The Headmaster’s Closet
A sneak peak at Psychedelia Noir with the shortest story in the collection
The heads are stacked like shoes on the floor of the headmaster’s closet. Sometimes, when you walk by, or stand close to the door, you can hear them murmuring or sobbing softly. He keeps them close together, so they don’t have to shout to one another and risk alerting the newbies.
The sideboard between the closet and his desk, is where the headmaster keeps his tools, tidy and alphabetical – the axe; the box of photographs; the Polaroid camera he uses to capture the subjects’ souls during the time lapse between the flash and the manifestation of the images; and at the far end, are the potions and powders he uses to keep the heads alive. This green stuff is lubricant. Couple drops lets the heads move their eyes almost like normal. That hairbrush is for the heads, but he forgets and brushes his own hair with it. The abundance of white and silver hairs not only speaks to the age of his surviving subjects, but also to the headmaster’s own state of encroaching senility.
His mistakes fill the wastebasket beside the sideboard. It’s a special vessel – resistant to the toxic emissions from the tormented souls who end up there – still trapped in the photographs after their botched beheadings. If something goes wrong with the transfer, the emulsifier fills with pain and longing. The photos will tear themselves apart in your hands if you don’t dispose of them quickly.
The headmaster can’t move near as fast as he once did, and in a position where stealth and quickness are key to clean execution…well, it’s clearly time for him to move on.
Just look at the melee in the receptacle right now. He totally messed up this new batch of admissions. You can almost see the screams hook themselves like drippy red tentacles over the rim, trying to pull themselves up into the open air.
He’s not expecting the tables to turn, and as slow as he is, taking his place should not be difficult. Since they’re all beholden to him, his existing collection will not last long once he’s gone.
If you take care of him – maybe even put him on a separate shelf to avoid wear and tear, he should be an excellent mentor for years to come. Welcome to the College of Necromancy. Make sure to check in with the Head Secretary once you’ve settled in.