Morning started as usual. Duke passed by, got his order and paid her in coin and musk from his ill-deodorated ass; she gave him something on the house, a slap from the menu. Jeremy and Clint also ordered. She had no love for them, and was quick to drop her pleasant facade if they got on her nerves. Julian came by to work a few shifts in her stead, giving her some time to read her horoscope and smoke. She yawned and stretched again, this time feeling more dynamic, but it was seldomly better than feeling as a fossil. After all, now she had no excuse to not feel like she was aging.
All and all they had few customers, just as Echo had few residents. Still, the dinner was one of the few places that wasn’t completely shitty, so the clientele was consistent if nothing else. In another time, Janice would have taken pride in her establishment being a respite from all the bad stuff, and she still found it easy to put on a smile and take some enjoyment out of the company. But these smiles were increasingly fake, even if she did like the gossip and have people like at least something.
The day flew by, and soon the sun looked just like her hideous red hairpaint. The sky itself seemed to redden, and she couldn’t help but shiver a little at that. Not helping matters was the distant sound of what appeared to be wheels driving through rough terrain.
She smoked seven cigarettes, before finally going home.
Janice closed the door, but didn’t turn on the lights for a while. In the darkness she’d have at least some peace and quiet, no buzzing noise of mosquittos killing themselves or electricity crackling almost painfully. Truth be told she also didn’t feel like adding to her bills; they’d be paid easily, but she felt like she deserved a nice thing for a change.
She sat on her couch, staring at the ceiling for a while. The distant rays of streetlights gave a small orange tint, not too different from the light of her bulbs. She mused a bit at this, then sighed. She recalled Mr Bronson taking her on a date by a Payton mall, and when they drove back the car’s roof looked exactly like her ceiling did then.
She missed him, sometimes. But he dug his own bed, first by chosing Elizabeth over her and then by getting himself shot. She never liked that creepy brat — Sydney, he was called? — but she would never blame the kid if he did kill his bastard of a father. Ever since the accident on the road, the otter she once loved had become cruel and unpredictable. Maybe both father and son found peace at last.
For a moment she thought seeing blue eyes on the ceiling. She had seen them so many times, and things so horrible that she’d scream if she had the strength, but by then it was barely worth getting a reaction over.
A hideous red figure with no eyes and no nose glided briefly, as if hugging the deepest shadows, but she paid it no mind.
Maybe if she was younger, and had something to live for. But she was old, and the motions carried her like a marrionette.
She got out of her house, and took a walk outside.
She needed to pee.