"To the dead!" I toasted with Jason, my partner in pathology.

"Ah yes Joe, always and forever, to the best listeners in the world!"

We chinked our wine glasses at the end of the toast over a freshly carved woman who was brought into our morgue on the suspicion of foul play. The NYPD always liked my ways of cradling the dead’s essence, taking organ by seeping organ and studying it until I derived the answers they needed. I have been the coroner of New York City for eleven years already, and Jason had been my partner for ten of those years.

"Vino Rosso is not going to get the kicks in us tonight, Joe. Check this out," Jason said as he stuck his hand into his jacket pocket.

"What bag of tricks do you have tonight buddy?”" I asked him with an inquisitive grin.

My heart was ready to take on whatever drug he had in stock for us, after all it was tradition. As my scalpel cuts and splits the cooled flesh of the dead forming a dull crimson Y, we always dabble in strong drugs to enhance our experience; it was almost magical for us. Jason fumbled a tiny bag labeled with an ‘M’ from his breast pocket.

"Mushrooms, Joey. We are going to feast tonight."

"Mushrooms and wine, ha, I feel sixteen all over again!"

We ate the shriveled black things in one gulp. They looked like expired dog treats when passed over our poor little Celia’s dead body. She tested positive for date rape drugs, and was probably still swimming in that permanent high even in death. As Jason’s hand passed some crumbled remnants into mine, a dissevered piece fell and plopped into the stew of parted intestine, but I paid it no mind. I knew I’d just sew her up later with my best needle and thread and bag her body like the rest.

Immediately after ingesting the drugs, I felt the swirling in my head. An unconscious and noxious muscular blow from the abraded Japanese mushrooms smacked my brain hard. Jason’s green eyes glared from the fluorescent lights above like a cat at night. He reminded me then of his first encounter with the dead, uncomfortable but undyingly curious.

"Where did you buy these?" I asked him.

"Huh?" he said heavily dazed, "Oh, Canal Street. At one of those weird stands. The peddler woman said that if I wanted a good time, I should eat these. And that if I wanted to see things and really see life, that these were for me. I just assumed they were the best hallucinogenic around."

I nodded him off and then began my usual walk around the morgue. We touched the smooth metal surfaces, opened the pizza oven holders and shook cold hands with various dead. We walked over to jarred organs and watched as our faces went wild like carnival mirrors. I came to Celia’s heart, enlarged and fetid even with the cap closed. Her right coronary artery was black with decay; her mitral valve was a ruined and pulpous mess, lack of aortic blood flow the immediate cause of death.

Her pulmonary valve was spongy and deteriorated due to slabs of tobacco sludge at the base of her withered, grey lungs. I put the jar down took out the slimy sack of apex meat. My head still whirled and told me to give her back the one organ that the dead deserved the most, their love muscle. So I decided to do just that, but not without proper examination first to make sure I did not miss anything. I explored her chest cavity, the blood all settled at the bottom, not yet sucked out with our high powered vacuum.

"Skin temperature is up…strange, but not uncommon," I said to Jason.

He paid no mind to me, was twirling around in adolescent circles, entranced by the strange Japanese mushrooms. I believed the effect on me was waning as my stitching was exquisite. If she were alive she’d be left minimally scarred. Then I heard the thump like a dropped sack of potatoes, first one, and then two.

As Celia began to sit upright, her body gleaming in the fluorescent light, eyes hungry black caverns, I bolted out of the place for my life. But poor Jason stayed dancing with the dead in the room. And I still hope that he is.

"You Never Know"
Copyright: © 2009 Daniel Fabiani

Daniel Fabiani is a 22 year old kid from NYC with the accent to prove it! He loves all things horror and works in a hospital, witnessing horrific things and getting paid for it. He is a fanatic for cooking and romance languages and is also a wine lover. He writes existential horror and feels it is sewed to his soul. He is a self-proclaimed bookworm and is not afraid to show it. He is 4x published in SNM horror and has credits in New Flesh, Sex and Murder, Drops of Crimson, and microhorror. He has a new website and would love everyone to join it! Well at least look at it: http://danfabiani.webs.com

"You Never Know" originally published July 2009 at Microhorror.com.


  1. Bravo, Dan! People need to have respect for the fungus :)

  2. Radical! Drugs and death >.<