Wednesday Writing & #ThursdayDoors Writing Challenge — It’s My Job

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Image collage by Teagan Geneviene
Image collage by Teagan Geneviene

Hello, all.  I hope your week has been good so far.  Today, I have another short story for Dan Antion’s Thursday Doors Writing Challenge This time I used one of the images I submitted as inspiration to other writers.

The mood of my background music is nothing like my story, but in the twisting way my brain works, it amused me.  Call it dark humor.  Besides, I couldn’t resist a little Jimmy Buffett.


It’s My Job

By Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

A metal security door hung open, hinges squeaking in the evening breeze.  Although that was not unusual.  The house next door had stood empty of renters for six months.

Hip-high weeds hid most of it from the street.  A sidewalk made a narrow passage through foxtails, prickly desert sage, and other things I couldn’t name.

I hesitated, wondering what hungry animal might slither or crawl boldly enough to come onto that secluded sidewalk.  However, I kept getting a whiff of a strange odor.  Then I’d heard a noise.  A shadow had flitted past the kitchen window, which faced my home.

The two houses were so close together that if something went wrong in the empty one, my own house could be harmed as well.  I had never met the owner, and had no phone number, but it would simply be wrong of me to ignore a problem.

Another noxious whiff met my nose.  It smelled at once like ammonia and burned plastic.

What does a gas leak smell like? came my worried thought.  Rotten eggs?  But what do rotten eggs smell like?

Bracing myself, I went up the even narrower walkway to the front door.  I raised my fist to knock, even though the place must be empty.  Before my knuckles hit the peeling paint, wind gusted and the door opened.

The odor was overwhelming.  Reflexively my hand covered my mouth and nose.  Stains covered the floors and splashed the walls.  Some were quite dark, and the coppery stench of blood mixed with the other odors.

“People have died here,” I murmured my realization.  “And more than once.  Maybe several different times.”

The rustle of dead leaves on the floor caused me to look from the empty living room through to the kitchen.  Moonlight silhouetted a tall dark form.

Ruins Door Chair Stairs Peter H Pixabay
Peter H at Pixabay

Despite the foul odors, I breathed in sharply.  With the light from the window behind him, I could see through the figure.

“I didn’t expect to see you here,” he said in a papery voice.  “At least not so soon.”

“Why are you here?” I asked on a harsh gulp of air.

“It’s my job,” he rasped as I took a step backward.  “Don’t worry.  This meeting doesn’t have to be… official.  Life hasn’t driven you to me…  Not yet.”

The wan light revealed a spotty trail of moisture on the floor.  It led to the back door.  A slumped shape prevented it closing.  Resting on the floor, I saw a lifeless hand, still holding a gun.

I told my legs to turn and run.  I told my throat to scream.  Neither obeyed my command.

“Do you, do you know him?” I heard my quivering voice ask about the corpse.

“It’s my job,” the shadowy presence repeated.  “When they end their lives, whether fast or slow, by bullet, knife, or needle.”

“How can you stand it?  How could anyone, no matter what kind of creature you are?” I voiced my shock.

“Because, in my contract there’s a clause,” he started, but looked aside.  “This one is not my appointment,” he remarked.  “But the other one is.”

He moved, bending over another lifeless form that I had failed to notice.  A needle lay beside that one.

“It’s my job to be different from the rest.  I’ve got no right to feel upset.  Although of late, sometimes I let myself forget… until the lights go on and the stage is set.  Then, the song hits home and I feel their sweat, their fear, their determination to end it all… and that’s enough reason for me.”

Though it had no eyes that I could see, I felt his intent gaze.

“It’s a tough break for you.  Will I see you again?  Soon or late?  You never had anyone to love, anyone to care…  Or will you be able to keep it together?” he asked me, but he bent over the body.

Placing a translucent hand on the motionless chest, he took a small orb of light.  Shadowy wings spread.  He cast a sidelong glance at me.  Then he was gone.

♣  ♣  

The end

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Join me and all the zany supernatural goings-on at my serial, Atonement in Zugzwang.  Read free every weekend.  Friendly comments are encouraged.

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If you missed the Syfy story on which Dan Antion and I collaborated, you can get it through the universal links below.

Available as e-book

The Inyan Beacon

The Inyan Beacon 6x9


Kindle only:

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Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. It’s hosted by Dan Antion.  Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).


2023 Badge Thurs doors teresa-my-camera-and-i

Thanks for opening this door.  Hugs!


This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2023 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.



53 thoughts on “Wednesday Writing & #ThursdayDoors Writing Challenge — It’s My Job

    1. Thanks so much, Brenda. That means a lot to me.
      I know what you mean. There were so many of the inspiration photos that I felt should make me want to write a story. Yet everything that came out was horribly negative, and I feel a need to write whimsical things. Keep writing. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Excellent job! I realize now that I was holding my breath or barely breathing as I read much of this story. I love how the suspense and spookiness ended up revealing a touch of compassion. The song was an interesting twist. My first husband was a big fan of Jimmy Buffet so I recognized the song right away. It made the dark figure surprisingly relatable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JoAnna, thank you! That is wonderful feedback. I’m happy you enjoyed it.
      The song gave me threads that wove together the various ideas of the story. I like things that seem opposites on the surface, and yet the contrast of them fits together in my mind or to my taste. That certainly doesn’t apply to all opposites. However, now and then some odd combination clicks with me. For a nonwriting example, back in the mid to late 80s when I would go out “with the girls” my favorite outfit was a satin blouse with blue jeans. I think it’s been done years after that, but at the time people couldn’t believe I would put those two together. But it worked in my head. A couple of my friends actually started doing the same thing sometimes.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A wonderfully creepy story, Teagan. I haven’t had time to write any with my trip to Cape Town and Michael in hospital for tests this week. They haven’t found anything causing his symptoms (as usual) so on we go. He should be discharged tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like this was the scheduled testing, rather than an emergency? Either way it’s another ordeal. I’m so sorry they still haven’t figured it out. Good grief… I don’t know how you manage to handle the amount of frustration that brings. I hope you get to relax soon, Robbie.
      Thanks for spending time here — and for your good feedback. Big hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Teagan, they haven’t found any terrible condition, so that is a great relief. The high blood pressure seems to be a result of anxiety (medically induced mainly, how ironic) and a strange reaction by his body to salt. He will be going onto a salt fee diet which is going to be lots of fun for me – haha! He still needs to see a rheumatologist but that will be separate to this exercise. He will come home today – hooray!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful collage, Teagan!
    Lol, I get the black humour!
    The song works for me with the story.
    I like black humour. It takes an edge off the depths of darkness, for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was having a weird sardonic moment when I wrote this, Noelle. I honestly can’t say whether I meant for the being to be scary. However, when the idea got twisted up in the Jimmy Buffet song, he became someone who has one of those types of jobs that it’s hard for others to imagine wanting to do… whether the job is streetsweeper, musician, or a being who transports the souls of suicide victims. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The story matches the image perfectly, Teagan. It’s a sad story, but, somehow, the “being” is not scary. Not judgmental and it understands, at some level. Food for thought, dear Teagan. Big hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nicely done, Teagan. This is such a good story for that door image. The setting and the feelings transfer to me from your character. Let’s just say, I’m glad I read this first thing in the morning.

    I hope you have a good day.

    Liked by 1 person

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