Posts Tagged ‘bar’

Welcome to my serial science-fiction/fantasy adventure, The Only City Left. This is the story of Allin Arcady and his adventures through a dying, planet-sized city called Earth. (Click here for the Table of Contents.)

At the end of  Part 75, Allin ended up face to face with his dad’s killer, the now-crippled werewolf named Verrut.

The Only City Left: Part 76

He let me go with a shove and I had to grab the bar to keep from falling backwards. I kicked my legs out to find some purchase and knocked over my stool. It fell with a clatter.

“Pick it up,” he said, and then to the wolves who had turned to watch the entertainment, he added, “On-the-job training.”

This got some laughs and then they returned to ignoring us. I righted the stool and sat down again.

“So if you’re going to turn me in, turn me in already,” I said, tired of this game. My stomach was upset, from fear or the drink or both, and behind my bold words, I was desperately trying to devise a way out of this situation.

As a human, I had no chance of escape. And even if I was able to get my coil out of my pocket, slip it on, and activate it before anyone stopped me, I would still be one werewolf against a room full of them. Maybe if Xerxes and friends showed up at this moment and drained everyone’s coils of moonlight, I could escape in the confusion, but there was no sign of my ghostly companions.

Instead I had this werewolf, the one who murdered my father, pouring me another drink.

“I didn’t say I was going to give you to Doyle. Just said I could. I don’t owe Doyle anything, and whatever reward he could give me won’t fix this,” he said, nudging his limp arm forward. “But I’m curious. What’re you doing in the Garden here and now? Last I heard, you were dead.”

“Business trip,” I said.

The werewolf grinned. “The only business you’d have here is revenge, and you didn’t expect to see me, so… Ah, you’re here for Doyle, are you? Well, good luck and I’ll drink to that.” He did. “But you haven’t a hope in hell of hurting our beloved leader. If I were you, I’d scoot on out of here while you can.”

What the hell, I thought. No point in lying anymore.

“Can’t do that. Gotta see it through. But if you want revenge, you could help me get close to him.”

He rubbed his chin and leaned in closer to me.

“You’d trust me, the man who murdered dear old dad?”

“What have I got to lose? You’ve already caught me. But if I can kill Doyle—”

“Shhhh!” he said, and nodded his head at something behind me.

I swiveled around to see another werewolf approaching the bar. No, not just any werewolf. Pogue.

“Colonel Ballister, I don’t know how we got split up, but we’re on a schedule here. And why in the world are you wearing your pink skin? It’s disgraceful.”

“Ah, but the liquor hits harder that way, doesn’t it, Colonel?” the werewolf asked, pouring me another glass.

“Yes, exactly” I said.

I took another sip to emphasize the point and to buy some time. This was getting ridiculous. Is he really helping me? I thought. Is Dad’s murderer going to help me get revenge on the one man ultimately responsible for my parents’ deaths?

“There’ll be plenty of time for drinking when we get back, Colonel,” Pogue said in an exasperated tone. “And hopefully something better to drink than this swill.”

“Awww, you’re hurting my feelings, Pogue.”

“Shut it, Verrut,” Pogue said to the bartender, and I thought, I finally have a name. To me, Pogue said, “Come on, Colonel. Suit up and let’s go.”

Verrut slammed his hand on the bar and said, “Dammit, Pogue. The colonel and I have matters to discuss. Go without him.”

“He was assigned to this mission by the Lord Commander himself. Do you want me to tell him you countermanded his orders?”

“By the Lord Commander?”

Verrut sounded confused, and well might he be. I could barely follow it myself, but that might have been due to the liquor. I looked at my hand and realized I had drained the entire glass while trying to decide what to do.

“Doyle sent you? This whole thing was a trick?”

“What? No,” I said, and then an evil thought occurred to me, which I acted on immediately. “Sergeant Pogue, this bartender here has been conspiring to assashin, ashassin, kill the Lord Commander. Arrest him at once. I’ll go summon the guards.”

“You little pink worm, I’ll gut you,” Verrut said and lunged at me.

Pogue blocked him with ease and stood between the two of us.

“What in the world is going on here, Verrut?” he asked.

“You tell me. First Doyle lies about his nephew dying and then he sends him to spy on me? That ain’t right. I don’t like being played with!”

