Story Three- Outsourced
This is a little dark. Aaron’s gone darker, but I’m a gentle soul. I only got half-way through. I’ll leave it up to you to finish.
You don’t like this house. It’s empty. It’s dark. Your job extends to all parts of the world, to all areas of every city. But this house isn’t right.
Even in the Louisiana summer, it’s cold. Your bones chill, they practically rattle each step you take up the staircase.
When you first started, all those years ago, it was a pain to take the equipment. The clothes help to hide you but they’re so damn cumbersome. It’s hard to forget the times you’ve tripped. It became easier through time but you always have to keep your mind sharp and focused on every move those legs of yours make.
The list says you’re here for Mary Fredericks.
It looks like she’s ready. Even on the dusty steps, it’s easy to see everything put away, in it’s place.
She lies in the hallway. Her frailty is sad. She’s been there for a while. You can’t help but to be a little disgusted at the sight of her. She’s only wearing a nightgown and you can practically see everything time’s shriveled and destroyed.
Her voice is grating. It’s raspy and as wrinkled as her body. You don’t answer. You don’t need to. You part your cloak and go to the buttons, zippers and straps. Your tools are necessary.
She tries to turn but there were too many broken bones. The pain must be incredible to keep a such a shaking elderly woman from knowing the intruder in her house. She should’ve been more careful stepping from her lift. The mechanism itself contiues its broken record movement of slamming into it’s stopping point. You don’t need to look, your thin finger flicks the switch and powers it off. You’re just glad rewiring the damn thing worked.
She’s been avoiding this for a long time.
You’re not like the others. You pride yourself in a method. That method is simple.
You wait until they’re injured. You wait until they’re close to the inevitable. Your coworkers, if that’s what someone could call them, would never be so considerate. The stories of scythes and blades and poisons make your skin crawl.
Your smile can’t be contained. The video camera is easy to setup. You unstrap the tripod from your leg. The poles extend and the camera screws on. So simple a caveman could do it. Your mind wanders a bit while you program the device.
Have I seen a new caveman commercial?
What happened to that show?
“Please… Help me.”
So pitiful. She’s been hobbling around her house and the neighborhood and the local shopping center. Each day you’ve seen her, she’s seemed worse and worse. You were concerned. You still are. It’s in your nature to care. You’re a good person.
You lean down and whisper through her bright white hair.
“I will help.”
You watch the scene. The viewfinder doesn’t give you a clear picture but it shows a preview of the high resolution proof you’ve been asked to provide. It shows her square in the center. She’d been moving earlier but everything is slowing now. Her head isn’t craning anymore. She can’t keep her voice going.
It’s coming soon. It might take hours. It might be painful.
But you promised to help her. Even though it’s not your job. You said it. You said you would.
You slip your arms from the cloak. It has to be useful for something.
You let her see you for a moment. You smile but all she can make out are the stark white peaks of the cheekbones. She stares at the black voids that should be holding eyes.
Her scream is muffled by the heavy black material you’re placing over her. She jerks violently but you push your weight down.
It’s quicker than it would have been. Her grip on your boney wrist loosens within minutes.
Exiting is easier. You take a few seconds to repack the camera and the peripherals. The cloak isn’t stained but it’s heavier, almost as if she’s following you in it.
You leaver her as she was. You can barely look at her but you snap a few pictures before finding your way out of the house.
The door opens smoothly. It’s still night. Had you let that go on, there’s no telling how long it would have taken.
The van’s handle is warm. The door slides smoothly back. You toss everything in the back, taking special care to put the camera in softly.
The reflection in the side mirror is horrendous. A blanched skull smiling back at you. There’s a second when you’re worried the boss has come to check up on you.
It’s not him.
It’s only the mask.
It dawns on you with a chuckle. You pull it off and throw it in with the rest.
You climb into the back and tap on the driver’s seat. There’s no response beyond that of the vehicle lurching forward.
Your night is done. It’s time to drop off the evidence and collect your earnings.
You and your driver fly down Hawkin’s blvd as if you’ve seen a ghost.