Old Adam Farrel lay dead in the house wherein he had lived alone for the last twenty years. A silent, churlish recluse, in his life he had known no friends, and only two men had watched his passing.
Dr. Stein rose and glanced out the window into the gathering dusk.
'You think you can spend the night here, then?' he asked his companion.
This man, Falred by name, assented.
'Yes, certainly. I guess it's up to me.'
'Rather a useless and primitive custom, sitting up with the dead,' commented the doctor, preparing to depart, 'but I suppose in common decency we will have to bow to precedence. Maybe I can find someone who'll come over here and help you with your vigil.'
Falred shrugged his shoulders. 'I doubt it. Farrel wasn't liked—wasn't known by many people. I scarcely knew him myself, but I don't mind sitting up with the corpse.'
Dr. Stein was removing his rubber gloves and Falred watched the process with an interest that almost amounted to fascination. A slight, involuntary shudder shook him at the memory of touching these gloves—slick, cold, clammy things, like the touch of death.
'You may get lonely tonight, if I don't find anyone,' the doctor remarked as he opened the door. 'Not superstitious, are you?'
Falred laughed. 'Scarcely. To tell the truth, from what I hear of Farrel's disposition, I'd rather be watching his corpse than have been his guest in life.'
The Fearsome Touch of Death
Publication date: 09/10/2014
Old Adam Farrel lay dead in the house wherein he had lived alone for the last tw
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