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“Uh, hey, Dan? Can you come here for a second?”

Dan grumbled from the top of the stairs, “If it’s a spider again, I’m going to bite you, Jen. You know I hate spiders.”

“N-no, no. It’s not a spider. Please just come down here.”

Daniel begrudgingly followed down the stairs to the basement.

It was dank and dusty. Old cobwebs hung from every corner and the floors and walls were completely made of concrete. Dark red rust stains piled around the floor near the drains. There were a few cardboard boxes littering the space, some stained in grease or other fluids. 

The whole place made Daniel’s skin crawl.

“Alright, I’m down here, now what do you want––What are you doing!? Stop that!”

Dan rushed over to his sister and pulled the spoon from her hand, “You can’t just go around digging through someone’s basement! Especially Nan of all people! If she finds out, she’s going to kill you!”

Jensen turned to her brother holding some sort of rock in her hands, “Yeah, yeah, whatever, just look at this!”

Daniel skeptically leaned forward and looked into his sister’s palm. There laid a very oddly shaped rock with jagged edges and cracks like a windowpane.

“You destroyed a part of Nan’s house for a rock?”

Jensen rolled her eyes, “No you idiot. It’s not a rock. It’s bone.”

A shiver went up Daniels spine, “No it’s not, it can’t be! And ev-even if it is, It’s probably just a mouse or a raccoon bone or something.”

Jensen looked at Daniel with steely eyes, “Danny, this is human bone. We need to have a talk with Nan.”

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2003 [11:35 PM]

‘Five days ‘til Christmas, and I’m stuck here with dead people,’ Jared thought to himself as he added a tag to the big toe of the cadaver in front of him.

He wrote down on his notepad some details for the report and shifted his glasses higher on his nose. With a sigh, he wheeled the squeaky tray into its spot in the freezer and sealed it shut.

Jared gazed around the room before checking his watch. A quick snack couldn’t hurt.

He tossed his gloves, washed his hands, and grabbed his lunch from the employee fridge located by the morgue room desk. Flopping into his seat, he grabbed the lunch bag and sifted through its contents before landing on the roast beef sandwich his mom made for him, with the words, “Have a great day! I love you!” written on the baggie in neat cursive letters.

With a scoff and a smile, Jared took a deep breath of the hearty aroma of beef and his stomach growled in anticipation.

One of the things they never tell you about working with the dead is how hungry it makes you. Cannibal or not, meat is meat and it all smells the same. Unless it’s rotten.

He had just taken a bite when a voice sprang up from the room.

“Eating on the job; is that really a good idea? What, you miss lunch or something’?”

Jared turned around, not recognizing the voice. He peered around the room but found no one in sight. It was just him, a beaker or two, a John Doe skull, and the freezer full of the dead.

Jared shrugged and turned back to his sandwich, thinking it was probably just a janitor down the hall or something, “Yeah, it got real busy around my break so I’m starving.”

The voice chuckled heartily, “I hear you, pal, I hear ya. Well, have fun then.”

“Thanks.” Jared threw over his shoulder as he chewed.

After eating, Jared finished up a report and went home to get some sleep.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2003 [12:02AM]

It was a bit busier than the day before, but only slightly. Jared was used to working late nights anyway, so it didn’t bother him much either way.

He was writing a report about the body of some rich guy that was found missing his teeth when that voice from the other night sprang up.

“I’ll bet you a nickel the maid did it. It always seems to be the maid with those rich pricks.”

Jared turned around but found the man the voice belonged to missing again. His brow furrowed.

“Yeah, that seems like the case from what I heard. Can’t be sure without some hard evidence, though. Hey, why don’t you come out here?”

The voice chuckled, “What’da’ya mean? I’m right here, aren’t I?”

Jared looked around the room. He was confused and looked towards a shelf that definitely sounded like the voice had been coming from it.

He walked towards the shelf and peered around it. Jared scoffed, finally figuring out that this was probably a prank and someone put a walkie-talkie on the shelf to spook him. Although, despite how hard he looked he could not find the source of the voice. To be honest, he felt a little uneasy.

Jared cleared his throat, quickly finished up his duties, and left without another word.

Was he going mad?

MONDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2003 [1:21AM]

As minute hands moved further and further, Jared became more and more anxious wondering if the voice would come back tonight.

And sure enough, just when he let his guard down and was about to finish his work for the night, the voice sprang up.

“What’s the matter, buddy? You look like you’s seen a ghost or somethin’.”

Jared wiped around in a flash and stared at the shelf again.

His breathing became more ragged, “Wh-where are you? Is this some kind of joke to you?”

Jared froze as the voice spoke again, “Ah, you listen here brotha’, I’m not the jokin type. Do I look like a clown to you’s? Clowns are kinda chubby, ya know? And me–.”

Jared stared at the skull of John Doe in disbelief.

“I’m more of the skin and bones type. Er, more just bones I guess, huh?”

Jared wiped his eyes as they watered. He blinked rapidly.

“I’m going nuts. I’ve gone completely insane.”

Barely able to walk, Jared snatched his coat and rushed out the door as fast as his shaking legs could carry him.

He was going insane, he must be, that was the only explanation. That was the only thing it could be.

Right?

TUESDAY DECEMBER 23, 2003 [2:45 PM]

“Hey you okay, man? You’ve seemed a little off the last couple of days. Is everything alright?”

Jared jumped out of his seat and relaxed when he saw it was just his coworker, Annie.

“U-uh yeah, yeah, it’s just um . . . things have been really weird for me lately.”

Annie looked on in sympathy, “Is your mom giving you trouble again? That lady has got to get with the times, honestly.”

“N-no, no. It’s not-It’s not that, it’s just um-”

Annie took a big sip of grape juice and grabbed a cookie, “Jar,’ just spit it out already.”

“Have you noticed anything weird lately?”

Annie looked at him sideways, setting down her cookie.

“I mean, ya know . . . around the coroner’s office.”

Her face fell.

She stared at him, wide-eyed with relief and fear.

“You hear it too?”

Hello! My name is Caitlyn Petersen and I am 19 years old. I am currently attending The University of Winona. I am a criminal justice major. I hope to someday work in a medical examiners office as a coroner investigator. Some of my hobbies include seeing movies, drawing, crocheting, and of course, writing. I prefer a more scientific approach to writing my articles.
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