Guest Post: Nothing Personal – A Short Story

“Janey? Janey, you in there? Open up!” Mary pounded on the screen door, praying the neighbors wouldn’t stick their heads out and see who was causing a ruckus.

It was 2 AM on a Thursday, and Tuesday Avenue was as quiet as could be. The trailer park across the street was ominous looking, with its shabby awnings and dead grass fences. There were bottles of god-knows-what lying next to rubber don’t-want-to-knows, and Mary’s eyes strayed down the street with fear. No shape of a person coming her way, no whisper of a smile on the wind. She was safe – for the moment. If only Janey would open the damn door.

“Janey, I swear to God – there you are!”

The door creaked open and a bleary-eyed woman stood there, frazzled blonde hair in tight curlers and a tattered robe tucked around her body. She blinked at Mary for a moment, before rubbing her eyes.

“Jesus Mary, it’s late, what’s -“

Mary edged her way inside the house, and Janey slid the door shut behind her, following her lover to the couch. A brand new cigarette pack lay next to an ash tray on the coffee table, filled with debris, and Mary briefly wondered when Janey had started smoking, before turning to her.

“Janey, you gotta help me. I think I fucked up real good this time.”

The woman rubbed her face vigorously, then frowned, looking slightly more awake. “What do you mean? What did you do this time, Mary?”

She wrung her hands, glancing at the windows. “Remember that place I told you I was gonna get a hit on the other night? Well, I finally got inside.” She glanced at the blonde, who was watching her attentively now. “Janey, it’s not a morgue. It’s a fucking lab.”

Janey squinted. “Like a meth lab?”

“No, much worse. They had … people, suspended in this .. stuff. And there were these people in coats talking about some place on 90th Avenue where they were going to ’round up more of the filth’. They’re testing on people, Janey!”

The blonde sat back, thinking hard, absently grabbing a cigarette from the table and lighting it. “This sounds pretty bad. What else did you see?”

Mary felt a modicum of calm come over her: she was taking her seriously! Taking a deep breath, she went over her steps at the morgue once more.

“Well, I went through the back door, where the police enter. I made sure the Giovanni’s didn’t hear about anything, I swear to God. I’d have been dead before I touched the door if they knew I was going in for their mother’s shit. Anyways, I got inside and was creeping by the security window, and I saw a guard talking to someone in a long white coat. I figured it was one of them autopsy people, uh … dieners, you called them?” Janey waved in acknowledgment, and she pressed on.

“Anyways, they were chatting it up and I was wishing they’d hurry the hell up because I really wanted to get outta there, and then they mentioned something about waiting for the police to lose their reports, and I thought, ‘Well that doesn’t make any sense’. So I listened a bit longer, and they started talking about the security in some room below the morgue, and it sounded too good to be true, Janey! I just wanted a peek, you know, maybe there was something better down there. So I follow the suits downstairs, with a lovely view mind you, that security was gorgeous, I wish I had hair like hers – sorry, right,” catching a raised eyebrow from Janey, Mary pressed on. “Well, we get down there, and there’s this massive door with some fancy scanner on it that the lady touched and the door opened. I figured it’s not gonna let my grubby hands in, so I followed quick behind, and crept around to a pile of boxes and fuck me, Janey.”

Mary turned to stare at her lover, horror in her eyes. “It was bad. They had children and women in there, mostly, though a couple old guys were there too. All of ’em floating in this liquid stuff, most were asleep-looking, but one or two were awake. The fucking look in their eyes! I dunno if anyone saw me or not, but it’s not like they could do anything about it anyways, stuck in those damn tubes. And they had one woman on a table nearby, out cold, and she looked just like Sasha! You remember her, the one with the tattoo on her right eye? The one the fuzz were trying to catch after she gate crashed Arnie’s wedding? She was stretched out over the table looking almost dead , until they stuck some contraption in her ears, and she perked right up. They gave her a moment, and I swear to the President she got up like a zombie, and just wandered out of there without so much as a fart in their direction.”

Mary had taken to chewing her nails and glancing out the window, and didn’t see Janey had finished her smoke, and started another. “I don’t think anyone saw me, but it was fucking scary Janey. I am never doing another hit like that again, I’ll stick with grave digging and to hell with these inside jobs. What kind of sick fucks would do that? The government? The military?” She glanced at Janey. “What d’ya think?”

Janey sat back, her face passive as she watched Mary blather on, her eyes glazed over. Taking one last puff, she stamped the smoke out on the arm of the couch. “You’re sure no one saw you?”

Mary frowned, eyes searching over her face. “Yeah, that’s what I’ve been saying, have you not been listening? And by the way, when did you start smoking, Janey, it’s making me ill.” She waved the smoke cloud away from her face, her nose scrunched up.

She didn’t get a chance to scream as Janey lunged at her, covering her mouth with a scabby hand. Mary finally saw, deep in Janey’s ear, the same contraption that she had seen in the morgue.

“Just covering our tracks. Nothing personal, Mary.”


About the author: Ashley J: 

I fell deeply in love with reading and writing in elementary school, leaning mostly towards mythology and general fiction. When I was eleven years old, I penned my first story about a fearless princess who was to defeat a tyrant king. Nowadays, I’m writing about gifted women, spiritual goings-on, and the power of family and love.
I often play in between writing fictitious novels and semi-narrative poetry (among other things), with varying genres. I have had a handful of poems published through Young Writers of Canada, and I currently use DeviantArt as my main place for posting my writing. You’ll find the majority of my poetry there, as well as flash fiction, a couple fanfic pieces, and chapters of my current and side novels.
I was born and raised in beautiful British Columbia with one other sibling. I currently live in the Lower Mainland with my wonderful husband, who works as a structural draftsman. My favourite past times are video gaming, writing, hosting art streams, reading, and sleeping (lol). Please feel free to interact with me here or on Twitter, I’d love to make more friends!
My current project’s include my WIP novel, working title is War Wine, which has been going strong for almost four years now. War Wine is an adult, not-quite-high fantasy adventure story that encapsulates things like women from all walks of life, LGBTQ relationships, familial bonds of both blood and choice, and the varieties of friendships to be had, among other things. I am also a part of the All In The Pantheon family, where 30+ writers (including myself) try to answer the question – what happens when Zeus tells the gods to get an get jobs in the mortal world. I write for the Primordial, Nyx, and have been waist deep in her story since the summer.
Where you can find me:
Personal Twitter: @hekatesheart

Goddess Twitter: @TheFirstBornNyx
KoFi: https://ko-fi.com/thewiitch

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