Genny had to open the shop that morning. She was tired. As Virginia, she had stayed up late for the blood rituals, but she had a strong coffee in hand that she was using to prop herself up. A paper was tucked under her arm; the lead story about the murders that had taken place the night before. Unlocking the door she waved to the watcher, the one that Virginia had summoned and chained beneath the cornice. He winked back in greeting. She began to prepare the shop, readying it for the onslaught of customers.
She hated being Genny, despised the meekness that defined Genny, loathed her shop assistant position, selling souvenirs to tourists. As Virginia she is powerful and power is narcotic; a drug that inflates egos as it bestows strength. None dare question Virginia’s decisions. No one challenges Virginia’s will.
Genny is a doormat who spends her days tidying the shop, dusting shelves, and refolding T-shirts.
Genny longed to leave herself behind and become Virginia exclusively; had even gone so far as drafting a letter of resignation from her post but, Virginia would not allow it. “Foolish girl,” Virginia had said to her. “We need you in that shop.” Virginia had called the watcher then and he had taken up his post outside the door. His black horns and hooves contrasted sharply against his red skin. He looked to the world like a caricature of what he truly was, an imp, the perfect disguise.
Some days Genny would reach her wits end dealing with stupid tourists, answering their stupid questions, cleaning up their stupid messes and she would glance up at the watcher. He would wink at her and she could once again swallow the bile that the day had thrown her way, regain her ability to soldier on. The watcher proved that Virginia loved her. But this particular day there were no serious problems, traffic through the shop was sparse and Genny had spent her morning remembering the glories of the night before. She reveled in the memory of warm blood and how it felt as she bathed in it, rubbed it over her body. When her victims were bleeding and dying it did not matter that they were only itinerants and prostitutes, culled from the herd of those who would never be missed. All that mattered was the blood, the glorious blood.
Lunchtime, she hung a sign on the door, “Back in 30 minutes” and went for a sandwich and chips. When she returned the watcher did not wink or wave a finger, as was his custom. He sat, unmoving below the cornice. Genny reached and tapped his cloven hoof: nothing. Something was terribly wrong. Virginia must be summoned. Virginia must be told. Virginia will be angry.
The next day’s papers told of the raging fire that destroyed an entire block in the city center. The only casualty was a shop assistant named Genny Jones who had, apparently, failed to escape the conflagration.
500 words written for the Light and Shade Challenge, Monday 9th June 2014
the photo prompt by Thomas Marlowe: