“Oh, wonderful,” Orae muttered as she approached where the two of them stood, Lucel ambling along behind her. “Now we can get a repeat performance.”
“Shut,” Zarah snapped back. “Not caught off anymore.”
“Plus,” Remy added helpfully, “she’s probably got nothing left to puke, anyway.”
Orae sighed. “…thank you for that, Auclair.”
Zarah braced herself as she came to a stop next to Orae, and then looked down. It had been a long, long time since she’d been sick at the sight of a corpse; why now, she still wasn’t sure.
-but, she had her suspicions.
Thankfully, this time, there was no surge of nausea – not physically, anyway. It was hard not to feel disgusted, when looking at what they were.
Sometimes, she felt like she was forming a web in her mind, connecting images and eyes together. The red arm of the corpse , the chimeras, the way Paose had seemed to blend together with his shade at the end; they were all part of a bigger picture.
In her little web, the body in front of her seemed to connect to every single other one.
Sat in a trench in the concrete flooring was something that, if you squinted, was almost recognisable as a human corpse. Any attempt to identify features or details about the person it might have been was fruitless – it had no clothes, but no obviously visible… anatomy, either. Average height, maybe. On the heavy side of normal. Everything else, every other possible detail, had been wiped clean by the brutality inflicted upon it.
The thing that disturbed Zarah the most – on an intellectual level at least – was how methodical it was.
That wasn’t a surprise, not with everything else of Metzin they’d seen and learned, but meticulous paperwork was one thing; meticulous butchery another entirely.
Not a mistake she’d make twice. Not after this.
Banded sections ran up each arm of the corpse, variations on a theme. Some were barely perceptible from one another – sections of what appeared to be unaltered skin the most common in some places, smooth and glossy ghostlight-touched in others – while others were so distinct as to look as if they were separate materials entirely. Just above the elbow of the left arm, a band covered in jagged, crystalline growths bordered directly onto one where the flesh seemed to be recessed inwards, dry and dessicated and sallow.
The torso was similarly banded, vertically up from the waist, with thicker bands than the arms leaving room for only five in total. They were more intense than the arms, though, including one just above where the bellybutton would have been, that was mostly empty space with curved… pillars of altered flesh, like it had flowed down from both sides in defiance of gravity to meet in the middle. The rest of the band was empty space, with the exposed interiors covered in smooth red-tinted skin that made Zarah imagine it spreading out slowly like melting wax. It wasn’t just translucent like one of the arm bands, either; with a bit of careful angling, she managed to get her entire hand through to the other side.