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Authors: Gavin Green

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Into the Shadows

BOOK: Into the Shadows
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Into the Shadows
By Gavin Green
Copyright 2015 Gavin Green

Smashwords Edition

Also by the author:

Eire of Intrigue (book one of the Eire
series)

Eire of Mystery (book two of the Eire
series)

Eire of Hostility (book three of the Eire
series)

Eire of Aggression (book four of the Eire
series)

This is a work of fiction. All characters and
events are purely imagined. Any resemblance to real people or
situations is completely ridiculous, and you should get
professional help if you think otherwise.

Dedication
This one is for my
friend Brian - a sounding board, a font of ideas, and a talent with
any endeavor. Many thanks.

"The beginnings and ends of shadow lie
between the light and darkness and may be infinitely diminished and
infinitely increased. Shadow is the means by which bodies display
their form. The forms of bodies could not be understood in detail
but for shadow." -- Leonardo da Vinci

"My dark side, my shadow, my lower companion
is now in the back room blowing up balloons for kids' parties." --
Gary Busey

Into the Shadows

STOP

Wait one damn second. I need to point out a
few things before this goes any further . . .

If you're expecting some stupid-ass
adolescent love story with a troupe of angst-ridden supernatural
douchebags, you better check the teen fantasy section at the
library, okay? There's none of that shit here. No fated romance. No
heart-throb drama. No soft porn with optional fangs. And definitely
no fruity sparkling bloodsuckers that look perpetually
constipated.

And don't get me started on calling them
'vampires'. That title lost its credibility when companies started
putting it on lunchboxes - sensationalized, commercialized, and
romanticized. You've never seen one of 'em rip some dude's throat
open, or drain a mangy dog dry in three seconds, have you? Still
think it all sounds sexy? Yeah, didn't think so, because it's not.
To me, the word 'vampire' now sounds soft, especially compared to
what they really are.

Hemoholics (one of the words I use for 'em -
usually just 'hemos') are not what you might think. Some of 'em can
do some pretty wild shit, and some others are truly fucked in the
head. Sometimes both, which is scary as hell. The main thing is,
they're at the top of the food chain, and they are
all
predators. If you still cling to the fantasy that some lonely hemo
will fall for a human, you can kiss my shrapnel-scarred ass. You're
one of three things to them: ignored, or a tool, or a late supper.
Shoot for ignored.

While we're at it, let me clear up some of
the rumors and myths. Garlic - really? I guess garlic breath might
mess up a sensual attempt for a snack, but otherwise . . . come on.
Crosses: effective, if it's big enough for you to use as a weapon.
Holy water actually can do some damage, but only if you add acid to
it. Wooden stakes do work, but only to immobilize; after that, set
'em on fire or chop their heads off. Coffins: certainly not
mandatory. If you like the idea, though, knock yourself out. Now,
I've seen the crappy shows where bloodsuckers go traipsing around
during the day; how convenient . . . and stupid. Sorry, sunlight
cooks 'em like bacon. If they had it that easy, they'd have taken
over by now.

This is reality - or a hidden layer of it,
anyway - and half the time, it's not pretty. But, hey, it's your
choice: believe, don't believe, or laugh it off and then get that
shiver of fear when you're alone in the dark. I don't give a shit;
your opinion is way down my list of things to lose sleep over.
Chances are you'll never find out anyway . . . unless one of 'em
wants you to. Trust me, you don't want 'em to. The point is there's
a lot more going on out there that you never knew about. I wish I
didn't.

Alright, I think I made my point. Let's get
on with it.

LOUDMOUTH

"Leo, you better get out here," Sherrie
yelled loud enough for me to hear. I secured the tap on a keg and
hurried out of the cooler. I came through the open door from the
back rooms and scanned the seating areas beyond the bar. Okay, I
took a peek at Sherrie's ass, too. She was already pointing, but
there wasn't any need; Keegan's wasn't that big of a place and it
was obvious where the trouble was.

