A/N: This story took about 3 weeks to write. Actually, it took only about 3 days to write total, but when I got to the point when he first kisses her, I stopped for about 2 and a half weeks because I would not let myself write necrophilia. But after I started writing it, I realized it wasn't that difficult and finished it in about a day.

A/N 2: Dedicated to Megan because I'm so going to open a mortuary business with you! And yes, you can drive the hearse as long as I can paint lime green flames down the side, drag race it occasionally and put a mattress and speakers in the back. It will be our shaggin' wagon with bitchin' music. ;-)

Embalmed Elation

The oaken double doors swung open as my key turned in the brass lock. They had been blown inward with a strong gust of wind, heavily crashing against the paneling of the foyer. "It's pretty chilly out there," I shouted to my assistant, who I knew would be somewhere at the end of the long expanse of hallway. I struggled to close the doors as the occasional flurry of snow slipped through the cracks. When the doors were closed, I brushed the snow from my hair and suit until it fell and melted upon the scarlet carpet. My footsteps moved swiftly and silently over the carpeted floorboards, my briefcase swinging at my side. The tune of "Stairway to Heaven" played at the corners of my lips, and I smirked at the prospect of whatever today might bring.

In the distance, I heard a voice, clear and feminine playfully asking no one in particular, "Looking glass upon the wall: Tell me, who is the fairest of them all?"

"Your vanity will be the death of you someday, dear," I commented to my assistant in a teasing manner as she fumbled with the velvet cloth that covered the mirror.

"It may be my undoing sir," she stated in a cute manner, "but it shan't be the death of me. Besides," she continued, gazing back into the reflective glass, "don't you think I have a reason to indulge my vanity?" She looked back at me, revealing that glittering pearl smile that resided behind her luscious cherry lips, which she painted over with a semi-permanent mauve lipstick.

"Not that you should need a reason," I said courteously as I kissed her hand in a manner that some might consider chivalrous, and she giggled as she tossed her black hair over her shoulder with a turn of her neck. There was a regal appearance to her, and her fair features had been left untarnished by time's fickle passage. Then, she pursed her lips in a pouting manner, as if she expected more of an answer from me. "Of you, you are the fairest of them all," I responded, humoring her.

I suppose you could say I wasn't humoring her. She was, after all, very beautiful. It wasn't your traditional definition of beauty, but one from many ages past. There was knowledge, unexplainable yet unquestionable, that the blood of kings ran in her veins. It wasn't the contaminated blood of modern day when royals had been stripped of their power and forced to marry and mingle with the common folk. She was of the old blood, the pure blood, before the time when all royals were infected with syphilis.

She was elegant and graceful. I had danced with her once at a Christmas party: a quick waltz followed by a very sensual tango. I repeated those motions today: spinning her once and dipping her immediately afterward. I had one hand clasped around her thin waist, and I examined every inch of her with my watchful gaze. Her chest lightly rose and fell beneath a thin white blouse with her even breathing, and I noticed that her eyes were closed slightly. When they opened, I saw those amber irises that nearly enveloped her small pupils. I had always suspected that her eyes were that color from colored contact lenses, but I would never know for certain.

She cleared her throat authoritatively and whispered, "This is not the sort of thing that should be going on in any workplace, especially ours." As she uttered that last sentence, she ran her right leg slowly up mine, bringing it to rest when her bent knee reached my lower back.

"Of course," murmured as both of us stood up, straightening our clothes and overall appearances, "you're right, once again."

"I'm always right," she coyly remarked as she lightly kissed the corner of my mouth. When I looked back in that direction, seeking her lips, I discovered that she was back at her desk, alphabetizing papers and searching through a stack of manila folders in an unlocked filing cabinet.

I sighed heavily at the missed opportunity and walked over the closet where I hung up my coat and stored my briefcase. I opened the door to the immaculately sterile back room and pointed toward the sheet on a steel table, "Whom have you got defrosting back there?"

"A Jane Doe," she said, distracted with her filing, as if she were searching for further information. "She was found in the woods a couple weeks ago, but no one came to claim her. You're supposed to take her down to the Crematorium this afternoon."

"Damn shame," I declared as I closed the door to the back room. Even after years of this occupation, I was still unable to fully let go of certain patients. They were never just cadavers with me as much as they were people. Most of them looked only as if they were sleeping: as if, at any moment, they might spring back to life. But the knowledge of such impossibilities was the only thing that made each day bearable. "Do we know how she died?" I asked. "It only seems fitting that someone should know about her."

