Authors: Larry Robbins
THE COASTAL KINGDOMS OF OLVION
Book two of the Chronicles of Olvion
A novel by Larry E. Robbins
Copyright © 2015 by Larry E. Robbins
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead are entirely coincidental.
One of the most difficult things for a writer to do is choose the people to include on his dedication page. Who do you leave off? Every person who has touched my life has changed me and made me the person I now am. Every character in my novels is influenced by the countless individuals who have passed through my reality. Some have stayed for years, some for seconds. All have left their impressions on me. Thank you.
Of course I have to name my incredible and beautiful wife as the number one blessing in my life. Besides the boundless amounts of love and approval she gives me each day, she is my editor and my co-author. Whenever you read a passage in my books that expresses the emotion of love you can be certain that she has inspired it. Love you, Honey! Thank you.
Siblings are our first and best friends. They told our parents on us, antagonized us and infuriated us. And we were always wonderful little darlings to them. My siblings have come and gone throughout the years of my life. They have always seemed to live too far away and my time with them to be too short. I guess that will never change. Thank you.
Kids. Who can ignore one’s children? For privacy reasons I can’t give names or genders, suffice it to say that I have many and one is as wonderful and awe-inspiring as the next. The future may be a frightening prospect for some, but I look at them and feel reassured that I will be leaving this world in good and capable hands. Thank you.
Friends? I can’t say that I have a lot of those. I’m not anti-social, I just enjoy my family and like being with them. So, those of you who know that you are my friends, be assured that there is something in you that I have found to be very special. Thank you.
Cousins: What person has lived their lives without developing a special friendship with their cousins? They are our first confidants and co-conspirators and mine are awesome. Thank you.
I love you all.
Thank you, God, for giving me the words.
THE CHRONICLES OF OLVION
THE COASTAL KINGDOMS OF OLVION
Table of Contents
The Coastal Kingdoms of Olvion
Book two of
The Chronicles of Olvion
“That frat boy is getting louder,” Karen said.
The bouncer looked over at the three-hundred pounder by the pool table then back at the bartender. Karen was twenty-two, blonde and petite. A sprinkle of freckles across her nose told him she would actually be a redhead without the intervention of chemicals. She inclined her head toward the big college kid again.
“He’s been getting a little handsy with Caitlin, too,” she said.
He took another peek. At least for right now the big college kid wasn’t acting out too much.
“I’ll keep an eye on him,” he reassured her.
Karen was a full-time student at California State University, Fresno. She tended bar at Billy’s Bar part-time to help with tuition and, as she put it, “to stave off starvation”. She was a sweet kid, and the bouncer would not allow anything to happen to her or to the waitress, Caitlin, also a CSUF student.
He heard someone talking loudly from the area of the pool tables and heard the term “bouncer” being used. He looked in the mirror behind Karen and in the reflection saw that Frat Boy was extending his middle digit at him and laughing. His posse of fellow football team members joined in. The bouncer reached over the bar, grabbed the coffee carafe and topped off his cup.
Karen cut her eyes over to them again as she washed the bar glasses. “They’re going to be trouble, Tag.”
Tag. That’s the bouncer’s name. His full name is Jack Elbert Taggart, but everyone called him Tag. They called him other things too but rarely to his face. He had recently been the subject of some ridicule in the local papers after showing up naked in a locked and alarmed hospital surgical theater. The cops were called, and he was initially trusting enough to tell them the truth.
Taggart, a California prison guard, had disappeared from that same operating room about six months earlier as he was awaiting a surgical procedure to determine if he had lung cancer. One moment he was there on the surgical table, the next moment…he was gone. The surgical staff searched the entire floor of the hospital before concluding that the big man had been so terrified of the procedure that he had snuck away while everyone’s back was turned. There was even a humorous story written in the local paper about it. When he reappeared in the same operating room a half year later he had a full beard, and his hair had not been cut. He also had numerous large scars on his body that had not been there on his first visit. Once again, no one could explain how he had appeared in a locked and alarmed surgical room.
The cops listened to his story then handed him off to one of the many small psychiatric hospitals in the area. He quickly saw how things were going and realized that honesty would not be his best policy so he lied and said he made the whole story up to excuse his absence from his job as a State Correctional Officer. The hospital kept him a few more days until they could no longer justify soaking the state for easy money, then released him. The hospital dropped the burglary charge, but the court ordered an hour of counseling per week for six months to make certain he was not a danger to himself.
