Short Story: The Reluctant Necromancer (Part 2)

If you haven’t seen it, don’t forget to check out Part 1!

The Reluctant Necromancer (Part 2)

Slowly, I turned back to the dead body, grasping a brush and several tubes of creams in white-knuckled hands. The words of the dead man echoed in my head.

Frank the corpse was as still as before, skin thin and wrinkled like parchment paper, face pale except for the blotches of pigmented powder on his cheeks and nose. He was dressed in his best navy-blue suit, which covered the horrible puckered slashes from the Y-shaped autopsy incisions. Meaty hands rested on a thick paunch and his wire-rimmed glasses sat on my tray, ready for to be set in place once his makeup was done. Just another dead guy.

But the insult reverberated into my chest, cutting deeper than I’d like to admit. Why would anyone take a girl seriously who painted corpses for a living?

Maybe because I painted life onto dead skin and breathed color into the empty husks of men and women. I added flesh to the bones of the mother eaten away by cancer and fixed the gaping holes left in the face of a sixteen-year old car accident victim. My work gave family members one last glimpse of their loved ones, a hint of peace before the dead were laid to rest forever.

Despite all that, most people though it was just creepy and weird. And dead customers seldom expressed their appreciation for my efforts.

Usually they just complained.

“Don’t get your tidy whities in a bunch. You’ll look beautiful for your big day.”

Frank’s lips didn’t move, but his words scratched through my head, “My old lady’s probably laughing her ass off, knowing she finally got rid of me. She’ll love seeing me painted up like a fricken clown. And my lazy kids’ll be there too, hands out for their piece of me. I work my whole damned life, only to wind up choking on my nachos during the best football game of the year. No help from my snot-nosed grand kid either. Just stood their gaping at me–”

I ignored the snarky words as best I could, taking refuge behind my corner desk. But the complaints grated in my skull, forcing me to cover my ears out of habit, though the voice was all in my head. Where was the ibuprofen when you needed it?

“Shut up, Frank.” The desk drawers flew open as I rifled through them, searching for my weapon. “Ah ha!” My hands fumbled with the buttons and knobs until tinny screeches and thumping beats filled the room.

Slamming the speakers on the desktop, I cranked the volume, blasting electronic music to drown out Frank’s words.

Then I got back to work on his make up. “You’re gonna look as pretty as a princess tomorrow,” I smiled.

Hmmm… Where’s this going? Leave you comments and questions below!

 

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