Authors: Steven Jenkins
BURN THE DEAD
Amazon Kindle Edition
BURN THE DEAD: PURGE
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places and incidents are used fictitiously. Any resemblance
to actual events, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental. All rights
reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any
manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
The right of Steven Jenkins to be identified as the
author of the Work has been asserted to him in accordance with the Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Published in Great Britain in 2015 by Different
“If you love scary campfire
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winning BBC’s The Coalhouse.
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sleep again. Too cold.
Dad won’t switch on the
central heating, says it’s too expensive. He tells me to use the spare blanket.
But I hate using that. It’s so itchy, and there’re spiders in the cupboard. Dad
tries to teach me to face my fears, says I’m a silly little girl for being
afraid of a furry bug. But he just doesn’t get it. I’m thirteen years old, and
I’ll be fourteen in a month—so if I haven’t got over my arachnophobia by now,
then I guess I’m stuck with it. For life.
I switch the TV on.
Sometimes watching some shitty film manages to knock me out, but the volume has
to be low. Can’t disturb Mum and Dad—Dad will kill me. He’s already threatened
to take the TV away if I wake him again. He tells me that I’ll understand when
I finally go out into the real world, working, earning a living. The usual
At least I wouldn’t scrimp
on the heating.
Another hour passes and I
switch the TV off. There’s nothing on apart from shopping channels and weird
reality shows. Not my cup of tea. Mum loves that kind of rubbish, but I can’t
see the attraction. Most of the girls in my class watch them. But I guess I’ve
always been a little different. I’d rather be watching action movies, or shows
about police arresting drunks. The kind of junk Dad watches.
Almost four in the morning
and I’m still wide-awake. Got school tomorrow. Can’t see me being too alert for
maths first thing. I’ll have to sit in the back, try to avoid eye contact with
Mr Morgan. I should be all right. He usually picks on the boys. Plus, he has a
soft spot for me and Chrissie. He always smiles at us in the corridor. It’s not
as creepy as it sounds. He used to live next door to Uncle Pete. It’s weird
seeing teachers outside of school. Not sure why. It just is.
Need a pee. Not desperate
but once the thought pops into my head, I’ll never get to sleep. Best get it
done now rather than lying here thinking about it for another two hours, so I
get up and tiptoe onto the landing. Mum and Dad’s bedroom door is half-open, so
I move even slower, holding my breath as I get to the bathroom. Once inside, I
lock it and sit on the toilet. So glad it finally has a lock on it. It took Dad
ages to finally get one. He’s always been against locks in the house. Don’t
know how many times I’ve asked him for one for my room. Can’t see that
happening any time soon. Maybe when I’m twenty-five and married, with kids of
I finish up, flush and
start to wash my hands. The sink is directly under the window, which looks onto
the garden. Most people have frosted glass in the bathroom, but of course Dad
has to be awkward. Just pathetic, flimsy blinds that get tangled if you pull
too hard. Dad says that there’s a knack to it, that I’m doing it wrong. Most of
the time I just roll my eyes, (after he’s gone, obviously). Drying my hands
with the towel, I look down at the pitch-black garden. Can’t see a thing apart
from the thick oak trees and the outline of the shed. But the more I stare, the
more my eyes adjust, the more I’m certain that I see a person standing next to
I climb onto the bathtub
and pull open the top window. Poking my head out into the cold air, I take a
closer look. It still seems like a person, dressed in white, with a slim body,
and not that tall; but it’s too dark to be sure. Maybe I should call Dad? In
case it’s a burglar? No, he’d kill me; he’d tell me it’s just the trees and my
lack of sleep playing tricks on me.
But what if he’s wrong?
What if it is a burglar? And I
Best be certain before I
wake him. If I can get the garden light sensor to come on, then I’ll be sure.
Bending down, I pick up one of Mum’s fancy soaps, the ones she never uses, then
push my head and shoulders out into the cold night air. I see the figure again.
It creeps me out. It’s not moving so it might be some branches, or some rubbish
that’s blown into the garden. The light sensor is to the left of me, so I
launch the soap near it, praying that I don’t hit Mum and Dad’s window by
mistake. The soap hits the wall and then drops down onto the grass below, with
virtually no noise at all. But the sensor doesn’t catch it, and the garden is
still in darkness.
Still leaning against the
frame of the open window, I glare at the so-called figure. But the more I look
at it, and the more it sways slightly from side to side, the more certain I am
a person. Still not sure enough to wake Dad. Not yet, anyway.
I need more evidence.
I leave the bathroom and
tiptoe downstairs. The last few steps are really creaky so I avoid them,
lunging my leg past them to reach the bottom. Creeping into the living room, I
automatically flick the light switch, but then immediately turn it off. I’ll
see better into the garden without it. Over at the glass patio doors, I push a
few blinds over to the side to see outside.
My heart judders as I
stare into the pale face of a woman.
I let go of the blinds and
dash out of the living room, heart racing, and scramble up the stairs to wake
Dad. Opening the bedroom door, I poke my head through. They’re both still fast
asleep, so I reach down and prod Dad on his shoulder. “Dad,” I whisper. “Wake
up. There’s a woman outside.”
Dad begins to stir and then
his eyes half-open. “Go back to bed,” he mumbles. “It’s just a nightmare,
He shuts his eyes, so I
prod him again. “Dad. Wake
someone outside. I think
it’s a burglar.”