There were three losers I'd noticed earlier
in the night making a mess of their table, like spilling beer and
completely missing the ashtray was an achievement. They were now on
their feet. Two of them were standing at a different table, facing
whoever was sitting there. One of the two was yelling, a little
drunk and a lot pissed off. The last scumbag stood a few paces
away.

It was near the end of a long Friday night;
the music was low, the overheads getting brighter, and most of the
customers had already left. That made it easier to get their
attention. I walked out from behind the bar and over to that table,
reluctantly prepared to deal with whatever level of stupid they had
to offer. I planned on ending the dispute quickly; I wanted to
finish up, have a couple after-hours drinks, and see if I could get
Tanya to give me another hummer in the supply room before I went
home.

From my angle going over to the table, I saw
who the loud loser was yelling at. Sitting alone was a girl. I say
girl because she didn't look of age to be in the place. She was in
earlier that night, but then she'd disappeared for a while. I
carded her the first time she came in; I guessed 18 tops, but it
showed 22. I remembered her because she was a fucking hottie with
the kind of body that made me glad I wasn't wearing sweatpants. She
was a short, curvy brunette with cleavage, a dirty smile, and was
underdressed for a cold January night . . . not that I minded the
view.

I didn't quite understand what the guy was
yelling at her about - something about drinks and teasing and she
was a slut and I didn't care what else. To her credit, the girl
didn't look scared; it was more like she was plotting, sizing up
the losers. I'd seen that same expression on the faces of a few
ragheads who thought they could send me and my unit into an ambush
- dumbasses. I'm not sure what the hottie's plan was; she looked
too soft and feminine to deal with one of those guys, let alone
three. But who knew? Maybe she was insane. Maybe she had a weapon.
Maybe she had a penis.

I stepped close enough to the loudmouth's
left side that he couldn't ignore me. He was around six foot, so I
had a couple inches on him. I wasn't a gym rat like Mac, who
collected at the door on band nights, but my equipment at home
never got dusty. And my scars - the ones not covered by clothing -
proved to be sort of intimidating. I was insecure as hell of 'em
when I first got back to civilian life, but I learned to accept the
occasional stare of rude bastards and stupid kids.

It's not like I was a freak or anything; what
showed were only two gash lines on my left jaw and cheek, a bigger
one on the side of my neck, and the top quarter inch of my left ear
was gone. All thanks to one IED (improvised explosive device) that
one of my men tripped when I was less than ten feet away.

The loudmouth looked at me, noticed the
combat scars right off, and stopped yelling. His eyes were
bloodshot, and he smelled like beer and cigarettes - maybe urine,
too. He had a nearly-empty Coors bottle in his left hand. The guy
next to him was a shorter and skinnier, face in a laughable scowl,
and gave off the same air of bitter stupidity as the first guy. The
last shithead, fifteen feet behind them, looked uncomfortable. He
just wanted to leave. Hell, I did too.

"Hey, man," I said to the loudmouth, "we're
done here tonight. Take your last swig and head on out."

"I ain't goin' anywhere 'til this bitch pays
me back," he barked. His breath hit me like a brick. "She ain't
even touched the drinks we bought her!"

There were three full cocktails sitting in
front of her. Oh, and hello again, cleavage. I looked back to the
loudmouth. "You're not gonna get what you want, buddy. Set your
drink down and move on."

"Fuck that! She's -"

My right thumb found the nerve cluster just
above the loudmouth's collarbone. Good thing he wasn't wearing his
coat or the move would have been tougher to do. He winced with a
short grunt of pain. His shoulder dipped as his arm flinched, and I
grabbed the bottle out of his loose grip before he dropped it. I
set the bottle on the table and let go of him at the same time. I'd
practiced that move a fair bit in CQC (close quarters combat)
training and at the dojo, so it was quick enough that three
half-drunk morons didn't have time to react.

