The Cleaning Lady

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


The Cleaning Lady

 

- “Y’all got nothing on our story, right Chuck? So, when we were kids, mum used to tell us that if we made a mess and didn’t clean it up right away, the Leopard Woman would come and clean it up instead. We obviously didn’t believe that shit and decided to go for it. We were like what, Chuck, seven?” Jeff turned to his brother for validation, and for a small break to chug his beer.
- “Sounds about right J, yeah.” Chuck seemed in and out of it all the time right after his brother started narrating.
- “Yeah, seven. Anyway. We made a mess the world had never seen before. I’m talking about Cheerios all over the carpet, Mountain Dew stains on the sofa, literally the whole lot! I kinda wish we hadn’t. Because everything mum said was true. The Leopard Woman came later that day.” Hearing the words used to describe their pre-teen nightmare, Chuck looked down. He wanted his brother to stop, but then again why? It was just a story their drunk college minds made up with what was possibly a still from a TV show the watched as kids.
- “Was it like, a full-on latex suit like in a BDSM porn Chuck?” Laughed a girl with red hair at the other end of the circle of college friends. The other kids laughed along with her remark, Jeff trying hard not to acknowledge how he started falling for her.
- “No, smartass! It was like a full body costume. No face, nothing. Like a wallpaper, but you got to wear it.” He seemed baffled that he couldn’t find another way to describe what scared him to death that day.
- “Still sounds like porn to me!” Stated a chubby guy next to the red-haired girl.
- “Is there more to this story or is it Nina’s turn now?” The brunette influencer wanted Jeff to be done with what was oversold as an amazing horror story but turned out to be mediocre at best.
- “Yeah, that’s about it I guess… Chuck, anything you wanna add?” Jeff turned to his brother again, as he would often do when in time of relative need. Then Chuck, his stare pinned on the ground before his feet, started shaking and narrating with a voice that trembled and was nightmare-inducing.
- “I remember her. She was tall and lean, more like an anorexic figure than a human being. At first, I thought it was mum, all dressed up to prove her point. But then I noticed she was nothing like her. She had no breasts, a long neck. Her fingers seemed outstretched, like really elongated. And her voice. That growl. That, that sound. She would only muffle commands like “move” and “lift your feet, Jeff”. Her head would tilt as if she didn’t understand how we were responsible for such a mess. As, as if she was disgusted that we had made her come over here and clean up. When she breathed, her chest would heave heavily and the air inside her lungs seemed way more than what lungs can usually hold. Then I remember mum coming in and taking a picture of you brother. You were looking at her in shock, just crawled up on the couch there. Remember?”
- “No, I don’t…” Jeff was harrowed by the description of the being. It was all coming back to him. The rest of the gang were visibly disturbed by the story and most wanted to change the subject but didn’t know how to move on. Chuck broke the silence and then finished yet another beer.
- “It’s Nina’s turn now. Shoot.”

 

The years went by fast. The brothers didn’t even understand how time flew from that night in college to now being fully grown men. Chuck left the States years back. He always wanted to live the nomad life, and being true to himself, he did. You never knew where to reach him. By the time you called in London, he’d already be in Paris. He met a girl in Italy and decided to settle down in Slovenia, but that didn’t last long. They began travelling again, now with a third member attached to their group. His daughter would become an Instagram sensation, accompanying them everywhere. He was to return to the U.S. next year though. Chuck wanted his family to meet his family. Uncle Jeff was to be an urban legend no more.

Jeff took the road straight to personal happiness. He married that red-haired girl but had no kids. What was to be their reason to breakup actually helped cement their relationship and build something that would last a lifetime. He would always make sure to clean up after himself. The fear of The Leopard Woman making an appearance after all those years never left his darkest thoughts. He would even clean up after his wife, out of fear the Lady would appear and take his anger out on her, him, or both. He always made sure to clean every single stain, otherwise he couldn’t get any sleep at all. He would sometimes lie awake and wait for her to appear and scold him. One day, after returning from work and letting himself drop on the couch, he casually picked up his phone to scroll down his favorite feed. Then his heart stopped. It was her. It was him with her. The Leopard Woman cleaning, Jeff crawled up on the couch as his brother remembered. He began shaking profusely, until he read the caption.

“I used to tell my kids she’d come and clean up if they didn’t themselves. I swear, the kindest Romanian cleaning lady I’ve ever met! My kids never made a mess after that.”

And just like that, his fear left his body and joined the rest of his treated childhood traumas. Jeff laughed and sent the picture to his brother, so he too could be free at last. He then jumped up and made a terrible mess in the kitchen, the likes of which it would take hours to sort out. He stained his clothes, the table, and the walls. He then looked back to see his red-haired angel. He kissed her long and deep and told her not to worry. They went asleep and Jeff slept the best sleep in his life since he was seven. Saturday morning, he woke up and got to cleaning the mess, happy that it was all still there and not “Leopard Woman’d up”. Just then he thought of the craziest thing to do. He picked up his car keys, drove to the nearest Halloween store and picked up a Leopard suit. He got back to the house and wore it. He cleaned up the mess wearing it. It was his birthright.
He had become The Leopard Man.

 


Submitted: October 24, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Sotos Ann. All rights reserved.

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