The Vault of Souls

pawn shop nypl berenice abbott federal art project 1937

It doesn’t hurt, pawning your soul. You’d think it would, but it doesn’t. There’s a slight tug low in your belly, an almost-audible snap as it’s extracted, and done. The jar closes and maybe you see it — a faint opalescent mist in the container given to a leering, twisted assistant for safe-keeping in the vault — or maybe not. It’s better when you don’t.

Your soul never leaves the building of course, is never touched by inhuman hands. That’s part of the deal. You may begin to wonder why the shabbily-bandaged man needs a vault of souls. But don’t.




Like crazy Randy Quaid’s character in Independence Day, I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaack! I needed the week to dump my creative mojo into something else that, with luck and a slowly-developing discipline to put butt in seat, you’ll see very soon. You see, I’m becoming a tree. There’s also a hummingbird and a monkey-brain and, well, it gets a little philosophical after that. Suffice to say, I’m training myself to be a working writer instead of a duffer and that requires a certain amount of metaphor.

The pawn shop imagery dominated the stories this week. Darleen’s tale ends with a delicious dun dun duunnnnn moment.

Smitty’s story seems fantastic but is all to commonly sinister.

BigGator5 takes us into the world of the clandestine.

A new writer! My long-time friend Paula is in with her first story and it’s a better first effort than mine was.

April is back in with a very creepy kid story! More creepy kids, please.

(Updated to add a new photo. Photo Credit: NYPL Digital Collections)