Back on the street Tag found that he’d been evicted from his apartment and fired from his job. He had no home, no means of support and was wearing thrift store clothing given to him by the psych hospital. Tag’s father came out from Sedona to help him and gave him enough money to stay at a flop house until he could get on his feet. All of his belongings from the apartment had been put into a storage locker, and he had to pay a few more months rent on that because he really had no place to put everything.
So that’s how Tag wound up at Billy’s Bar. Billy was actually Wilhelmina Parsons, the mother of an old friend of his from high school. She’d heard about his situation and offered him a job as a bouncer/security guard. The job paid fifteen dollars an hour while the doors were open, and she let him sleep in a small room upstairs when the bar was closed. The place had been broken into a few times, and the arrangement promised to help out both of them. After being hired he went back to the storage shed and took out his microwave and a small half-fridge. He brought those items and some of his clothes over to the bar. There was a shower in the janitor’s closet, and he had the rest room facilities at his disposal. All the comforts of home.
Tag didn’t see a lot of trouble in Billy’s. Part of that was probably because he was six feet, six inches tall and weighed two hundred and forty muscular pounds. If his appearance wasn’t enough to make people behave themselves the expression on his face usually was. Karen once told him that whenever someone thought about challenging him they just looked at the expression on his face. She and Caitlin always laughed about how they would wait to see how long it would take for the guy’s Adam’s apple to start bouncing up and down. She said when they saw him during those times he looked like an animal: A predator.
Tonight the big student’s actions were telling Tag that his string of peaceful employment was about to end.
He heard a bottle fall to the floor. Frat Boy had bumped into one of the high round tables in the pool area, scattering glasses and spilling drinks. One of the two males who had been sitting there with their dates was saying something to Frat Boy in a low voice. Tag couldn’t hear what the other guy was saying, but Frat Boy was saying “Make me!” He repeated the phrase several times.
Tag polished off the last of his coffee and handed Karen his cup. She had a hint of a smile on her face. He knew that she’d been waiting to finally see Tag in action.
He could feel the rattling vibrations from the juke box as he walked casually across the polished concrete floor. It was playing “Jesus take the wheel”. One of Frat Boy’s friends saw him coming and said “Uh Oh!” Then he giggled. What was it about alcohol that made fully grown men giggle?
Caitlin was bringing a fresh round to the people at the table whose drinks had been spilled. Just as she walked by, Frat Boy took one of the beers intended for that table off of her tray.
No, this wasn’t going to end well.
One of the posse members reached out to touch his big friend’s arm. When he had his attention he nodded over at Tag. They exchanged a grin. The other two members of the troublemaker’s entourage moved from the pool table over to where their buddies stood.
Tag walked up and saw Julie, another waitress, cleaning up Frat Boy’s mess. She was leaning on the handle of the mop bucket squeegee. She saw him and smiled, rolling her eyes. Tag stopped in front of Frat Boy’s group.
“Having fun tonight guys?” he asked.
Frat Boy squared his shoulders and let his arms dangle. “Yeah, we’re having a lot of fun. Is that a problem?”
The mixed drinks at Billy’s come with brightly colored miniature plastic swords that were used to skewer the lemons, limes and cherries. Frat Boy had one of these tucked into the side of his mouth: A yellow one.
One of the other guys behind him seemed to be a little more in control. He leaned around his friend and spoke. “Brad just had a little accident with the table. It won’t happen again.”
Tag nodded, looking over Brad’s shoulder at his three buddies.
“Okay Guys. Have fun but keep it under control.”
He cut his eyes back to Brad. “One of the girls said you’ve been touching her.”
“Bitch is lyin,’” he said. Then he emitted a long, loud belch. He and two of his group seemed to find that remarkably funny.
Tag sighed. It wasn’t an exaggerated sigh intended to send the message that he was losing patience. It was a simple sigh that involuntarily happened whenever Tag realized he was dealing with a fool.
The smarter member of their little group looked into Tag’s eyes and turned pale. He tossed a ten dollar bill on the table, drained his beer then picked up his keys and walked out. One of the remaining three loudly pronounced him to be a pussy. More giggles.
Tag stepped up closer to Brad. He wasn’t worried about the other two because Brad was their balls. Without him to take the lead they would skulk away into the shadows. He looked slightly down at him because, even though he had Tag outweighed by sixty pounds, he was two inches shorter.
“Tell you what, Brad. Drink up, pay your tab and leave. Don’t say another word to anyone, especially me.”
