Author Topic: Moya Sumasshedshaya 'Zizhe  (Read 343 times)

The Grey Market

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Moya Sumasshedshaya 'Zizhe
« on: August 05, 2016, 09:41:52 PM »
My crazy life.

My crazy... ****in'... life.

I don't do the introspection thing much. Never saw a need for it. Usually, I'm the simplest thing around. Have fun, get paid, what? What the hell else do you need? But sometimes, #### gets heavy and then I wind up wading in the muck. Don't ask me about storm drains, man. Or ****in' gnomes, or zombies.

Especially not about the ****in' zombies.

Sometimes... sometimes, #### is just cray. That's this. My crazy life.

Blyad. I need a frakkin' drink.

The Grey Market

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Moya Sumasshedshaya 'Zizhe
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2016, 01:30:44 AM »
He was just getting to the tricky part of the cook, the part where you’ve gotta keep an eye on things very carefully and watch the temperature or it was all gonna go tits up, when his phone rang. Of course it did. He closed his eyes and very quietly counted to ten, but it didn’t stop.

He could ignore it, let it go to voice mail, but… Not always doin’ business. But always open. He looked at the beaker with a skilled eye, decided he had enough time before it reached critical temperature to get whoever it was off the phone. He tugged it out of his pocket and put it against his ear, successfully ignoring - this time - how much it resembled a lady’s, er, best friend in the bedroom. “Yo.”

“Hey, Grey,” came that cheerful voice almost before he’d finished his greeting, like bubblegum dipped in beach sand. Jagged need at the edges, a sound he was hearing far too often these days.

“Bethany, ‘sup.” He gritted his teeth and checked the beaker. Still time.

“Whatcha doin’?” Drawled out, like she was trying to be cute. He could see the picture she wanted him to see; her layin’ on her stomach on her bed, feet kicked up in the air behind her, cord of the phone teased between the fingers of the hand not holding the receiver. It was bull, of course, ‘cause he could hear the street sounds behind her prolly better than she could.

“I’m cookin’ in the lab right now, Beth. Mind sticking a pin in this?”

“Anythin’ good?” Like a dog going on point.

“Not for you. You still owe me from the last time.” He dropped the bored charm since it was obvious she wasn’t going to be put off by anything less than a firm dismissal.

“Oh, c’mon, Grey! I don’t get paid until Monday!”

“So call me Monday, then we’ll talk.” He started to hang up, but she was talkin’ again.

“Maybe we can make a deal? I mean, I just need a little, you know, bump to get me through the weekend. Just a little one, right? Maybe we can, you know…” Her voice trailed off suggestively.

“No, I’m pretty sure I don’t know.” He let the irony hang heavy.

“Well, I mean, I’ve always thought you were cute, and you-”

“Seriously? Not only no, but hells naw. I don’t frakk junkies, Bethany. I’m hanging up now.”

“Grey, please. As a friend, can’t you just-”

“Oh, you wanna talk to a friend, Beth? As a friend, we’d be past the point of staging an intervention. We’d be right about the point where it’s kidnapping and a cold turkey detox, let you scream the poison out in a basement somewhere. As a friend, I’m tellin’ ya that you’ve got a serious frakkin’ problem, and ya need to handle it ‘cause right now it’s handlin’ you. So you tell me, Bethany - you wanna talk to a friend, who will come pick you up right now and take you to the clinic? I’ll even sit there wit’ ya, hold your hand an’ everythin’ while you’re waitin’ for the methadone. Or do you wanna talk to your dealer, who doesn’t wanna hear any sentences that don’t start with ‘I’ve got your money.’”

The phone was silent for a long moment. Then: “I’ll call you Monday.” And a click.

Grey inhaled, grinding his teeth, and noticed for the first time the burnt smell hanging in the air. “Ah, der’mo!” He grabbed the pot handler and swung the smoking beaker into the sink, wincing at the hiss and the smell as the water hit it. “Crap, frakk, blyad.” He flipped the hot plate off and fisted his hands against the edge of the sink, remembering Bethany when he’d met her. It had been a party, what, a year or so back? His head hurt when he tried to picture it, but Moonie had been there, and- “Blyad,” he rubbed his temples. Frakkin’ headache came and went like a crow, all inky black feathers and carrion caw.

