Chapter 1 - The Job

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It all started on the first week I got to Kent. I'd gotten my acceptance to the university a couple of months before and after finalising a couple of things at home, I moved city and rented out a cheap apartment just off campus. I could have stayed in a dorm but with my social anxiety issues, I figured it was best for me to live alone. The problem with that though, is that I needed money, and fast.

I looked through local listings for hundreds of jobs but none of them seemed to fit right. Either they didn't fit my personality, or I didn't meet any of the requirements that they wanted. I immediately regretted my decision to go travelling straight after high school instead of Uni. Sure, I saw some amazing places in the world but that doesn't count as experience apparently. IT firms don't really give a shit if you saw the pyramids of Egypt AND the great wall of china in the same month. But I did. Just sayin'.

Luckily I had a few months before the start of Uni and I already had a little cash saved up to cover the first few months. I was running out of ideas though, so eventually I decided that I would take anything, even if I hated it. Nobody really likes what they do for a living anyway right?

So I went to interview after interview after interview. Most of the time they went ok, they seemed to like me and I didn't hate anyone. Sadly though, if you're working in a cafe or a convenience store, you're going to be dealing with people all the time and my shyness made them reluctant to hire me. I'm sure that they would have taken me at any other time, but because of the time of year, there were hundreds of future students applying for these jobs who were much better suited than me.

It was only when I came to this one job that I realised that it was perfect for me. It was like a sign sent from god. Which was ironic because the job would literally be hell but as I keep saying, a job is a job.

So I went for an interview at a funeral home.

Insane right? But here's the thing, I made a list of pros and cons about taking the job.

Pros:

It pays.

Not many people would really be willing to take a job at a place like that so surely I'd be offered it straight away?

No one really wants to talk to much people when they are there so I wouldn't need to worry about my anxiety.

Most of the clients are dead. (Again good for anxiety, I'm not some sort of perverted necrophiliac)

Cons:

Most of the clients are dead. (It may be good for my anxiety issues but come on!)

So I rocked up to the place, parked my trusty blue minivan that I'd inherited from pretty much every family member I've ever had and went to the front door.

It was a pretty nice little one storey building in one of the quieter suburbs of the city. It was built of red bricks and had a black slate roof, just like all the other buildings around it. There was a huge lawn at the front which I think was only as big as it was so they could accommodate the long gravel driveway that took up to the front door. It seems to be an unwritten rule that if you're attending a funeral, you don't park in public. Bizarre, but one of the many strange little nuances that I've picked up since working here. There were slightly smaller lawns at the back and to both sides too where many gravestones were dotted around the place like an audience at a concert. Surrounded by big houses and gorgeous green trees, it seemed like a bizarre place for a place to keep the dead.

I got to the front door and cast my eyes to the golden sign next to me. It read: Eternal Wings Funeral Home.

I couldn't decide if it was a clichéd name or just a very random one. After gearing myself up for the stressful interview process, I finally entered and couldn't believe what I found.

I'd never actually been inside a funeral home before so I'm not sure what I was really expecting, but it certainly wasn't this. The walls were bright, like a sky blue colour, and there were no carpets, just wooden flooring going as far as the eye could see. There was also no people there. I wasn't expecting an Adam's family style butler but surely if I was there for an interview then someone would be there to greet me.

"Hello?" I called, hoping that none of the corpses they kept here would answer.

I was almost ready to give up when I heard footsteps running towards me. If it hadn't been so sunny and bright outside, I would probably have screamed in terror and ran away. Thankfully though, I stuck it out and was approached by quite a short man with plain black hair, kind of a big nose and friendly blue eyes. If he was a corpse, he looked pretty good for one. What I did notice was that although he was wearing a pretty sharp looking suit, he was wearing a pink tie with yellow spots all over it. It was almost blinding. Was this a funeral home or a home for the insane?

"I'm so sorry to keep you waiting" He panted. "You must be Sam, I'm Steve. Thanks for coming"

"It's no problem at all" I assured him. "Where were you just now?" I asked, unable to hide my curiosity.

"I was just checking up on our latest client. Making sure he didn't escape" Steve replied.

I have to admit that it took me a lot longer than I would have liked to find out that he was joking.

"Sorry" He sighed. "When you're in this line of work you learn to have a sense of humour. Trust me. You'll need it"

Steve led me to his office and we sat at a mahogany desk and drank coffee and had the most casual interview I'd ever experienced. It felt as though the job was already mine and this meeting was just to get to know each other. I told him about my upbringing in Cleveland, why I wanted the job, anxiety and all, and about the course I was about to partake in at Kent State.

He then told me his life story. The home had been in his family for three generations and he was now the owner of it. He kept a small amount of staff because he wanted to try and show everyone how intimate and personal his service was.

"And besides, I don't get that many applicants anyway" He shrugged.

"What happened to the last guy who worked here? Like, why are you hiring?" I asked. I wasn't sure if I was asking all these questions because I was genuinely curious, just being nice, or in a rush to know that I was going to be killed by the undead army and never seen again.

"He quit after he heard the bodies making noises. He couldn't get used to them farting" He replied. I laughed, figuring that this was a joke too. "No seriously, it freaked him out" Steve said without a hint of laughter in his voice. So it wasn't a joke. I have to admit that I was terrified. No one wants to think about dead people farting right? What the hell is that about?

I later found out that Steve was in fact telling the truth. Sort of.

Apparently the pressure build up in a dead body eventually gets released after a few days, both by farting and something which looks like they are vomiting. They call it purging, and it's absolutely disgusting. Just when I'd gotten over my fear of the movie The Exorcist too.

This was just the beginning though. I thought that this whole interview process was crazy enough but little did I know, the true crazy was just about to start.


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