She had come down for the night shift. It was her favorite beyond the obvious reason. During the day the morgue buzzed with excitement of autopsies being performed and fresh bodies coming in – roadkills, murders, the young and sometimes old ones from the hospital above.
During the night people died as well but the nurses and neighbors weren't usually alerted until morning.
The only buzz during the night came from lights illuminating gleaming metal surfaces and the off-white tiles. In that silence Bella Swan had an easier time to hear the beat of her own heart and hear its changes upon gazing in the faces of the dead.
The dead exuded a calm and serenity she missed in the living. To her their death had not robbed of life, it just had transformed them, waiting for them to turn into pure energy. She liked to touch their faces, their mouths, their vivisection scars, trying to understand the source of that peace, gather that energy, that life.
This night just when she had gone to look for the newcomers, a new body came in. Tall but not wide, hidden behind black plastic. There had been little detail on what happened to it, only the demand to put it in the freezer. She had nearly obeyed without question before curiosity got the better off her and revealed the most beautiful body she had ever laid her eyes upon.
"Death has no power yet upon thy beauty," she misquoted loudly to herself for the dead boy was very beautiful. Full lips slightly open as if the next breath was only a thought away, a bone structure from Michelangelo, tousled hair and skin so pale and dead unlike any other she had seen even in the morgue.
Carefully she traced her warm fingers over his angelic features, feeling for the traces of life left in body. She traced them to the root of his copper hair, so soft, over his forehead to his brows, across his closed nearly translucent eyelids, ghosting over his pale cheeks and lips, dipping slightly into his mouth.
She opened the plastic bag further and ran her hand across his neck where no sign of stubble could be detected. The buttons on his shirt opened easily and made easy fodder for the evidence bag. His shoes were expensive, she noted, and his feet and toes like they had never been walked on, pristine, like that of a toddler. She ran the fingernail of her index finger across the sole of his left foot, from the top to the bottom.
She went back to his top half again, admiring the unmarred sight of his chest. She licked her right hand, left a nearly invisible path of saliva where his vivisection scar would be, grotesque like a badge of honor.
Her fingers went back to the task at hand and opened the top button of his pants. Her skin prickled as if someone was watching her. She looked up and around but there was nothing. It was only her and the dead boy under her hands.
She took a look at his face again. It had changed, it seemed. Subtly, it seemed as if the decomposition had already set in; the facial muscles more apparent as if they had tensed. Gone was the calm or the appearance of it.
Bella grew uncomfortable. She had seen things like that before but she preferred the more peaceful bodies to the wound-up ones, to the one in pain. She took a step back, and then another. And there the face seemed to change again, like it all had been a trick of the never-changing light. The dead boy seemed calm again, inviting her to go on.
She hesitated and then went back to him. He looked more serene than he had in the beginning, his open lips were sensually inviting, hinting at a smile. Bodies changed, she knew that and she knew that some changes were just in her head, especially when the dead were beautiful, but this was unusual.
His beauty was unearthly, even more in death where no facial tick, no emotion could ruin its physical perfection. Like a martyred saint his body seemed to glow in a heavenly light, reflecting it not unlike the metal table on which the plastic bag with the body had been put on.
She felt blessed having seen this, having seen him. He was like all the living things in this world, like all beauty, ephemeral but she couldn't remember ever being this much in love with anything, not even death itself.
Bella lowered her face to his, aligning her eyes to his, her nose to his, her mouth to his. She exhaled shallowly, softly fanning her breath across his mouth. "May I?" she mumbled before her lips touch his, her warmth against his cold, her life against his death, her action against his inaction. Her lips stayed still for a second, before her tongue darted quickly out into the cave of his mouth.
She tasted his sweet saliva before she felt the sharpness of his teeth. It made her draw back immediately but the pain did not stop. Her tongue burned with the sweet sharpness of her dead man's kiss and as the pain grew all the way to the root of her mouth, her dead boy opened his eyes and sat up. His slack features transformed, not into life, not into death but into a mimicry of both. His smile should have been sweet, boyish, and irresistible on his angelic features but it made her collapse against the off-white tiles instead.
The pain was unbearable when his cold hands picked her up and she knew that for once it wouldn't be someone else's transformation she would witness.