Authors: Morgan Blayde
Tags: #Vampires, #Fantasy
WHITE JADE REAPER
© Copyright Jan 1, 2015
To those who helped along the way: Jane O’Riva, Sally Ann Barnes, Jesse Cox, Denny Grayson, Scott Smith, Caroline Williams, Chris Crowe, Steve and Judy Prey, Leo Little, Chris Smith, Jean Colegrove, Betty Johnson, Georgia Harbeck, Chris Reilly, Amy Rogers, and Tod Todd.
“Every now and then, one needs to exercise one’s demons.”
A high ridge separated the nightlights of El Paso from a deep blue sky. I was still some distance off from those nightlights, coming into a nowhere, dirt-water cow-town decorated with scrub. I missed seeing the name on the sign, but it was probably something like Misery, Texas. Just guessing. I pulled up to a days-of-glory-past building that was worn wood, dirt-caked windows, and weathered boardwalk. A couple dozen bikes were parked out front, a lot of black leather and chrome. I’d rather have been over in El Paso, at a decent nightclub where drunk women were all but having sex on the dance floor. Unfortunately for my cock, my immediate goal was sharing pain here at Bad Willie’s Biker bar. Pleasure had to wait.
I got out and went toward the door, dressed to kill. I wore cargo pants, steel-toed boots, a pair of combat field knives strapped on one thigh, a black shirt that wouldn’t show much blood, and an electric cattle prod in my belt with fresh batteries. My Berettas were still in the car because I didn’t want my fun over too soon.
I saw my face reflected in a dusty window. The dust flattened my image, robbing it of humanity. My left eye glowed a deep red, almost black, while my right eyes pulsed golden yellow. Both were brighter than the last time my dragon-half DNA manifested.
I went in. The furniture consisted of wooden tables and black leatherette, bucket style seats. Most off-putting were the murky blue plastic covers over the lights, between the opaque silver-black ceiling panels. This was like hanging out underneath an aquarium. This wasn’t what I would have called a biker bar.
Not that it will be standing for long.
I walked to an open section of bar, and looked left. Several cow-girl waitresses in cropped shirts and short denim skirts, danced in western boots on the bar as a jukebox played something twangy with a country beat. Okay, the girls were easy on the eyes. That was one point for this place. A group of bikers stood close to the ladies, swilled beer, watching with yellow-toothed grins.
I had a grin too. Mine was a great deal more predatory in nature.
Eventually, the semi-hot bartender came over. Her walk was casual and graceless like most humans who’ve never trained to survive. Her dirty blonde hair was stiffened with gel to keep it away from her face. The style lacked finesse. She stopped in front of me and smiled across the bar. “What can I get you?”
“A shot of whisky.”
She leaned on the counter, letting me get a better look at her C cups. “Anything else you’d like to have?”
“Maybe later.” I barely glanced at her eyes. Women try harder to pick up a man if he’s a little disinterested, a bit of a challenge. The eager guys just come off as desperate losers. She fetched my drink and continued to work the bar. I sipped on a generous shot of smoky, amber whisky.
Four bikers came in from the back of the building, probably playing with sluts or drugs in a private room. A surreptitious head-count now matched enough bodies for all the bikes outside. The leader was obvious. The very pretty, underage student he felt up—in between awful jokes—was a dead giveaway.
Dumb mother-fuckers make it so easy to hate them.
I finished my drink and I warmed up my tattoos with raw magic, keeping multiple spells at the edge of activation. I turned so my interest in the bikers on my right was clear. They’d wonder what I wanted: was I a narc? A rubber-necking civilian passing judgment upon their unwashed bodies and ripe odors? A potential customer?
One of them nudged those around him. Five returned my regard. They shot me their best mean-and-scary stares. When I failed to wither, the five moved en mass toward me, herd instinct on overdrive. They stopped well within my comfort zone. When I didn’t flinch from their ugliness or size, one of them with a brindle mustache put a hand on a gun hilt protruding from his belt. Another goon pulled a switchblade and leaned in, becoming the closest adversary.
