Chapter 11: Friends are friends
It was a Saturday night and Jean’s friends were out drinking and having a good time. Jean had to work on a client that came in late in the day and so missed the big party with her friends.
It was in the wee hours of the morning when Jeans friends decided to call it a night and head home. The driver, a boy named Mohammed, was speeding and all over the road. He was drunk and had been smoking joints that had been soaked in embalming fluid. It wasn’t long before the car with all four occupants left the road doing eighty-five miles an hour. The tree they hit was huge and didn’t budge an inch on impact. All for young adults died on impact.
The autopsies were performed at the Whitedeer Hospital. Frank and Jean then picked up the bodies. Jean was upset to say the least. She had just lost her four best friends. She was able to help get them into the funeral home, but then had to leave.
Frank asked Jean if she would be ok getting her friends ready for their funerals. Jean reluctantly agreed to do the job. The first was Stefan. His injuries were the least noticeable. His neck had snapped upon impact and so had no outward signs of trauma other than a few minor scratches. Stefan was tall and very handsome. He was well built and very muscular. To Jean’s surprise Stefan was also very smart. He had gone to university and studied physics. His future would have been very promising with no end to the possibilities.
Jean liked Stefan the best. She actually had a crush on him that she was going to try to develop into a romance. While Stefan was on the embalming table Jean talked to him non-stop. She confessed her affection for him.
“I really liked you Stefan. I think your hot, I really had visions of making love to you.” Whispered Jean.
“Me too, I wanted you from the first time I saw you” whispered Stefan.
“Who was that? Frank you son of a bitch, don’t do that. Its mean, Stefan was my friend.” Jean yelled. She looked around for the source of the comment, but no one was there.
Jean continued with her preparation of the body. Stefan was stripped and Jean washed him. She took her time washing his private parts. She seemed to go into a trance, she was clearly enjoying an intimate moment with her would be lover. She massaged him and caressed him, then kissed his lips.
“Emmmm” moaned Stefan
“Who was that, what’s going on?” Jean shrieked.
“I love the way you touch me.” Stefan whispered almost inaudibly.
Jean ran upstairs into the kitchen. She opened one of the cupboards and grabbed a bottle of Scotch off the shelf. Jean poured herself a stiff drink and guzzled it back.
“I must be going nuts, I’m hearing things” Jean muttered to herself.
After the first drink, Jean poured another one. Then she went back downstairs with the bottle. She had to find a way to overcome what she had experienced.
Once downstairs, Jean covered Stefan with a white sheet. Then she wheeled his table to the side. The only thing left for Stefan was to get him dressed with the clothing the family would supply.
Next up was Mohammed. He was the oldest of the group. He was really skinny and was the brunt of a lot of jokes and off the cuff comments by the rest of the group. Comments like “he has to dance around in a shower to get wet.” He was a promising financial advisor and was studying to get his MBA like Frank did. He had a tendency to drink too much, which was a habit that ended up killing him and his friends.
His body would take a lot more work to get it to the point where he could be viewed. He sustained numerous head wounds when his body was ejected from the car through the front window. Jean knew that Mohammed was the cause of her friend’s deaths, and hated him for it. From the start she was rough while handling Mohammed’s body. Eventually she started hitting him and yelling at him.
“I hate you, you’re a murderer. You killed my friends!” Jean yelled as she punched his lifeless body.
“It’s my fault.” Whispered Mohammed.
Jean stopped. Her friends must be trying to speak to her. But the lips don’t move.
“Must be really good scotch” Jean thought to herself
“If you can talk to me, tell me why you drank and then drove a car load of people?” Jean said quietly.
There was no response. Jean kept working. She had a long night ahead of her. There were still two more bodies to be processed. It took the next two hours to make Mohammed presentable for the public.
When Jean was finished with Mohammed she placed a white sheet over him and wheeled him over next to Stefan. Next on the agenda was Petra. She was the youngest of the four victims. She was Mohammed’s girlfriend and had been Jean’s best friend. Petra and Jean had known each other for years. Petra was a very pretty girl. A natural athlete and always worked at keeping herself fit. She worked as a dental assistant but longed for Mr. Right to come along and sweep her off her feet. The sooner she could get married and start a family the better, at least in her opinion. Out of the four victims, Petra was going to be the hardest to work on. Petra had been sitting next to Mohammed at the time of the accident. She too had been thrown through the front windscreen of the car.
Jean took Petra’s clothes off and started washing her body. Like Mohammed, Petra would need extensive work on her face and head to make her presentable.
“Oh Petra, I told you that son of a bitch was no good for you.” Whispered Jean.
“Why did you let him drive when you knew he was drunk?” said Jean.
As Jean worked on Petra’s body, several times she thought she saw Petra’s eyes open. Once Petra’s eyes watered, just like she was crying.
“What the, what’s going on here?” Whispered Jean.
“If your trying to communicate with me Petra, I’ll talk to you.” Said Jean.
“Don’t blame me.” Whispered Petra
“Oh Petra, I’m so sorry this happened to you.” Said Jean.
Jean worked on Petra’s face for hours before she was happy with the results. All the while Jean talked to Petra. She reminisced about good times they had experienced for the last few years. Petra said nothing, she seemed to just lie there and listen. Another white sheet was placed over Petra and she was wheeled over next to Stefan and Mohammed.
