The Mortician’s Angst

There was an audible twang. Turning back, he wrinkled his brow in disgust. Four! Four perfectly placed stitches had torn loose so far. He was baffled and more than a bit annoyed. Peering at the remainder of the skein, he examined it for defects; it looked perfectly fine. He wrapped a short length around his fingers and gave a hard tug. He received nothing but resistance for his effort. A bit perplexed, his fingers slipped between her lips to remove the defective stitch; he inspected it thoroughly with a loop before discarding it with the others.

Making his way to the old apothecary cabinet his grandfather had used many years ago, he opened each draw until he finally found what he was looking for – catgut. Sometimes the old-fashioned way was the only way. Threading the much thicker needle with the coarse sinew, he finished the sutures. He stood and stared in consternation for a good ten minutes willing them to stay fast yet daring them to break free. Finally satisfied, he turned to reach for the clay and began the next stage of reconstruction.

Two hours later, after finishing the cosmetic details, he gazed down upon the face he had just rebuilt and was pleased with his efforts. He’d done a fine job of reconstructing her crushed bones and concealing the bruised tissue. She looked peaceful, almost angelic, but the sedative would soon wear off. After a brief wait, a slight murmur reached his ears; one eye began to tear open. As his grandfather used to say, ‘death was just around the corner, one should always be prepared,’ though he doubted his grandfather had meant it in quite the same manner.

With a deep sigh, he inserted a trocar into the femoral vein to drain the body, then moved to insert another into her brachial artery to introduce the chemical mixture. The art of embalming was one so few had the opportunity to experience, to appreciate. Apparently, she was not in an appreciative mood.

~ Nina D’Arcangela

© Copyright Nina D’Arcangela. All Rights Reserved.

34 thoughts on “The Mortician’s Angst

    1. Thank you, Jon! I’m glad you enjoyed my short, but twisted, tale of a man trying to give his all only to go unappreciated. Maybe his next masterpiece/victim will have greater respect for his efforts… who knows? 😉


    1. Thank you, Craig!! I’m very pleased with the way the mortician developed. He’s a twisted little pup who strives for so much, yet receives no recognition for his art in the end. It must be a very frustrating existence! ;]


  1. *wringing hands and giggling fiendishly* now this defines professionalism! 😉

    In four brief paragraphs, you manage to seize the reader’s mind, terrify the reader’s mind, educate the reader’s mind, and shock the reader’s mind. Much like the mortician in your story, you are a true master of your craft. Loved it, Nina, bravo!! 🙂


    1. Yes, Joe – the mortician is the consummate professional and perfectionist. The only problem with his endeavors is that none will ever appreciate them – not the way he wants them too. Thank you for the kind praise, I’m happy to tickle your brain with this little piece!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, being a perfectionist is a difficult pursuit – particularly when you have an audience of one who won’t be appreciating your efforts in the end. But one can always hope… *wicked grin*

      Thank you for complimenting the story and the voice used to craft it, Magenta! 🙂


  2. Your story packed quite an unexpected–at least for me, as I was waiting for the mortician to be on the receiving end–yet exacting punch so succinctly. *applauds* It may be rudimentary praise but, damn, I loved this!


    1. Yes, being a perfectionist is a bitch; and one without an appreciating audience – almost too much to bear! But our pleasantly psychotic mortician is resigned to being his own audience, yet still hopes for that one individual who will offer him praise for his efforts! Thank you, Chris!! I’m glad to know I didn’t disappoint! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Zack! In a tale like this, you know it’s coming at some point, you just don’t know where it’s couched. This one’s all about the subtle details… I’m happy you enjoyed it! The mortician’s situation is unique in that only he and his intended ‘client’ will ever know the circumstances of how their final preparation came to be. 😉


    1. Thank you, Blaze – I’m really glad you enjoyed it! The mortician’s existence as a serial killer with the perfect means of disposal is the easy part. Living with the lack of appreciation, and the frustration of perfecting your art only to destroy it without recognition must really rub the wrong way! 😀


  3. This one turned my stomach, Nina – good job! Anything to do with surgery on conscious, unwilling victims gets that visceral reaction, and your short story explores the theme in true Pen style. At least she will be beautifully preserved forever…


    1. Thank you,Thomas!! Sorry about the stomach turning. *evil grin* I’m giving myself a gold star for that! Though as you say, she will be beautifully preserved by her tormentor. There has to be a level of redemption in that, right? ;]~


    1. Thank you, Madame!! I was really pleased with how well it came together in such a short piece. And I know you love serial killer pieces! The poor man suffers such agony not ever having his genuine potential realized… but, like any consummate professional, he perseveres non-the-less. 😉


    1. LMAO! Yup, I’m definitely on the short short side. And I’m an apothecary cabinet junkie! I look for them everywhere hoping to find a forgotten gem. They’re extremely fascinating… just about anything could be hiding in one of the old draws. The possibilities are endless. I like endless possibilities! I’m glad you enjoyed the flash, Hunter – it’s one of my favorites. Muchas gracias for the kind words, sir!! 😀


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