I was ready for the blood. It’s the first thing that you numb over like a scabbed wound. By the third or fourth time, the blood had no more horrors for me, though I’ll admit the first time left me gagging in a bathroom.

It’s not the uncertainty either. That’s what does it for a lot of the guys on my crew, since half the hazards we face are invisible and undetectable. You might as well stress over being hit by a meteor or clobbered by a city bus in your blind spot, the way I see it.

It’s the silence.

Whether it’s ectoplasm left over from a haunting, the rind left from an alien ectoparasite pupating, or even the crispy bits left over from exposing something cthonic to daylight, it’s wreathed in silence. Things that make sound, hell, even the sounds themselves, they stay away for days. Weeks sometimes.

Often as not, that’s how long cleanup takes. It’s a long time for the only sound to be in your headphones.

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