Dr. M and I crept through the condemned building with only his penlight illuminating our path. Shadows leapt around us. The incessant drip of water inside the walls begged me to let madness in. My nose was assaulted by a perfume of decay, mold, and human feces. The doctor was armed tools of the ghost hunting trade. I had only a knife. I began to question my decision making process.
Extended unemployment ran out two weeks after I got on it. For a couple of months I toughed it out; checking on updates to renewals between job searches. Eventually I gave up. Everyone said I’d find a job soon. A year to a year and a half was standard they said. Assholes.
Our footsteps echoed off broken walls, interrupted by the occasional cough. After it was abandoned this place became the refuge of the forgotten. Ranks I was destined to join when mom’s compassion ran out. Every time I attempted to ask a question Dr. M shushed me. It seemed ghosts were like fish.
Last ditch effort every day was nontraditional jobs on nonstandard internet boards. I came across a fulltime job for someone not afraid of ghosts. I made the call. Thinking anything is better than selling plasma is a trap.
We made our way into the central room. The girl’s body lay cold and still on a concrete slab in the center of the room. She was beautiful, with no apparent breath raising her chest. It was time to do the job.
They scheduled an in person right then. I got hired on the spot. I went a little wild during the interview, assuming this was a casting call for a reality show. Dr. M took me on my first mission. My informal training on the ride amounted to basically nothing.
Dr. M raised his spectral disrupter, which looked suspiciously like a fireplace poker, over the corpse’s chest. Stabbing the body with pure iron was one of the few ways to kill a ghost. The poker drove down… The girl screamed and jerked upright. Blood poured from her mouth as she clawed futilely at the metal ending her life. Her eyes met mine, tears sliding from both sets. Her soul asked me why? Why had we killed her? What had she done to deserve this? So clean, newly homeless she had taken up the only residence she could find. A paranoid schizophrenic had ended her life by calling in a ghost sighting.
The doctor looked shaken but not horrified. The girl fell back. Retrieving his tool he wiped the blood on her clothing. When he walked toward the exit I stood in front of him.
“What the hell was that? That girl was alive, just breathing shallow.”
“That was a completed mission.” He spoke placidly, meeting my gaze. “It was a learning experience. Sometimes we get false information. Our good calls keep the world safe, our bad ones are why hunting monsters is no longer a publicized occupation.”
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