The Mortician This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Chester Corwin was his name. He wasn’t well known in our town, people only knew him as the mortician who lived on Murk Street. I don’t believe he was ever seen talking to anyone, although on occasion a few people claimed that they’ve seen him speaking to a man no one else had seen before. The man looked like an ordinary man, black sneakers, jeans, and a t-shirt with various logos printed on it. Chester, on the other hand, always wore a suit, no matter where he went. Yet, he rarely left his house, only to go to his job. He was never seen walking around our small town or eating at a local diner. He was always inside the last house on Murk Street. His house was gradually decomposing. The black paint that had consumed his entire house began to peel, leaving white streaks behind. The door hinges rusted, and when he opened his door, a loud creak echoed nearby.

Chester was an odd looking man. There was absolutely nothing that was ordinary about him. And he was not extraordinary in any sense. He was a very short man, measuring only around five feet tall. His right foot curved inward and his left foot curved outward, forcing him to walk in a convoluted manner. His knees were always bent, making him appear shorter than he really was. His hands were two completely different sizes, one being far too large and the other being underdeveloped. Anyone who had come in contact with him was reluctant to shake his hand, knowing that either way they would have to touch something they did not want to touch. Along with his knees, his elbows were always bent as well. He had a hunchback, only adding to the difficulty of walking. From what I’ve heard, people have thrown things at him like eggs or water balloons to see if they could hit his hunch. Then there is his face. His mouth is slanted, so it begins high up on his right cheek and has a steep slope down to the left side of his chin. He’s missing at least half of his teeth, and many people say that he refrains from smiling due to the fact that he doesn’t have any teeth to show. His nose was the only normal thing on his face, that is, until he was beaten up one night. Three men came out from behind him and jumped him in the park. They threw him to the ground and repeatedly kicked him until he became unconscious. They had broken his nose in five different spots, leaving it crooked and swollen. Judging by what I have been told about the man, his eyes were intoxicating. Even though they were a dark shade of brown, they were the most beautiful eyes a person could ever wish for, or so I’ve heard. But his eyes were masked by the fact that after the night he was beaten up, the bones surrounding his eyes were broken, and as a result, it’s almost impossible for anyone to see them. And his jet black hair which was pulled out of his head after that night in the park was never seen again, most likely because he shaved it from then on. As you can tell reader, I was never able to see Chester. But it was always a possibility. And I hoped that one day I would be able to, because I knew that there was beauty under all of that. You just have to look a little more closely to find it.

My hopes of meeting him were cut short, for one night after a party I was driving home, and I realized that the breaks on my car were no longer functioning which resulted in my car soaring off of a bridge and into a river. The police had discovered my car the next day and removed my body which was then sent to be autopsied to see if I was intoxicated which led me off of the bridge. Once it was determined that I was perfectly fine and that the reason for my death was simply by drowning due my car being driven into a river from breaks that had been cut, I was transported to a funeral home where my family met with Chester, the mortician.

My family had left the funeral home and it was my corpse and Chester, all alone together. His job: embalm my body before the funeral. It was something I didn’t want to think about, seeing as though I was going to be pumped with chemicals to preserve my body for my funeral. My thoughts were put at ease though, when I realized he was also going to make me beautiful. I was never able to get a good look at Chester, being dead and all. But I was able to hear him. His voice didn’t match up with the rumors I had so often heard pertaining to him. It was a sweet voice, a voice I wouldn’t mind coming home to and waking up to in the morning. A voice that could calm me down, or make me so excited. Why was I so afraid to speak to this man in all of the years that I was alive? Was it because of everything I had heard about him? After all, he did seem like a cruel and vile beast trapped in the body of a human who was slowly clawing its way out. But that was no justification for my ignorance of that man. He was a person, a person who deserved to be treated as such and nothing less.