Dad opens his eyes again,
sits up in bed, and switches his bedside lamp on. “What are you talking about?”
“There’s a woman standing
in our garden.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, Dad. I’m positive. I
saw her standing by the patio doors.”
He climbs out of bed, puts
his slippers on and follows me out onto the landing. “Stay here,” he says
firmly, and I watch him as he walks downstairs. From the landing, I can see him
enter the living room. Can’t help but feel nervous. Dad could easily defend
himself against anyone, especially a woman. But you never know. She might have
a knife. Or a gun!
I’d better go help him.
Moving fast but quietly
down the stairs, my mind fills with visions of Dad being shot by the burglar.
Can’t think like that. Dad’s strong and he’s not an idiot. He’d never let it
come to that.
Inside the dark living room,
I see him pressed against the wall, with his head peering through the blinds. I
creep over to him. “Can you see her?”
“Bloody hell!” Dad blurts
out in fright as he turns to face me. “I told you to wait upstairs! Why don’t
you ever listen to me?”
Shaking his head, he
returns his attention to the window.
“Can you see her?” I
repeat. “Is she still out there?”
“I can’t see anyone. Are
you sure you saw someone? It’s pretty dark out there.”
“Yes, Dad. I’m sure. She
was standing by the tree, and when I came down to the living room she was by
the glass, looking right at me. I swear it.”
Moving away from the
window, Dad walks past me and out through the doorway.
“Where are you going?”
He doesn’t answer, so I
follow. He walks down the hallway and into the dark kitchen.
“Stay back now,” he
orders. “I’m going outside to check. Maybe it’s just some drunk from town,
wandered into the garden.”
“Shouldn’t we just call
“Not yet. And keep that
I nod as Dad opens the
door. A sudden gust of cold air hits us both in the face. “Be careful,” I say,
my stomach full of butterflies. Then he steps outside and closes the door
Standing in the kitchen,
in silence, for what seems like an eternity, I listen out for something, anything.
I can feel my hands shaking as I stare at the door handle.
Please be okay,
As the seconds turn into
minutes, I find myself edging closer and closer to the back door. Curiosity has
always been my weakness, (or strength, depending on how you look at it). Maybe
I should just open the door and pop my head out, just to check if he’s all
right. Surely he won’t get mad. I won’t actually be following him—just having a
Another minute or so
passes and I’ve reached the handle, grasped it and started to turn it. Don’t
know how much help I can be if Dad’s really in trouble, but I have to at least
try. Chest tight, I slowly open the door, one inch at a time.
Suddenly, the outside
light comes on and the back door bursts open.
I’m flung backwards onto
the floor, hitting my head on the fridge.
I see Dad, rushing to get
the door shut and locked, his face white, his eyes wide, like he’s just seen a
ghost. But before he can pull the bolt across to lock it, the door flies open,
knocking him to the floor, his body landing on top of mine. The blonde woman is
standing in the doorway, snarling like a dog; her eyes grey. The moment she
spots us on the floor, she lunges towards us. Dad lifts both his legs up and
manages to catch her body with the soles of his feet, and then pushes her back
towards the opening. She lands hard onto her back, howling as she scrambles to
her feet. Dad quickly gets up off the floor, his hands stretched out in front,
ready for a second attack. I try to follow him, but I’m frozen. All I can do is
cower further back against the fridge, behind his legs. The woman darts towards
Dad again, black spit oozing from her mouth, her arms reaching forward. Dad
secures both her wrists and wrestles her backwards towards the door. I watch in
horror as the woman tries to pull Dad’s arm towards her open mouth.
“Leave him alone!” I
scream as I get up off the floor.
I see Dad’s golf clubs,
propped up in their bag against the table. Hauling out one of his putts, I hold
it up like a shotgun, aim the metal end forwards, and then drive it into the
woman’s face, splitting her nose like a peach. The distraction is enough for
Dad to push her outside into the garden. But she still has a firm hold of his
wrists, pulling him out with her. Just as I’m about to take another stab with
the putt, I hear a thud.
Suddenly the woman lets go
of Dad’s wrists and drops to her knees, eyes still wide open.
She collapses onto her
From the darkness of the
garden, someone steps out. A man. He’s wearing white padded overall, white gloves,
black boots, and has a helmet over his head. In his hand is a strange gun,
pointed down at the woman. Dad steps back into the kitchen, pulling me behind
ask Dad in disbelief, as the fear started to fade—much faster than I thought it
“Not that type of a
cleaner, sweetheart. A different one.”
“What’s wrong with that
Dad pushes me further back
into the kitchen. “She’s infected. She’s not well.”
I look up at Dad. “Is she
Dad nods, his eyes still
“Get back!” the man orders
as he straps something over the woman’s mouth. “And lock that door! Now!”
That was amazing! Wait
‘til Chrissie hears about this!
“I know what I want to be
when I grow up,” I say as Dad starts to close the back door.
“What’s that, sweetheart?”
“I want to be a Cleaner.”
Dad locks the door, and
the dead woman disappears from view.
“A Cleaner?” Dad asks, as
he rushes to the kitchen window.
He pulls the blind over to
one side, looks outside, and then turns to me. “
Not a bloody chance