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”High school. They dated for a while…crazy right?” Lorna turned the van into the parking lot of the funeral home.
”So you said Nicky had told you about the staff leaving?” Piper asked curiously. ”Why did everyone leave?”
”Wouldn’t we both like to know.” Lorna backed the van into the garage. ”I only know a little bit about it but, as far as I know, Nicky and Alex suffer from the same disease.”
”What’s that?” Piper pushed, listening to the screech of the garage door closing.
”Being a selfish junkie.” Lorna said casually, parking, and jumping out of the van.
The two women unloaded the cot before rolling it into the hallway.
”Hey, uh, Piper.” Lorna stopped. ”You think you’d be able to handle this? If I leave now I think I could catch the last twenty minutes of Zumba.” She asked sheepishly. Piper nodded.
”Yeah, I got it.”
Lorna screeched with joy and wrapped her arms around Piper.
”Thank you! You’re an absolute doll!”
Lorna gave an excited clap of her hands before skipping off towards the lobby of the funeral home. Piper rolled the cot into the prep room, surprised to see Alex still at work at the prep table, this time on a different body. A young woman, no older than thirty. Alex was sewing up her chest, quickly and carefully pushing the large needle through her flesh like it was a hot knife through a block of butter.
”What took you guys so long?” Alex asked, not looking up from the body.
”The daughter was very uh…upset.” Piper opened the cooler door and placed the man inside, making sure not to follow behind him.
”Hate when that happens.” Alex sighed and snapped off her blue latex gloves. She grabbed a white sheet off the steel countertop and draped it over the woman, covering her face.
”What’re you doing here so late?” Piper asked, looking over Alex in her blood stained apron.
”Coroner called and asked me to take care of this one before the day ended. I told Nicky to head out.” Alex sighed and took her hair down. Piper caught herself staring at the way her waves fell over her shoulders. Alex stripped off her apron and hung it on a hook on the wall. She tussled her hands through her thick hair, and took a deep breath in, looking to Piper.