"Why do you care so much?" she inquired in a more than agitated tone. "It isn't as if you know her. She's just a body you've never met, never fucked, and now never will."

"Oh that was really classy," I jested sarcastically, laughing and trying to lighten the mood as I did so. Her face, however, remained utterly unchanged, solemn and serious.

"And it's not just her," she added calmly. "You've always had a weird fixation with whoever comes in here."

"I feel like I know them," I quickly retorted. "I'm supposed to feel compassion for these people and their families. I actually care. It's my job to actually care!" My anger level was steadily rising because of her unwarranted comments.

Almost immediately, she was on her feet, nearly shouting at me, "They're dead! They're worm food now! Get over it and stop being so damn sentimental." I turned away from her as she said, "And we all know how much you care. But that's not part of your job description. No, you do that all by yourself." She smirked, as if she were implying more to her last statement but wouldn't dare say it aloud. She knew me well enough to know my reactions in these sorts of situations. "I've heard your excuses," she said quietly as I turned away from her. "You say 'That was traffic' or in the rare occurrence that it's someplace you haven't been, 'Someone gave me bad directions.' Don't you think people consider it a bit suspicious when both the mortician and the dearly departed are late for the service? I mean- " she cautioned as she took a nail file out of her purse and began shaping the nail of her right ring finger, "I mean how many places are there to hide a Hearse? And we all know that you could easily-" she caught sight of my reproachful glare, which had that "Don't you dare" quality that is always able to spark fear in the hearts of men. She laughed meekly and, smiling sweetly said, "Perhaps I have overstepped my boundaries."

"Just give me the fucking folder," I stated, calmly feigning indifference toward the case at hand. I reached for the papers she currently held before she yanked them away from me, just beyond my reach.

"Well aren't we Mr. Prince Charming today?" It had been less than ten seconds, but she was back to her normal self almost immediately. She would move the papers just within my reach and pull them away in a playful manner at the last moment. Exasperated, I collapsed into a high-back armchair near the place where I currently stood.

"They ran an autopsy on her and couldn't determine the cause of death," she narrated, scanning over the notes in the folder. She flipped back and forth between the pages, furrowing her brow occasionally at things she either didn't understand or didn't like. Intermittently, she smiled and there would be an inferno that blazed behind her amber eyes that not even Dante would have dared enter. It seemed as if she knew more than she was revealing, as is she relished the little secrets she kept hidden, much as I did. But I did not press her for that knowledge. "When they found her in the woods, she was naked in a glass casket. Around it was," she turned the page, licking the pad of her index finger as she did so, "seven other bodies. All of them were male, all unidentified and all looked like they had committed suicide. Here," she added nonchalantly, handing me the folder, "see for yourself is you don't believe me."

"I was going to do that anyway," I snarled through gritted teeth as I forcefully grabbed the papers out of her hands.

"Touchy," she commented, "and you gave me a paper cut." She brought the injured finger to her lips, sucking the miniscule amount of blood that escaped the laceration in a manner that would make any mans' imagination run rampant.

I flipped through the pages, reading through the notes about the scene of her death and the photographs taken at the same time. Each of the snapshots was taped to a sheet of yellow legal paper and next to each picture was a caption. All were written in neat blue penmanship, the same that had appeared on the previous pages. The photographs depicted not the girl herself, but the seven older gentlemen surrounding her casket. Each had a slit across his throat and several others along his wrists and forearms. To accompany those wounds, each man had a gaping hole in his chest on the left side where, according to their individual autopsies and explanations near the pictures, each victim's heart had been removed.

"The strange part is," she informed me, "is that her heart was removed also. I'm guessing that's where you are in your reading, based on the contorted look of disgust on your face."

"Sick bastards," I sneered, shutting the folder and tossing it back on the desk. "It's probably some weird cultist ritual preformed by those delusional people who think they're Pagan or Wicca or whatever you want to call it." I looked back at her, seeing that evil "If looks could kill / Don't fuck with me" sort of gaze. "Oh that's right," I continued, "I forgot you were one. My apologies, dear."

"Did you know," she began calmly, standing up and walking toward me, "that the original definition of 'Witch' was simply a clever woman? Any woman that was smart, any woman that went against the traditional thought of society could therefore be condemned to death on the grounds of witchcraft. Now doesn't it seem wrong to you," she added, advancing on me, "that anyone should be falsely branded with these stereotypes?" The question was obviously rhetorical, for she continued without even waiting for my reply. "I mean, I could jump to any number conclusions about your practices based on your religious affiliation, or perhaps your profession." Her words were dripping with cynicism, and at that second, she looked at me indignantly and I knew exactly what she meant. "We don't perform human sacrifice. We simply have a high reverence for nature and know what our place is, what our purpose is."

