Short story: Love is Dead

November 2, 2022

Image by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

Skylar’s dark fantasy of a dangerous liaison beyond the grave

Content warning: the following short story touches on the issue of suicide that some may find distressing or triggering

“Ok, thank you for calling. Bring the cadaver by the end of the week and we will cremate it for you. I’m sorry for your loss. Bye bye.”

I hang up, and sigh gently. That was the last call of the day, thankfully. I work as a mortician, and I specialise in cremation. I get about ten to 15 calls a day, and I hate every single one. I don’t feel pity or anything, it’s the socialising that’s the problem.

I have horrid social anxiety and have been suffering with it for years on end. Once this customer brings in the cadaver, I’ll place it in a cremation container and put it in the cremation chamber. Then, I’ll use a magnet to remove the metal, grind up the ashes, and put them in the provided urn. It’s simple, really. I’m sort of immune to grief seeing as I’ve had so many to grieve for. Often I wonder if these families have enough money to get their loved ones to heaven. Often I question if that’s a real thing, or if my grandfather just made it up.

You’re my best friend. You won’t leave me, or judge me. You’ll love me as long as I feed you.

I lock up the crematorium, and start to head home. I live a couple blocks away from my work, so it’s about a ten-minute walk. I like to listen to the birds as I walk, whistling and twittering quietly. I love birds. My favourite is the common magpie. Beautiful blue plumage hidden underneath a bland, grey blanket.

Once I get home, I boil a pot of water to cook some spaghetti. I warm up some leftover tomato sauce and heat it in a pan before adding in some garlic, meatballs, and salt. I toss the spaghetti in the now bubbling water, and stir until it’s al dente, and finish cooking it in the sauce. Simple and quick. No need for anything fancy, there’s no occasion.

I sit with my cat at the dining table and eat my spaghetti. She meows at me and pokes me with her paw until I give her a teeny tiny piece of meat. She purrs and eats it quickly, and I smile.

“You’re my best friend. You won’t leave me, or judge me. You’ll love me as long as I feed you.”

“Right?”

~~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~

I go to take a bath, and she follows me into the bathroom.

“Hey! Luci Feré, you can’t come in here!”

I laugh and carry her out into the living room. I gently place her on the mini cat couch and she sprawls out in an attempt to get me to pet her belly. She succeeds, to say the least. I head back to the bathroom and fill up the bath. I pour in some bath salts and soak for a while before draining the tub and washing my hair.

The water runs blue as I rinse my long hair, and I use my colour-safe shampoo before putting in my colouring conditioner. As I wait, I check my phone. No notifications. That’s the way I like it. I rinse and dry my hair, then head to bed.

~~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~

I wake up and get ready, then walk to work. I wave at the electric doors, and head inside. In the middle of the room, there’s a wooden coffin with a note attached on top. I read it aloud.

“I brought this inside because the door was open. This is Ivy Hawthorne. She died of pneumonia at the age of 29. Please take care of her. – Jennifer Hawthorne.”
I take the note off and pocket it to bin later, and I open the coffin. There’s only one thought in my head at this moment.

She’s beautiful.

Beguiling, glassy green eyes stare unblinkingly back at me. Enchanting brown hair flows down her cold shoulders in gentle curls. Her lips are round and pink, but without shine. Her skin is spotted with freckles across her cheeks and nose. It reminds me of Bambi, along with her large eyes.

[authquote text=”I can’t cremate this beautiful woman, with her large, piercing jade eyes”]

“I can’t do this.”

I can’t cremate this beautiful woman, with her large, piercing jade eyes. I’ll send Jennifer with someone else’s ashes, or burnt incense. Just not this woman. She’s perfect. I need to be with her. I’ll find her. Suddenly, the door makes a ‘schwoop’ sound. It opened. I turn around. There’s no one there.

It must be her.

~~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~

Hours later, I sit in my office, my head in my hands. What should I do? She’s here with me now. Her soul hasn’t passed on. I refuse to believe it could have been a leaf in the wind, or a stray cat walking past. It was her, Ivy Hawthorne.

Just then, a thought enters my mind. I’ll communicate with her using a ouija board. I pull one out of my desk drawer – long story – and place my two fingers on the planchette.

“Ivy Hawthorne, are you here?”

The planchette shakes. I gasp audibly, then clasp my mouth shut as it slowly moves to the top left corner. Yes. My hands shake as I ask another question.

“Do you love me?”

The planchette shudders but stays in the same place.

“Do you want me to pay for you to get into heaven?”

There’s no reason for me to stay here. I have no friends. I have no family.

It slides to the right slightly but then moves back to yes.

“Do you want me to be with you in the afterlife?”

It vibrates on the spot and stays on yes.

“Then I’ll join you. I’ll see you soon my love.”

I rush to the staff kitchen and take the toaster then run to my house. There’s no reason for me to stay here. I have no friends. I have no family. I may as well. I fill my bathtub with water and I plug the toaster in. I play Soap by Melanie Martinez on my phone as I step inside the bath, fully clothed. I take a deep breath and grip the toaster. I turn it on and hover it over the tub.

“I love you, Ivy Hawthorne. I’ll do anything to be with you.”

I drop the toaster in. I feel a sharp pain in my nerves and everything goes black.

~~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~

I wake up in a room full of light. Ivy is standing in front of me.

“You’re here! Just give the money to the man over there!”

She points at a man sitting in a booth of clouds. It all seems so different, yet so…familiar. I suddenly become aware of a wad of cash in my hand. I give it to the man, and Ivy walks up to me and starts laughing.

“You honestly thought I loved you? This was just a ruse, you necrophile. I’m a dead body, for Christ’s sake!”

She waves me goodbye as she steps in an elevator of clouds. It shoots up into the ceiling of light.

If you are affected by the issue raised in this story and need to talk to someone in confidence please call Samaritans free on 116 123
__________________________________________________________________________________

In partnership with Write by You, a social enterprise supporting young female writers to develop their creativity, confidence and writing skills.

Skylar is a 13-year-old transmasc aspiring actor. He enjoys writing poems and short stories, mainly about Greek mythology and death. His favourite genre of writing is fantasy, and his favourite books are When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore and The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

Other work

Donate via PayPal

Exposure is an award-winning youth communications charity giving young people in north London a voice.

Please support us to continue our work. Thank you.