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Ashes to Ashes (standard:horror, 8174 words)
Author: Kenneth BroskyAdded: Dec 18 2006Views/Reads: 2044/1272Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Justin Breneview is taking a new job in the crematorium of his local hospital. It starts out like a dream job ...

Ashes to Ashes By: Ken Brosky 

“Justin Breneview, actually.” 

The old man standing in front of Justin scanned over his metal
clipboard. He used a wrinkled finger to point to the print. “Well, it 
looks like they misspelled your last name when they printed this out. 
If I were you, I would talk to them before you get your first 

Justin nodded and watched as the man carefully took off his oversized
glasses and placed them in the breast pocket of his lab coat. There 
were a few red stains on the coat that looked ancient and permanent, as 
though someone had tried to rub them out with a cheap cleaner. 

“Well,” the man said as he extended a hand, “I'm Bernard.” Justin took
his hand and gave it a few hard pumps. The old man had a surprisingly 
strong, firm grip. “You'll be working with me for the next couple of 
weeks. Once you've got the hang of everything, I'll finally be out and 
you'll be taking over my job officially.” 

“Oh,” Justin said, “I didn't know I was actually stealing someone's job.
Otherwise, I wouldn't have taken it.” 

Bernard laughed. “Don't worry, kid. I'm retiring. I was just having a
little fun with ya.” He began walking down the white hallway, and 
Justin followed close behind. “You can call me Benny, by the way. Only 
old people call me Bernard, and I hate old people.” 

They passed a multitude of rooms labeled “storage” as they made their
way towards the other end. Justin took a breath through his nose and 
noted the basement had no sterile smell associated with the rest of the 

“The doors right in front of us is where you'll be spending most of your
time,” Benny was saying. “Don't worry about the other rooms. They're 
mostly for medical supplies and such. You'll get a few janitors down 
here once in awhile—good guys, all of ‘em. They'll usually refill their 
supplies and come talk to you for a while. Relish the experience, 
because you're not going to have many chances to talk to anyone while 
you're on shift. You're expected to unwrap, cremate, and store—and 
you're expected to do that as often as you can until your shift is up.” 

Justin nodded. They passed two more storage rooms before reaching the
large double doors at the end of the hall. 

“But don't think this is a bad job,” Benny continued. He pulled out his
keycard and slid it through a slot next to the door. The doors 
automatically unlocked when the old man pulled them open. “Each body 
takes about two hours to cremate. That means that during that time, you 
can watch TV or study for your exams or whatever the hell else you want 
to do.” 

“I'm actually on a one-year hiatus from college.” 

“Good. More time spent dicking around. You can help me crochet.” Benny
chuckled. “Just yanking you, kid. Don't forget your sense of humor down 

The room they stood in now was somewhat smaller, and not nearly as
nice-looking as the rest of the hospital. A large incinerator sat 
against the wall to Justin's left, and identical shelves and cabinets 
covered the opposite wall. A few urns sat on the shelves, as well as a 
few old-looking medical instruments and tools usually reserved for a 
garage. A large trash can sat next to the incinerator. There was 
another door to Justin's right, with large letters printed on a golden 
plaque: MORGUE. 

“This is where the magic happens,” Benny announced. He pointed to the
large folding table in the middle of the room. “Right there. You'll be 
spending most of your time sitting at that table on one of those shitty 
folding seats.” 

Justin nodded and watched as Benny walked over to one of the cabinets on

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