Brad wasn’t a total idiot, but he wasn’t that far from being one either. He should have taken note of a few things before playing out his hand. He should have noticed that most of Tag’s weight was in his chest and shoulders, not hanging over his belt like Brad’s was. He should have realized that Tag was standing in front of him and his two almost-as-large friends with not even a hint of concern on his face. He should have taken note of the scars on the bouncer’s face which clearly showed him not to be a stranger to violence. Lastly, he should have seen in his eyes that he was a very dangerous man. Brad didn’t realize any of those things.
“We ain’t leaving just because some lyin’ bitch says…”
Tag bitch-slapped Brad before he could finish telling him what he wasn’t going to do. The little yellow plastic sword went flying, and his eyes went wide. He couldn’t believe what had just happened. He was a huge guy and huge guys are rarely challenged, and they’re never bitch-slapped. There was a moment of shocked silence shared by the three college men. Ms. Underwood continued singing her song.
The slap wasn’t all that hard because Tag hadn’t intended it to be. It was meant to cut through all of the posturing that he knew was coming, and let him know that the time for games was over. Brad was startled, but, more than that, he was frightened. His eyes showed Tag all that he needed to know. He was in a bad position now that he had overplayed his bluff. He knew he would never regain his status as the group’s bad-ass if he didn’t react. So he did.
He took a wild, wide Hollywood swing at Tag, drawing his arm way back before sending it forward. Any halfway decent fighter could have seen it coming. Tag did. He bent his neck a little to the left and felt it sail over his head. He responded with a quick punch to the chest at about seventy-five percent of his strength. He only wanted to stop him, not kill him. When Brad started gasping and fighting to recover his breath, Tag quickly slipped behind him and hooked an arm around his neck. Brad started making choking sounds as Tag leaned back to pull him off of his feet and duck-walked him all the way across the bar to the front door. When they got there Tag threw him at it and watched as he burst through and out into the warm California night. The big college boy did a complete spin and fell backward onto his sizeable ass. He sat there with his legs splayed, blinking and staring up at Tag in a state of confusion.
Brad’s two friends rushed outside to help him to his feet. He struggled up, eyes wild. For a brief second he was thinking about trying his luck again. Tag could see it in his eyes. He didn’t say a word, simply took a single step toward him. That’s when old Brad/Frat Boy started pretending that he had injured his knee in the fall and was incapable of continuing the skirmish. His two flunkies helped him stagger down the street holding him in between them and heading in the direction of the university. Once they figured they were far enough away to be safe they began yelling about Taggart having sucker punched the guy and making threats about what was going to happen on the following night.
“Yeah, right,” Tag said to himself and pulled the door shut.
When he came back in Karen was grinning. She had another cup of coffee waiting on the bar and had even fixed it up for him with milk and Splenda.
“Here you go, Champ!” she said.
Tag helped close the bar and walked Karen out to her little white Toyota. She caught him looking away and leaned up to kiss him on the cheek. Tag just looked back at her, unsure of what to say.
“Why don’t you follow me over to my apartment and I’ll make us some eggs?” she asked. There was a little hint of hopefulness there in her eyes. He felt bad. She was such a nice girl. Pretty too, even if she was a little young. A year ago he would have jumped at the chance.
Actually, a year ago he would have been so tongue-tied that he wouldn’t even have been able to answer her. His social anxiety disorder would have rendered him mute. That was before many unusual things had happened to him. It was before Tag fell in love. It didn’t change anything that his therapists were telling him that the woman he loved was not real.
Tag opened her door. “I’m going to close up then hit the sack.”
Her eyes dropped, and she got in without saying anything. He hated making her feel like that. She glanced at him as she drove by and attempted a smile. He waved.
Back inside Tag shut everything down, locked up and went upstairs to his dingy little room. Removing his shirt he got down on the floor and did as many pushups as he could manage before his arms turned to rubber.
With nobody around to see him, he poked around in his miniscule closet until he found his practice sword. He’d found it at a flea market a few months ago. It was not made of materials that would stand up to real combat, but it was very heavy, and that was what he wanted. Tag never let anyone see it because he didn’t want word getting back to the authorities or his therapists, but here, at three A.M. in his private room above an empty bar, he set about going through the exercises that he figured would be helpful when he got back: Three hundred strikes, right to left, three hundred left to right. Add three hundred lunging stabbing motions and three hundred double-handed overhead slashes, each of which would cleave a piece of firewood the size of a bass drum.