It was just another day as Sharon was walking the last block to her office. The building had seen better days. The windows caked with dirt, the original painting long gone, the rough gray of concrete on view. The building wasn't much to look at. As Sharon's job wasn't much to brag about. She was a telemarketer. So her job was to convince people to buy things they didn't want or need. But it paid the bills.
The day took an unexpected turn the moment that she stepped foot inside. The apprehension in the air was palpable. But the office wasn't in a somber tone. It was awash with the buzzing of gossip shared one room at a time.
The emotions were rampant, but none of it touched Sharon. She was there to do her job and her colleagues knew how seriously she took it. Even though there was one person who ignored all that.
"Sharon, have you heard the news?" The excitement in her voice was at odds with the somber feeling. But that was usual for Lisa, gossiping was a crucial part of her personality. And a piece of news this big needed to be shared as soon as possible.
"No. What happened?"
"Brian has disappeared," Lisa says trying to hind the mirth in her voice.
"Lisa, you shouldn't be so happy about that." Sharon admonishes her. Lisa doesn't mean to seem happy about his disappearance. But the gossip that this generates is her bread and butter.
"I know. I know." Lisa said in a more somber tone. "But his wife came here this morning desperate. She called his cellphone a bunch of times and every hospital, bar, and police station in the city. She couldn't find him anywhere."
"What about the police? Are they getting involved?"
"Yes, of course. They said that if they don't have any pressing leads to follow they would be here this afternoon for the interviews."
"Good. This way we can have lunch before." Sharon said with a slight smile on her face. Every meal is important as is the only way of getting nutrient to her body. Making sure that it is in peak condition.
A little before nine am, the manager of the floor Sharon works at called everyone's attention.
"Guys, I know that this news is big. Brian was a beloved colleague, and we are all worried about him. But we have a job to do. The fact is that he is missing and the police are doing everything they can to bring him back. There is nothing that we can do, so let's focus on doing our jobs well." He waves his chubby fingers at us.
"Everyone back to work."
For the rest of the day, the buzzing of chatter filled the office. Everybody had a guess about what happened. Including Lisa. She would constantly share her thoughts with Sharon while she focused on the calls. She didn't mind that. She liked Lisa so she would indulge her.
The novelty of Brian's disappearance had worn out by the end of the day. The police could not conduct the interviews because of a pressing lead. So there was nothing new to share. Preparing to leave, Lisa asks Sharon wants to have a drink with her on the bar across the street. The entire office is going.
Sharon as usual declines. She has a pressing chore to finish at home. But she asks Lisa to be careful. And to call her if she feels that something is wrong. Lisa smiles at the care her friend always show her and wishes her a good night.
When Sharon gets home, she goes to her bedroom to take a long, hot bath. There was nothing like getting home from an interminable day at work and being able to relax in your own tub. The thumps coming from the basement reduces some of her pleasure, but she still enjoys it.
She will check on the thumping when she is good and ready.
The thumping keeps going on until she cannot ignore it anymore and leaves the bath. After the usual self-care routine, she dresses in black clothes and gets ready to finish her work.
She gets down the stair and passes the kitchen to make herself a sandwich. She has to deal with the cause of the thumps soon enough, but she has to eat first so her body has the necessary nutrients. One thing that her dad always taught her was to never to do any work hungry. It affects your judgment. Then you miss things that should be obvious, and that can lead the cops to you.
The work is important. You can't let anyone stop you from doing it. So always be on guard.
When Sharon is full, she checks on her clothes one more time before going down to the basement. Getting down, she turns on the light at the beginning of the stairs. Making sure that her unwilling guest is still tied to the metal chair.
The basement didn't look like the stereotypical basement from horror movies. There was no swinging light. There was no cracked concrete floor. The air wasn't stale. This was the location of her actual work. So she took care of the space that she spent most of her time.
The walls were painted a beautiful lilac color; the floor was a sky blue ceramic that reflects the antique fixtures that she found on a flea market. The space was lovely and despite being a basement it wouldn't be strange if she were to have tea in here. The only thing that contrasted with the lovely image was the bolted-down metal chair in the middle of the room. Along with the metal table near the stairs and the drain in the middle of the floor.
Muffles sounds came forth from the man tied in the chair. Along with a thump every time he bashed his boots on the ground. Sharon knew her house intimately, so any sound or vibration outside of the normal was like a loud yell in her ear. But despite that, the amount of noise that the man was making was negligible.
Sharon would never have someone in her house while she worked. What she does was too important for the fragile morality of other people. That is why she didn't have any close friends or lovers. She didn't need or want the complication that meaningless relationships could bring. The work was vital. Anything else was just filling.
The man continues to do his best to get out of his restraints but Sharon was good at her job. He couldn't find not one opening for him to use. Meanwhile, Sharon gathered her tools. There was no need for conversation. Whatever the man had to say was insignificant. We already proved his sins. So now it was time for Sharon to work.
"This is your punishment." She said showing him the scalpel in her hand. She approached him with measured steps while he trembled in fear. With a precise movement, she cut his forearm from wrist to elbow. It wasn't a deep cut. The point here isn't to kill him but to make him suffer as he deserves. Carefully she makes an identical mark on his other arm.
While the man cries in pain and wets his pants, Sharon goes to the bench in the room's corner to get the nail filer. When she got this job, they gave her exact instructions on what do to. It wasn't always the case. Sometimes she got a job and the only thing required was to kill the target. But sometimes they required more. When she had leeway depending on the sin, she would devise a punishment herself. But most of the time it wasn't required. Her employer was very good at his job and knew when a sin required special punishment.
Sharon turned back to the man, making sure that he could see everything. The thumping of his boots got louder as he did anything that he could to move the chair. But it was impossible. Sharon used the best screws to bolt down the chair.
