Dead bodies are calm and silent""perfectly still, perfectly harmless. A corpse will never move, it will never laugh, and it will never judge. A corpse will never shout at you, hit you, or leave you. Far away from the zombies and junk that you see on TV, a corpse is actually the perfect friend. The perfect pet. I feel more comfortable with them than I do with real people.
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As Raimbaut dragged a dead man along he thought, 'Oh corpse, I have come rushing here only to be dragged along by the heels like you. What is this frenzy that drives me, this mania for battle and for love, when seen from the place where your staring eyes gaze and your flung-back head knocks over stones? It's that I think of, oh corpse, it's that you make me think of: but does anything change? Nothing. No other days exist but these of ours before the tomb, both for us the living and for you the dead. May it be granted me not to waste them, not to waste anything of what I am, of what I could be: to do deeds helpful to the Frankish cause: to embrace, to be embraced by, proud Bradamante. I hope you spent your days no worse, oh corpse. Anyway to you the dice have already shown their numbers. For me they are still whirling in the box. And I love my own disquiet, corpse, not your peace.
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They found the corpse in the closet of Alcide's apartment, and they hatched a plan to hide his remains." Eric sounded like that had been kind of cute of us. "My Sookie hid a corpse?" "I don't think you can be too sure about that possessive pronoun." "Where did you learn that term, Northman?" "I took 'English as a Second Language' at a community college in the seventies.
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In the detective story, as in its mirror image, the Quest for the Grail, maps (the ritual of space) and timetables (the ritual of time) are desirable. Nature should reflect its human inhabitants, i.e., it should be the Great Good Place; for the more Eden-like it is, the greater the contradiction of murder. The country is preferable to the town, a well-to-do neighborhood (but not too well-to-do-or there will be a suspicion of ill-gotten gains) better than a slum. The corpse must shock not only because it is a corpse but also because, even for a corpse, it is shockingly out of place, as when a dog makes a mess on a drawing room carpet." (The guilty vicarage: Notes on the detective story, by an addict, Harper's Magazine, May 1948)
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Mr. Lecky had proceeded quickly for several moments before he drew up, shocked. A few more steps and he might have stumbled on his idiot, for the stairs he had been approaching were the front stairs to the silverware department, which he wished to avoid. Shaken by this unpleasant mistake, he re-directed himself, turning back down the center of the dark floor. Certainly he did not want to see the corpse; the corpse could not very well want to see him.
James Gould Cozzens
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How strange! This bed on which I shall lie has been slept on by more than one dying man, but today it does not repel me! Who knows what corpses have lain on it and for how long? But is a corpse any worse than I? A corpse too knows nothing of its father, mother or sisters or Titus. Nor has a corpse a sweetheart. A corpse, too, is pale, like me. A corpse is cold, just as I am cold and indifferent to everything. A corpse has ceased to live, and I too have had enough of life... Why do we live on through this wretched life which only devours us and serves to turn us into corpses? The clocks in the Stuttgart belfries strike the midnight hour. Oh how many people have become corpses at this moment! Mothers have been torn from their children, children from their mothers - how many plans have come to nothing, how much sorrow has sprung from these depths, and how much relief!... Virtue and vice have come in the end to the same thing! It seems that to die is man's finest action - and what might be his worst? To be born, since that is the exact opposite of his best deed. It is therefore right of me to be angry that I was ever born into this world! Why was I not prevented from remaining in a world where I am utterly useless? What good can my existence bring to anyone? ... But wait, wait! What's this? Tears? How long it is since they flowed! How is this, seeing that an arid melancholy has held me for so long in its grip? How good it feels - and sorrowful. Sad but kindly tears! What a strange emotion! Sad but blessed. It is not good for one to be sad, and yet how pleasant it is - a strange state...
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When you die, you want to die a beautiful death. But what makes for a beautiful death is not always clear. To die without suffering, to die without causing trouble to others, to die leaving behind a beautiful corpse, to die looking good - it's not clear what is meant by a beautiful death. Does a beautiful death refer to the way you die or the condition of your corpse after death? This distinction is not clear. And when you start to stretch the image of death to the method of how to dispose of your corpse as befitting your image of death, everything grows completely out of hand.
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And thus they form a perfect group; he walks back two or three paces, selects his point of sight, and begins to sketch a hurried outline. He has finished it before they move; he hears their voices, though he cannot hear their words, and wonders what they can be talking of. Presently he walks on, and joins them. 'You have a corpse there, my friends?' he says. 'Yes; a corpse washed ashore an hour ago.' 'Drowned?' 'Yes, drowned; - a young girl, very handsome.' 'Suicides are always handsome, ' he says; and then he stands for a little while idly smoking and meditating, looking at the sharp outline of the corpse and the stiff folds of the rough canvas covering. Life is such a golden holiday to him young, ambitious, clever - that it seems as though sorrow and death could have no part in his destiny. ("The Cold Embrace")
Mary Elizabeth Braddon
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From "Lady In Waiting" in the anthology The Morgue : Now I have yet to meet the corpse could hold up its end of a conversation, so at most I might whistle while fixin' one up 'stead of engagin' myself in any small talk that's goin' to be so one-sided anyways. But Cindy Flowers' corpse weren't no ordinary body when it walked upright, and it sure weren't ordinary just because it was lyin' before me in a pine wood box. So for the first time I felt the need to get a few things said to one of our visitors, and I leaned down to get myself real close to her face. Her eyes was closed 'cause Pa had already sewed her lids shut.
Kenneth C. Goldman
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I soon began to dream. ... I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. ... I left my bed and wandered downstairs. ... There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. 'Who is dead in the White House?' I demanded of one of the soldiers, 'The President,' was his answer; 'he was killed by an assassin.''
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The gravedigger knew a fine trick. When the worms looked unhappy he would leave his place in the mausoleum and go up into the sunshine. He would go empty-handed, but when he returned, with him came a most exquisite corpse. The worms would rejoice, and they would feast upon the corpse until they were fat and could feast no more. The young would come with the old to see this trick and glory in it. No worm knew where the gravedigger got his corpses, but they were always succulent and nourishing. They praised the gravedigger's generosity. - From "Worms
L. Joseph Shosty
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Imagine some foul and putrid corpse that has lain rotting and decomposing in the grave, a jelly-like mass of liquid corruption. Imagine such a corpse a prey to flames, devoured by the fire of burning brimstone and giving off dense choking fumes of nauseous loathsome decomposition. And then imagine this sickening stench, multiplied a millionfold and a millionfold again from the millions upon millions of fetid carcasses massed together in the reeking darkness, a huge and rotting human fungus. Imagine all this, and you will have some idea of the horror of the stench of hell.
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