☰ The Aftermath

Sometimes people call us after something horrendous happens, like a break-in or less often, a domestic dispute, and they need things fixed. You’d be surprised how destructive robbers (and drunk, abusive husbands) are.

It’s not enough for them to break into your home and take your stuff, they have to destroy the rest of your house too. They usually put heavy things through your sheet rock, break your windows and mirrors and try and make sure that none of your TV’s are still in tact. I don’t know why people are the way they are, I just know we do a lot of repairs made necessary by violence.

On one such occasion, I was still training under Sam, and we came face to face with what I can only explain away as a beast attack. Huge claw marks, tufts of fur everywhere, you name it. The whole place smelled like piss. When Paddy, (another guy on our crew at the time) asked the woman who hired us what happened, this is what she told us:

She had been giving their little girl a bath one evening when her husband ran upstairs like his boots were on fire. Her husband told her that she needed to take their little girl and go to her mother’s house for the night. Of course the wife wanted to know what in the world was going on with her husband and why he was acting like the sky was falling, but he wouldn’t say more than “she needed to leave” and that she needed to do it in a hurry. He says his peace and goes back downstairs.

So the wife dries off the little girl and gets her dressed and calls her mom. Halfway through the phone call, the wife hears these horrible noises coming from downstairs. She tells her mom she is on her way and runs down the stairs with her little girl and her car keys, making a beeline for the front door while whatever is tearing up her house is busy.

She said that there was a huge, wild and furious animal in her house and she couldn’t find her husband. The wife’s main concern was getting her daughter out of the house alive. They made it out of the house before whatever the hell was inside could get ahold of them. The wife and the little girl made it to her mother’s house and they stayed the night there. The husband wouldn’t answer his phone, so when it came time to come home, the wife, who was still scared that the beast might be in the house, asked her parents to follow her back home. The woman’s dad is an ex-marine so he brings his shotgun. What they find in the house is the aftermath that the woman hired us to come and fix.

The woman tells us that she has been waiting for her husband to come home ever since, but that he has yet to show up. She said that she filed a missing person's report that very afternoon that she and her parents returned to the house. She thinks that her husband was killed by the creature that broke into her house, but that doesn’t add up. She said that for all the damage, there was never any sign of forced entry. The police found no blood and no bodily fluids, they just found destruction and her husband’s shredded clothes.

I can’t begin to imagine what really happened that night, but I had to force myself not to ask the lady if she happened to notice if the moon was full when she’d been running for her life. I could be wrong of course.

Other types of "aftermath clean up", as I call it, are sometimes even more disturbing. A woman called right after Christmas time and hired us to renovate one of her upstairs bedrooms. She said she would need "the works"; the entire room needed to be sheet-rocked, taped, textured and painted. Also, we were to replace the carpet and both windows. Lastly, the woman mentioned the removal of what she called “an assembly”. Maria didn’t know what to make of “an assembly”, I personally thought she probably wanted us to disassemble a sex swing or some such nonsense. When we got there we saw what she was referring to.

The “assembly” was four sets of iron chains with cuffs all doubly reinforced into the studs of the wall. That wasn’t all. The room itself looked like a bomb went off inside. First off it stunk to all hell. We’re talking shit, piss, vomit… Everything. Rotten eggs and spoiled fish.

It was horrible.

The walls were a dingy, dirty gray littered with moldy spots and bouts of dark brown smudges that I could only assume was blood.There wasn’t a square inch of the room that hadn’t been soiled in some shape form or fashion. The carpet was so stiff with crud you could feel it through your boots. Gross.

At this point, Sam is thinking about calling the law, when the woman pulled us to the side and told us what happened. She told us her daughter had been (wait for it…) possessed by a demon.

Sam wasn’t buying that shit for a second and neither was I. He pulled out his cellphone to call the law, when the woman grabbed him by the hand and begged him not to. She said that she could prove what had happened to her daughter was real.

20 minutes later, a catholic priest was telling us the same thing and showing Sam macabre pictures that he kept in a small photo album labeled “proof”. I never saw the pictures, but I did see the look on Sam’s face, and I’ve only seen him get that pale one other time in my life since then.

So that was that, and like your reliable neighborhood handymen, we finished her job in record time and got the hell out of dodge.

I’m not Catholic, and I’m not really religious so to speak, but I don’t think it was a prank pulled on us by a middle aged woman and her Catholic priest. I think that something certainly happened in that house. I just hope I never really know what.


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My novel, Trigram, is in the works, but in the meantime, I'll probably be working on short stories such as the ones on Wicked Shorts. (Wink)

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