He wasn't going anywhere, but it was her job to break him down until he gave up escaping.
That was her actual job.
It took her half an hour to make sure that he had given up. She used the basic methods that worked most of the time. Nail files under the nails. Shallow cuts on his body, but most especially his face. Doing that requires more care because the face has a lot of vessels and she couldn't accidentally kill him. But Sharon was good at what she did, so she cut his face without damaging him too much.
If he somehow got out of this basement, he would survive. He would have scars, but even those would fade in time. Sharon made sure of it. She designed her basement to bring the most of her work to light. So the walls were pristine, and you could eat off the ground.
But the man could see everything that she had done to him. There was a giant mirror mounted in front of the chair. To cause maximum psychological pain. The mind is a powerful tool and you can trick yourself into feeling less than you are. But the opposite is also true. By seeing exactly what Sharon did to him the man would trick yourself into feeling more pain than he was.
After an hour of working on him for a few minutes and then leaving; Sharon finally got what she wanted. When she left the room, the man didn't struggle. He didn't try to loosen himself. She waited ten more minutes to give him time to perk up and maybe do another attempt. But he didn't move. She could see him breathing, so she knew that she hadn't made a mistake and accidentally killed him. He had given up.
To make sure, she came back into the room and made precise cuts on his torso to join the others that were already there. Taking out the screams of pain when Sharon left, he didn't struggle. She gave him half an hour, but still, he didn't move. Now she was sure. Her job was done. He had given up getting out of this alive. That was good because he wasn't getting out alive anyway.
If the satisfaction of a job well done the only thing left to do was to take care of the rest of him. Noe this part was the easy one. Sharon got the nine-millimeter from her bag and once again enter the basement. The domed head of the man showed the bald patch starting to grow. It was one of his many flaws that drove him to act the way he did. To commit the sins that led Sharon to his doorstep.
At first, he didn't see the gun in her hand. But some survival instinct urged him to lift his head and look into her eyes. Pleading the only way he could for his life. Sharon looked at his pathetic display. Not even her father begged for his life when she punished him for his sins. He knew it was coming. He committed the sins, and it was her job to punish him. And he endured his punishment with his pride intact.
Sharon looked one last time to the disgusting light inside the man's eyes. Even his soul was awful to look at. His sins were written on it. But now his punishment was coming to a completion and if he got lucky when he found himself in front of the pearly gates his punishment will be enough that they will allow him entry. With a swift movement, Sharon pointed the gun at his head. As she pulls the trigger the only sound heard was the swish of the bullet leaving the gun.
In one second her job was over. Now came clean up. Sharon was used to this part of her work. Arguably the best part. She put a plastic tarp in front of the chair and in a minute had the man lay down on it. Rolling him over, she secured the ends with nylon and cleaned the blood from the floor. The linoleum made it easier. And the drain in the middle of the room helped.
When her basement was clean, and she stored away her tools, Sharon dragged the body upstairs to the back door of her house. She lived in a small neighborhood at the end of the street. On the outskirt of town, the back of her house leads directly to the national reserve. The patch of the forest directly outside her house belonged to her, but beyond that, it was government property. Which suited her needs perfectly. There were many bodies she buried on the national reserve. Especially because the rangers tended to forget to patrol this part of the park.
When the government first declared the forest, a national reserve they came to talk to Sharon for a potential sale. But she refused them. She told them a cute story about how she couldn't possibly sell because the house used to belong to her grandfather. And it was passed from him to her father and then her. So it was a family house. She couldn't possibly sell part of it.
The actual reason she wouldn't sell the acre of the forest was that it made it very easy to dispose of bodies. There isn't any kind of demarcation between the national reserve and her backyard. So she only had to walk a few more miles to be deep in the forest in a place that not even the rangers went too much.
In that place, dozens of graves were dug. Before Sharon, her father used this place, and before them her grandfather. Sharon's work was inherited from her father. Despite the late hour and the clouds hiding the moon, Sharon didn't have any problem walking to the gravesite. In less than four hours she had dug a grave and filled with no one the wiser. Coming back to the house was easier because the clouds that previously hid the moon were gone. It felt like the world itself was saying an excellent job to Sharon.
As soon as she got back home, she took a long shower and went to sleep. She had to wake up early to get back to the office for her second not as important job. Even though it wasn't vital her second job was a splendid place to learn about people. And those who needed punishment for their sins.
Sharon woke up and stretched as she always does. Looking out the window, she could see the forest teeming with life. It was one other reason she loved living so near a forest. It reminded her that life always prevails. Nature always will be here. It doesn't matter what humans do to taint her. It doesn't matter how many sins humans commit. Nature is always perfectly balanced. It always knows when to let a species live, and when to act to kill most of them. So the ecosystem is always balanced.
She took a shower and dressed in her blue suit. Getting everything she needed, she went into her car and drove to work. Parking the car, she told her prayers before going in. It was a ritual that she never changed because the moment that she did it would be a sin. And she would need to be punished.
As she finishes the prayer, a thought comes into her head. It was time for her to find someone to have sex with. It was time for her to have a child of her own. As we grow old our propensity to commit sins grows. So she has to have a child and teach them everything they need to know before she loses herself. Maybe there will be someone in the office who committed a sin that requires punishment. The punishment this time will just be slightly different.
It was just another day as Sharon was walking the last block to her office. The building had seen better days. The windows caked with dirt, the original painting long gone, the rough gray of concrete on view. The building was always there. Always the same. And just like yesterday, it was buzzing with news. By the time that Sharon got to her desk and sat down, the gossip had reached her ears.
Roger had disappeared.
Merci pour la lecture!