A thought surfaced from my clouded brain: Hey, he told him who I am. That wasn’t supposed to happen.

Pogue looked at me and asked, “Doyle’s nephew? No, this is Ballister. Doyle himself promoted him.”

“Well no offense, but Doyle couldn’t smell a dump in his own lap. I’ve met the kid and this is him!”

“Is this true?”

I shrugged, glass still in hand, and then smashed it into the side of Pogue’s head as hard as I could, ready to duck away in the confusion. The glass didn’t shatter and Pogue barely flinched under the blow. Chairs scraped the floor throughout the room and Verrut chuckled behind the bar. Pogue plucked the glass from my hand and set it on the counter.

“You really shouldn’t have done that.”

I didn’t see his punch coming, either because of the weird shadows that filled the room or because he was just that fast. All I knew was that my jaw felt like it had been knocked loose and the floor was a dirty, sticky mess that I was face down in all of a sudden.

“You men help me secure him,” Pogue said. “Something funny is going on here. I’ll let the Lord Commander sort it out.”

Rough hands lifted me by my arms and legs and my head lolled backwards as they carried me horizontally out of the bar. I saw Verrut, upside-down, tsk-tsking me, and I managed to say, “I know your name now, Verrut. I’ll see you in your nightmares,” before someone knocked my head into the door frame on the way out.

And then there was nothing.

* * *

Continue to Part 77.

7/28/13 News: Nice try, Allin. In writing news, my editor gave me the go-ahead on my revised outline, so the rewriting has begun. Hopefully the fact that I already know what happens from start to finish this time will balance out the difficulty of trying to improve my writing style at the same time. We shall see!

The Only City Left is listed on the Web Fiction Guide, a wonderful place to find all sorts of online fiction.

If you enjoyed this post, please click the image below to give The Only City Left a vote on Top Web Fiction. (One vote allowed per week.)

Click here to vote for The Only City Left on Top Web Fiction!

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Logo Credit:The TOCL logo is courtesy of Jande Rowe of the webcomic Aedre’s Firefly. If you haven’t already read AF, I encourage you to go check it out. Not only does Jande produce the comic, she reviews other long-form webcomics, gives tips and instructions on creating a comic, and is endlessly supportive of other creators. For a great review that will bring you up to speed on Aedre’s Firefly, check out this page at Webcomic Alliance.

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Welcome to my serial science-fiction/fantasy adventure, The Only City Left. This is the story of Allin Arcady and his adventures through a dying, planet-sized city called Earth. (Click here for the Table of Contents.)

At the end of  Part 74, Allin changed back to his human form to hide from Pogue, but perhaps a werewolf bar was not the best hiding place.

The Only City Left: Part 75

The room was lit only by the werewolves’ coils, and it took my once-again-human eyes a few seconds to adjust to the mix of bright lights and dark shadows. When I did, I saw that I had stepped into some sort of bar and that all of the tables were packed with werewolves at their leisure. Behind the bar, a werewolf was wiping the counter down.

My arrival brought them all to a halt, their snouts swiveling in my direction.

“Well what do we have here?”
“Someone order fresh meat?”

I heard raucous laughter fill the room, followed by the sound of chairs scraping as a group of them got up from their seats.

Before I could flee, several of the wolves latched on to me and dragged me into the center of the room. Back in my regular body, I had no chance of avoiding their grasp, much less escaping. One hand gripped my jaw and turned my face left and right.
“Not as pretty as the last one they sent.”

I could feel gusts of hot breath at the base of my neck as someone behind me sniffed.

“Who cares if he’s pretty? He smells good and I’m hungry.”

They tugged me this way and that, wolves pulling at their prey, and I could barely catch my breath to tell them to stop, I was in such a panic. After all I had been through to get here, I was about to be pulled apart by a pack of rabid werewolves because I had made a wrong turn. I still had so much left to do, so many people who were counting on me. It shouldn’t have ended this way.

And it didn’t.

“All right, all right, you’ve had your fun,” said the werewolf behind the bar. “Now let him go. That’s the new errand boy I requested, so if you want to keep your liquor flowing, you’ll not tear him apart.”