Bethany. She’d been pretty, vivacious. Little too plump, she thought, but he’d liked her curves and told her so. She’d shot him down, of course. She was a good girl, didn’t have time for a guy like him. But she was always down for a joint, long as he wasn’t expecting anything else, and maybe he could get her some diet pills…?

Course I can,” he’d said. “You don’t need ‘em, but I can get what you’re lookin’ for. Always can.

He rubbed his eyes until the headache went away, then looked back over at the ingredients. Did he have enough to try again? He might need more milk, but he had plenty of cocoa and sugar. And it’s not like he’d made it far enough to even touch the vanilla extract or butter. That pot needed some time to soak anyway, so he might as well run down to the corner, pick up some smokes while he was at it.

“Stupid fudge,” he muttered as he went to find his jacket. We all go to Hell in our own ways.

The Grey Market

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Moya Sumasshedshaya 'Zizhe
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2016, 08:54:15 PM »
The knocking at the door startled him out of what must have been a world class reverie, upsetting the delicate balance of the milk crates he had pressed into service for a chair and spilling him onto the concrete floor of the basement apartment. He lay there for a minute, listening to the pounding; no rhythm to it, not really, just a steady rapping that promised to go on for as long as it took. It had already, somewhere in the dim depths of the back of his mind the thought stirred, been going. He picked himself up with a groan and brushed himself off as he walked to the door, checked that his pistol was at the small of his back and easily accessible, and then cracked it. Marcus, his landlord, stared back at him through Coke bottle glasses that magnified his eyes until they appeared to take up half his face. Grey went ahead and opened the door the rest of the way. It only seemed polite.

“Grey, hey, how are ya.” Marcus always seemed overly nervous when he talked to Grey as though afraid the younger man were going to suddenly succumb to reefer madness and start butchering everyone around him. It gave all of their interactions that easy, relaxed atmosphere you usually found around a live explosive device, men in heavy protective suits poking gingerly at the guts waiting for the misstep that would blow them all to kingdom come.

“Can’t complain, Marcus, holdin’ my own. Yanno.”

“Look, Grey, I don’t know how to say this nicely so I’m just gonna say it. The other residents, they’ve been complaining about the noise - I guess there’s been some screaming at night - and you’ve been getting a lot of visitors who are, you know, undesirable and… well, we just can’t tolerate this kind of behavior anymore. I’m gonna have to ask you to move out.”

“Um,” Grey rubbed his face. “Okay.” He held up a finger and turned back into his apartment. Marcus watched as the teenager stripped the sleeping bag off the bed and stuffed it into a sack, hooked it onto a hiker’s backpack, and came back to the doorway. “Okay, man, no problem. Here’s the keys.” Marcus looked past him. Thirty seconds to turn shabby-but-livable into a storage room. The pallet on the floor didn’t look like a bed anymore, the cable spool table and milk crates had probably been swiped from a construction site in a more well to do neighborhood.

“I didn’t mean right now,” he stammered. “You’re paid up until the end of the month.”

“Nah, no point in beatin’ around the bush. I hate leavin’ things for the last minute.” Grey shrugged. “You can keep the security deposit. Dos Locos might want it.”

Marcus froze. “What?”

“Dos Locos? The guys with all the tattoos and piercin’s and shiz? Used to hang around wearin’ undone straitjackets? I asked ‘em to step off when I moved in ‘cause that crazy schtick of theirs upsets people, scares business off. I’d better let ‘em know I’m movin’ on.” Grey rubbed his head as he started to step out the door, pushing Marcus back with his presence. “They’ll prolly wanna talk to ya about renewing your fire insurance.”

