He was a quiet man. He lived a quiet, ordinary life.
Every morning his alarm went off at 7:01 precisely; 701 being his favourite prime number. He slid his feet into the slippers beside the bed and went downstairs to make tea and boil his egg for 5 minutes 47 seconds, 547 being another prime number he enjoyed. His eggcup, mug and spoon were always laid out from the night before.
He ate his breakfast slowly, then washed, dried and put his things away before making his lunch. A ham and tomato sandwich on whole wheat bread, safely stored in a Tupperware box, with a banana on the side.
After his shower he dressed in grey slacks, a white shirt and a blue tie, putting on his brown brogues at the door before leaving for work. As he walked the 20 minutes to his office he carefully avoided the cracks in the pavement. A nod to the girls on reception as he passed by en route to the lift to arrive at his desk at 8:09, where he sat and began to check his emails and see what the day held ahead of him.
Colleagues passed his desk during the day. He always glanced up and offered a smile but never initiated conversation. Work was work, not a party. He ate his sandwich at his desk, reading the online newspaper. He watched the clock on his screen and after exactly 29 minutes he closed the Internet and returned to his tasks. He took a tea break from 3:17 to 3:31 and shut down his computer everyday at 5:41.
He stopped in to buy supplies for dinner on his way home; M&S or Waitrose. Mondays were pork chops, Tuesdays – fish, Wednesdays – chicken, Thursdays – leftover chicken. On Fridays he had steak.
His evening routine never wavered. He removed his shoes at the door, washed his hands and cooked his evening meal, listening to the radio as he worked. Once dinner was finished and tidied away he watched the documentaries he had recorded during the day, before brushing his teeth and going to bed at 9:07. At 9:53 he put down his book and turned his light off.
On Saturdays he volunteered at the local hospice, where he made and served tea, read and chatted to the patients. Always modest about offering his time, he dismissed any praise directed towards him with, “It’s nothing really, just a small piece of my week. I’m happy to be of use.”
The staff chatted about him during their breaks:
“Isn’t Terence a sweet man? So quiet and unassuming”.
“He is. A diamond that man.”
“Do you know anything about him?”
“Not at thing! He keeps himself to himself. But you have to respect that.”
They, of course, were unaware of his secret visits to the mortuary.
He had noticed it was usually quiet and unoccupied during the serving of the evening meal and had made a habit of quietly disappearing once his serving duties were taken care of.
His skin prickled at the coolness of the air there every time.
He locked the door before opening one of the compartments and sliding out the slab. A frisson of excitement in that moment where his eyes slid over the shape beneath the sheet, before he lifted it and saw the face below, drained of colour and life.
He only wanted the women, never the men.
He loved to look at their pallid, waxy skin. Some of them tragically young, torn from life too early; others old, their age-spotted skin wrinkled and sagging. He reached out and touched their breasts, finding them cold and firm. He stroked their stomachs, hips and thighs, his erection growing and straining against his Y fronts. He spat on his fingers and sighed as he pushed them inside the women, feeling their icy tightness grip him. He wished they could open their eyes and look at him as he explored them. He edged towards orgasm but always stopped before he spoiled his underwear. He hated mess. Removing his fingers, he sniffed them, wiped them on the sheet and returned the woman to her resting place. He left the mortuary carefully, glancing left and right to ensure no one was around to see him.
He rejoined the patients and staff to bid them good night for another week, thinking of how he would relive his illicit thrill once he got home and masturbated in the shower. His weekend treat that made the week bearable.
On Sundays he visited his mother. He always brought her pink roses and cut her grass. On the way home from the graveyard he would buy fish and chips for supper.
He did enjoy routine.
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