Abruptly, they released me and I flew forward, windmilling my arms for balance. I came up against the bar and caught myself before I smacked into it head-first. Behind me, I heard the werewolves retake their seats with mumbled complaints and disappointed comments. As they resumed their normal chatter, I looked up to see who it was who had saved me.

No.

“Long time, no see, kid. How’s life been treating you since Glin’s Rising?”

It was him. The only wolf who had survived the battle inside the department store. The wolf who killed my father.

I gripped the edge of the bar, ready to launch over it and tear his throat out, heedless of being a mere human at the moment. My father’s murderer, alive and serving drinks? There was no justice left in the world, so I would have to provide it myself.

These thoughts must have been plain on my face, because he tut-tutted me and said, “You wouldn’t want to cause a scene now, would you? After I just saved your life and all? Have a seat.”

I tamped down the rage burning inside of me, pulled up a stool, and slid onto it. He was right, he had saved me. And I would repay him, too, for everything. In the meantime, I had to keep my anger under control and play it cool until I could escape.

“Serving drinks?” I asked, my voice low and devoid of any emotion. “I would have thought you’d have a slave to do that for you.”

“Funny thing about that,” he said, and then moved further down the bar with an awkward gait, his right arm sliding along the counter. “Normally, you’d be right.”

He grabbed a mostly empty glass with his left hand, poured its remnants onto the floor behind the bar, and then slid it toward me before shuffling back my way. On the return trip, he let his right arm hang limp at his side, and he gripped the counter with his left hand. I realized that his right arm was useless, still injured from that battle in Glin’s. And from the way he walked, his left leg was similarly useless. I thought of Matthias and his speech about werewolf healing. In this case, it obviously hadn’t worked.

“Yes, I’m crippled,” he said. He pulled a bottle of some opaque brown liquid from underneath the bar and sloshed some into the empty glass before me. “Drink up.”

I was about to protest that I didn’t want any, but the look on his face told me I had no choice. If he asked me to spin on my head right now, I had better try my best to do it; he held my fate in his one good hand. The liquid sizzled down my throat and hit my stomach like a punch. My cheeks flushed and I blinked tears from my eyes.

“Good stuff, that,” he said. He grabbed the glass and finished the rest of it in one gulp before slamming it back onto the bar. “Now we’ve shared a drink. Old friends, us. Let’s catch up.”

Unlike me, he didn’t bother to hide the bitterness in his voice.

“So after I killed your dad”—I dug my fingernails into the bar but kept staring straight into his eyes as he growled his story—“I made my way back to the Garden. Grinty was the leader of our little troop, but since he and all the others were dead, it was up to me to tell Doyle what happened.”

He poured another glassful and nudged me to repeat the ritual. The drink burned less this time and I could feel it fuzzing the contours of my brain. He finished the rest and slammed it down again. If it was affecting him at all, I couldn’t tell.

“Orders were to bring you and your dad in alive and, of course, never lose a coil. For letting you keep your dad’s coil, Doyle made sure this never healed.” He picked up his limp right arm in his left hand and let it fall back to his side. “And for your dad dying, he mangled my leg, too. But because I had let you live, he spared my life and gave me this job serving my ‘betters.’ I guess I got you to thank for that.”

“You’re not welcome.”

His composure broke, helped along by the alcohol perhaps. He grabbed my neck in his good hand and pulled me up and across the bar so that we were nose to snout.

“I hold your life in my hand, you little snot. You might want to be a little more thankful. But now that you’re here, I’m thinking maybe Doyle might reward the wolf that brings you in. And that would be thanks enough.”

* * *

Continue to Part 76.

7/21/13 News: Another scene that will likely be changed in the novel, although there are some core elements that will remain.

The Only City Left is listed on the Web Fiction Guide, a wonderful place to find all sorts of online fiction.

If you enjoyed this post, please click the image below to give The Only City Left a vote on Top Web Fiction. (One vote allowed per week.)

Click here to vote for The Only City Left on Top Web Fiction!

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Logo Credit:The TOCL logo is courtesy of Jande Rowe of the webcomic Aedre’s Firefly. If you haven’t already read AF, I encourage you to go check it out. Not only does Jande produce the comic, she reviews other long-form webcomics, gives tips and instructions on creating a comic, and is endlessly supportive of other creators. For a great review that will bring you up to speed on Aedre’s Firefly, check out this page at Webcomic Alliance.