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The Merchant Devil Part 2

“What the hell is wrong with you!?” He yelled at her, glowering at her suitcase and watching her throw random clothes and assorted items around like a mad woman.

“I’m leaving, I’m leaving everything! I’m leaving this ramshackle piece of shit of an apartment, I’m leaving that flea infested bag of shit cat…and I’m leaving you.” She said this part with less force and venom then the rest.

“W-why?” His stunned look had pained her yet she knew, like a higher force, that she would leave him despite the regret.

“I just, I just need to go.” She didn’t look at him; she knew what she would find there without having to look.

“Are you having an affair?” He crossed his arms. She did look at him this time, and she exploded laughing, catching him off-guard.

“No, love, I’m not.” Zipping up the suitcase zipper, she left the apartment unable to comprehend why she had just uprooted her life but she never looked back, only in her memories would she look back and regret.

Between leaving work and leaving Jack, the time seemed to go by very rapidly. Glancing at her watch it read 12:07. Fantastic, she thought, midnight. I’ve ruined my life at the worst possible time. But that wasn’t true. She knew exactly where she was headed. Shoving her suitcase at the curb, she looked up at the café sign that read “Whispering Eva” in bold cursive writing. The ‘g’ in ‘whispering’ underlined the whole sign. Ivy grew along the sides of the sign and evidence that the ivy also grew on the sides of the building showed. She looked across the street at the place she once worked at. She had thought several things but one of those things was that she wasn’t shocked working there again was ever an option anymore.

The Whispering Eva had long since run down, out of business due to The Empty Salon ten years ago but Valerie knew the doors to the Eva would be opened despite being condemned. Leaving her suitcase at the curb she’d curled her pillow under her arm and entered. The place looked surprisingly fresh, considering the many years of neglect and abandonment. The walls looked freshly painted and a faint not quite pleasant aroma emitted from them. The floors were swept neatly and bar was wiped down. The mystery man was sitting by a table in the back, his face completely hidden in shadow, but she knew what lurked under those covers.

“A drink? I’m afraid all I have is brandy,” he said gesturing to a bottle as she’d approached the table with the ease and caution of a cat stalking a mouse.

The feeling that she was the mouse was all too strong however. He poured the ember liquid into a tumbler that was already filled with cubes of ice and she’d sucked it back almost immediately. The burn of the liquor felt refreshingly good going down. He poured her another one and she choose this time to nurse it more carefully than the first.

She stared at his pale face, trying to see past the smile. His features where handsome, a heartthrob to any girl. His hair was a thick, tousled black, cut short, his cheek bones where prominent and his chin looked strong. He had full, thick eyebrows that framed his beautiful yet seductive emerald green gems underneath a lush canopy of black eyelashes. His eyes examined her as well, expertly accessing his next move.

“I’m sure you’re aware that I am here only to serve and offer my assistance to you, so young and beautiful. In need of a certain, white knight in shining armor one would say?”

He smiled again, a grin seeming to split his entire face open. For one terrifying moment, she thought it would split open, spraying blood all over her. She shifted uncomfortably in her chair, aware the air around her seemed to thin noticeably. She took another quick sip.

“Yes.”

He clapped his hands together making her jump and a sing-song ring of laughter came out.

“Excellent my dear, you shall have everything and everyone at your disposal should you so choose to accept the terms and conditions of this agreement,” he hissed.

She became aware that his face was more than just human now. His skull seemed to be showing through, like his skin was melting from his face. Thick globs of white flesh started dripping down from his face onto the table and Valerie stared at him, unmoving. He passed her an eagle feather pen and his fingers which now resembled that of skeleton nature grazed her own. She recoiled from the touch but firmly gripped the pen in her hand. The walls of the Eva began to come alive and expel breath like living creatures.

“…feeear the man…

“…liiiieeeeessss…”

“…aaat your own riskkk…”

“…Valerieee…”

Her breathe started to mist in front of her, the air become uncomfortably cold. The walls began to leak a black fluid that she suspected was indeed blood and not delicious maple syrup. The fireplace erupted into thick orange flames that licked the wooden beams of the ceiling, sparking dangerously everywhere. She looked back at the man in the black suit with the terrible grin, blood now marring his otherwise perfect, white teeth. His eyes seemingly appeared to be on fire and still she told herself it was from the firelight that was causing that maddening illusion. He brandished a piece of parchment that was yellowed and ripping at the corners. The contract only vaguely regurgitated what he had already told her. She looked up at the man again who was now no longer smiling. She cleared her throat.

“Wha-what are the terms and conditions?” she said quietly.

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