Size isn’t always a good measure of strength. I was short compared to most men, but a dragon hid inside me. Half my DNA wasn’t human. Though outnumbered, there was no way I felt out of my element. I’d once beat an assassin to death with a Mustang.
I still miss that car.
“You got business with us?” Knife Guy asked.
These guys thought they were bad ass, lords of hell and all. The backs of their jackets identified them as the
. I found that insulting. That’s why I’d picked them for a small purge of my angry soul.
I jumped for height and—poised mid-air—kicked Knife Guy in the side of the head. I heard vertebrae snapping as his body cart-wheeled into two of his buddies. They went down hard, as I landed softly. The two goons still standing looked down at their friends. Total shock paralyzed their faces.
Coming back to their senses, the two rushed me. A couple of brushing-off swipes in the air deflected their grabs as I slid inside their guards and seize their throats, one in each hand. Ducking low, I quarter turned my body and slammed their heads into the edge of the bar. Skulls crunched. The bar wasn’t helped out much either.
The two that had only been knocked down got up. No one else was coming over, just watching with casual interest. Several of them laughed at their friend’s pain. I always keep track of changing odds. In a fight, you can’t survive with a tight, narrow focus. You need total peripheral vision that takes in the entire space you occupy as you move. You also can’t decide what to do. Your body has to be trained so it knows without being told. In this case, I bent my knees, losing a little height, touching my chin to my chest. An incoming fist glanced off my very hard skull. The puncher grabbed his broken knuckles and cursed.
His buddy pulled a gun.
I grabbed his gun hand, swung the weapon at his face, and made him pull the trigger. His chin and the middle of his face exploded backwards, awash in crimson.
“Mother fucker,” Broken Hand yelled.
I grabbed the man by the shirt and kicked his balls out of existence. He went cross-eyed and then his eyes rolled to the back of his head. Holding him up by one hand, I walked him toward the biker’s boss. In a hasty scramble, those around him left their stools, drawing their guns. Shots cracked in the air. The bikers killed my human shield. Warm blood dribbled out of his mouth, down onto my wrist. The iron tang perfumed the air.
The body got me in close enough so they had to stop shooting for fear of hitting each other. I dropped the body, and side-stepping to wear away the edges of the group, throwing them off balance by making them turn to follow me as I jabbed with the cattle prod. Several of them screamed like I’d smacked them in the nuts. A spinning back-fist caved in one man’s face. He dropped, unconscious.
That leaves eighteen and counting…
I came to a biker with a greasy beard who decided to risk a shot. I gave his hand a slight push. The gun swung to point at another biker who instantly lost an ear and the brain inside his skull. I thumbed the shooter in the eye, blinding him with pain, and moved on.
Constant motion is essential in situations like this.
I was now behind the group, near the bar. One man swung, trying to pistol-whip me across the face. A flicker of my hand—a butterfly-style Gung-fu redirection—sent his gun off on a tangent. Another Gung-Fu technique, a praying mantis grapple broke the arm wielding the gun. There was a pleasant crunch of bone. I used the cattle prod to shock the back of his neck. He dropped like a ragdoll.
I went straight into the rest of the group. A scorpion strike with a single knuckle shattered the blinded man’s temple. He fell dead. A flurry of punches came in. I used a Tibetan Stone Ape technique to harden my body and angled so the blows slid off with less than full force. Before the hands could fully retreat, I used twin knuckle strikes to bruise the arm muscles. The next blows would have far less force as pain slowed them. My dragon-born toughness meant I could have just taken the blows and shrugged them off, but I couldn’t turn off my training—not after all the years of hell the Old Man had put me through. A kick to the knee and a hammer-fist blow to the face dropped the puncher.
Fourteen potential combatants left in the room.
I didn’t count the bitches, not with the deadness I saw in their eyes. Only the bartender might join in. She yelled, “You punks take it outside, ya hear? I don’t want the place busted up like last time.”
