He recognised the mortuary tag on her big toe.

StoryKettle » Amy » scalpel

Copyright © 2016, Michael M Wayman


The assistant stopped writing notes and gave a scalpel to the pathologist. The trainee nurse looked unhappy, it was his first day in the mortuary.

“Strange case this, no marks, no bruises, no wounds, all orifices tight shut, even the nostrils and the ears – such a pretty young woman too. I think it must be poisoning, I'm going to start by taking a sample of the stomach fluids and sending it straight to the lab for analysis.”

“I'm going to cut right here.” The pathologist showed the trainee nurse.

“No!” said a strange voice from the corpse. “Don't do that, my recovery will end in four minutes.”

“You doing ventriloquist training again?” This was a running joke between the pathologist and his assistant. The assistant bent down and wrenched a small radio from the underside of the stout metal table and placed it on the top of the next table.

The student doctors often glued radios to the undersides of the examination tables and used a small radio transmitter to annoy the pathologist. They hated him and he hated them.

The pathologist attacked the radio with the scalpel. Stab! Stab! Stab! “It's dead.”


The assistant gave a scalpel to the pathologist.

“Stop!” said a strange voice from the corpse. “Two minutes.”

“This is ridiculous, I can't work like this. Find it and destroy it and a couple of students too.” The assistant and the trainee nurse inspected every table and everything else in the room and found nothing.

“OK, let's get on with it.” The pathologist raised his scalpel and...

“Right!” said the corpse and sat up on the table. “You men are all the same, you always want to stick things into us girls.” The corpse put her hand on the assistant's shoulder and jumped onto the floor. The corpse pushed over the assistant who fell onto the pathologist. The trainee nurse who was trying to keep the contents of his stomach in place fainted.

The corpse grabbed a spare green hospital gown and stomped out of the mortuary. The main doors to the mortuary were locked, the corpse stared heavily at the lock for a few seconds and the doors opened. The corpse climbed the stairs and left the hospital through the main entrance.

The porter at the reception desk phoned the mortuary. “I've just seen one of your corpses leave the building. I recognised the mortuary tag on her big toe.”

The number 3 bus goes to Bigtown and so does the 3C, but it stops at all the villages on the way. The corpse waited at the bus stop down the road from the hospital.

Meanwhile back in the morgue the pathologist helped the trainee nurse back on his feet. The assistant had already stood up, answered the phone and dashed up the stairs out of the hospital and down the street.

“You've got to come back. You can't leave, it's illegal. No corpse can leave the mortuary without written permission from the coroner. There'll be a lot of trouble if you don't come back, right now.” He shouted at the corpse. She laughed. “I'm going home.” The other people at the bus stop stared at the two in green hospital gowns – where and what was the “corpse”.

The corpse pushed the assistant to the ground for the second time and boarded the bus that had just pulled in. The bus ride through the countryside was pretty – the corpse would soon be home – another great stupidity for her casebook.

The sequel is Skye Boat Song.