The surgeon finished scrubbing up, and turned the tap off with his elbow.
“Should be a real harvest today, son,” he said, glancing across at his assistant. “We don’t often get them this young, and an athlete as well, I believe. There’ll be some happy bunnies out there tonight.”
“What happened to him?” the assistant queried, tying on his mask.
“Difficult to say. One minute he was jogging along the sidewalk, and the next, wham, fell stone dead. Our paramedics were patrolling, luckily, and saw it happen. No output whatsoever. We were lucky to get him before the medical examiner did; otherwise he’d be in pieces in the mortuary by now.”
“I don’t like this,” said the assistant. “There’ll be trouble one day, hijacking corpses like this.”
“You like the bonuses at the end of the day, though,” said the surgeon, his eyes narrowing.
The assistant flushed.
They began work, carefully making an incision down the chest to lever the rib cage open and remove the heart. Then they would harvest the kidneys, the liver, the lungs and hopefully the corneas. Several coolboxes were lined up outside the operating theater, and a number of express motorcyclists were waiting out on the carpark. A good haul was expected.
The assistant suddenly stopped dead, staring wide-eyed over his mask into the exposed chest cavity.
“There’s nothing there!” he exclaimed. “There’s a space where his heart should be.”
“Nonsense,” said the surgeon, elbowing him aside. “Let me see.”
The two men stood there, gazing in amazement.
Thirty minutes later, the once perfect, unscarred corpse lay gutted on the operating table. The surgeon and his assistant had opened the entire torso, and found nothing but empty spaces where the organs should have been. There were tissues, membranes, even blood vessels and arteries, but they were all finite, sealed systems, leading nowhere.
The medical team sent for the paramedic who had been on hand when the victim had suddenly collapsed whilst jogging. They waited in the recovery room for his arrival, neither of them speaking to each other.
The paramedic entered nervously.
“Tell me what you saw when you arrived at the scene,” barked the surgeon.
“Just saw him collapse. He was running past a gang of people, a real bunch of weirdos, and then suddenly he collapsed. They all gathered round, rubbernecking. I pushed my way through, tested for vital signs, found none and loaded him into the ambulance to bring him here.”
“Did anyone ask where you were taking him?” said the surgeon.
“Well, the funny thing was, by the time we’d got him into the ambulance, the crowd had just disappeared. In seconds. Nobody in sight anywhere on the street.”
“Was there blood or anything on the sidewalk?” asked the assistant.
The paramedic scratched his head.
“Nope. No blood. There was this odd piece of equipment though, bit like a small cylindrical vacuum cleaner. Silver. Warm to the touch. God knows what it was. The weirdos must have dropped it.”
- Copyright: © 2010 Sandra Crook
- Published October 2010, by Microhorror.com