Romeo’s days tilt toward dusk. A sort of reverse Alzheimer’s is gripping his mind and he is remembering. His house is gray, its frame decrepit from neglect and solitude. Winged things stir hot dust in the attic and frighten him, so by virtue of drifting in and out of consciousness, he stumbles into the cellar. It is like choking on crumbled mummies. Where did all this dust come from?
He pulls a tiny chain in the dark, a string of silver balls chopped off at such a height as to require effort on his part to reach it. The tips of his fingers ignite as they finally grasp the chain and dingy yellow light pushes against the darkness. He is suddenly not alone and the feeling is terrifying.
” Hello?” He coughs and wonders whose ashes are stuck in his throat. Slumping down onto the dirt floor, he stares at the long rows of canning jars. They hold pickled parts of people.
“Pickled parts of people,” he giggles. He lifts one and raises it gently to the swaying light. A bloated clump of flesh bobs up and down. It reminds him of his first lava lamp and the seductive drops of blood floating and morphing in the oil. What was this? A spleen maybe? Huh. A loud crash startles him. It came from an unlit corner.
“Who’s there?” He places the jar gingerly back in place and rises slowly. He sees her eyes first as he swings the light in the manner of a trapeze artist. They absorb the yellow light and burn brighter. He steps over a row of jars and leans his head into the shadows, straining to remember now. Which one? Ah yes, the first.