Totality

But just as he had turned around the corner to leave, he heard a ruffling noise. And this time when he looked back he saw the black cat, standing in quite the awkward pose as it was trying to make its way into a trash can, it’s tail swishing. He was caught by surprise, having of course heard of the black cat. How could he not have? Everybody was always going on about what a demon creature it was. He was quite sure he had heard the baker actually tell a customer that she had seen it, and that it had the horns and tail of a demon. He grinned at the thought of that, seeing the same creature here, crawling into a trash can, with a perfectly fluffy cat-tail. So, this was the cat that everybody was so afraid of? This trash gremlin?

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2. Daffodils

CHAPTER TWO

Daffodils

 

”A gruesome car accident on 3rd street in the east city, has left the eastern traffic blocked off since 3 am last night. The police arrived after an eye witness called in the accident. She claims to have seen a demon on the road, right before the car crashed. There has been reported one dead and 3 injured. The police is-”

Lee shut off the TV. He didn’t need anymore bad news. He quickly opened the fridge to grab the lunch that he had packed yesterday- Not a good one either. His laziness had gotten the better of him, but it was too late to do anything about that now. He quickly left his small apartment, shutting off the light before he slided out of the door, locking it behind him, and stuffing the key in his pocket, so that he could have a free hand for the railing of the stairs. He jumped over that one step that always creaked, and quickly made his way down the stairs, checking his mothers watch that was always firmly on his wrist. He was late again.

He rushed to his bike, a slightly old but but gold racing bike. No literally, his bike was yellow. He liked to call it gold though, made it sound much cooler, and much less like some sort of pee-colored rust pile. Like it was. He had forgotten to lock it again last night, but he hardly ever did anymore. It never got stolen anyway. If somebody were to go through all the trouble of stealing a bike, why should they steal a 3-year old rusty gold one, with a broken bell and no baskets for luggage? Besides, people tended to stay clear of this part of town. Lee laughed at that for a moment, before his eyes fell to the graffiti of a crude hand gesture and the text ”fuck the police”. Yeah okay, maybe there was something to the bad reputation. But this was the only part of town where he could afford rent, and also get to work relatively early and with no public transport, so...

He cut a corner and turned around to face down 3rd street when he was met with the sight of police tape and a tow truck working to remove a destroyed car from a nearby wall. One of the people were yelling at a police officer nearby, and he only heard a few of the words, but from what he could gather, the man was a baker upset about having to close his shop for the day, because of the accident he had heard on the news.

Lee stood there for a moment, observing the scene, conflicted. The car looked familiar, but he wasn’t sure from where. But he was pretty sure that he wouldn’t be able to get this way to work today, and that he had to find a different way, and fast.

20 minutes later he arrived at work. He was 5 minutes late, but when he entered the shop it was completely abandoned, so he hoped it was one of those days were his boss showed up later in the day, and not-

His thoughts were cut off when he heard some clammer from the back room. Oh shoot.

”Lee is that you?” his boss’s voice echoed. Atleast she diddn’t sound mad.

Cursing the doorbell for ratting him out, he cleared his throat and called back. ”Yeah, sorry i'm late.” And then he started making his way to the backroom so they wouldn’t have to yell.

”Great.” she muttered, her back turned to Lee as he entered the backroom. She sounded annoyed, but it wasn’t directed at him. Yet.
”Lee it looks like we’re all out of daffodils, and im pretty sure we have a wedding coming up. My daffodil guy was supposed to be here with them at 6. I so do not want to deal with an angry bride. Or bridesmaid.”

”Why would anybody want daffodils for a wedding?” Lee wondered out loud, sounding baffled.

”Lee focus.”

“Right, right, sorry. Daffodils, supplier at 6. What are we gonna do?”

“Yeah well, im gonna have to leave you running the shop today, while I run out to meet him.”

“Wait, Clara's not coming in?”

“No, she was supposed to be here at 6 too, and I cant reach her.”

“That’s not like her.”

“Its not like my daffodil guy either.” She shot back, turning around to face Lee finally. Her brown hair was ruffled, and she had a slight hint of bags under her eyes. She looked like she had been having a stressfull morning. Or maybe week.

Lee grinned. “Do you really know your daffodil guy well enough to know if hes an unreliable guy?”

“Well he is my ex.” She said in a breath that almost sounding like a sigh. 

Lee was taken a back for a moment but decided it was probably best not to pry further into Cass’s life. “Wait but, I-I’ve never run the store by myself before. Cant you call another employee in or something?

Cass gently cupped Lees cheek. “Oh no honey, i'm sorry. But don’t worry, you’ll do great!” and then, her phone called again, and her warm hand left his cheek, as she answered. She left the back room, and grabbed her jacket, mouthing “You’ll do fine” as she waved. “Yes Carl i'm in my car right now.” The bell rang and a cold breeze flew in for a short moment as she went through the glass door. Then it was just Lee standing hopelessly in the middle or the flower store.

 “Right... Ill do fine.” He mumbled, echoing Cass’ words, before stopping to close his eyes and take a deep breath. “You can do this.” He said out loud. Sometimes saying things out loud made them feel more real than if he just thought them in his head. It was something his mother had taught him. That’s when the phone rang, its loud noise piercing the silence. “Who is already calling?” he wondered, as he went over to pick up.

”Hi, you’ve reached Winberg Flowers, how can i help you today?” he said, in his very best customer service voice. You could almost hear the fake smile.

”Hi, this is Sarah Walter. I was going to come pick up some daffodils today at around two, but something has come up and i am going to be in town in around 20 minutes. I just thought i’d let you know that ill be stopping by earlier than planned. I don't expect this is going to be a problem?” A clearly adult voice said, with an unusually clear phone voice. She sounded very polite and like she knew all the right words to say but also oddly strained. Like she was talking with a gun to her head. She sounds like a blonde Lee thought.

”Actually-” Lee looked around the empty store as he tried to find the words. ”The flowers are not yet in, so-” He tried to explain when he was cut off.

”Listen, i have an angry bride, a groom with cold feet, 78 guests wondering if there will even be a wedding, and somehow its all landed on me despite Julia telling me that ”there’d be no stress, don't worry about it, you’ll be a great maid of honor” And now i'm off to the dry cleaners with a horrible suit, in this hellhole of a town, and the least you can do is have the flowers ready now so i do not have to waste a minute longer here than i need to. They’re daffodils for crying out loud. Can you not just go to the nearest field and pluck some? Is that really so hard?!” He was wrong before, she did not have a gun to her head, she was carrying a gun, and Lee suddenly felt very much like a silhouette of a man in a shooting range.

”I am really sorry Ma’am but we have no daffodils in stock right now, and we were not expecting you so soon. There is nothing i can do.” He managed to say despite his brain having gone blank, by the first ’listen’. What good sentence has ever started with Listen? God, he hated working in customer service. His eyes had been opened to how truly terrible people were.

”FINE i will be by at two and you better have the flowers ready by then.” she said, and before Lee could reply she had hung up. ”Well, i sure am looking forward to that.” he thought out loud.

Looking at his watch he could see that the store should’ve opened 5 minutes ago. The anxiety in him wanted to refrain from flipping the sign from ’closed’ to ’open’ but he knew he had to, so he dragged his feet across the store and flipped over the sign, mentally sighing as he prepared himself for what he could tell was going to be a long day.

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