Friday, January 7

Friday Fiction: The Corpse

Happy New Year!  Welcome to the first Fiction Friday of 2011.

Drum roll please.....

I'm introducing a new story for the new year!

I was prompted to write a 400 word "flash fiction" story for a contest at "Wake Up Your Muse", a very cool website owned by Jan Christiansen. Each week, you get a new "prompt" to jump start your imagination - the first sentence of your story.

This is the expanded version of my 400 word entry - still starting with the prompt sentence. The first title of this story was "The Corpse" - it was what popped into my head when I saved it. I hope to have a much more clever title by the time I'm finished with the book. Wait, what? Yes you heard me - this is the idea I've been waiting for - one that I can build something out of. My first novel.

Pray for me. :)


ps: I'll explain what prompted the blog make over soon - It actually came before the story, that's a story for another day.



She dropped the children off at daycare, picked up a cappuccino at the coffee shop and headed for the morgue.

Another day, another dead body.

If Callie’s phone rings at 4:37 a.m., she’s pretty sure it’s not Ed McMahon calling to award her a cool million. Nope, 99.7% of the time, it’s Alfie. Oh, sorry, that’s Officer Alfred Lundquist now. And when the town cop calls the county coroner at 4:37 am, there’d better be only one reason.

A dead body.

Callie’s childhood sweetheart was loyal about keeping her in the loop, dead-body and other-wise. And she appreciated that, really. But Alfie sometimes forgot she was also a frenzied single mom juggling the candle at both ends.

Since Chuck’s murder, Alfie’d been especially attentive to her and the kids. Sometimes too attentive. Times like two hours before the alarm on Monday morning in a nonemergency situation.

4:37 a.m. isn’t the most convenient time to loop her in.

Callie had to keep reminding herself Alfie lost a best friend, too. The same best friend.

Seems they were both guilty of forgetting things.


“Hey, Doc. I’m diggin’ that mocha cappuccino foam mustache today. One of your best.” Kevin grinned as he pointed at her and used his thumb to cock an imaginary pistol.

Callie savored her once weekly extravagance--cash, calorie, and caffeine wise--a triple-shot venti mocha-caramel cappuccino. Her inability to savor and navigate without growing a thick, sticky mustache was legendary at the morgue.

“So’s the cappuccino, Kev. Ah, heaven in a Styrofoam to-go cup.” Callie slurped the last syrupy dregs of delight through the sippy-lid and tossed the cup in the recycle tub.


“Ready?” Callie looked across the corpse at her intern.


She picked up the edge of the cotton shroud. “Okay, let’s have a look you, shall we?” Her greeting died when she saw the man's face.

Closing her eyes burned the image behind her eyelids, and she snapped them open.

No. It’s not him. This guy’s nose is longer, and look at those big ears. How could I mistake him for Chuck?

“Doc? You okay?”

“Yeah. Just a little caffeine-sugar rush. You ready?”

“Yep.” He squinted at her before looking down. “Male, 34 years old,” Kevin read from the file. “Tobias Matthison, Lincoln, Nebraska.”

Tobias Matthison. Matthison like Chuck’s Nana Em.

“Tobias, what are you doing so far from home.” Callie peeled the sheet further down and uncovered his scarred, muscular chest. An apple-shaped birthmark rode his ribcage just under his left arm.

Tobias… Toby? No, it can’t be. Can it? ‘Matching birthmarks, the apples of their mama’s eye, Toby and Chuck.’

Callie stepped back and peeled off her gloves. Chuck had only talked about his twin once, but Callie remembered every word.

But Toby was…


Callie grabbed a tissue. “Yeah, I’m fine. I think. Kevin I need to make a call. I think I know who this “

“Wait, what? We know who he is. We’ve got his driver’s license, a fist full of credit cards. A library card even. He’s Tobias Matthison.”

“No, before. Just…never mind. I need to make a call. Please, Kevin, just give me a minute. Go...I don’t know, go download some I-Pods or something.”

“Doc, you don’t download an IPod; you download to an IPod. Seriously, I’ve explained this before...”

“Kevin – stop. Not now.” Callie held up her hand, palm out, cutting off Kevin’s juvenile meanderings. “Just...give me a few minutes. Please.”

If anyone would know, it would be Alfie.

© 2011


Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (Msg)