The Professor


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1. Chapter One

    Blood is an odd color. It’s red, but it’s a void of a sort— a coat of nothing, as Professor likes to call it, because a layer of blood makes it look as if there’s just an endless pool. It’s interesting, to say the least, to think of blood as a bottomless liquid, but Henry prefers not to see it.

    Henry prefers not to see any of it. He doesn’t want to see the bodies, or the blood, but he can’t help it this time. It’s right in front of him; its pale face, its jaw hanging to its chest, the smell of its rotting flesh. This one has been here for a while, and there’s no chance of the soul being in it at all; all the better and all the worse. All the better for the experiment, all the worse for him. The fact that he has to carry the revolting thing…

    Ew.

    At least she’s beyond dead and there’s no chance of anything leaking on him-- well, no chance of anything besides sewage.

    Sewage. Gross.

    Stop thinking of that and get your job done, Henry.

    He steps back and sizes up the body with his eyes. Because it’s in a loading dock, the measurements of five, ten, fifteen, twenty feet and so on are labeled, so it’s easy for him to tell that the body is about six feet tall, judging by the fact that the feet of the corpse is at ten feet mark and her head falls about a foot above the fifteen. The body is strangely positioned, face up with one arm crossed and folded underneath itself— herself, he guesses he should call her. Her legs are crossed at the ankle, dried blood pooled around her calf. There’s a bit of deep red blood around her heart, and her red hair is all tangled around her head and across her face. Her shiny makeup is smudged, a bit cakey from the two days of decay, but it still makes her look good— good for a dead body, don’t get him wrong. Her eyes are currently being eaten by some kind of centipede-like insect. He sighs. Time to spray ‘er.

    Henry pulls out the travel-sized bug-eradicant from his pocket. He grimaces and pulls in a deep breath, making his cheeks bubbles. He squeezes his eyes shut and points the bottle at the corpse. He pushes down on the nozzle and hears the high-pitched squeeeeeak as the spray pushes out through the small hole. He opens his eyes but looks away from the body. He knows that the bugs are literally going to come out in a mudslide through her mouth and disintegrate. It’s just a thing that he’s seen so many times that it’s a bit monotonous to watch it.

    He looks back at the body afterwards. She’s clean of bugs, the centipede-thing gone from her eyes. He notes the astounding amount of ash on the ground beside her— a good foot-tall pile. He didn’t realize that that many bugs were feasting on her.

    Henry sighs and picks up at the stretcher that lays on the ground beside him. He sits it back down right beneath the body’s legs. The stretcher is the same, red, plastic contraption that he always used, the one with chains on the side to tie down the body.

     It’s a good thing that the Tags didn’t get to this body before me, Henry thinks as he drags the corpse foot-first onto the stretcher. Heaven only knows what Professor would’ve yelled at me for letting this woman’s body get slip through their fingers.

     He lets out a small huff of air through his nose, a kind of laugh, when he remembers what Professor always says; “Those ‘police’ certainly don’t put good use to their resources. They could circulate the stolen currency, use up those illegal drugs and stuff, even experiment on the bodies of those deceased. I don’t understand it.” It always makes Henry laugh when his boss says that, which always arouses glares and chastisement.

    Henry positions the head of the body right to where it needs to be and straps its— her--  forehead onto the stretcher, and then her neck. He follows that up by strapping her upper arms, then her wrists, then her thighs, then her calves, her ankles (careful, there’s a hole there), and, finally, her feet. He’s used to this, so he knows the most effective method.

    He struggles, but finally, he manages to lift it— lift her, forgive him (it’s easy to forget that the corpse was actually living, breathing human at one time). He picks the stretcher up and struggles to get it to rest above his head, his arms stretched all the way out. Finally, he gets it steady. It burns his muscles to carry her to the yellow Kia Soul. He lays her in the backseat carefully, laying her as flat as he could get her.

    The hardest part has passed of the routine has passed. Now it’s just going to be a matter of whether the Tags will stop him or not. It’s like a wheel of fortune— or misfortune, whichever you like to consider it. It’s a question of if the Tags are going to stop you...or the person behind you. They pick at a random, hoping to get lucky, get a big break by accident, like perhaps find a body— oh, okay, yeah, not a good analogy, but…

    Henry finally opens the driver’s side door and opens it up. He struggles a bit with the seat adjustment (his long legs make it a real struggle), but he finally manages to get in, even though his head is bent all crazy against the ceiling.

He sticks the key in the ignition, twists the key hard, and the Kia kicks up. The vehicle is an old thing— they stopped making parts for it a good century ago. He’s not sure exactly how it survived, but it did, and he’s glad for it. He doesn’t know exactly what he’s going to do for a vehicle after it dies, but he’ll worry about that when it does, he guesses.

    He knows an old road that leads from here to the lab, a road with broken asphalt and bones all across the road from roadkill that’s been picked to only the stripped sticks. It’s a bit dangerous to drive on it, but not as risky crime-wise. Worth the risk?

    You bet. He’s willing to risk his life rather than go to jail, and then the chair. No trial for him, no arguments where he was already assumed guilty and he’d have no alibi. The chance of the Tags not pulling him over was too slim, barely even existent, so he chose this death over that death.

    He pulls onto the abandoned road, looking into the backseat to check on the tethering body. She’s good, just as dead as ever, and he looks back at the road. He curses under his breath. Not a single inch of the road is not broken into a trillion pieces.

    “Get ready for a rough ride, Shirley,” he says to the body jokingly, and began the bumpy descent down toad road.

 

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