Off the Shelf

He buys his anger off the shelf in little green bottles, each stoppered with a tiny cork, each cork sealed with wax the color of obsidian. He pays with pieces of bone and twists of hair, laying them on the scarred wooden counter in front of the woman with the cloth face and stitched eyes, who blindly and unerringly takes the payment in her shriveled hand and makes it vanish into her till. Transaction complete, he slithers down the abandoned hallway to the door which only opens for the right sort of customer, where he breaks the seal on one of the bottles and pours the thin bitter fluid contained within into the hole in his throat, drowning in it. He crushes the empty bottle in his stone hand, the glass not daring to cut him, and he flings the pieces away into the shadows of the room.

He takes his tools from his coat pocket, his hammer specked with bits of hair and stained the color of copper, his blade with jagged edges like the backs of broken ships, and the door opens for him without having to be touched. He crashes into the dark, focusing his reptile brain on her, always on her, knowing that he will find her tonight, as he does every night, and he will show her what a fine vintage of anger can do for man.

Behind him, the door swings silently shut, and disturbs the fine talcum cloud of ash and soot left hanging in the air with his departure. Inside, the woman with the cloth face begins restocking the shelf with a dozen little green bottles, in anticipation of the man’s return the following night.

After all, he is her best customer.

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1 Comment

  1. Well, I’m glad I’m reading this in the morning.

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