Abra Cadaver

by Yves

I'm a networking specialist. I travel lots of places and set up or repair computer networks in universities, offices, hospitals or whatever.

My brother in law Sven is a coroner, and he called one day saying they had their old network updated, but were having problems with the new software. It sounded like a simple fix, so I told him to meet me at a pub after I got into town, as I hadn't eaten yet and we could have a beer. We met up, ate, chatted about usual stuff, and then headed to his office.

I have never had a problem with seeing dead bodies. Just an empty shell. Sven even invited me to his work a couple years prior to watch how an autopsy was done. It was like watching a surgery, only there was less care involved with cutting into and removing things from the 'patient'. That was when I realized that most people are buried without their brain or vital organs, just stuffed full of cotton and wadded newspaper.

Anyway, the computer terminal that served as the hub was in Sven's office, which was down the hall from where the cadavers were kept. To get to his office, we passed through what Sven called "the meat locker." There were two bodies laying out that Sven had been working on. One was laying on a gurney covered with a sheet, the other was laying exposed on the cutting table (which is really just a giant sink basin). The exposed body was of a woman, probably in her late 50s, but hard to say as her face was covered with a small towel. I could see that Sven had finished with her, as she had a Y shaped incision from her pubic bone to her shoulders that was sewn shut with heavy cord.

As we headed for the office, Sven stopped at the woman's body and told me to check out her face. I asked why. He said every once in a while a body will come in with a weird expression frozen on their face. I saw him pull the towel off her head, and he said, "this is the look of sheer terror." I didn't look, and I didn't want to. Sven was like, "Really you gotta see this, it'll give you nightmares." I know being a coroner means you have to have a sense of humor, and a skewed one at that, but I didn't want to see some dead woman's last expression.

He lead me to the office, which was connected to the meat locker by a hallway. I sat at the terminal and started running the software. Sven said he had some stuff he needed to file in another office, and went through a door at the far end of the room. I was working on the software when something caught my attention from the corner of my eye.

Something was coming into the office from the hallway with a very smooth, fluid motion. It was about 5 feet off the floor. I turned to look, and saw the head and shoulders of the dead woman peeking around the corner of where the hall opened into the office. Her back was to me, and she was rotating in a smooth, mechanical manner as if being roasted on a spit. Her face came around. Her hair was stiff and matted back away from her face, and sticking in all directions in the manner it had dried while she was laying on her back. Her face was just as Sven said, sheer terror. She continued to rotate, about one revolution every 3 seconds. I tried to look away as her face came around again, but I was frozen in disbelief. She rolled around a 3rd time, then very smoothly disappeared back down the hall in the same manner she arrived.

My first thought was Sven was playing a nasty prank. He wanted me to see her face, and he succeeded. I thought he had laid her on a gurney and wheeled her down the hall and peeked her around the corner. I started yelling and cursing, calling Sven a morbid son of a bitch with absolutely no respect for the dead. As I was yelling this, I was realizing that her body was too high off the floor to be on a gurney, and I saw only her and her shoulders with no gurney below it. What made my hair stand was knowing that there was no way Sven could have rotated her so smoothly without actually skewering her through the center of her body.

Then Sven came through the door (at the opposite end of the room from the hall) with this look on his face like WTF!? Still believing he was behind it, I continued chewing him out. I was so freaked and pissed off that I was shaking uncontrollably, and the way Sven reacted to me told me that he had nothing to do with it. I told him what happened, and as I did he started nodding his head like he knew. Then he said, "You just met Todd, our lab spook."

Then he related several experiences that happened to him and to others who worked there, stuff that was way creepier than what I witnessed. After hearing all this, I said, "This thing has a name, and it's Todd?" He said one of the staff gave it that name because it sounded like a likable, harmless name. We went back to the meat locker, and the woman was laying on the slab just as she was when we first arrived. I looked at her face to make sure I didn't imagine the whole thing. It was the same terrified face with Einstein-like hair.

I finished fixing the software problem. It took me about 15 minutes, but I made Sven sit next to me the whole time.

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