Ignoring her request like everyone else, I drew my field knife. Two beer bottles swung at my head. These two bikers had waited to finish their drinks before joining the fight. I appreciated their desire not waste the alcohol so I slashed their throats, taking them out quick, if not clean.
Twelve. Half of them down.
Several guns were shoved toward my face.
Going horizontal, I flipped back and threw my knife as I slid across a tabletop. Lead slugs drilled holes in the air above me. My blade sank into one biker’s heart. He gurgled and died.
I skidded off the table, into the floor, and dropped the cattle prod. With both hands, I grabbed the trunk supporting the table, hefting it up. I charged the gunmen. The table made a really bad shield; the bullets punched thru, one of them grazing my neck—which hurt like hell. Closing in once more, I swung the table like the hammer of Thor. Two gunmen became as broken as the table I dropped.
More bikers ran in to fight me. I went to a series of combination kicks, almost floating. One guy lost a head. It went shooting across the bar and out a shattered window. Another biker tried to block a kick and wound up swallowing his elbow.
I looked down at a slightly trampled, underage girl. No hot chick should ever die until they’ve lived long enough to be
fucked by me. I don’t touch jail-bait. I jerked a thumb toward the restrooms and the likely back door to this place. “Haul ass, and find better company to keep.”
Her large eyes got larger. She scrambled up and ran past me.
The last of the bar patrons were surrounding me now. They’d found baseball bats, a few chains, and machetes.
I felt the glass-in-the-guts pain of fully activating my
tattoo. Fire burst from my hands and crept up my arms. A spot of fire clung to my chest, eating through my shirt. The pain ghosted away, an illusion of the mind—payment for the magic I’d called.
Three men lost their nerve, heading for the door. Before they got there, I threw dragon fire. White-hot flames wrapped them. They beat uselessly at the fire, screaming, but were ashes in moments. Part of the floor and the front wall was now going up. Fire clung to me but I didn’t burn. This made the last four bikers drop their weapons and back away in fear.
The manager came from the back with two underage girls in various stages of disrobing. I didn’t have to ask why he’d taken so long to come out. He screamed, “Who the fuck are you? Why are you doing this in my place?” The fat, long-bearded sack of shit sounded winded.
“I am trying to become a nicer, gentler me,” I said.
“It’s not fucking working,” he screamed.
This guy was flying on some good shit and must have known it since he was acting like the fire I wore was just a hallucination.
I threw a few fireballs at the retreating bikers, driving them under the tables.
I said, “I’m not trying to be nice
. This is just getting all the mean out for a while so I can tone myself down to mellow mode.” It was the Old Man’s idea that I needed to seriously work on my people skills to be a better future leader of the L.A. demon clan.
One of the half-naked girls from the back said, “Please don’t hurt me!” She and her friend stood there, pissing themselves in fear, and I mean really pissing themselves. Puddles formed around their feet. Fear was all they had in their eyes. Their beauty was savaged. I noticed track marks on their arms.
I activated my
Tattoo. It felt like ice picks hitting my balls. The pain passed. I yelled at her, “Shutup, fugly.”
Not even eighteen and all used up.
“Like you’ve got anything to live for.”
Following my magic-reinforced command, fuck-ugly became mute.
Fat-Ass rushed me with a knife pulled from behind the bar. It was aimed at my liver. He stepped into his jab and turned his hips in one motion, proving he’d once been military.
I grabbed the back of his blade, stopping the point an inch from my flesh.
Fat-Ass looked at his immobilized knife, then my no-longer-human hand. The gold scales and black claw tips shocked him white as a clansman’s sheet. He looked up into my eyes.
I smiled. “Yes, I really am what you’re seeing.”
All I could smell now was the acrid fear peeling off him. I snapped the cheap knife in half and offered him the broken piece. Since my claws were still blazing with dragon fire, he didn’t follow through on the impulse to take the blade, jerking his fingers back at the last moment.