The Living “I'm so stiff,” cried the corpse, “I'm dying to dance again.” And there he rose, hopping off the autopsy table to do a pirouette on the pristine tiles of the room. He twirled and twisted in perfect synchrony to imaginary music, jumping and turning with such conviction that the coroner nearly heard that same music the dead was dancing to. He moved around the room, avoiding each object with such precision that the amazed onlooker couldn't help but wonder if this man had ever been there before. The coroner never got any company – only the dead came to visit him. He stared, amazed at the newly exhumed corpse jumping across the room in a perfect brisé. The dancer became akin to a top spinning out of balance, coiling around in some hidden rage before reaching a crescendo with a sweep of his hand. He moved into what looked like the final position, right leg outstretched, tracing a circle around him with his arms spread far behind, face wistful as he looked up past the ceiling. Spellbound, the coroner couldn't but clap at what had played in front of him. He had never been too much of a fan of the performing arts but to deny the dance proper appreciation would be a sin, even if it was to music he can't hear. The beauty of his form, his harmony, the sincerity of his expression; it was all utter perfection. The undead dancer gave a low bow to the coroner, a humble thank you coming from his lips. As he did so, the stunned man was reminded of something he'd read a long, long time ago. “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music,” he whispered, eyes wide. “Nietzsche,” the other nodded, pale as death but looking more alive than ever. He reached his right hand towards the still man. “Now, dance with me.” The coroner, entranced, put a hesitant hand on his. A gasp escaped his lips as their skin touched. “It's cold.” + The Dead If the corpse heard, he didn't show it as he wrapped his left arm around the living one. He hummed in approval as the other put his hand on his shoulder. The beat of the other's heart was intoxicating to his ears; the breath on his lips, the blood running through his veins. It had been so long since he'd last been alive that all he could do was admire the essence of life in his arms. He loved how it brought him on the cliff of ecstasy; dangling off the edge, so close to falling into intense, never ending pleasure. Infatuated he was with life – no – he daresay lusted for it. He lusted to feel life in his hands, in his control, doing as he desired. He waltzed the living man across the room, carefully avoiding the chairs and tables and gently twirling him around, making the other lose balance slightly just for the dead to catch him in his cold embrace once more. The unlikely pair did this again and again, their delicate stepping and turning becoming something more aggressive; they pushed and they pulled, their turns sharpening. The corpse shoved the coroner on to the autopsy table he came from, pushing him down on the cold metal. “You are mine now.” This shook the living man out of his enchanted stupor, and he writhed and kicked, trying to escape from the cold, rigid grip of death. “No,” the dancer tutted condescendingly; a reasoning mother to an irascible child. “That is not how you are to behave.” From the side table he produced a scalpel, blemish-free and all but gleaming in the harsh light. An unsettling thought came about the coroner. I had just finished sharpening my tools.