"Well thank you for enlightening me, my dear," I said sarcastically with a tip of my imaginary hat. "I know now this must be the work of some sick satanic cult performing human sacrifice rituals." I waited, expecting some kind of rebuttal, but she simply turned away, replacing the file in its proper place in the gray cabinet and locking it with a small key which she kept in her third desk drawer.

Instead, I saw her pluck a small piece of fruit from an elegantly crafted crystal bowl near a candy dish and coffee pot. She carried the fruit by the stem and cut into it with a sharp paring knife. "Apple?" she asked, extending a small sliver of fruit. The skin was a ruby color that greatly contrasted with its pale flesh.

I found it tempting, as if she were offering to me the apples of the Hesperides. "Perhaps later," I said painfully upon rejecting her offer, "I'm not hungry at the moment."

"Suit yourself," she replied as she popped the piece of apple into her mouth, savoring its sweetness. "Oh, and before I forget," she said as she cut another small sliver, "I put a basket of ribbons, makeup, hair combs, et cetera in the back. The family of the woman in cabinet number eleven is coming in today for the rosary. All you have to do is dress her."

"Is that the one whose face we had to reconstruct," I asked, "because her family wanted an open casket, even after a car crash?"

"Yup, that's her," she said calmly, placing the knife to the side and taking a bit out of the crisp apple. Her lipstick smeared slightly against the skin and she added, "I can do her makeup later if you're busy."

"No thanks dear, I'm sure I can manage," I told her as I opened the door to the back room and stepped inside.

The door shut behind me with a soft click as I removed a smock from a hook on the back of the door. Along with that, I revealed a silver ankh necklace, which I wore beneath my formal attire. This room was decorated with various other symbols to help guide my needing clients. Usually, I would respect the family's' religious beliefs, but if they had none or I was faced with a situation such as this, I allowed myself to show these symbols. There were other, more questionable practices that I indulged in, but that had nothing to do with religious affiliation or lack thereof.

"Hello love, welcome to my funeral home. I trust you had a nice stay," I said to the body on the steel table. I had made it had a habit to talk to my clients, never expecting a response but always feeling like they could understand. "I'm afraid you won't be staying with us much longer," I continued as I pulled on a pair of latex gloves, "because I'm taking you to the Crematorium today. Don't worry, you'll like it much better than the freezers we've been keeping you in."

I noticed the wicker basket placed directly adjacent to my Jane Doe and remembered that I had other things to do this afternoon. Slowly, I pulled back the sheet, expecting to see some gruesome image of a horribly mutilated girl taken long before her time.

"Oh," I said to myself upon seeing her face, "Aren't we the pretty one." I had been expecting to see a face contorted in pain or agony. Instead, I was greeted by a clear, but pale complexion with large inset almond shaped eyes, whose beauty was hidden behind the insipid lids and a netting of thick black lashes. Her lips were parted slightly, as if she had died on the verge of a sigh. She looked utterly peaceful, more so than any person living had ever been depicted. Her ebony hair rested at her shoulder blades, and I gently touched her face, almost as if I hoped to wake her from her eternal slumber. She was young, hardly out of her teenage years, if even that. It was truly a pity that such a young girl had to be taken so early and deprive the world of everything she had to offer.

I knew that if I did not complete my prior work, I would never be able to tear my gaze away from her. Instead, I left her face uncovered but removed the body in cabinet number eleven. I lifted her out and onto another table, fitting her rigid form into a black dress provided by her family. I had already washed and preserved her body, and I was currently brushing her short blonde hair, which nicely framed her newly constructed face of plaster and wax. 'Her name was Anita Kirsch,' I noticed from the labels that had been placed on her papers. "Age 42. Mother of three. Killed in a car accident.'

I began to apply a foundation to properly color her pale cheekbones and the entire left side of her face. As I did this, I looked back over my shoulder toward my Jane Doe. It was almost as if I could feel those eyes boring into my back, as if she were watching me from her pseudo comatose state.

