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In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

The Foul Rag and Bone Shop is a blog by alliterator about a hitman named Boyd Walker and his encounters with The Mother of Snakes. It can be read here.

Summary

Boyd was a hitman. He was hired to kill "Little Frankie" Meyers, a rat who had been flipped by the FBI. Boyd finds where Little Frankie is being kept and goes to his motel. There, however, he finds all the FBI agents asleep and a beautiful woman in Frankie's room. The woman is telling Frankie that "She is ready." She then says "She is the Lady of Shining Scales and she is ready, Franklin Harrison Meyer. Open your mouth." When Little Frankie opens his mouth, a snake slithers from his throat out and into the woman's waiting mouth.

Uncertain about what he's seen, Boyd goes home. In the morning, he looks into the mirror and sees the sink is full of snakes, but then they disappear. He goes to the bar where his boss is waiting. There, however, his boss tells him that Frankie is dead and congrulates him. Boyd looks into the mirror, however, and sees the beautiful woman behind him. He runs away to a church, where he hopes he will be safe, but the woman appears and kills a priest. At one point, she has a snake's tail and fangs, which she digs into the priest's neck.

Boyd searches Frankie's house and finds the name of Professor Edith Hamilton. He visits her and she tells him about snake worship and mythology that she had told Frankie. Then, as Boyd goes to leave, she receives a call from the beautiful woman asking for Boyd. The woman tells Boyd that "She is waiting. She who has mirrors for scales. The Mother of Snakes."

Boyd goes back to his motel and covers all the mirrors. He receives a note from "a friend" and goes to see who left it: a fortune teller named Madam Morrigan, who says that she can help Boyd. She ends up stabbing him in shoulder, telling him to "embrace the Archangel," but Boyd shoots her. When the Archangel itself makes an appearance, Boyd quickly leaves.

After a week of living in paranoia, Boyd can't take it anymore and goes back to the bar where he first saw the snake woman. She meets him there and tells him that the name "She" gave her is Stheno. Stheno tells Boyd to meet "Her" in the space between mirrors.

Boyd goes back to his motel and realizes how to meet "Her." He places two mirrors side by side so they reflect forever and then goes in the middle. He finds himself in a gray room, with a door that leads to a vast desert. A voice tells him that the desert is her garden and then reveals that Boyd once saw his father burying a body out in the desert. She reveals that Boyd is afraid of himself, of being coldblooded, and then reveals herself as the Mother of Snakes and asks that he become one of her children. Boyd, instead, shoots her and then escapes via the mirrors which then explode, cutting his skin.

After he gets back to his motel, he goes to the hospital to fix his wounds and he tells the FBI that he will cooperate with them. However, he knows he will be dead soon - the hospital room has a mirror and he can see Stheno waiting to kill him. But he has no regrets and some good memories. He ends the blog by remembering his mother reading to him "The Stolen Child" by W. B. Yeats:

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

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