Author: Rebecca Field

Each time I go to the morgue, I expect to find him. And then each time I leave, I wish that I could fall asleep and not wake up again. Become one of them. Lined up in death, all the colours of the rainbow coursing through their cold flesh, their waxy stares fixing on nothingness. Sometimes it is obvious how they died, sometimes not. Since the robots came, we die in many ways.

I can’t keep doing this, I tell myself as I push through the heavy wooden doors. The anticipation, the shock, the disgust. The smell hits first and I pull my scarf over my nose and mouth. This building used to be a theatre, before. Filled with music, songs, and laughter. The heavy curtains are still here, by what used to be the stage. The gold paintwork on the balustrades glimmers in the flickering light of the oil lamps. It must have looked wonderful lit up for a show. I never had the money to come here then. Now we all come. It’s the only way to reconnect with those we have lost.

I pass along the rows, head bowed. I’ve seen some of these bodies before. Those unclaimed will be burned in the mass funeral pyres on the outskirts of the city soon. At least their worries are over. I envy them that.

As I approach the children’s section, I take a deep breath and quickly scan the faces. It feels disrespectful, not to stop and mourn each little life. But I need to know he isn’t here, that maybe he is still out there somewhere.

When I am satisfied, I take a breath, knowing I’ll be back soon. I’ll keep returning until I join the ranks of the lined up dead myself. Who will come to claim me then? When none of us remain, the robots will not mourn.