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Afterwards, the bare lightbulb is swinging gently.

The concrete walls are still flat and relentless under its cold eye.

Thwarted, the shadows are crouching resentfully behind the washers and looking darkly around the pillars.

The floor is only a little sticky.

The angry white noise of the washers that muffled the screams is winding down into low grumbles and then silence.

In the silence, there is a tap dripping.

Without warning, a mouse makes a frenzied dash from under one washer to the comparative safety of another.   The bruised metal surfaces reflect the unexpected movement.   The mouse is the only live thing in the room at this moment.

The chain-link gate to the dark alley is easy egress for using the rows and rows of apartment dumpsters – and they’re emptied tomorrow.   Another garbage bag and an armful of some unclaimed wet clean laundry makes no difference.

It’s a bonus that the dumpster lid only creaks a little.   And that the clang of the closing gate does not carry far.

The bleach and mop were already at hand.   Very useful.

From the many apartments above, the sounds of the world waking up are starting to creep down the elevator shaft and the back stairwell.   One apartment will stay silent today.   No-one will notice for quite a while.   It’s a big building and people lead busy, self-involved lives.

The snaplock bags pack nicely under the clothes in the  laundry basket.   The clothes smell fresh and warm.   So do the bags.

The air is a little cold and a little dank, and there is a slight scent still of the bleach – and lingering fear.

When the switch is snapped, the filament in the light bulb will glow faintly orange for a second, before the shadows flood smugly back in to take over their territory.

There now.

All clean, folded, and packed neatly away.

I hate doing laundry.   But I fucking love the laundry room.




  1. We have never used our laundry room for actual laundry (We have an old Armenian woman for that) but we couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve had to clean that place up.
    Actually we could but we don’t want to wind up the subject of a 48 Hours Mystery.
    By the way, have you seen an incontinent werewolf in your neck of the woods? McLintock is still missing.

  2. That was written like a love scene. Brilliant.

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