Short Story | The Morgue By Marjaan Sadiq | The Arts-Muse Fair

********THE MORGUE*********

The air was cold and damp, more from the rain than the air conditioning, the walls white and pristine. Over a hundred silver freezers were scattered across the tiled floor, in a sequential assemblage. They glimmered under the white fluorescent, the glow hurting his eyes a little, the reality stinging him; not everyone ends up in a mortuary, but everyone ends up dead. Someday, somehow.

"This way," the medical examiner's voice broke through his thoughts. He'd forgotten her name the minute she said it. But she was taking a left turn, and he also made the turn, just in time to avoid colliding with a freezer. A few paces, and she finally stopped in front of a three body refrigerator with the figures "85" engraved in it. Numbering. He thought sadly. An easy way of identification.

"The diener just left." She said quietly, turning to look at him. "Your wife may have been here only six hours, but the others may have been for over a week. Body bags mask the smell a little, but still it can be grave."

Her eyes held compassion, pity. But they appeared rehearsed to him. "You understand?" He nodded absently. And, she pulled open the small door. The stench filled his nostrils almost immediately, making him want to puke.

She pulled out the top body and looked at the toe tag. "This should be your wife." She said again, unzipping the body bag. "I'll give you a minute with her. I'll be by the door. Just scream my name when you're done. The name is Adesua."

He watched her briskly walk away, wondering how it was she knew that he'd forgotten her name. Then he mustered courage to look at his wife of barely a year, his love. A part of him was sincerely hoping that it was a great mistake, that she wasn't the one. But then there she was; face white and bruised, eyes closed. She was dead. He touched her face with trembling hands, it was ice cold.

He blinked rapidly as twin tears coursed down his cheeks. He'd tried to be strong from the minute he heard that she had been involved in a ghastly accident and had died on the spot. Throughout his drive to the to the state mortuary he'd willed his eyes not to water, and they hadn't. But his resolve had now been broken. He didn't think it was possible for his heart to beat any faster than it had in the last one hour, but it did increase, this time with an excruciating pain.

He lowered his head on her deathly white corpse, and sobbed loudly, his body shook vibrantly. She'd begged him to drive her to her friend's wedding, she'd said she didn't feel like driving, but he'd refused. He wanted to sleep was what he told her, and even while he slept, he had switched off his phone. It was her friend, UmmyHajaar, that had come banging on his door about an hour ago, it was she that had been called when he couldn't be reached. She was waiting outside, like Adesua, giving him privacy.

He was disgusted with the fact he'd been sleeping fitfully when his wife died. Now, he didn't think he could sleep a wink for the weeks to come. Guilt, that was almost all consuming, was gnawing away at his heart. He continued to cry.

She shifted a bit, but he was too engrossed to notice. Her fingers twitched, lashes flickered. He was still crying.

"Pharouk?" He heard his name, and he paused. Was he imagining, or...

"Why are you crying?" He heard her voice again and he jolted away from her. She was struggling to sit up, her eyes were white without the pupil, and a bit sunken. There was the cracking sound of muscles as she moved to further unzip the bag.

He screamed, and it wasn't "Adesua."


Marjaan Sadiq lives in Kano, Nigeria. She loves to read. She writes a lot of fiction.