I rushed the job with Mrs. Kirsch; I admit that. Her makeup was far from perfect and I had omitted the use of nail polish top and base coat. The wicker basket of "beauty secrets" had remained untouched, since I did not see the need to wish to waste the time. I hurriedly covered her now clothed body with a white linen sheet and returned to the beautiful girl resting across from me, whose beauty was that of the sun emerging from behind the clouds. With every passing moment, it became more pronounced like an impending storm, ready to reign over me in her lifeless state. She was mesmerizing, and her hypnotic beauty produced a more prominent affect given the fact that she was so fragile, distant, and utterly unattainable.

I walked back to where she lay and pulled back the sheet further, exposing more of her thin frame. She was small, but not in a frail way. Even though she was thin, her corpse still held that beautiful hourglass curve that only women possess. I ran my left index finger along her side, counting her easily visible ribs that protruded from her body. Nothing was amiss about her appearance to suggest that she was anything but asleep. In fact, the only thing that even hinted to her death was the "Y" shaped incision that ran from each collar bone to the base of her sternum, followed by a single line stretching from there to her pubis. That incision had been sewn using what seemed to be a thick needle and black thread for this purpose, until she was turned from cadaver into girl once more.

I noticed that there was a vivid pink scar about four inches long above her left breast. It was probably ten years old or more, but it had not faded with her passing age. I could tell it had originally been a deep wound to leave such a scar, but such feats seemed impossible without directly leading to a cause of death. "That's curious," I declared to no one in particular, "the papers said you didn't have a heart, yet I don't see any sign of a wound or stitching to hint that one had been sewn up." I traced the scar once more with my index finger, this time using my bare hand.

I felt the chill of her flesh against mine; a bitter, burning cold like snow. It was as if her entire body wore a veil of the finest silk that I caressed with my gentle fingertips. She did not stir, but willingly accepted my advances and my wandering hands that touched her seam, which stitched her up in the manner one might a dress or a purse. She did not fight me, but I imagined her inert body trembling as my intrusive fingers moved from her breast down the center of her body to the pretty place where her thighs met. Her body was stiff with rigor mortis and I kissed her lightly. I noticed, as I ran my tongue over her lower lip, that she tasted faintly of salt and formaldehyde.

Her eyes remained closed, peaceful as I thrust my tongue into her mouth, tasting her bitter sweetness. I let my lips wander, first to her neck and ear, followed by her breast, which I tasted every so often with a flick of my tongue. She had an intoxicating effect on me as I drank in the deep scent of female flesh and embalming fluid.

After what seemed like an eternity of anticipation, I unbuttoned my trousers and climbed atop her pallid form, so cold and so fair.

I do not know when I discovered my liking for the dead or how I did so. Even my wife inadvertently indulged my fantasies when we would have sex. I would bid her take a cold shower, and even once, we made love as the snow fell upon our backs. Each time, she would lie still as death, her eyes open but staring not into mine. It was only when her hips involuntarily began to move with mine; grind for grind, push for push; and when I felt her walls tighten around me in an orgasm that I remembered blood still flowed in her veins.

I spread my cadaver's legs, relishing in the stiffness. It was then that I entered her, sharply and heedless of what she would have felt if she was she still living. She was there for my pleasure and for my taking. I was able to beat and bruise her, to maim and mangle her. I treated her body with reverence at first, but became more forceful afterward. My fingernails dug into her flesh and I ran a small knife over the scar on her left breast, barely deep enough to break the skin. I lowered by head to that incision, licking greedily at the clear fluid that escaped. As I did this, I could feel my rising elation with the increased frequency of my intrusions. Again I kissed her, deeply and without resistance as I felt the chill of her body seemingly cross over into mine.

That was when I began to undo her stitches, starting at her collarbone and working my way down. Each knot I removed coincided perfectly with the time of my thrust. It was in that instant that I saw her lips part slightly. I do not know if it was the force of my entrances or if she could somehow sense my impending climax, but it seemed as if something was dislodged from her throat. I saw a piece of what looked to be rotten fruit fall from her lips to the floor beneath us. It might have been my imagination, but I thought I heard the sharp intake of breath like death's rattle and saw a row of razor-sharp teeth behind her ruby lips. Her eyes flew open not even a moment later, revealing milky blue irises that were almost completely eclipsed by the black circles of her dilated pupils.

It was in that moment that I lost whatever vigor had encompassed me originally. I haphazardly pulled out of her, absolutely stunned and disbelieving. I saw her chest rise and fall with her labored breathing, and this time her eyes looked directly into mine. She was startled, just as I was, and too frightened to cry out.

