The Cannibal in the Morgue {Part 6 of 6}

Crypts & Cannibals: A Collection of Short Horror Stories

The Cannibal in the Morgue {Part 6 of 6}

A light rain began falling as Dr. Arilio pulled into the Graverly Family Mortuary. Only one working parking lot light of five illuminated a far corner of the pavement. The pitch black interior of the building refused to be penetrated as lightning painted the dark clouds.

With the car hidden by the rear employee entrance of the building, Skyksamenski's body thudded onto the old rusting gurney, careless left outside to be gnawed upon by the elements.

The doctor's consciousness searched frantically for the passage to escape this torturous experience of watching his life unfold without any means to direct or control what he was doing. He knew where he was, he knew what he planned to do, and he battled for control of the path that he was compelled to follow.

He pulled off his ski mask and smiled toward the security camera. Having worked here a few years before, he knew that the camera was a fake. Mr. Graverly was a terribly cheap bastard. A fake rock near the door hid a door key because the old forgetful owner would often leave his at home.

The gurney squeaked as Dr. Arilio tugged it down the hallway. From memory, he knew to turn left and then enter the last door. One large stainless steel piece of equipment dominated the room.

The aging crematorium continued to show signs of neglect. The cheap owner found no reason to instruct his employees to clean anything beyond what customers would see. The gurney left trails on top of the trails already drawn in fine dust on the floor. Dr. Arilio opened the crematorium door and wheeled the gurney into position, ready to shove the body into the oven.

Sweat dripped down his forehead. Murder is an exhausting business, especially when you can only watch yourself commit the heinous act. As he let out another deep breath, he attacked the edges of his sanity, wrenching back the veil that left him rudderless and separated from his own soul.

"This isn't a dream," he spoke out loud.

He felt his consciousness being besieged once again by the force that controlled and fought back with all his remaining energy.

"I really killed him."

His fingers ran through his hair, digging at his scalp, tearing at the edges of his sanity. He pulled with the last bit of emotion that remained within him, yanked open his own spirit and crawled back inside.

He closed his eyes and opened them again. Nothing had changed. The man's dead body remained.

He rushed to the nearest restroom, flipped on the light, and stared into the mirror. As his fatigued reflection stared helplessly back at him, the pale reflection of Marta Skyksamenski's broken and distorted image inked itself across his own face in the mirror.

"What have you done to me?" he demanded.

"My lover, you have my heart and have done my bidding," she replied, sending a frigid shiver down his spine, " I am avenged."

Her reflection faded further away, leaving him looking at his own face.

Dr. Arilio emotions ricocheted through his being, smashing into one another and bewildering him further. Anger flared hotly in his chest knowing she'd used him as a pawn. Panic and fear spread through him as he considered the criminal repercussions of killing a man. Yet, satisfaction and self-righteousness cradled his moral core, knowing he'd served justice.

The man in the mirror watched as a gnarled smile and focused eyes emerged from the befuddled face. An idea was sneaking across his mind, infusing a delicious finality to this demented drama.

He stepped back into crematorium's room with a smile and a large blade in his hand. Not the appropriate tool, but it would do. The blade sliced through the abdomen, just below the man's rib cage leaving a wide tear from one side of his body to the other. Pressing the stomach down, Dr. Arilio drove the knife up into the diaphragm making a hole large enough for his forearm.

Jonathan Skyksamenski's heart looked dark and cold in his hand as he pulled it from the oozing gash in the man's torso. The doctor's nefarious grin grew wider, even as he opened his mouth to bite into the raw, blood-drenched muscle. The acidic and metallic taste of blood mixed with the bitter sinewy muscle with each bite.

As he devoured the last morsel of the life-sustaining organ, he longed for a glass of Merlot to wash down the aftertaste lingering in his mouth. His laugh filled the room as he gently stroked the dead man's face. "Not long now."

He pushed the body into the crematorium's open mouth, using the long paddles to ensure that the body was fully extended. After closing and locking the door of the oven, he pressed the full cycle button. Before dawn, only ashes would remain in the incinerator. The mortuary owner and employees would blame one another for the mess, if they even noticed it.

The rain quicked its pace, pounding down angrily, as Dr. Arilio pushed the gurney back into the dark night. Each raindrop striking the tiny pools and stains of Skyksamenski's blood as if the drops hated the man as much his dead wife's spirit hated him.

Despite the apparent violence wrought upon the gurney, Dr. Arilio remained in the watery torrent, letting the heavenly downpour scrub his sins away. It felt cleansing and rewarding to feel the baptism of nature submerge him in a freshly cleaned psyche, unobstructed by the vengeful shade that controlled earlier.

With his consciousness refreshed and confident of his own ability to hold tight to his own spirit, Dr. Arilio stepped back inside and walked fearlessly through the dark to the filthy employee restroom. A single fluorescent bulb fought valiantly to illuminate the small, dank room but flickered defensively as darkness returned the attack.

Dr. Arilio peered deeply into his own eyes in the mirror, waiting. As the eyes looking back at him began to grow wider and frightened, he knew the rest of the face in the mirror would change. Within moments, Dr. Arilio's reflection faded, replaced by the terrified face of Jonathan Skyksamenski.

"What have you done?" demanded Skyksamenski.

"You murdered her," replied Dr. Arilio with unassailable satisfaction flowing through his entire being. He didn't know exactly how the husband killed his wife, and it didn't matter. Any desire for justification or need for evidentiary proof fled away from him, superseded by the certain knowledge of the man's guilt that Marta Skyksamenski's spirit infused into him.

"She... She..." he replied in terror, desperately pleading to share his pitiful excuse, but a force began pulling him deeper, twisting his spirit further into the darkness of the mirror. "No! No! No!" he screamed, "She's here!"

Dr. Arilio breathed a deep, refreshing breath as he stepped into the rain. "A case of Merlot, I think that's what I'm going to need."

With Me Forever {Part 1 of 2}