Time to un-clutter the inbox, and clean out the trash pile growing in the bin. Of uncompleted thoughts and musings, we think, here at the beginning, when we relegate words to deeds. Time, for one more cup–coffee, before the darkness closes in. Steaming hot with milk. Time to write.
Soft moonglow bounced off the mirrors, the only source of light in the venue. Torque smiled broadly when she entered, he’d been waiting for this opportunity. Leaning in, “Chez, she’s here.” he whispered.
Chez, not the brightest of people started to jump up, Torque’s arm held him in place. Chez’s scowl indicated his frustration. “We act, no?” he questioned.
“No, just watch. If she catches on to us we’re dead. Just watch.” he emphasized pushing down hard on Chez’s shoulder. For a time they sat drinking in the dim light, glance-watching her from their seats. All she did was stand there, unmoving, just swaying as if she was listening to music. Time passed slowly. Someone coughed and they jumped as the realization of the stillness and absolute quite that had fallen on the room. Then they realized it was because everyone else was dead. Torque scarcely breathed, he silent shallow breaths barely filling his lungs with oxygen. In his peripheral vision he saw Chez, his head back, hair cascaded down behind him… Dead. he thought. Unmoving surveyance of the room through peripheral vison he became acutely aware that he was the last living being in the bar, except for Mic, the Tender.
The taste of iron filled her mouth, Yes, that’ll do nicely, she thought. A smile broke her soft lips. The purple lipstick had been a nice touch, yes that and the white powder. She felt good tonight.
“What are you doing?” Me’Hagan Ad’roxid yelled.
Her head whipped left to look into the darkness, yes there she was. Meagan, hateful vile evil woman. “What are you doing here? I thought you were dead.” Cyn’Gnitha Hadrex’Heil said. Her fingers quickly began weaving the Aether into the patter of death. She pulled on it, weaved it into a vipers dagger, something she liked to use on people. It left no discernable mark, but the victim’s lifeforce slithered out of their body and into her. Delicious, she thought. Dandelions wilting in the wind, begone ye wretched thing. Today I poison you. Cyn’s rhyme danced in her head.
“Cyn’thia.” Megan said taunting her. “You’re efforts are wasted. Wasted!” she screamed at Cyn’Gnitha. “Watch, I’ll kill them all and you’ll see you can’t stop me.” She began moving her body, and suddenly music filled the air. A deep rhythm and female voice singing, a song from long ago sung by a human. It was beautiful, something no one alive had heard, save perhaps another Nexi. She released it, The Rasping. A spell designed to extinguish the life force of humans in a silent manner. They became glued to the spot where they stood, sat, lay, or what have you. They would stay there, rot away to nothing, and then their skeletons would remain where they were, a memorial. The release pulsed once and they were dead, all of them save the one behind the bar, she might want it to serve her later.
“What!” Cyn’Gnitha screeched. “I needed that one.” She said pointing.
He saw her hand point to him out of the corner of his eye. She’d been standing there calmly and then suddenly music filled the air and everyone was dead. She’s pointing at me! He thought fearfully. A bead of sweat trickled down from his forehead, caressing his brow, as it made its way down towards the floor. Barely twitching his lower lip he caught it.
She leaped up into the air, spinning around and the room filled with a bright light. She landed in a crouch. “Me’Hagan! You will answer for this.” Her hand shot out fingers outstretched. Curling them all in, beginning with the pinky, she pulled on the Aether. Shu’Hal Lu’Thandral came into her view now, and she stopped. Rising up she stood, her hands crossing in front of her. She curtsied. “Mistress Shu.” she said her head bowing.
Who in the hell is she talking to? Torque thought, fear creeping up his spine. Thar taint naone thar, ghosts? He thought questioningly. Thar taint na way I’m gonna survive thisun. He thought, as he began to plan how he might escape.
