Light and Shade: Virginia


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:

Daily Prompt: Living Art

Daily Prompt: Living Art

One day, your favorite piece of art — a famous painting or sculpture, the graffiti next door — comes to life. What happens next?


Occasionally it happens still. Not as often as it used to; but sometimes he still roars and when he does it is usually to extract terrible vengeance. One time though, he gave me the words and the courage to speak to a beautiful girl in the park. That was forty years ago. That girl and I were married for 32 of those years. She’s gone now but, for some reason he and I live on.

His lines are blurring. He is not as sharp as he used to be but that’s OK. The same things can be said of me. I got him in the orient. Kowloon, at a shop called Pinky’s. Pinky tattooed this Dragon and Pearl of Wisdom on my chest. Living art as soon as he was inked. He breathing is synchronized with mine and the pearl gives him knowledge coupled with an acute sense of justice which he exercises from time to time. The last time he roared we were in the subway. The car was about half full and two gangbangers were harassing an old man. Shaking him down, taking his money and packages, slapping him around. When the transit cops came in at the next stop one of those gangbangers was dead. The other was sitting on the floor in a puddle of his own urine, whimpering. Of course, no one saw anything.

We all had to go down to the station and I spent about an hour talking to the cops but they had no reason to hold me so I left. That was about a year ago. I saw that old man again on the train last night. He smiled at me and nodded his head when he got off at 47th Street . He remembers and so do I.

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