Below, a 1000 word flash fiction story awaits your perusal, written without use of the definite article the.

Morderia pulled out cooler number three, which rested perfectly at waist height. A white tag attached to a rigid toe identified this particular corpse as Henly P. Waites. She held his file in her left hand and referred to it now to be sure.

Yep, set for cremation. His autopsy had been completed only an hour ago, just before Dr. Carter, coroner extraordinaire, left work. Disposal of Mr. Waites’ remains would have to wait until tomorrow morning. Perfect timing.

Pulling a yellow maintenance cart closer, she flipped open a stained side flap, reached in, and retrieved her tool kit, a rolled up bolt of black velvet. Unfurling it across Mr. Waites’ stomach revealed a full arsenal of clamping, cutting and sawing tools.

She rubbed her hands together to try to get some warmth into them.

Do morgues really have to be so cold? Well, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. What would mother think? A witch as powerful as she, reduced to sneaking around as a cleaning lady. She giggled a little, finding humor where only she would. Of course, her mother wouldn’t have thought much of what kind of witch she turned out to be, so she guessed it didn’t matter what she used as a cover. That helped to sober her thoughts so she could set her mind to her task.

As it had turned out, Morderia preferred dark arts, and rituals of darkness required body parts. Thankfully, she already had enough of those that had been harvested from living bodies stored at home. She reached into a black pocket sewn into her kit’s lining to retrieve a list she had made that morning.  Body parts that wouldn’t be missed were hard to come by, so she would have to try to reap as many as possible while she could.

Morderia free twenty yellow, plastic twist ties from a bundle in her kit, one for each toe, one for each finger. She would use these to keep embalming fluid from leaking out once she severed each digit from Mr. Waites’ hands and feet. She tightened a blue twist tie around what remained. “…ties that bind…” she mumbled, chuckling.

Her body rocked slightly, forward then backward, her head going side to side as she perused her kit, wondering where her melon baller could be hiding. She would not take his eyes without it, any alternative method was too messy. She found it, tucked safely behind two columns of cotton balls that provided enough cushion to keep her items from clanking together.

Of several cherry jars wrapped and tucked into her kit, she brought out five, one for five fingers of each hand, one for five toes of each foot and another for Mr. Waites’ eyes. She had no room in her freezer at home for larger parts, so she’d have to pass on those.

These days, transporting limbs is too dangerous anyway.

She went to work relieving Mr. Waites of items he would no longer need, but she would. Her hands chose each instrument as she needed it, to cut flesh and break bone. Her light green eyes gleamed with fervor, like jewels set into a landscape of pale, clear flesh framed by wild, onyx hair. She sang a merry tune that her mother, a white witch, had taught her as a child.

For this next part, she would need to use Dr. Carter’s instrument table. She made a mental note to wipe it down when she finished working. She wasn’t overly concerned, though. Even if he noticed it had been used, surely he wouldn’t expect it to have been used by a cleaning lady. Worst case scenario she would get fired, they didn’t burn or hang witches anymore.

Morderia moved her tool kit over to her stainless steel workstation.

I gotta get me one of these.

She placed cherry jars containing her new ingredients back into pockets in her kit, then pulled out a boxed roll of freezer paper and some freezer tape. Using a fine, serrated edge, she cut a square of paper and placed it on Mr. Waites’ lower abdomen.

She pulled out a scalpel of her own and announced, “Ze docteur iz een.” Unable to stop it this time, she cackled maniacally. Her unabated laughter shook her petite frame as she struggled to follow incisions already made by Dr. Carter’s expert hand. Having reopened Mr. Waites’ thoracic cavity, Morderia brought herself under control so that she would not damage any internal organs she would now be removing.

In squares of freezer paper, she wrapped two lungs, a kidney and a heart. She stitched up Mr. Waites’ chest, then moved down to open his stomach so she could gather some intestine she would store in a pickle jar. This part was always messy.

Well, I did come in here to clean.

A mighty urge to giggle tried to force its influence on her, but she made an effort to concentrate and successfully put it down. An instrument in a cabinet somewhere settled, knocking against another, briefly disrupting her work. She disregarded it and finished with Mr. Waites, sewing him back up and pushing his cooler back into place.

She had brought a lunch box with her to store her freshly harvested components in until she could safely get them home. Morderia whistled her mother’s merry tune as she mopped embalming fluid from a tiled floor, dancing along with her mop in hand, all while backing away until she made her exit. She never saw, or even suspected, that Dr. Carter’s assistant, Graham Evans, had remained behind, and had been watching her grisly work that night from a supply closet in a corner.

4 thoughts on “Harvest

  1. Erm, excuse me…sorry to be rooting around in your archives, but this is great! And not a “the” to be found. I say we stop using that word altogether. It’s absence only seems to make things better!

    Liked by 1 person

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