Month: October 2012

Dawn To Dust

Robert Myles leaned up against the bonnet of his BMW. He heard the sound of the approaching vehicle long before it came in to sight. It had the same Diesel engine sound he had heard when he met Mike Simco the previous Friday after his daughter Sarah had discovered the vermin in the upper half of the house.

Madeline had not liked that. She wanted to know why he had not arranged for the house to be fumigated with the estate agent before they had bought it. Robert explained that he had been assured the house was in perfect condition and perfectly livable.

Then he got The Stare. After fifteen years of marriage and three kids Robert was more the acquainted with The Stare. When he was young and in love, he had thought The Stare was cute, he doubted the seriousness in it.

Now fifteen years later, the doubt had been removed. Permanently. Sarah could have been bitten she retorted or worse she had added. You should have walked the house at least once. He had. Well you should have walked the upper part of the house. He explained that the estate agent had swindled him somewhat when it came to the upper part of the house.

Madeline had huffed before storming out of the new fitted kitchen with its character oak with inframe doors, Venetian gold granite worktops, and its island design which came with an induction hob and a chimney island hood for extraction, the island split in two levels to accommodate a seating area at the back. For a moment he just stood there staring at the sink unit which had a curved door feature in the design adding a sleek and unique feature.

Then he turned and walked out of the house.

Robert had taken his anger out on the estate agent who had after heated words and threats of legal action agreed to pay someone to come and fumigate the entire house. He stared up the road to where the sun was high in the sky making the road shimmer as a dirty white van bumbled laboriously over the top of the hill before beginning its downwards descent.

Robert turned his gaze towards the house he had purchased. A two storey building that had been a family run Bed and Breakfast for twenty years until the recession had hit and the tourist dried up before the business folded.

The house had been on the market for nearly nine years and the price had steadily dropped before Robert mad a move for it. He was sick of handing over dead money for rent. It was time to get his foot on the first rung of the property ladder.

Robert guessed the vermin had taken up residence while it stood idle and made themselves fine and comfortable in the intervening years. The house contained fourteen bedrooms (all en-suite) and a separate private living area with two bedrooms (both en-suite).

There were ten bedrooms upstairs. Robert studied the glass dormer windows reflecting the bright white of the sun and making it impossible to see that all the binds and curtains were closed.

The van roared to a stop a few feet in front of Robert. Someone had written Also Available In White on the black dirt at the back of the van. The driver door opened and Simco got out. A tall, fat, bald man dressed in a white fumigation suit that reminded Robert of the forensic people you see attending the house of a murder victim on the news which these days was all too common.

‘Rob,’ Mike said, sticking out his hand and shaking his briefly but vigorously, ‘sorry I’m late. Had a job at seven this morning, told me it was a small infestation. Christ on a fucking bike, they were everywhere. A flock of young un’s that will breed and breed like it was going out of fashion, dirty little bastards.’

‘Bad day at the office?’ Robert asked.

‘You didn’t get the windows open,’ Mike said and there was a hint of rebuke in his tone as he stared up at the windows of the house.

‘No. They are sealed shut,’ Robert replied. ‘I was going to-’

‘No,’ Mike said, wiping sweat off his meaty forehead, ‘best leave it to me. Get them open in no time.’

‘Is it just yourself?’

‘Aye,’ Mike grunted, ‘shouldn’t take too long, one man job.’

‘It is mostly the upper floors.’

‘Who found the little bastards?’

‘My daughter.’

‘Shit.’

‘Tell me about it.’

‘Wife was scared shitless, was she?’

‘She didn’t stick around,’ Robert replied dryly, not liking the leering, mocking tone he thought he heard in Mike’s voice, the accusatory Not Man Enough To Sort Out Vermin For Your Old Lady jibe that resonated in his thick country Irish accent, what Madeline called the boggers accent, and everyone knows bogs are full of shit she would add sweetly every time she said it.

Mike grunted. A deep nasal sound as if in preparation for clearing a thick lump of phlegm from his throat as he walked back towards the van and removed a Back Pack sprayer which he strapped to his back before grabbing a thick length of transparent tube and attaching it to the end of a Trigger Jet Spray gun and pulling on a thick helmet that covered his face and neck before pulling on black leather chemical gloves and moving towards the house before stepping inside the partially open front door.

Robert looked at the van which had Dawn To Dust printed on it in bright red and yellow. He looked at his watch as the first window on the upper floor of the house was pulled open. He watched as Mike moved from one room to another, opening windows before returning.

