Pathogen

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

So I was ordained.

I did not wish to realize what soon would become my mission – no, not at first. However, upon mahogany framed photographs, cabinetry and desktops and once brilliant sheens of glass, I glimpsed smudge laden impressions, shrilling so loudly in defiance, that no longer could I deny my calling.

When first I arrived, t’was the maid I suspected of carelessness.

The maid – the latex so snug round each of her delicate fingers; how I adored the brisk snap of glove at her wrist. The maid – whose pores emanated the addictive rich luster of lemon and pine. Yes, at first I suspected the maid of carelessness, of inattention to detail, but – forgive me – that notion occurred before God came to me, before He revealed the goodness of her aseptic heart. All too clearly then, I recognized the near futile nature of her fight.

Shoulder to shoulder, I thusly joined her.

She took to my camaraderie, the careful twinkle in her eye serving as unmistakable proof that she recognized the malignancy burrowed within my smile. I watched from afar as wraithlike she slipped room to room, wielding in elegant arcs her chosen duster of ostrich down, disrupting the meticulously crafted plans of the pathogens; alas, they still found a way to reconvene. Yet her fortitude never waned; a true warrior, my respect she earned unfalteringly.

I chastised myself then; how could it be the maid: her attention to detail so prudent, her keen mind strumming at a perfect pitch. Ah, brave soul, she had but one flaw.

She possessed not the heart of a killer.

As the weeks elapsed, I realized her innocence remained as laundered as her charm. Her loyalty steadfast, she rose daily alongside the cock from her unassuming quarters to enter into a tomb of opposition and filth. But her strain I soon glimpsed; not within her eyes, mind you, but the manner in which her veins twitched while smoothing the apron at her waist. No longer her cheeks blushed upon our stolen glances; my words, once soothing as only honey can soothe, now hastily ingested in a caustic bite. As acid dribbles to scour stone, so too did her very soul begin to erode. I had seen quite enough.

Heaven’s gilded light guided me through shadows of eve. Down halls I stalked, snaring the floorboard’s breath as in warning it exhaled. The initial quarters required minimal effort or care…for the pathogens squirmed little under the cases chosen to silence their hellish maws.

Into a larger chamber of grandeur I ascended, thereby viewing the host, slumbering in tangled, monstrous limbs under its canopied shelter. There I hovered, watching in frozen silence as the moon danced, leaving polish in untainted glitter across my eyes, until I could watch no longer. No more smudging, no more fouling in the wake of diligent servitude! I drew my eager blade across them both, hummed along to their wet whistles, their gurgle songs of release.

My calling complete, I withdrew back to her quarter’s door, softly rap-rap-rapping until it parted, revealing to me she – the maid – my rapturous mistress of purity. I offered my hand; she claimed it, yet not before slipping the nightgown from her sylphen shoulders. “So it is done, then. God has chosen to cleanse this domicile,” exhaling into my arms.

“Yes,” agreed I, “by the butler’s hand once more.”

~ Joseph A. Pinto

Β© Copyright 2015 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

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About Joseph Pinto

Author of the poignant novella Dusk and Summer (2014). Horror author of the novel Flowers for Evelene (2005) as well numerous published works of dark fiction. Member of the Horror Writers Association. Cofounder of the Pen of the Damned. Rumored lycanthrope. New Orleans Saints fan. Pancreatic cancer advocate. Twitter: @JosephAPinto Share his unique spin at josephpinto.com Indulge in Pen of the Damned with Joe and the Damned at PenoftheDamned.com

17 responses to “Pathogen”

  1. jonolsonauthor says :

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    PATHOGEN by Pen of the Damned’s Joseph Pinto

    Like

  2. Craig McGray says :

    Reblogged this on From Bright Minds Come Dark Things and commented:
    Powerful words. PATHOGEN from Joseph Pinto and Pen of the Damned.

    Like

  3. Nina D'Arcangela says :

    A beautifully written piece, Joe! Very Dickens in prose, morality and turpitude (in the most wonderfully twisted ways). I love the playful turn of ‘the butler’s hand’ at the end. A terrifically unique and intriguing piece that doesn’t reveal itself to the reader until the very end. Excellent story, Joe! (…though ‘story’ seems to degrade it’s telling…) How about – “Simply excellent, and elegantly deceitful!” :}

    Like

    • Joseph Pinto says :

      Thank you very much, Nina! πŸ™‚ I enjoy deceiving readers, what can I say lol With some stories I write, as in ‘Pathogen,’ I tend to use ‘sleight of hand,’ disguising my tale’s intent all the way until the end. The trick is not to get too cute in doing this (confusing a reader is a no-no lol). I couldn’t resist ultimately pinning things on the butler – they always seem to ‘do it’ anyway lol πŸ™‚ I appreciate all your support, Nina! πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. blazemcrob says :

    Cleanliness must sometimes be extreme. Especially when one is part of a “mission.”

    Great story, Joseph. I loved the thoughts deep within the mind of our intrepid hero. Sometimes, one must harken to the words.

    Blaze

    Like

    • Joseph Pinto says :

      Everyone has a different interpretation of ‘cleanliness,’ Blaze, so it was fun writing this to that extreme as you mentioned. I’m very happy that you enjoyed my story, thank you πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. Magenta Nero says :

    This is a great piece Joe, very poetic and playful, I love the voice and language you have used and the subtle imagery portrayed. I really enjoyed it.

    Like

  6. jonolsonauthor says :

    Great tale this week, Joe! It took me a couple of reads to truly appreciate what you had accomplished with this piece! You’ve produced a very unique and well written story, brother!!

    Like

    • Joseph Pinto says :

      Hey Jon! Thank you very much! πŸ™‚ Even though this was a pretty short piece, I layered it pretty well to give readers that “hey, whoah, that’s not what I thought it was” kinda moment lol Thank you for all your kind words and support, my friend πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. Thomas Brown says :

    Strangely charming, almost lyrical read, Joe. Thoroughly enjoyed.

    Like

  8. Hunter Shea says :

    We’re going to have to start calling you Lord Byron – Jersey style! Wonderfully written, you poetic old soul.

    Like

    • Joseph Pinto says :

      Hey Hunter! lmao I don’t know if you should start calling me that! It’s odd how my brain steers me into writing in that particular voice at times…maybe a past life is coming through me πŸ˜› Thank you!

      Like

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