The reality of the situation fell upon me like a sharp blow to the head. I began to dress again, fumbling with my belt buckle. She simply drew her knees against her chest and rested her chin upon them. The sheet covered only portions of her, but she made no further attempt to conceal her nudity from me.

"It's snowing," she stated matter-of-factly as she looked toward the window over my shoulder.

"Yes," I replied simply. I was sitting across from her, staring intently at her and wondering how I could continue.

"It wasn't snowing last I remember," she stated again in the same tone.

"Yes," I said again, running my hands through my already rumpled hair.

"We were having sex," she concluded simply. One need not have been a scientist to come to that deduction.

"Yes," I answered for a third time.

There was a moment of silence before she asked her final question. "Did you enjoy it?" She blushed when she said this, relaxing her legs so that her torso was exposed from the waist up. Her hair fell perfectly upon her full breasts, and she ran her tongue over her lips.

"Yes," I confessed finally. "I enjoyed it very much."

"Oh good," she whispered as she ran her fingers through her tangled hair. She turned away from me in the way one always does in awkward situations when both parties concerned lack anything better to say.

This situation was so surreal, and after several minutes of complete silence I mentioned the only thing that was worth mentioning. "You're dead."

"I know," she answered calmly as she looked down toward the gash on her chest that steadily oozed a thin trickle of formaldehyde. She took a drop on her finger, tasted it, and grimaced slightly. I suppose it must be an acquired taste. "If I wasn't before, then I guess I would be after-" she touched her stitches as she said this, obviously feeling the chill of her skin, "-um-this."

"You aren't supposed to be doing this," I continued slowly, "talking and breathing and essentially being alive, that is."

"I know," she said again. She was certainly being a lot more composed about this situation than I was. "After all," she pointed out, "I couldn't very well be dead if I was alive, now could I?"

"No, I suppose not," I conceded. I had become more relaxed with the situation and had currently moved a few feet closer to her. "The dead," I began nervously, "typically stay dead in places like this."

"Are you sure?" she inquired curiously, looking down at the stitches that had come undone near her collarbone. She poked them teasingly like a child might and frowned when no visible response to her nerve impulses. I was about to respond when she continued, "I guess you're right. The dead typically stay dead in most places, don't they?"

"Yes," I said again. She laid back on the table once more, her fingers laced behind her head in a very casual way. I couldn't help but stare at her and wonder how she could be doing this. She had no blood, no heart even, and yet I saw her chest rise and fall, her muscles move, and her pink nipples grow hard with the winter chill. She brushed a strand of hair out of her face and turned on her side to look back at me. I could see the shadow of her silhouette against the white sheet. "You're beautiful," I articulated, not knowing what else to say.

"Thank you," she whispered as her alabaster cheeks flushed an ashen pink. It was difficult to continue this conversation more than a few words at a time. We were still getting used to each other.

"You're beautiful," I spoke again, "and I think I might love you," I added quickly, "but you're dead. And the dead should stay dead." I was extremely saddened by this fact, knowing it was true but wishing that it wasn't.

"You're absolutely right," she admitted, lying on her back, her eyes closed and arms crossed over her chest. I wasn't sure what to do, and I waited for her to give me further instruction. She opened one eye in a comical fashion to look at me. "Well," she sighed, irritated, "do what you have to do. The dead should stay dead."

"How do you propose we do that?" I countered after I had apologized for what needed to be done. I was becoming more agitated. I'd never had good communication skills with the living.

"I don't know," she uttered sardonically as she waited for me. "I'm dead, as you can see. I'm sure you can think of a much better solution than I can."

"What's you name?"

"Does it matter?"

"I'm sorry."

"Yeah, just get it over and done with quickly please."

I kissed her lightly once more, and she returned the kiss, letting her tongue glide into my mouth. She might as well have been dead since there was nothing behind that kiss. There was no passion, no soul, and she lay back afterward, awaiting me to kill her a second time.

I took a small ribbon from the wicker basket near her and tightened it quickly around her throat. I wasn't sure if it would work, if she even needed oxygen to sustain her being anymore. But her eyes flew open again and she gasped for breath that was no longer there. It seemed that she floundered like a fish for an eternity before she was still again, her eyes closed peacefully in the sleep of death.

I kissed her lips once more and covered her beautiful faced with the linen cloth. She really was proof that even in death and mourning, love could not perish. I left the room and looked back once over my shoulder. She really was beautiful, I noticed; with her ebony hair, blood-red lips and snow white skin.

~The End~