WRAPPED IN BLACK
Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult
BEAUTIFUL, BROKEN THINGS
by Rose Blackthorn
He noticed the store-front within the first week of moving into the neighborhood. The broad window was curtained with sheer black hangings and a coral pink neon sign flickered Open over an array of oddities. There was no business name over the mirrored glass door, just a hand painted plaque with a large black crow holding an eyeball in one clawed foot.
The street was filled with little shops, all of them grimy and worn in the ever-present overcast. There were pawnshops, tattoo parlors, adult book stores, and little food stands with two or three tables or a narrow counter with barstools. This was not the best part of town to work in, let alone live, but Trey didn’t have a lot of options. Unless a person had the money to pay for walls and security, this was the best he could get.
“Have you ever gone in?”
Trey started, glancing at the painted girl who stood near him. She had candy-pink hair and wore a white sequined dress that left little of her browned figure to the imagination. “Huh?”
The girl laughed, a tinkling sound that was decidedly out of place. “To the Morrigan’s. Have you ever gone in?”
He looked back across the street, to the wooden sign displaying the crow and eyeball. “No. What did you call it?”
The girl pulled a case out of the beaded bag dangling from her wrist, opening it to reveal tiny iridescent tablets. She put one under her tongue before returning the case to her bag. “The Morrigan’s.”
“What is it?” Street lights made pools of dingy gold on the dirty pavements up and down the street, and vehicles skimmed past on their silent airfields, sending bits of paper and plastic wrappers scooting along the cracked sidewalks. Trey kept from asking about the tablets. He was clean now. He repeated it as a silent mantra, clean now clean now clean now.
“My name is Nousha,” she said breaking through his inner monologue. “You’re new around here. What’s your name?”
“Trey,” he answered, clean now clean now ran on in the back of his mind.
“The Morrigan is a magic shop.” Her dark skin shimmered, picking up the yellow of the street lights and magnifying it.
“Like card tricks, sawing someone in half?”
She laughed, more tinkling. “No, not that fake stuff. Real magic. Spells and hexes, love potions and such.”
He stared at her, half hypnotized by the glimmering shifting colors on her skin. “No such thing.”
Nousha shrugged, her bright pink hair like the neon signs along the street. “You could see for yourself. Or not.”
Trey looked back at the dark window with the Open sign stuttering against the glass. Past the glass, behind the sheer black curtains, he thought he could see someone standing there looking back at him. But it could have just been a reflection. Or maybe he’d caught a partial high off the painted girl’s glittering skin.
A car pulled up and stopped, window opening to reveal a heavy-set man of middle age. He glanced at Trey, then to Nousha. “Feel like a party?” he asked, voice gravelly and low.
“If you’ve got the creds, I’m up for anything,” she said in a sexy purr. She winked at Trey, then got into the car. Her skin picked up the blue and violet lights from the interior, glimmering hyacinth and wisteria before the window slid shut and the car’s airfield whisked it away.
Across the street, the Open sign buzzed and flickered. If anyone had been standing behind the curtain before, they were gone now. Trey felt as though he buzzed and flickered, clean now repeating again and again in the back of his mind. He turned and went down the street to the barred security door, punched in his access code, and went up two flights of dingy stairs to what was now his home.
Read the entire story in
WRAPPED IN BLACK: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult
RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2014
She has published online and in print, including “Stupefying Stories”, “Necon E-books”, “Cast of Wonders” podcast, “The Wicked Library” horror podcast, “Interstellar Fiction”, “BuzzyMag”, “Books of the Dead” and “Jamais Vu”. She is also included in the anthologies “A Quick Bite of Flesh”, “Horrific History” and “Shifters” by Hazardous Press; “New Dawn Fades”, “The Ghost IS the Machine” and “Fear the Abyss” by Post Mortem Press, “Eulogies II: Tales from the Cellar” by HorrorWorld, and “Equilibrium Overturned” by Grey Matter Press. She has stories scheduled for release from Sirens Call Publications, Sekhmet Press and Eldritch Press. She is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association.