Jeremy stared glumly down at the city; he could smell the destitution from up here. Another night had passed by on Knob Hill with a stolen six pack, and cigarettes. However at some point, he’d discovered a mannequin head. Her appearance was a mystery but Jeremy had named her Lucy. As his buzz grew, he discovered how easy it was to talk to her.
Sometimes, he’d clutched her tightly and screamed; he’d cradled her in his chest while deep, wretched sobs roiled from him. Sometimes, he’d simply looked at her.
This morning, Jeremy knew he had always had a choice.
She was a shivery thing huddled in the corner, trying to appear smaller to the junkies who taunted and threw stones. Even in my addled state, my heart broke. I scooped her up, tucked her inside my jacket and fled the building with their jeers following.
Fourteen years ago, that kitten saved me; I took on a responsibility and I loved her. We’ve been through a lot but no matter how far down the mental well I tumbled, she was right there to haul me up.
She died yesterday.
Helpless; hopeless, I’ve returned to chase the dragon one last time.
Lesley eyed the building while she polished the antiques. Its bleak façade hung like a gaping maw; rotted teeth below empty sockets, and its tongue rolled rock-strewn into the river.
Her gaze returned to inspect the wares on the windowsill; all polished and shiny, ready for another day of business. Lesley knew though, that by morning they would all be tarnished again.
That night, as every night, Hell’s presence rose through the devil’s portal, imparting its ancient malice into the water. Fetid fumes seeped up river banks, swarmed over trees and bled into buildings, coating everything in a dark patina.
Mr. Briggs loved the old girl but now it was time to let her go. He’d polished her fenders with care, attached the poppy just so and spit-licked the spotlight shiny.
Later, he watched from the other side of the barrier as she passed by, tears brimming, and saluted with one briny hand. Mr. Briggs lingered long after the crowds had dispersed, staring down the road with droopy, rheumy eyes.
He tugged a handkerchief from his pocket and blew his nose loudly before turning away. Perhaps he’d stop at the newsagent and pick up some chicken noodle soup for dinner.
Naomi browsed the display. The shopkeeper had said that each bottle caused a different effect; just read the labels. She brushed aside a strand of hair and chewed her lip. What did she want to change? Did she want to be taller? No; she was just the right height. Did she want to be thinner? Not really; Naomi liked her figure. She plucked the smallest bottle from the top shelf, read the label and smiled impishly before knocking back the contents.
Soon, her friends noticed. “Naomi, you eat ALL the time! How do stay so slim?”
Gregory watched from across the street as the second floor apartment burned. He shoved his hands in his pockets and glanced at the growing crowd. Murmurs of concern and questions about the occupants swirled around him. He backed away slowly, nodding, and slipped unnoticed down the street.
Gregory had known Mr. Viggers well. That old twerp had caused so much trouble; always complaining about Gregory’s car and how it got in the way of his precious street sweeper. Idiot had even taken him to court, and got that stupid sign erected.
Well, Gregory grinned, not anymore, Mr. Viggers. Not anymore.
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