"This is rather ... bright." The satin cloth possessed an odd, almost fleshy feel as Vincent ran his fingertips over the fabric. Rolled like this, the layers possessed depth and substance.
"Special order," the rather thin, nervous young man said quietly from behind the counter. "It's spare, left over," he added, almost as though he thought Vincent might actually consider buying it. Someone with less acute hearing might not have heard the comment at all. The whisper was one of anxious caution but lacked the right kind of reverence. This man's fear scented the air. There were many types of hunger in the world and this retailer's sin was avarice, though fool he was to deal with the undead if he could not take better control of his emotions. His very nervousness was an appetiser.
Vincent almost sighed. The counter would be no protection against an attack, and if he wanted the young man's blood, the weasel would know it by now. Besides, the man looked as though he needed whatever meagre force of life ran through his veins more than his patron needed nourishment. Despite his pallor, Vincent otherwise maintained the appearance of a healthy young man, whereas the proprietor looked as though someone had recently dug him up out of a grave. His form befitted the décor, though.
Vincent gazed around at the other bolts of fabric. "I think I will..." He'd been about to say he would stick to red satin though maybe this time something in a deeper shade of red, closer to the colour of blood rather than scarlet to line the coffin, but he changed his mind. He'd come here for a change, and maybe it was time for a complete transformation, though not ... He looked down. No, he couldn't bring himself to choose fuchsia pink. Maybe ivory or purple would suffice, classy or royal. "I will consider my choice and advise you of my decision in a day or two."
The living scarecrow nodded, and then jotted down an entry in his ledger. "I'll order everything else in the meantime. The handles you specified will take about five days to arrive." Despite his obvious fear, the man did good business and wasn't about to turn away a good customer. The love of money was the sin, not money itself. Vincent knew a lot about sin.
"This ... special order," Vincent spoke the words carefully, thinking that surely one would consider most of the orders as out of the ordinary. "Who ordered this cloth?"
The vendor hesitated, his pen skittering across the page, making an errant mark. Approaching the counter, Vincent watched as the man's eyes roamed in their sockets, gaze flicking left and right but never up to his face. "Sir, please ... I can't tell you something like that. Customer confidentiality, you know."
Vincent let his hand brush over the glass countertop, until his fingers reached the edge of the ledger and rested upon it like the pale ghost of a spider. "You can tell me, or I can ask more ... formally."
The retailer sighed in defeat, but at least that chased back some of his fear. He reached down, drew out another book, flipped the pages until he found a certain entry, and then turned the book toward his customer who read the address. Vincent might have remarked on the foolishness of keeping such records, but then those that left such details were the foolish ones. Vincent always sent someone to collect the things he ordered; he never chose delivery. He never even used his true name and always paid cash. His very security depended on discretion, and on not allowing just anyone to know where he resided, particularly during daylight hours.
Reaching for the book, Vincent tore out the page; the vendor wouldn't need it, for the order was written down for delivery the next evening, already packaged and marked up for the driver. Vincent caught the young man's eye with his gaze as the storekeeper looked up in shock. Although clearly realising his mistake, the man could not now look away.
"You will forget that you ever filled this order. You will forget about the pink cloth, which I will take away with me. You will put it down on my bill as material but you will not question or wonder what it was for or where it went." Vincent didn't want to risk leaving it behind in case it stirred the memories that his willpower would cause to lie dormant. Technically, he was supposed to be evil so paying for it seemed ... wrong, in a way. However, he wanted the shop's accounts to tally so that nothing untoward came to light.
The young man stared at him, jaw slack. Vincent clicked his fingers and life returned to animate the corpse-like figure. Blinking, the man enquired, "Is there anything else?"
"No." Satisfied the man would obey his command, Vincent bestowed a closed-lip smile. "I will be in touch." With that, he turned, picking up the bolt of cloth as he left.