A can rattled down the sidewalk – something malt and 32 ounces. On the opposite side of the street, a bum wavered back and forth, the unsteady stream of his bright yellow piss splashing lazily on his shoes and the streetlamp.

I rocked back and forth on the windowsill, sucking dryly on the cigarette gripped between my teeth. Hadn’t noticed it’d gone out. I relit, trying to ignore my shaking hands, and inhaled deeply. The cloud forming around me smelled stale and old. I really needed to quit, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.

Three knocks. Heavy, distinct thuds rang throughout the guts of my empty apartment, each echoing in my chest. Tossing my butt out the window, I hopped down and walked over to the front door, stopping for a moment to glance in the mirror. I looked sick, almost jaundiced.

I gripped the doorknob, took a deep breath, and swung the door open. Framed against the shadowy hallway, he didn’t look like any dealer I’d ever met. Elegant from head to toe, draped in black leather and dark-red satin, almost every finger capped in a gold ring. Eyes set upon arched cheekbones with a stygian complexion more placid than a deep rural night. There was no expression on his face as he looked first into the apartment and then straight through me.

“Uh, hi. Come in?” I managed to stammer out.

A rushing noise. A displacement in the air. I blinked and suddenly he was gone. Spinning around, I found him toying with the ratty blanket on the couch, rings somehow glinting even in the dull glow of my TV. Still high, I guess. Residuals from my last hit. I closed the door and walked over to the kitchen table, sitting down heavily.

Without a word, he drifted over and pulled out a thin black box from somewhere deep in his jacket, setting it in front of me.

“The brand is Mist. It’s new, pure, and lightyears better than the scag you usually find around here.”

His voice was soft and yet every word felt thunderous. I fumbled in my pocket for a wad of bills.

“How much do–– I began, but he held up a hand.

“The first taste is free.”

He pulled out a kit and handed it to me; a beautiful, white-gold syringe and spoon. Fitting. Without question, I prepped the shot, eyes flicking up every so often to meet the same emotionless stare. I tied off, found my favorite vein, and plunged in. The void responded enthusiastically.

When I came to, the air in the apartment was cool, humming; soft whispers from old wood. He was standing in the doorway, kit packed away, and there was a small vial of powder in front of me. I almost felt paralyzed from the euphoria.

Rubbing my neck, I groggily slurred out a thanks.

“When can you come b––”

“Don’t worry”, he interrupted again. “After the first taste, I can stop by anytime”.