Andre was the final victim to be processed. First, Jean needed another drink. This had truly been the worst night of her working career. Jean returned to the embalming room and started work on Andre.
Andre was new to the group. They were just getting to know him and so far he had been well liked. He had a great sense of humor and was fun to be around. Andre had recently moved into the area. He had accepted a job as manager of a fast food restaurant in town. His main passion though was art. He was an accomplished portrait artist. Unfortunately he couldn’t survive on what he made drawing. Andre was average looking at best. Average, height, build and weight. He wasn’t particularly good looking, but had this sense of humor that rocked.
Andre had been seated in the back seat of the car with Stefan when the crash took place. It must have been a horrendous moment in that car seconds before the accident. They could all see the tree ahead of them and were powerless to prevent the inevitable. Jean wondered if their lives flashed before their eyes prior to death.
Jean had Andre ready to go in about an hour. Once Andre was finished another white sheet was draped over him and the gurney placed with the other three.
The funeral was scheduled for Wednesday at eleven o’clock. Viewing would start on Monday morning. Everything will be ready and on time as long as the families provide the burial clothing. Meanwhile Jean had a few more drinks to kill the pain of dealing with her dear friends. Then it was time to retire for the night.
Jean enjoyed the quiet that the funeral home provided. She occupied the top floor of the building housing the funeral home. Frank lived at the farmhouse and took care of “The Pit” where the bodies that had been scheduled for cremation had been buried.
At first Jean fell into a deep sleep. Several hours into the night she woke up. Jean didn’t know what had disrupted her sleep but she sensed something was wrong in the house. She lay in her bed listening intently. Then there it was a sound coming from somewhere downstairs. She struggled to hear something, anything that would give her a clue as to what was going on. It’s amazing how much white noise there is when you are staining to hear a faint sound.
Then she heard it. It sounded like two people arguing. It seemed to be coming from the basement. Hesitantly she got out of bed and put her robe on. Then she started the long trip downstairs. She tried not to make noise, but the stairs were old and creaked.
As Jean descended down the staircase the sound got louder. She could tell now that the noise was coming from the embalming room.
“Who’s there? Jean voiced out.
“I’m calling the police on my cell, you better get out of here.”
The noise stopped. It drove Jean mad. She would have almost preferred the intruders start yelling. At least then she would know where they were and it would end the deathly silence.
Jean turned the corner into the embalming room. What she saw startled her to the point of her loosing consciousness. She lay on the floor for several seconds. When she came to she jumped to her feet, and peered inside the room again. They were still there. Standing next to their gurneys were the corpses of Mohammed, Stefan, Petra and Andre. They were standing with their sheets over their heads. Then one by one they pulled the sheets down which left them standing there in the nude.
“I guess your pretty shocked to see us like this?” said
“What the… how can this be happening?” Jean whispered.
“Your our friend.” Said Mohammed.
“We wanted to talk to you, to say goodbye.” Said Stefan.
“But your dead!” Yelled Jean.
“It’s the scotch, I shouldn’t have drank so much, look what it’s doing to me. I’m seeing things.” Whispered Jean
“Your not seeing things Jean, its only us, your friends.” Said Petra.
“We’re glad you weren’t with us when the car crashed.” Mumbled Mohammed.
“How the hell can you be talking, I sewed your mouths shut?” Jean exclaimed.
“You’re not hearing us with your ears, it’s in your mind, that’s how we communicate.” Stefan said.
“No fucking way, I’m drunk and that’s all there is to it, ok! Exclaimed Jean.
Jean got closer to her friends. She thought maybe these were visions in her head because of the booze. But no such luck. The closer she got the better the bodies looked.
“Why are you doing this to me guys?” asked the now totally freaked out Jean.
“I missed the opportunity to make passionate love to you, oh the things I envisioned doing with you Jean.” Said Stefan.
“That’s all he talked about the night we died, Jean, was doing you.” Said Petra.
“Like you know, I almost wish I had been with you guys. I love being with you, I really don’t have a lot to live for anymore.” Said Jean
“Don’t talk like that. Your young you have a life ahead of you.” Barked Petra.
“Maybe she should come with us.” Remarked Mohammed.
“No, you guys leave her alone. Stop putting thoughts in her head, you’re a bunch of losers!” Exclaimed Petra
Jean sat down and listened to her friends argue the point. This was too freaky. Jean really didn’t know what to do. The five of them, including Jean talked for hours. Had you been standing outside the entrance door you would only have heard one person talking and of course that would be Jean. Eventually Jean said goodnight and went back to bed.
The next morning the clothing arrived for Jean’s four friends. Jean dressed them with the help of Frank. Then they were wheeled upstairs via the elevator to the viewing room. On the way up Jean asked Frank
“Are they being buried in the town cemetery?”
“No each of their parents want them cremated, more money for us right Jean?” Said Frank.
“You mean their going to the pit?” asked Jean.
“Of course, is there a problem with that?” Asked Frank.
“I guess not.” Replied Jean.
Jean was not happy with the idea of her friends ending up in a mass grave for the sake of money. Frank and Jean had made thousands from this scam. Jean had no room to complain now. The reality was that her friends were going to have lots of company down there in the pit. There had to be over a hundred bodies buried there now. God help them if the police ever catch wind of what they had been doing since their parents died.