Welcome to Hartford.

So you wandered up to the city gates, did you? Strip search exposed that you were bitten? You had a fever too, didn’t you? Surprise! They shot you on the spot. Clean shot,too, right in the forehead. Bet that was Bertram’s work. Didn’t you see the sign?

“Welcome to Hartford. Strip-search required to enter. Infected will be shot. No exceptions.”

It just doesn’t get any clearer than that. You came anyway, bitten and all, and that’s how you wound up with me. Who am I? Well, I’m no rat. I’ll tell you that for nothing. The name’s Edison. Edison Faust, and I’m the mortician here in Hartford. I get rid of the bodies, like you. The ones that are tainted. Not a great job but it keeps me busy. It serves a purpose and I get to stay.

The incinerator is ready. And though you didn’t ask – NO, I do not think it is weird that I talk to dead bodies. I prefer your sort to the living and it’s not like you have anything better to do, now is it? In you go and uh… welcome to Hartford. Population 941, minus you.

Exerpt from Undertaking Hartford – A new novel, coming in summer, 2012.

© 2011, Mitch Lavender


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