Clean Up. Short Story.

Stacy bent to examine the body, he were huddled over, long gouges ripped from his arms and legs. “It looks like he did it to himself.”
“Why would anyone do that?”
“I don’t know, maybe some kind of rash or fungus?”
“Maybe he was just crazy.”
“Yeah, there’s always that option too.”

Stacy shivered slightly and ignored the sudden and steady itch on her arm. Sure, scratching an itch was satisfying, but at that point he wouldn’t be able to feel anything but pain. “It looks like he tried to dig something out.”
“Like what?”
“I don’t know, I don’t see anything. Maybe it was some kind of infection?”
“Or infestation. Might have been some parasites under his skin, something harmless enough, but throw in some mental disorders and you’ve got all you need to get this mess.”
“Yeah. Maybe. I just don’t get how someone could do that to themselves.”
“Luckily, you’re job isn’t to understand.”
“True. Look, are you sure this is ok? Like completely sure, before I actually touch anything?”
“Yeah, it’s fine. Look, some rich dude owns the island, a couple of hippies were squatting out here, they ended up dying and he just wants to get rid of it all before there’s a scandal and the families sue, ok? Nothing bad happened here, like you can see he did that to himself.”
“I know, but we’re not going to get in trouble, are we?”
“No. Definitely not. No one will ever know.”
Stacy stood and stepped away from the body, it didn’t smell as much as she thought it would.
“Where are the others?”
“There are three of them. I think one is over in the small cabin and the third is in the pool.”
“Oh yuck.”
“Yeah, definitely won’t be swimming in that ever, there isn’t enough bleach in the world to get it clean again.”

Mark peered over Stacy’s shoulder at the body, “I think the one in the pool is the grossest. All bloated and stuff. The one in the cabin is easy enough to look at.”
“So what’s the plan here?”
“Well, we wrap him up in some plastic sheeting, bring them to the shore and dump them in, the currents will take care of the rest. Then we come back, wash everything down and burn everything we used. We’ll be done in a few hours and rolling in cash.”
“Which one do you want to do first?”
“Well, seeing as we’re here might as well get this prick into the ocean.”

Mark went outside, leaving Stacy alone with the body. She looked around the room, anywhere but the corpse. It was a small enough space, definitely not somewhere she’d like to go to die. The door had been locked too, she didn’t want to think about how creepy it would have been to be the one to find the body. It was probably Mark who found him, he was always doing jobs here and there for Anthony Linton, the owner of the island, a man Stacy only knew by reputation.

Mark had called her this morning, telling her he had a job for her, paid well would only take a few hours. He didn’t go into specifics over the phone but when he told her how much there was no way she could say no. He didn’t tell her about the bodies until they were already on the boat and practically at the island.

Together they lifted the man onto plastic sheeting, he wasn’t as heavy as Stacy had expected him to be. After they wrapped him up they carried him to the boat. “You get started on wiping everything in there down, I’m going to bring him out and dump him.”
“I thought we could just shove him in the water.”
“Yeah, but we don’t want him coming back here. Besides, do you want to wade out into the water with him?”

“Ok, I’ll only be like twenty minutes.”

The room felt creepier without the body. Stacy knew it didn’t make sense, but she felt as though someone was watching her. She grabbed out the scrubbing brushes and gloves and got to work, scrubbing at the stains. She would get most of them out, then they’d bleach it. Mark had said that Mr. Linton would be getting a professional cleaning service in soon, as he did every year. They were just here to clean up the bulk of the mess and to make sure any evidence was gotten rid of.

Mark was back a little faster than Stacy had expected, she had thought he would come back after most of the cleaning was done with some lame excuse, but she was only halfway done when he returned. He grabbed a brush and started cleaning.
“Did it go ok?”
“Yeah, fine. He’s the ocean’s problem now.”

They second one was the pool, that was easily the worst. Whoever it was was bloated, a thin layer of something floated on top of the pool water, when they tried to grab out her, or perhaps it was a him, bits flaked off in the water. They finally wrestled them out, Stacy was still unsure of the gender, they were so bloated and swollen. The worst part for Stacy wasn’t the smell of it, it was the squishing gurgles the body made as they carried it, the water that dripped steadily from the bag. There was nothing to do but drain the pool, the professional cleaners were going to be told that some animals had drowned in it and rotted, they would take care of the rest.

That just left the last one. She was so thin and emaciated Stacy wondered how she managed to even get out to the island without getting blown right off the boat. The woman was lying on a sun lounger, a blanket thrown over her. Mark was looking through a box that was on the ground beside her.
“Score. There’s like every kind of drug here, plus some pipes and a big ass bong.”
“Really? You want to use the drugs of the dead people? Did you not see the guy who ripped off his skin? What if there’s something wrong with all of it?”
Mark frowned, “Yeah, good point. This’ll be going overboard with her too.”
She was the easiest to carry, though Stacy was afraid that the woman would just fall apart, crumble and blow away on the breeze. As Mark loaded the woman on the boat, Stacy felt nervous, she didn’t want to be left alone on the island.
“I’ll be back soon, that room didn’t look to bad, just give everything a wipe down with the bleach, I’ll be back to help rinse it all off.”
Stacy stood and watched Mark sail away in the boat. She knew it would be pointless to ask if she could go with. It was getting late and she was tired, the faster she did this the faster she would be home.

Back in the room she started wiping everything down, working quickly. That feeling of being watched was back and worse than ever. At first she kept throwing glances over her shoulder, but now she worked facing the door. She heard Mark whistling and started to relax, a moment later he stepped into view.
“Right, just need to finish up here and we’re done.” He walked in and grabbed a cloth.

The feeling of being watched didn’t leave her until she was on the boat again, even then Stacy didn’t feel safe until she was back on dry land with the money in her hand.

As Stacy walked back to her place she started to feel sick, what had she done? She was just taking it on faith that those people died naturally, why wouldn’t he have just called the police to report that some people had trespassed and died. Sure he was rich and the families might sue, but it wouldn’t have been that big a scandal. That woman had been so thin, she couldn’t have eaten anything substantial in a long, long time. That sort of thing didn’t happen over night. The money in her bag was a heavy, comforting weight. It didn’t matter now, it was done. She just had to put it out of her mind, not think about it. She would be fine, she wouldn’t get caught. She looked out over the water and she wondered, just how many times has he had people like her and Mark clear out bodies? Couldn’t be many, after all, too many people would mean the secret would be spilled. Maybe who ever he normally used couldn’t do it. Maybe it was just a one time thing. Maybe they got rid of whoever did it.

No. That was stupid. They couldn’t do that, they’d be caught. People knew her, they knew Mark, they’d notice if they went missing. As she walked the weight of the money started to grow and it was no longer comforting.

About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
This entry was posted in Horror, Short Stories and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Clean Up. Short Story.

  1. C. King Grey says:

    Very good writing. Do you have any work published? I publish my books on Amazon.

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