. He opened the heart with his knife, was shocked to find that there was nothing inside. He replaced it in its cavity, put back the chest's rib structure. But now he knew precisely where the heart beat beneath it
He did not have the faintest idea of how to start work on the snake of the intestine. He picked up a piece, pulled. It came easily for a time, about five feet of it; the bowels were attached loosely to the posterior wall, and came away. Then he began to feel resistance. The upper part was enlarged, a sort of bag was attached, which he deduced was the stomach. He had to use his knife to cut it loose.
Tonight he had a four-hour candle, but already it began to splutter. He bundled the viscera back into the abdominal cavity, and with great difficulty got the corpse rewrapped.

He ran frantically out of the morgue  to the fountain in the Piazza Santo Spirito. As much as his hands dragged and scrubbed in the cloudy waters, he could not get the feeling of dirt off his fingers. He stuck his head into the icy water to wash away the sense of guilt. 

He kept his head in the water as long as he could stand to be without breath. It felt like forever. Maybe if he kept his head in longer, he would forget everything that happened. Oh, how he wished. He felt is own thin frame jittering with adrenaline against the surging currents of the fountain. He could only feel the rough stony base of where his hands supported him and the strands of hair plastered in all directions against the edges of his strained face. The small senses slowly brought him back to reality. He pushed himself up, standing for a moment with his hair and face dripping water; then ran all the way home, shaking as though with ague. Nearly forgetting his belongings.
He could not risk Galeazzo detecting the odor of death, so wandered the building until he found some wine in the kitchen's quarter that was open. He sprinkled the rest of the wine over his shirt though being disgusted by the scent. 


Galeazzo was outraged when he smelled the strong wine.

 


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