The Scales’ Sweet Burn
Vinny followed someone’s anger for the last two hours; the burn strengthening, though he couldn’t tell if it was because he was getting closer or because their anger was growing. Either was fine; either meant progress.
The anger tasted sweet; but emotions were liars. What made him salivate was the slow blistering of the anger, a constant thrum of energy that didn’t falter. The bass resonated down in his stomach, a buzz that whispered him forward. He knew the anger would smolder for a while, giving him the chance to drink deep of it.
In his experience, anger that seethed like this usually had some minor cause, which didn’t require much vengeance from him; something unplanned that gnawed at the owner, ruminating and brooding distractedly on the fleeting cause. He was confident he could find a solution that transferred the energy easily and quickly, for him to consume.
He traced the flow along the wet sidewalk while covered in eclipsing shadows from the long metal and glass walls that erupted into the sky. Overhead he could tell the sky was yellowing to dusk. The chill took the city already, helped by the rain. Vinny’s hair scratched his forehead in the breeze; he ignored it.
Occasionally he felt another flavor of anger sweep by, but while distracting and tempting, he kept his course, his sneakers slapping the concrete. He tracked this contract for too long to forfeit this sweet burn, with the hints of sugared coffee and caramel.
He traced his thing fingers along the building covered of cold glass. He didn’t look inside, though the interior lights were on. Behind him, a car’s sudden honking came from the intersection, seeming to emphasize the blast of the anger as he rounded the corner, like a siren to his senses. Making progress pushed his steps; his eyes swept up the concrete far ahead of him for a glimpse of the target.
“How’s the trail?” Jud demanded of him, his back against the wall, arms crossed. He appeared at Vinny’s side, just as the man passed him, appearing in the corner of his vision with no fanfare or effect. Somehow the lack of movement made it worse; it was like a cemetery statue on a quiet, dark morning.
The man startled the hell out of Vengeance. “Holy shit,” he huffed, jumping away from the glass wall, almost over the curb. Vinny corrected his stride, sniffed with relief as he caught the scent again. He refused to lose this contract, his mind dripping with the anticipation. He didn’t answer Jud but instead straightened up, again keeping his trace on the contract.
Jud matched the pace, nudging him gently, “He’s up there,” with his chin he motioned to a hunched male with a hood up, waiting, pacing, and fidgeting to cross the street.
“You going for him?” Vinny pressed him, wondering about competition. He glanced at the man who represented the other side of the coin of balance. For Vinny, he knew that Jud experienced more of their lives; the man had been a part of the world’s balance for much longer. If Jud wanted the contract, it would be his.
Jud shook his head. “No, his anger’s unjustified; it’s pretty shitty actually. I’ll be surprised if you even take it.” His voice derided; he knew he was too good for such a case and perhaps he thought Vinny was too. It struck him how kind the thought was.
But Vinny turned back to the contract. “We’ll see,” was the response, but Jud missed it by disappearing as soon as he left Vinny’s full attention. For all his talk of balance, Jud certainly weighed more towards interruptions.