“Look,” Marcus tried to shove the key back into Grey’s hand. “Look, I went about this the wrong way. I’ll talk to the other residents, maybe they’d like a quieter neighborhood. Or they can wear earplugs to bed, or something. Did you need anything? New blinds, maybe a new ashtray? My kid just made one in school…”

“Yeah? Is that what they’re teachin’ ‘em these days?” Grey folded his arms across his chest, refusing to take the key back. “You sure? I mean, I’d hate to think I was lowerin’ the tone around here, or anythin’…” For the first time in the conversation, sarcasm bled through into his voice - razor sharp and thick as resin. Marcus didn’t seem to notice.

“No, no, no, it’s fine, I mean there’s so much you bring to the neighborhood and-”

“Marcus. Frakkin’ button it, okay? I pay my rent on time, I don’t shoot up the place, an’ if you wanna talk about ‘undesirables’ at least I’m not turnin’ tricks like Mrs. Zeta upstairs. Which is totally fine, ya do what ya gotta do to make a livin’, but some of the noises out of her apartment - seriously, man, I don’t care how good she’s blowin’ ya, the least ya could do is ask her to keep the barn noises down, okay? So this is the last time we have this conversation. Ya want me gone, cool. I’m frakkin’ outties. And you can deal with everything I keep off your back, including a number of very unsavory people who can think of all sorts of better uses for this place than a tenement filled with prosties, geriatrics, and one seriously grumpy dealer.

“I can find a couch to crash on or a new apartment to rent in about thirty minutes. I don’t think you’ll find another umbrella to keep off the ####storm waitin’ in the wings if ya had thirty years to try. So we don’t gotta be friends, but don’t try treatin’ me like a bitch again, okay? I’ll see you on rent day.”

He plucked the key out of Marcus’ numb fingers. Then he closed the door in the other man’s face and went back to his table.

The Grey Market

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Moya Sumasshedshaya 'Zizhe
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2016, 08:27:05 AM »
He caught the phone as it buzzed, before it could wake her up, but the feeling of him getting out of bed had her stirring in her sleep and reaching for him. "Back to dreams, lyubovnik," he said softly. "I've just gotta go clean up a mess. Nothin' worth stirrin' over." Pants, boots, shirt; all still jumbled where he'd left them when they'd gone to bed just a couple hours before. He was pretty sure neither of them had actually managed to get much sleep in, either. Hours 'till dawn.

Good, good. Some things called for darkness.

Vitaly hadn't relaxed his restriction on Grey visiting the safehouse, just rolled his eyes and accepted the inevitable once he'd snuck in. Coming or going, he had to be subtle about things; it was good practice, and he'd noticed more than one hole in their security that had desperately cried out for patching. The exit through the basement into the storm drains had been one, but they'd rigged up a couple nasty surprises that would make even a demon think twice about trying to gain access into the house. It made a nicely subtle escape, though, and the fact that he was able to knock out a big, fat rat on his way and bring it along was just an added bonus.

Dockside wasn't far away at that hour, not with a bike as fast as his. Not that the bike was really Grey's - he didn't have paper on it, or nothin' - but it wasn't like he'd stolen it, either, and the previous owner had no more use for it. Not where he'd gone. It looked something like the designer had been inspired by the light bikes from Tron, but they'd only had a World War II era factory in which to build it. It was a good thing he was parked a couple blocks away, because the roar of the engine would have woken the whole damned neighborhood up.

This part of Dockside was a maze of twisty little alleyways between warehouses, all alike. You could get lost pretty damned easy, but since the docks didn't have the West End's unreasonable enmity towards technology or magic he was able to follow the coordinates he'd been given unerringly. He pulled to a stop, put the stand down, and stepped off. A section of the brickwork shimmered, and he pulled the rat - with its legs and muzzle thoughtfully tied with string - out of the bike's storage compartment and lobbed it underhand.

Jaxx caught it in air. "You always know where I am. I don't like that." Her skin stopped matching the bricks behind her, became its usual gray-green; almost harder to see in the gloom of the docks.

