By Chocolate Moosey
WARNING: Contains a vivid depiction of the embalming process, continue at your own risk.
The death of a child was always a devastating albeit hauntingly gorgeous thing.
To Eugene Fehr—vastly known as his preferred alias of 'Undertaker'—every corpse was a story in of itself. The body spoke of the beginning, duration and the end in ways a cinematic record could never replicate. Seeing and caressing the marred shell of the thigh of a woman raped and murdered inspired a darker thrill of intimacy and pain than watching the sickening act relayed through her eyes. Those eyes had been long dead before her death, in any case. Sliding your fingers into the infected and corroded jaw of a young man and feeling those tiny, painful imperfections jerked a string below one's heart. You couldn't experience that pain firsthand by watching images fade in and out before he died of starvation brought on by that infection. It was too detached, too empty.
Long hair swept from his eyes, Eugene's eyes scoured the walls for the appropriate tools, one hand feeling for the aspirator while the others gently probed cold skin for the soft dip between the third and forth ribs. Fingers daft and trained, he slid the thick needle into the cavity with far more care than he would usually bestow upon the deceased. In a quick movement, a flash of silver punctured the skin—a satisfying resistance of heart tissue confirmed that the right ventricle had been penetrated. Deftly, he began to work the aspirator, drawing the unused blood into a glass container.
Eugene performed the embalming with far less mirth than he usually did—the typical obsession and thrill ebbing away into something much more clinical and raw. Thankfully, the deceased was freshly dead and did not warrant any unique treatment; the one responsible for his death (he could not bring himself to think murderer) had been more than punctual in delivering the body before rigor mortis had begun. Indeed, this still warranted Eugene to work the stiffness from the deceased's limbs as it began to set in.
Even as he slid the silk tube into the carotid to force out the blood with embalming fluid, Eugene had to admire the pristine condition of the deceased. The cause of death, it seemed, slowed the process of decay down a considerable amount. The embalming would be an easy process—in practice.
Where any other corpse's skin would be contracting around its face and limbs, forcing a gaunt appearance, the body of this particular deceased had stayed supple and fresh. He was pale as alabaster, but still soft and cool to the touch—as if he had merely fallen asleep in the snow, rather than had the soul ripped from his mouth.
Still working the aspirator numbly, Eugene traced the dark discoloration where the one responsible for his death had latched his maw around the deceased's lips. A bit of wax and cream would cover up the imperfection, no doubt. A vague recollection stirred in the undertaker's gut—of a time not long ago, where a man not unlike this child had been laid over the porcelain slab. His heartstrings pulled taut when he recalled the silent and spoken promises; to never let this happen before his child's time had truly come.
Eugene felt hollow as the empty shell before him. Indeed, how could the undertaker himself possess a soul at this point?
Minutes passed by and the glass container filled with blood like a macabre decanter overflowing with dark wine. Eventually, the sluggish drip was replaced by the iridescent flow of embalming fluid and Eugene removed the tubes and set to suturing the openings. His hands faltered momentarily as he sought the isopropyl. As soon as he doused the deceased's eyes, they would spring open and reveal those empty chasms that were once eyes.
'The light will have left them by now.' He brushed over the soft eyelids, regret and guilt humming high and low in his chest. 'Although… the light has been absent from those eyes since I first failed to protect you.'
With the mist of isopropyl, two-toned eyes flew open as if the deceased was awakening from a deep slumber: deep blue and drained violet bore into the ceiling without intent. Eugene's hands trembled around the thin needle he would use to force out the fluid from the spinal cord. Certainly the body would putrefy if he did not go through with the simple step, but there was something nearly cruel about working on this body with those familiar eyes wide open—their discoloration testament to Eugene's own shortcomings. It was as if the embalmer was inflicting supreme torture upon an unresponsive victim.
'Perhaps this is my punishment?' He thought, gently pressing the needle into the corner of the tainted eye, propping up the limp body with a warm embrace—a deep regret of his, not embracing the child in his waking hours. Fingers slid through the deceased's gray hair cupping his cheek against his shoulder. 'To see you through unto your end, Ciel Phantomhive?'