“The Cleaner” by Cherie Ann Turpin #5 (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30days

“The Cleaner”

by Cherie Ann Turpin #5

(30 Stories in 30 Days) #30days


Some call me a shaman, while others call me a spiritualist.  Those who are close to me and work in my field call me an extractor, a cleaner.

When my cousin called and asked me to clean her mother’s house I knew it was really bad this time.  No one in my family talks to me anymore.  Most of my extended family felt too frightened or too angry with me to deal with the likes of me or the likes of my kind.  As with my grandmother, and her grandmother, I was born this way, to see shadows lurking within people, to hear the whispers most people assume to be a false wind, to follow the echoes of those long gone, and to cast out the presence of evil in people and sometimes, places.

The “gift” skips a generation, and as with my grandmother, it tends to drive family members away, usually out of fear or anger over a misunderstood reading of a situation.  My great-great grandmother’s children fled the South because they feared her power and her word more than they feared the nightriders.  I was truly surprised when Abby contacted me and asked me for my help.  I could feel her desperation over the phone, so I couldn’t deny her.

My aunt was living in a nursing home, and her house stood empty on the quiet end of Clarendon Street, not far from Euclid Avenue in East Hartford.  My cousin did her best to keep up with the house, even tried to sell it at one point.  But between the rapidly declining housing market and general spookiness of the house, she couldn’t unload it and she was at her wit’s end with trying to lease it out.  Apparently, the last tenants were chased away by what they described as a spirit who first manifested itself as a boy to the children, then as a much more malevolent presence to the parents.  They barely got out of the house, leaving furniture, clothes, and boxes of papers.

I ended up sitting in my car with my supplies in front of my Aunt Sara’s house.  I needed to an assessment of the energy in the house before I did my work, so I decided to come during the day.  The street was quiet, almost too quiet.  The houses that lined the street were in various stages of decay, but still occupied.  The air smelled stale, like an unopened storage unit.  The sunlight revealed the peeling paint on each house.

I saw a small boy sitting in a chair on my aunt’s porch.  He looked me steadily, as if to size me up.  His lips parted slightly as a faint smile came across his face with an apparent emotion of what I recognized to be none other than pure evil.  I spoke an incantation under my breath and watched him/it fade into the house through the window.  I paused for a moment, considering what I just witnessed and stared at the windows of the house before walking up the stairs to the front door.

A faint smell of burnt rubber lingered.  Before walking inside I pulled out a bottle of holy oil, and anointed myself, then the doorframe.  A faint growl hit my ears from one of the rooms inside.  I lit up a sage bundle and began my initial inspection.

This was going to be a long day.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.