Grey shrugged. "Gotta keep my hand in. Where'd she leave it?"

Jaxx hissed softly, and ate her rat in a single bite. It was a sight that never ceased to amaze and disgust Grey; her jaws unhinged and she simply swallowed the rugby ball sized rodent whole. Then she gestured towards the alley. "Left him," she emphasized the pronoun firmly, "behind the dumpster. Like usual. You're gonna have to talk to her. She can't keep leaving them laying around like this. And she's taking too deeply. She must be burning a lot of energy up there."

Grey made a face. "I really don't wanna think about those two burning a lot of energy. Anyway, she's been feeding on the hoof less and less. She's got... other sources." He rubbed his eyes as he walked towards the alley, looked in. The man huddled against the wall didn't see him, his eyes fixed on the nameless distance, pale and shuddering. His whimpers, like a beaten dog, echoed softly off the alley walls. "Crap. This one's in rough shape."

"Sooner or later, she's gonna break someone beyond your ability to fix." Jaxx crossed her arms across her chest, scales making a dry slithering sound. Grey glanced over as she blinked, first one set of eyelids, then the other.

"Is that going to be an issue for you?" His voice was cool. "I mean, if you don't think you can do the job..."

"I can do the job," she said flatly. "I think you're flushing good money after bad with this. You mammals are too sentimental."

Grey shrugged. "Yeah, well... that's my problem, isn't it?" He shook his head and stepped into the alley. His voice shifted to calm and soothing as he approached the huddled form slowly. "Hey. Heeeey. Hey. Shh, shh, shh... it's alright..." His hand moved sharply, and the figure sagged. "No dreams, just peace."

"Putting him out of his misery would be kinder," Jaxx said. Grey backed out of the alley, hoisting the limp figure over his shoulder as though it were light as a bundle of twigs. He lobbed the spent syringe into the dumpster. "Cheaper, too. Even you don't have a limitless supply of Lethe water and lotus blossom."

"Bets? Anyway, we all do stupid things for the people we care about," he said with a shrug of the shoulder that didn't have a body on it.

"My people don't have that issue."

"Your people lay eggs and try to eat each other in the middle of the mating process."

"Keeps things interesting." Her smile was truly terrible to behold. "Speaking of, any time you're so inclined..." Grey put his cargo on the back of his bike and started strapping him into place.

"Appreciate the thought. Prefer my partners warm-blooded, though."

"Heard that." A harsh bark of a laugh as Jaxx poked her head into the alley and made sure there was no evidence left behind that could tie them to the scene. Other than a puddle of urine, there was no trace anything had happened. "From the sounds of things, your girlfriend's hotter'n most."

"She's- argh," Grey shook his head. "Whole friggin' city got nothin' better to talk about these days?"

"Word gets around. What do you plan to do with him?" She gestured at the comatose body.

"Same as the last couple. Grab his wallet and his shoes, leave him outside the Diggers' hostel down by the Crossroads."

"You rob them?" If she had eyebrows, she'd have lifted them.

"Eh, technically." Grey waggled his hand as he finished checking the tie-downs. "I mean, I drop the money into the Diggers' collection box, and any IDs or plastic into the mail bin."

"If you're not gonna keep the money, why bother taking it?"

"Can't just go leaving unconscious bodies lying around without a reason. Someone might start wondering."

She shook her head. "You're a strange one, Grey."

"But my money's good." He flashed her a crooked grin as he mounted up his bike. "Until next time, hey?"

"I'm serious, human. Talk to her. This is getting out of hand, and sooner or later, the Watch are gonna get there before me and realize their little 'terror in the Dockside' problem hasn't actually gone away."

"Burn that bridge when I come to it, Jaxx, just like always." He fired up the engine and zipped off into the night.

