Dirty Jobs

Dirty Jobs
by Merrie Destefano

The door opened. Inside a pale light glowed. Red. A womblike enclosure.

“Come in,” a voice beckoned.

He hesitated. Not sure how he got here. A slight confusion settled in his mind, his last actions wiped clean.

Shadows flickered in the doorway, tall, thin, spindly creatures.

“Come along, now.” Impatient, the tone deepened an octave.

He crossed the threshold, limbs stiff and heavy, movements lethargic. It felt like he was moving through mud. Someone, or something, sat at a desk, tapping a pen on a piece of parchment. Waiting.


He sat. Didn’t want to look the thing in the face-its eyes seemed to glow, its breath came out in sulfurous puffs.

“Name?” It held the pen poised, ready to write.

“You know my name. I mean, I thought—didn’t someone else already ask me all these questions?”

“Name?” It lifted its head. Yellow eyes stared, unblinking.


“Full name.”

“David Berg.”

It wrote, dark ink on leathery parchment. Then it opened a book, started flipping through pages. “Mmmmm. Yes. Here you are.” It ran a bony finger over the page, nodded its head.

David looked around. The burgundy walls throbbed, flesh-like. They seemed to be constricting, shrinking, breathing. “I don’t think I’m supposed to be here—”

The creature didn’t lift its head. It continued to read.

“—there’s obviously some sort of mistake—”

It held up a hand to silence him, and kept reading. Turned the page, read some more.

Someone screamed outside, back in the corridor. David turned in his chair. He saw a body being dragged off into shadowy gloom. A temporary chill flooded the room, then vanished.

The beast leaned back in its chair, crossed its arms, finished with what it was reading. “That’s quite a dossier, Berg. Didn’t realize you were on our side.”

“I’m not on your side. I’m not on anybody’s side.”

“Yes. That thing with the children, the way you threw religion into the mix, we love that sort of thing here.”

“And where am I exactly?”

“This?” The creature stretched out its arms, pride in its voice. “This is the place of beginnings. This is the womb, the birth canal. Soon you will be born into your new home.”

“I’d rather go back to my old home. I’d like to leave—”


Invisible hands gripped David then, held him in place. A narrow hole opened in the floor, a flesh and blood tunnel that led someplace dark. A foul stench bled into the room. The invisible hands were touching him now.

“No. Stop!”

He was being pulled into the tunnel and the hands continued to touch him, everywhere. Invisible fingers were probing his mouth, his eyes, his ears, every part of his body. When he struggled, they grabbed even harder. He couldn’t breathe.

“No, make them stop,” he pleaded. “Please, make them stop. Oh my god!”

“But Mr. Berg, we couldn’t possibly stop,” the creature grinned. “You see, this is your god.”

David Berg perched on the lip of the opening now, a fleshy tunnel that led forever downward. He screamed, but no one heard. The hands were inside his mouth, in his throat, in his lungs. He tumbled over the edge and with a horrid wet sucking noise, he slid out of sight.

The creature sighed. Closed its eyes for a rapt moment. Then tapped its pen on the desk, lifted its head and looked toward the hallway.


© 2007 by Merrie Destefano
Original fiction debuting at Residential Aliens.

The editor of Victorian Homes magazine, founding editor of Cottages & Bungalows magazine, and contributing editor of Romantic Homes magazine, Merrie Destefano lives in Southern California with her husband, a Siamese cat, two German shepherds, and the occasional wandering possum. She loves to watch old Star Trek episodes and classic science fiction, and her newly launched website, Alien Dream, focuses on the craft of writing and the love of speculative fiction.

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