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The Jar Collection

The room was consumed with darkness, aside from the faint slivers of moonlight that stretched across the ancient wooden floor-boards. The wind howled through the miniscule spider-web cracks of the window, causing the holey curtains to flutter slightly. There were no decorations, aside from a broken flower vase shattered on the floor, a collection of foggy jars, and a painting hung crookedly on the rotting walls that were home to skittering rats and chattering cockroaches. The painting depicted a young girl of 8, with frizzy red hair and lopsided wire-rimmed glasses. She was furiously clutching an unfortunately enormous cat, which looked desperate to escape the vice that held him captive. The wallpaper behind the girl in the painting matched the wall’s, which was mostly peeled away. The jars on the far side of the room held unrecognizable floating objects. They were neatly stacked in piles of five, and there were ten groups in all, forming a neat circle. Aside from the howling of the wind and the skittering of the rats, this lightless room was captive of three more sounds. The first was a repetitive creaking. The second was a light clanking, also repetitive. And the third was mutter. They all reverberated from the far corner of the room. The creaking belonged to a rocking chair, rocking ever so gently back and forth. In the ancient decaying rocking chair, sat a tiny woman. She looked as if she would wither away with the slightest touch, with her frazzled hair, and toothpick arms. Her eyes were misty and lopsided, and her lips were held in a permanent grin. She had no teeth, just pitch-black gums. She held her right arm out. Her fingers were splayed out, and on her fingers were glass bottles that held no particular brand. Just bottles. And she clanked them together, over and over again as she rocked. She muttered as she clanked her bottles and rocked her chair. It was not a human language, just muttering. There was a skeleton of a cat in her lap. Clank clank. She continued muttering. The wind howled. There was a loud knocking, and the woman jumped, her eyes growing more aware. She smiled larger, and stood up for the first time in seven years. The skeleton fell down on the ground, shattering. She walked painfully slow towards the door, and creaked it open.

The next day, the police found a dead body in the middle of a road. There was an enormous hole in the body’s chest, and beyond it was emptiness. The murderer had ripped out the bodies’ heart. The bodies’ fingers were missing. The police looked for them, yet they were nowhere to be found.

The old woman creaked back and forth in her rocking chair. The cats skeleton was placed carefully back on her lap. She clanked her bottles. The only difference was that of her jar collection. It had grown a little bit larger.





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