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Night Work

​It was so quiet in the dark.

Sound had slipped away with the light, fallen beyond the horizon like the sun, and the cool darkness of night had risen. Silent, calm, uncomplicated, Jenna loved being in the dark. It was easier than daytime, less distracting to all of her senses, heightened as they were.

During the daytime, sounds were always just a little too loud, too many at once, and Jenna had to wear protective ear plugs to help block out all the excess noise. Light, colors, patterns, were all too bright, too busy, causing her to wear sunglasses most of the time, even indoors. And the smells, oh god, the smells she was bombarded with – foods and people and perfumes and rottenness… ugh, it was enough to make her hurl if she didn’t take measures to make her nose numb with strong medications.

But at night… sweet relief from it all. The light disappeared, contained to electric lamps and much smaller wattages; sounds were muted, softer, with so many people sleeping or tucked away indoors; and the smells seemed to drift off on the breeze when the streets cleared for the evening, washed away into the nighttime.

And Jenna was finally able to breathe again.

Why had she chosen to live in the city? Because that’s where the work was – plain and simple. She had to live amongst the people she served in order to complete her training. That was part of the rules, part of the obligation, and Jenna accepted it willingly. She knew that this was her calling, and as such, she would have to sacrifice to fulfill her dreams. Struggling through the problems associated with her heightened senses and awareness was a small price to pay for that.

Gathering her toolbag after her night’s work, Jenna wiped the tools clean one by one, making sure to wipe them down carefully with her cleansing cloths, and then putting the cloths in the small plastic sack she kept tucked at the bottom of the toolkit. No sense in cleaning up one mess, just to create another. And her tools would be needed for many nights to follow in order to complete her current training. She couldn’t wait till her internship with the Professor was over, and she could get on with the real work. Just the chance to do what she’d been dreaming of for so many years was making her breath quicken, her heart speed up a little.

Now, now, make sure to breathe slowly. Be thorough in your work, so you don’t leave anything undone, or you’ll have to begin again. Perfection is in the details, student.

Jenna could hear the Professor’s voice so clearly, his tenor voice ringing, bell-like, in her mind. Drawing a deep breath, she remembered the task at hand. This moment, that was what counted. The rest of her life’s work would still be there after her training was finished. It was always there.

Peering closely at the tools left to clean, she noticed she had accidentally dropped one of her cleaning cloths, and it had snagged on a nearby bush. Oops, she thought, and chuckled softly to herself. It was a good thing that the Professor had taught her to be so careful, or she’d have missed that one small thing. Grasping it softly, she made sure to untangle it completely from the bush. She didn’t want to disturb her surroundings anymore than she had to.

And it would be awful to leave extra evidence at a crime scene.

Couldn’t let her training be interrupted by a prison stay for murder.

After all, she was Death’s very own intern, soon to be a Reaper in her own right, with her own list of clients and tasks to be completed everyday.

And Jenna couldn’t wait to earn her robes.

Dec. 25, 2013


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