Sin Eater

Posted: May 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

(For the Flash Fiction challenge I went with this photo – http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=2418158 – and below…is what I came up with.)

I knew the moment she lit that cigarette she’d be trouble.  Some things you can just tell.  She was sitting on that backless stool, heels hooked on the rungs and she looked like she meant every drag.  Every puff, every drink washed away a sin.  Tequila, the married man she’d slept with two nights ago.  Vodka, the child she’d left on a stranger’s doorstep.  I saw all of her sins, each one in her movements.  I can smell all their sins, not just the redhead sitting on the stool in that too short dress.

The man at the end of the bar, the one wearing flannel and a beard that he probably hadn’t taken care of in years, every scotch brings him closer to forgetting the little kid he hit with his truck six years back.  Crashed into him like he was an orange safety cone.  He got away with it.  Drove off before anyone could see his plates.

Their sins call to me.  I could exploit them, use them to make a deal.  That sweet deal.  My mouth waters at the thought.  The deals are almost too good to pass up.  It’s what I was born for, what I’m good at.  Trouble is, I’m trying to break free of that.  It’s not so easy, and every drink brings me closer to forgetting it.

This is my city.  My playground.  Every street in the early morning when the fog slowly lifts are my home.  Every hole in the wall bar that people cross the street to avoid, these are my stalking grounds.  The people are my lambs, carefully I lead them down the path of my choosing.  They call me Devil, but really I’m just another lost soul.

Against my better judgment, I raised two fingers to Gary, the bartender, and motioned to the woman on the stool.   Gary looked liked he had lead a hard life. I’m sure he had, you didn’t become the proprietor of a bar like this- one that catered to the lowest of the low, unless you’d made some pretty bad choices in life.   The woman smiled her thanks and lifted the glass with a knowing smile. Pity she had no idea, and I needed to leave before she found out the hard way that not everyone in the city that bought you a drink was a friend.

The city was cold, wrapped in a dark autumn night. Chinatown was bustling as I made my way toward the Canal Street station. It was always this way, even in the dead of winter. I brought my coat closer and wrinkled my nose. The stench of the fish stalls took over the entire street, that rotten bitter scent stuck in your nose during the colder months.

“Ah Morrigan. You want tea yes?”

The old woman in a tiny stall near the train station smiled with crooked teeth, beckoning to me with a crooked finger. The store itself was packed with knock-off merchandise, bamboo pots and luggage that rarely if ever had a price tag. Unsuspecting newbies would be lured into a battle of wits and haggling over the small fanny pack they wanted to hold their traveler’s cheques. This was the way this world worked, a world I called home.

“Not tonight.” I grunted and walked past her.

The old woman grabbed my arm with a hiss, digging her nails into my arm slightly. I let the heat below my skin flare a little, and she immediately let go. I turned to face her, the woman from the bar weighing heavily on my mind. There was a tugging in my stomach, my heart; my entire body was shaking now and finally I nodded.

“Ah so good. You look like you need.”

I followed the old woman through the tight aisles of the store to the tiny back room. It was separated from the main part of the store with a single beaded curtain. The curtain rattled as we passed through, and the old woman sat at the table. I always did like the ornate dragon carving in the center. The eyes were jade, and the teeth were ivory insets. It was stunning, and arguably the only reason I ever came inside.

“Whenever you’re ready.” I shrugged my coat off and moved behind her, placing my hands on her neck.

The old woman closed her eyes and relaxed. I exhaled and shut my eyes, pressing my fingers against her temples. Her sins were my sins, electricity ran along my fingers and up my arms. As the whispers began, I could feel every misdeed running through my veins and making it’s way upward. The warmth of them flooded me and the shakiness all at once eased. I let go of her and she slumped forward, her head thumping gently against the table. Rolling my shoulders back, I grabbed my coat and made my way out the door. She’d wake in the morning.

The city had grown brighter, the neon lights of the shop signs buzzed with wild electricity. The cold danced along my skin, the whispers had grown more tolerable. Chinatown was alive, and so was I. This was my city, these were my people. Every sin they had, I knew. Every sin they would have, I could feel along my skin like prickles. Their hearts were visible. This was my home. My name is Morrigan, I’m a sin eater and I love every minute of it.

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