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Chemical-lemon aroma and sterile bleach
fumes rushed Luke’s senses when he opened the back door.
He stepped back in confusion. The windows
looked similar to his, the patio belonged to him. Everything checked out.
Bewildered, he stepped inside with caution.
The clean smell strengthened. He closed the
door with a click, before flipping on the kitchen light.
Luke froze, agape at the sight before him.
Dishes had disappeared from the sink, counter, and table. Surfaces throughout
the room gleamed. Chrome on the appliances glistened. His previously dusty
light bulbs glowed bright and cheery.
Taking slow steps through the house, Luke
noted the different textures on the smooth, dirt free floor. His blinds and
curtains hung refreshed and bright, their grimy layers gone into thin air.
His house looked the way he had meant it to,
exuding sparkle and warmth.
The absurd situation struck him each time he
discovered cleaner rooms through every door. A burglar who breaks into houses
Goosebumps spread up his arms from his
wrists. He checked behind him, as if the cleaner lurked just in his shadow.
Nothing could be eerier than someone having been in his home.
No wait. The only thing creepier was knowing
your best friend had been sleeping with your wife around the same time as you.
Yeah, that won, hands down.
Luke hesitated before looking into the next
darkened room. He remembered he’d ignored locking the doors earlier before he
left for work. Nothing was gone.
agreed with me, Cindy’s stuff is all crap.
The invaded sensation struck him. “Damn.
Damn, damn, damn! What the hell is going on?” He slapped his hand against his
leg, the sting only adding to the surrealism of the moment.
Dumbfounded, Luke ran his hand along the
banister lining his staircase. His fingers slid across polished, smooth wood
and, ignoring the master suite, he turned to his study.
Even there, his domain felt occupied and
everything remained in its place.
His sanctuary had, if nothing else, been
searched. A scent, of maybe a shampoo or a woman’s perfume, wafted over him
when he plopped on his bed. Nothing too strong, but just enough to stir the
Violation worked its way into his throat.
Trying with all his might to ignore the rest of the house, he covered his mouth
with his hand, certain he would vomit onto the clean floors and walls. Could it
be the Hampton woman? Had she found his home and done something to hurt him?
A laugh, odd in the moment yet completely
uncontrolled, burst from his lips. “Yes, Luke, because cleaning someone’s house
is exactly how a person would hurt someone else.” He wiped his face with his
hand, as if he could remove the sensations of his entire trying day.
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