I tried to make out some of the things he was saying as he worked on my body. He told me that I was beautiful and that he had never seen anyone as beautiful as I. He kept wishing that he knew me when I was alive. Occasionally he made some form of a groan when he went to exchange tools or took a break. I never knew what the groan was for, but I knew this man was in pain. But he didn’t act like a miserable man. He seemed perfectly happy, almost like he was in denial about the kind of life he was living. Was he aware that everyone in our town spoke about him day and night? And they didn’t say nice things. No, quite the opposite of nice things. More like hurtful and disgusting things, judging that poor man based solely upon his looks. But they never actually met Chester, nor did they ever have a conversation with him. And I have to admit, I was one of those people at times. I laughed at the horrible jokes told about him. And I once explained to my mother that a monster was living in our town. I regret all of it. Who was I to be so cruel? Who was I to judge that poor and innocent man, who only wanted nothing more than a good life? He never did anything to anyone. He never beat someone up because of their physical deformities. He never said awful and demeaning things about anyone, because he had never met them. That’s the way a person should be, but in the world, people like that are so rare. And I was so grateful to have someone like that in my presence. I continued to listen to his voice as he worked on my body. But his comments became more sexual and he spoke to me as if we had always known each other. He spoke to me as if we were long time friends, and now he wanted something more between us than just friendship. He whispered dirty things in my ear, things that gave me chills all over. He told me to relax because everything would be okay with Chester. That name started to frighten me as I realized I had no way of escaping. I was dead. Just about as dead as a dead person could be. My heart wasn’t beating. My blood wasn’t flowing. My muscles weren’t moving. My organs weren’t working. I was finished. The only option I had was to listen to what he was saying to me. His voice did make things a little better than they actually were. Although at around two hours into the embalming process, the comments became more sexual as he explained what he wanted to do to me. His hand—sealed off from the world by a thin layer of latex—began to stroke my head, and twirl my hair around his fingers. I couldn’t feel the slight tug of my hair that he so desperately wished I felt. He groaned again, and then made a little growl at me. Before my accident, my biggest fear was death. But seeing as though death had come, I needed to choose a new fear, and Chester was certainly my number one candidate. His hands graduated to the next level and moved to my chest area. I wanted to scream. I wanted to get up off of that table and punch him across the face. I felt horrible about everything that people have said about Chester, but that pervert deserved everything that was said about him.

“I’ve never seen anything like you. You’re a goddess.” What was I going to do? My only choice was to impatiently wait for the process to end. Every five minutes I reevaluated my options, hoping that I would come up with a plan. But nothing came. His hand continued to move down my body and at that moment I have never felt dirtier. This man was defiling the poor and innocent body of a woman who was tragically murdered. But by whom? Who had cut the breaks on my car? It didn’t matter to me at that moment. I needed to get out. But his hands, slithering around my cold and dead body like a snake, refused to let me go.

“I love you.” Three words I had never heard in all of the years that I was living, were now whispered in my ear by some creep I had never met when I was dead. He moved his mouth away from my ear and his lips gravitated toward my lips. With my eyes being closed I wasn’t exactly sure of what he was doing, but I had that sense. I felt the intense heat radiating off of his face that started to warm up my cold, lifeless skin. The warmth was comforting, but after a few seconds of comfort it turned to discomfort. Even more than discomfort, it was disgusting. He grabbed lipstick and started to place it on my lips. That feeling of being dirty continued to grow, even though this man was supposed to be making me look beautiful. He leaned in and bonded his lips to mine. And there was absolutely nothing stopping him. Was he in his right mind? Was he unaware of the fact that I was dead? He could have continued to kiss me for hours on end without anyone telling him to stop.

“I love you, you beautiful creature. I am so blessed that we can spend this time together. But you know I did what I did for a reason.” What did he mean? What did he do? And there was no way of me being able to ask him what he was talking about. All I could do was hope that he could explain what he “did” to me.

“Maia, our love can never be as long as my heart beats.” Well let’s keep it that way. I always felt pity for this man. People trashed him, made jokes about him, egged his house, egged him, and tortured him in every way possible. I longed to have a conversation with him to see that he was a good and kind hearted man. But he wasn’t. He was far from it. He was a disgusting, vile, and perverted gargoyle, undeserving of happiness.

I heard his footsteps as he walked to the other side of the room. The heat radiating off of his body was now harder and harder to feel.

“I’ve been saving this for the right person, and I know that’s you.” I heard his hands ruffling through his bag. He pulled something out of it, but then went back in to find a second object. Once he had come across the two items he was looking for, he came back over to my body, lying so innocently on the table. I prayed that he felt some sort of remorse and guilt about what he was doing. But from what I could tell, he didn’t.

“Will you marry me?” Was he joking? Did he just ask a corpse to marry him? He did. He slid the ring onto my lifeless finger. You have made me the happiest man alive.

He then took the second item in his hand. I heard a click and a rattling sound. I wanted to know what he was doing so badly, but I couldn’t open my eyes. But I would find out soon enough.

I heard another click, one more groan, and a loud snap that startled me. But I knew what that sound was. It was a gunshot. One, single, cold, loud, lifeless gunshot.

“Hello Maia.”

“Hello Chester.”





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