He pulled up the visor of his helmet and walked to the back of the van pulling open both doors. Robert watched as he removed a fourteen cylinder plunger pump with anodized aluminum crank, brass heads and valve plates with bronze connecting rods.

Mike busied himself with attaching long, white, plastic, foldable containers which would carry the chemicals in to the house. He put one in the bottom half of the house and the other three interconnecting tubes were put upstairs before strategically inserting fans in to the house to spread the gas.

‘Gonna pump some teargas in to the house first,’ Mike said, pulling up his visor. ‘It’s to clear any pets or people that might have accidentally been left inside. Now I know the house is empty but I gotta do it for insurance reasons.’

Robert nodded and sat on the bonnet of the car as the pump hummed to life and grew steadily louder until it was making a chuck, chug, chuck, chug sound as the teargas was released and then pumped in to the house.

When no dog, cat or child came running out of the house, the odorless poison gas was pumped in to the house and the fans whirred as they helped the gas to circulate. Robert watched as some of the gas near the front door turned to vapor as it hit the air.

Mike stood back as the house was filled with a combination of poisonous gas and chemicals. Robert shielded his eyes from the rising sun as he looked up at the windows of the house before turning his attention to the lush green verdure of the Irish countryside.

There was a field of daffodils to the side of the house. Birds sang. Bees buzzed. Two rabbits disturbed by the snarl of a chainsaw in the distance streaked across the fields, turning a corner and vanishing out of sight. Cows moved languidly under the hot July sun, the sound of silence broken only by the almost extraterrestrial chuck, chug, chuck, chug of the pump sitting in the driveway.

Chuck, chug, chuck, chug.

Robert looked at his Rolex and wished he had not worn a shirt today as it was already stuck to the spine of his back with sweat from the heat of the sun.

Chuck, chug, chuck, chug.

He was about to scan the countryside one more when something fell from the fourth window on the upper floor of the house. He caught just a glimpse it out of the corner of his eye. When he looked again he could see the body of a three year old girl. She had fallen head first out of the window and cracked her open on the concrete.

A soft grey blue matter seeped out of the crack in her skull and gleamed brightly in the sunlight but soon stopped as her skin started to blister and crack like old wallpaper before her long auburn hair caught fire.

Robert heard glass breaking as a man flung himself out of the window before falling on to the ground. Mike moved forward with his Trigger Jet Spray gun and sprayed the man in the face with a red gas.

The man slumped on to the ground and Mike gave him a tremendous kick in the groin before hurrying back towards Robert. The man’s fangs were on full display as he screamed in agony. Jagged, serrated vampire teeth hissed as the sun made his eyes implode with a soft fleshy smacking sound and his skin turned to a fine white dust.

Robert watched as they came scurrying out of the house and died in the sun. The machine hummed and hawed as more gas was released in to the house. A woman threw herself out the open window and landed on her heavily pregnant stomach which split open like one neat segment of a banana skin, blood and intestines spilled on to the ground like wet cement from a cement mixer as her face turned a bright bacon pink under the glare of the sun.

In the puddle of intestine and bodily fluids, Robert could see the tangle of limbs and bloodied flesh that was her unborn child. Mike was tutting disapprovingly under his breath and shaking his head disapprovingly as the pump made a wheezing sound before abruptly stopping.

‘You are lucky,’ Mike said, ‘the fuckers were breeding. I’m gonna go in and round up the one strewn around the house. For some reason the women are always the first to jump. The men just give up, makes my job harder when the lazy bastards won’t come out. Anyways….’

Mike pulled the visor down on his helmet and walked in to the house. He dragged out five other bodies and put them with the other three to make eight.

‘I’ll take them to the incinerator after lunch,’ Mike said, ‘they will be fine there until then.’

By mid-afternoon the gas began to clear. When the entire house was exposed, Mike entered with a meter that read gas and chemical presence in parts per million, checking all areas for safety while whistling You Shook Me All Night Long under his breath as he walked from room to room.

The next step was to close all the windows and doors to encourage trapped gas to bleed out of the walls and other areas. After another wait to allow the bleeding to occur, Mike entered the house and re-opened all the windows and doors, allowing the last of the gas to escape in to the fresh air.

He used the gas meter again to check gas levels in every area of the house. They fluffed the mattresses and a few pieces of upholstered furniture to make sure no gas was trapped inside. No one was allowed to enter the house until it was certain that all the gas had cleared.

On day three Robert was inspecting the upper floor and the closets where they had slept. In the smallest closet he found a blonde haired doll, a colouring book and a teddy bear.