Edgar looked down at the body before him in revulsion. It was so… still … and warm, like it was sleeping. He didn’t look at it like a person that had once had an identity. It was a body, nothing more, nothing less. Dark hair tangled around the body’s neck, obscuring its lost, empty eyes in the mass of long waves. It didn’t care now, it felt no pain, no remorse, assuming, he thought, it ever had. What is this plague of humanity, but a strange chance of fate?
Stealing himself against his revulsion to touch it again, he sought his tools. This body wasn’t the first and he fingered the long clay beaded necklace around his neck remembering the others. No one should find them, not in one piece at least, and nothing that was at all recogonisable as even remotely human.
Drawing a large glass of whiskey, Edgar downed it swiftly, the fiery liquid simultaneously burning and numbing him. Rifling through the bag of newly purchased tools he found what he was looking for; a hammer. This part revolted him the most, yet it was the only part that was worth the effort of stealing a life. Mementos weren’t that easy to conceal, unless you knew how.
He cringed as he rolled the cooling body onto its back and stuffed the mouth full of cotton wool from his pocket. There was nothing quite as disgusting as cutting open a body to search for its teeth.
Standing over the body, Edgar closed his eyes as the hammer swung in a sharp arc at its mouth. He didn’t need to see it; he’d had enough practice to judge the distance precisely. The sound of cracking bones pierced the air, the impact of the hit reverberating through his fingers and up his arm. He smiled wryly at the dense silence that followed each hit. When he was done, he checked the mouth tentatively, checking for remnants of teeth. Finding none, he rolled the body over onto its stomach, the teeth clattering to the floor. He didn’t want to roll it again, he’d had enough of touching the revolting shell of a thing, but he needed to remove the cotton wool and make sure he had each and every tooth.
Satisfied that he had them all he carried them, like the precious things they were, over to his work bench.
Now came the fun part. Slicing off a clump of clay, he kneaded it into smooth consistency, easy to mould in his hands. Breaking off small portions of clay he rolled each tooth within it, carefully going over each bead to make sure no stray hint of bone was visible and set each aside to dry.
Losing himself in the feel of the clay and the secret of hiding each tooth within it to add to his already numerous collection, Edgar worked steadily, perfecting each bead before checking the kiln and retiring to bed, satisfied and at peace for the first time since the ‘event’.
He would dismember and burn the body later. It was only the mementos that mattered.
by Indie Adams
*First published in Dead Elephant in the Bazaar © Noosa Scribes 2010