The second guy - the one with the scowl that
couldn't scare an infant - tensed up, but did nothing. The
loudmouth gripped his own tingling shoulder while he glared at me
and took a step back. Just about then, a couple of the bar regulars
stepped up next to me, both of them eyeballing all three losers.
Out of respect for Keeg and Deb, I bet half the remaining patrons
would have gotten involved if needed.

"Have a good night," I said dismissively to
the trio as I stared at them. They backed up, grabbed their coats
and walked out without a word. I turned to the girl and said,
"Sorry about that. I'll let you have ten minutes or so to make sure
they moved on, okay? Then I have to lock up."

"I understand," she said in a velvety voice,
"and thanks. I wasn't sure how I was going to get those guys to
leave me alone. I thought maybe they slipped a mickey in one of
these drinks, so I wasn't going to touch them."

"That's probably a safe bet. We hardly ever
get assholes like that in here, so don't let that stop you from
coming back, okay?" I rationalized that a girl with her looks might
bring more business in, but the truth was that I was a sucker for
tits. Pun intended.

She nodded and smiled, showing perfect white
teeth and dimples cuter than a basket full of puppies. "I won't,
Mister . . .?"

"Just call me Leo."

"Well, thanks again, Leo. I'm Macie, by the
way."

She was out of my league, or, depending on
her profession, out of my price range. Chit-chatting with Macie
wasn't going to get me anywhere but home alone later on, looking
for hand lotion. I simply nodded and turned away to thank the two
regulars for having my back.

I helped Tanya clean tables for a few
minutes, and then stepped out the front doors into the cold, snowy
night. Other than the last customers walking off, no one else was
in sight. I let Macie out and locked up behind her, trying not to
make it obvious I was staring at her legs in that short dress.

Sherrie had a shot of Jack waiting for me at
the bar, like usual. I sat down for a minute, letting her pour me
another before I finished up for the night. Keegan came out from
his office in the back to make sure everything was calm. It wasn't
like he'd be any help in a fight, but I guess the belated concern
was there.

KEEGAN'S

I felt at home in Keegan's Corner Lounge.
Keegan himself was a cool guy, and his wife Debbie was nice, too.
The couple spent a lot of their time there. They set a good
atmosphere for the place; mixed décor, tables and booths, and
soothing colors. Good music was piped through the wall speakers -
rock, classic, oldies, and some modern country. Never any of the
rowdy shit; no rap, no heavy metal, no riot-inducing bubble gum
music.

The usually mellow crowds were normally a mix
of cultures. Keegan's sat just south of downtown Kansas City, and
was close to high-end commercial firms and the nearby art college.
It was in a neighborhood of old houses and small businesses; the
area was a little worn, but not crime-ridden. Because of its
location, Keegan's had businessmen and secretaries that came in for
martinis and pub grub during lunch hours. In the evenings, it was
yuppies, bohemians, middle-age couples and regular Joes.

I was offered the bar-back/bouncer job a
couple years ago. I'd been in the place a few times because it had
a nice vibe, the servers were cute, they poured a mean Jack and
Coke, and it wasn't far from my little house. Keegan needed an
extra hand and a mutual friend pointed me out. I needed the extra
cash anyway. I swore Keegan and Debbie to silence after they did a
background check on me and saw my full name, Leopold Beck. They
could call me Leo, or even Beck, but never my full first name. Not
many people knew it, and I planned to keep it that way. Could you
blame me?

The evening hours required for the nightclub
didn't bother me; my other job's erratic hours were mostly
afternoon and night shifts anyway. Three years out of the military
and I turned into a night owl. I only worked for Keeg and Deb
part-time, and they were pretty flexible with my schedule if my
other job called me in for a gig. See, I also worked for a private
security company providing personal security service. K.C. is a
good-sized city, but not exactly a mecca for rich fucks that needed
security all the time. Between the two jobs and my military
savings, I got by.

BOOK: Into the Shadows
4.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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