Hey there! Are you taking part in #FlashFictionFebruary2019?
It’s never too late to start. Even one story for the month is one more than you had previously!
Today’s Story Title: Sensitivity Training
Today’s Story Is #1 of 28
Today’s Genre: Urban Fantasy
Today’s Word Count: 566 words
So! After pasting it here, I already want to re-write it. But that’s not what this month is about. Let’s get words on the page!
What’s your current story? Tell me all about it!
“And so that’s when we bury the body?” Paul asked.
He was still staring up at the ceiling as he spoke.
“For the last time, Paul,” Lisa tried to kick his shin and draw his attention from nowhere-land. “We don’t bury.”
Paul wondered to himself if the weird discoloration of the ceiling was just dust or if it was mold creeping out over the room.
“You don’t?” He still stared at the ceiling, watching the stain darken and spread further across the ceiling and ripple down the wall. It was almost as if it was alive.
“When it’s a dead body that people have an emotional attachment to, it is politely referred to as ‘the remains’ or ‘the departed’, okay?”
The air quotes around both phrases went unnoticed as he was still squinting into the corner.
“Okay.” Paul continued watching the spreading darkness.
“And will you please look at me?” Lisa huffed.
He finally tilted his head forward to look at her.
“What’s with the ceiling?” Paul asked, jerking one thumb over his shoulder.
Lisa’s single eye, her eyeliner winged out on both sides as last month’s edition of Ocularious suggested, twitched.
“Look, I know that I gave you the Employee Handbook, Paul,” Lisa crossed her arms over her chest and frowned at him.
“Yes?” Paul looked confused. “I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.”
“Of course you haven’t,” Lisa frowned. “Sharon has been a cornerstone of this facility for over three centuries,” she said.
“Uh… Which one is Sharon?”
From the stained ceiling and wall, a dark, vaguely human form emerged. It looked like someone had tried to breathe black smoke into a clear mannequin that had cracks all over it. Only the torso of the creature fully emerged from the wall.
“I’m sorry, Sharon,” Lisa addressed the ghoul.
“Eh, new guy,” the form shrugged one insubstantial shoulder.
Sharon’s voice was like the rasp of a file across a lead pipe.
“Never worked with a… living… human before,” she hissed at Paul.
Paul tilted his head back again to stare blatantly at the undead assistant.
“I’ve never worked with an undead person before,” he replied.
Sharon didn’t have facial features, just a swirling abyss of shadow and cobwebs in an approximation of a head. Still, somehow, she managed to convey silent annoyance in a flicker of light and a hissing exhale.
“Sorry, dear. Did you need something?” Lisa asked Sharon.
The ghoul began retreating into the wall slowly.
“Simply reminding you that Mrs. and Mrs. Mickinens will be here on the hour,” Sharon said. “Their coven mates will arrive at sunset.”
Lisa uncrossed her arms to check the time on her watch. “Ah, thank you.”
“You are…” Sharon disappeared into the wall and ceiling entirely, leaving no mark of her previous entry behind. “…welcome…”
The word echoed in the small office.
“That was…you know post it notes, email, and intercoms are a thing, right?” Paul asked Lisa.
The cyclops sighed and shut her eye. She raised a hand and rubbed at one temple.
“Just… go arrange flowers and don’t piss off anyone who could hex you.”
“Okay.” Paul stood and stretched. “Whatever you say.”
He started whistling what sounded like the National Anthem as he headed for the office door.
Lisa felt a headache, and possibly an undead lawsuit, coming on.
“And remind me to get you inter-being sensitivity training!”
“Okay, boss lady.”