The ride to 34 Chestnut Street was a short one, but the breeze through the windows provided some much needed respite from the heat. The street itself looked like it came straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The sound of a lawnmower at the end of the block gave the whole area a feeling of home that Jack couldn’t shake no matter how hard he tried. The house itself had two stories It was a short squat little white house that seemed to radiate wholesomeness. The flowerbeds out front were arranged with the painstaking care one uses when they wish to give off the impression that no care was given at all. Jack surveyed the house approvingly. Not a speck of paint was peeling, the grass was mowed and even the window decorations were at the perfect angle and placement. “So this is the house of our Dr. Lightni…our client.” Thunder started to crackle in the distance before sputtering to and indignant stop and then roaring defiantly anyways.
“That lightning gonna do that every time?” As Stan spoke, the thunders echoed again.
As Jack and Stan stood in the driveway, the front door of the property opened and the good doctor himself stepped out to greet them. He was wearing a simple tweed jacket and grey slacks. A black stethoscope was snaked around his neck and he held a legal pad in his left hand. “You arrived right on time, Mr. Goodbody. I’m glad because there may be quite a bit more of a mess than you realize.” The doctor had a sort of sing song voice that made one feel at ease as soon as they heard it. It was the perfect voice for a doctor, who needed to build rapport and trust with his patients, especially when one of them recently “leaked” as the doctor put it, in his office.
“I aim to be punctual.” Jack grabbed some of the supplies from the back of the van and made his way to the door, extending a hand for the doctor to shake.
The doctor looked down at his hand as though he was unfamiliar with this concept of shaking hands upon meeting then took his hand in a firm grasp, “Well, if you will come this way I will show you to the problem room.” The house itself, much like the outside, was tidy to the point of perfection. Not a speck of dirt graced any flat surface in the whole of the downstairs living room. The practice was an entirely different matter. The examining table was coated in a thick black substance that had solidified and dripped down onto the floor in many places. The doctor had used the word leak, but the walls and ceiling were covered with all sorts of various colors, looking as though his recent patient had burst from the inside and then nobody had come into the room for a period of weeks.
“This is a good deal more than I had expected. This will be an all day job.”
The doctor looked impressed, “I had figured you would need at least a day or two to get this done. Shall we discuss fees now or later?”
“Later,” Jack quickly set his tools down and got to work, testing how hard the various stains were and how thick, “I won’t know how to charge you until I’ve seen the extent of the damage to the office.”
“That sounds fair, “The doctor stepped to the side to let Stan in past him, “I’ll be in my study getting some work done if you have any questions.”
Jack grunted a non-reply, already absorbed in his work, and pressed his finger to the side of one wall. Some of the caked on material came away with his finger in a gooey mess but some of it flaked away to the ground. Pulling out a handkerchief, he wiped his finger off and examined the wall again. Some of the stains hadn’t even moved, remaining caked on. The doctor excused himself and left them to their work.
Stan took out a rag and dumped some cleaning fluid on it, “Why don’t you use the mop on them stains?” Pressing the rag into the wall, he began the long and arduous process of wiping off the first layer of grime.
“Because these were people once. If I used the mop it would erase them from everyone’s memories, and this is all that’s left of them.” Jack went over the examination table and looked it over carefully, following the stains down to the carpeted floor.
Stan chuckled, making a low rumbling sound, “So you do have some’a them good natured ideas.”
Jack shook his head quickly, taking off his jacket and searching for a remotely clean place to hang it, “Also, if I use the mop, we get paid for around five minutes of work and that’s a waste of our time.”
Moving along the wall, Stan used a cloth and cleaning fluid, working off the first and newest layer of grime as best he could, “You figure Dr. Lightning killed all them people?” The thunder sounded off in the distance, but was entirely ignored.
Jack shrugged noncommittally, “It doesn’t matter to me if he did. All that matters to me is that he pays me when this is all over. I’ll be right back, Stan. I’m going to grab some water from a sink so we can make this move along a little faster.
Jack excused himself and, with a bucket, headed for the general direction in which he thought the kitchen might lie. On the way, he passed the study. A whole wall of books faced the door, mostly old and tattered looking texts with obscure titles, half of which weren’t in English. The doctor was sitting at his desk, pouring over some notes of his. He seemed so wrapped up in his work that he didn’t even notice Jack pass by with the bucket, either going to the kitchen or coming back from it. By the time Jack got back, Stan had moved a little ways down the wall, but this was surely going to be a very long day. Unfortunately for Jack and Stan they had no idea how long this day would be. In the world of paranormal cleaners, more than being almost killed, the most harrowing experience is having a client who feels the need to second guess every choice you make from your cleaning implements all the way down to the way you clean. Back in his office, the doctor lifted his head and sniffed. That is not a cleaner he used in this house. Words would be had over this.