“Rise up child. Me’Hagan, go stand in the corner until I call for you.” Shu’Hal Lu’Thandral said pointing. And just like that she was in charge.
It happened instantaneously, between his blink. One second he saw the woman he’d been hunting, standing there in her bright yellow dress. When his eyes opened again there was a completely different woman. She stood tall, seemed taller. Wait, it’s still her, just her hair is red now. What’s with the blue and white hose, purple high heeled shoes with flowers? Her velvet green extremely short dress puffed out. What the hell is she wearing? He thought.
Resting her white and yellow polka dot umbrella on her shoulder. Her white powdered face smiled ruefully, the bright rose colored cheeks beckoned interest in those who observed her. Piled high on her head, the deep red curls said harlot but none would dare speak it aloud. “You too, go stand over there.” she said pointing. Turning her eyes to the human behind the counter, she saw his eyes widen. Sultrily she moved over to him and whispered in her sexy voice, “I’ll have three shots of Rooster Gut my good human.” She said, her smile deepening.
“Ye… yes ma’am.” He said stammering. He poured out three shots of his best bottle, not knowing what Rooster Gut was he just prayed it would be good enough, his life depended on it being so.
Turning she pointed to the corner. “Me’Hagan, now!” She ordered, pointing to the shot glass on the right. She watched as Me’Hagan darkly strode over. Watched as her hand went to the glass.
He’d never seen anything like it in his life. Her hand started to move towards the glass and suddenly there was another woman grabbing it. A dark grey and black gown flowed about her. Ragged black hair exploded out from her head, cascading down to cover her eyes. Black circles ringing them, and a pure white skin. Lips of pure black covered her pure white teeth. “Shu’Hal” she said raising her glass. “Cyn’thia.” She said raising her glass towards the other corner, and downed the swill. “Cyn… your turn.” Me’Hagan taunted her, pointing to the glass on the left. In that instant something changed and shifted and then Cyn’Gnitha was there, walking towards the bar from the left.
She reached out and stopped. “You know I detest its liquids, but as you wish.” and she picked up the glass and drank deeply. The fire burned down her throat. “Horrid!” She exclaimed. She moved to a deep curtsy, bowing her head. “Mistress.” She said softly.
Rising out of the curtsy Shu’Hal Lu’Thandral stood. Resting her Brella against the stool she reached out, grasped the glass and raised it to her eyes to study the contents. Time passed slowly.
He dared not move. He’d heard of the witches but thought them tall tales. Eventually he couldn’t hold his bladder anymore and peed on himself. And yet he didn’t move. As the night slowly turned into day. With the first glint of sunlight into the glass she spoke and the glass held the ray of sun, the drink catching fire she downed it. Looking into his eyes she spoke. “You live.” And she turned saunter towards the only other living being in the room. The bartender’s thud was loud as his now passed out body hit the floor.
He hadn’t moved, scarcely breathed, fearful that they’d know he wasn’t dead. He’d managed to stay away through it all somehow. And then he felt it, her breath on his neck. He could smell her, No, them! He thought. It’s not just one, there really is three of them. He thought fearfully. He now knew his chance of escape had long ago evaporated. He felt their breath on his neck. He sat unable to move now, held in place by some invisible hand. He watched as Shu’Hal’s hand moved over his shoulder and pulled open his coat. She lifted his gun up out of his holster and hissed.
“Wretched thing!” She belched out, vile contempt seething in her words. “So, human.” She said pausing to consider it. “The punishment for owning any Iskrit is severe. But to own an Iskrit bullet?! That death comes with unending pain.” She said smiling.
They turned as one and wove open the gate, the two of them Rifting to the place of punishment. His eyes opened. “Twas a dream. Hada be. Jus ty-urd, musta passed out.” He said softly as he clamored up off the floor. After dusting off his pants he turn to see who was here. Anticipating Ole Glem he froze. There they were his new patrons. The Open fur binis sign’s tap tap tap the only sound breaking the silent contemplation of the