[size=9]((This is connected to the Terror In Dockside! playable.))[/size]

The Grey Market

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Moya Sumasshedshaya 'Zizhe
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2016, 02:10:26 AM »
He sat upright as the smell hit him; lilac, cinnamon and sandalwood. His room had gone dark at some point, although he didn't remember turning the light off and wasn't sure how he'd managed it while sitting at the cable spool table anyway. His phone LED glowed a steady blue, casting an entirely too appropriate ghostly luminescence. Just enough to see by, not enough to really see.

"Hey, Grey," she said softly. She was sitting across from him, the white flash of her smile and the moonglow of her hair the only thing visible in the dark. He reached out to catch her wrist, felt his fingers pass through like gossamer and stardust.

"Hey," he said through a throat gone tight. "Why are you haunting me, Sadie?"

"You sure it's not the other way around, baby boy?" That flash of her smile again, he could almost picture her violet eyes glancing away. Always with her secrets, that girl. Secrets that had gotten her killed, in the end...

"Pretty sure." He cleared his throat, sitting up. "I mean, I'm not complainin'. It's been... way too long." Dammit, something scratchin' at his eyes. Must have knocked over the ashtray or something. "I've missed you. You an' Moonie."

"We miss you too, Grey," she said. "But it's not time for you to join us yet. Don't wake up."

He rubbed his eyes, hoping he could clear that ash or whatever out. No good, they were still itching like crazy. "So, uh, what's the occasion?" He tried for light and conversational. "Ain't the anniversary yet. Thought you were supposed to spook on a schedule. Isn't that how the stories go?"

He felt as much as heard her shrug. "You know me. Gotta march to the tune of my own drum." She stood, her skirts rustling like dry leaves in the fall or paper in dusty archives. Outside of the glow of phone's glow, it was almost impossible to see her in the shadows of the room; just a darker shape, moving here and there like a dancer. She always had been a butterfly, curious about the lives of others... "Heard you're seein' someone."

The laugh forced itself from between his lips before he even knew it was coming, more of a throaty caw than any sign of humor. "Does everyone know I'm... yeah. Yeah, I'm kinda seein' someone."

"It's serious?"

"Pretty serious." He wiped a hand down his face. "She told me she loves me. She means it, too."

"You tell her how you feel yet?"

"You're not here to warn me off her, too, are ya?" He tried to make her out in the gloom, wondering what her expression was. "Everyone keeps spouting off 'bout her bein' no good for me, like I'm some kinda white knight tryin' to save her. What the hell kinda romances you people been readin'?"

"No, no. Sweet as anything, our baby boy, but- no white knight." Her smile, a flash of light in the dark, hit him right between the ribs. Wounds he'd thought scarred over years ago reopened and bleeding again. "Just a boy who does what he can for the people he loves. Or their memory. Have you told her yet?"

"" He looked away. The rustling, and her smell, came closer. He hadn't been able to smell perfume for ages afterwards without it hitting him in the gut like a clenched fist. Still couldn't smell lilacs without getting that damn itch in his eyes. Allergies, had to be.

"What're you waiting for?" Cool fingers traced his brow, and he forced himself to neither flinch away nor lean in. They were both equally futile, and for much the same reason.

"Everyone I love goes away, Sadie," he whispered. "You. Moonie. Everyone."

"We weren't your fault, Grey." She traced his scars, patterns both familiar and not. He'd added a couple more since the last time she'd visited. "That's the thing about life; it goes on, then it ends. We all get the same amount."

"We all get a lifetime." He agreed, bitterly. "But it's not enough, Sadie. It's never e-frakkin'-nough."

"No," she agreed. "It's not. But it's what we get. You think not saying the words is gonna keep her safe, Grey? Some kind of reverse magical incantation? Don't admit it, don't gotta face it, right?" He felt his cheeks burn under her fingers, heard her laugh. Musical. Magical. Sadie could brighten the darkest room with that laugh, metaphorically speaking.

"What kinda future we got, Sadie?" The bitterness surprised him, a little. "Marriage? Pack of brats further down the line? I can barely take care of myself, how the hell am I gonna look after anyone else?"

"That how you think of Roach? Someone needs you looking after her?"

"No, but-"

"She doesn't need a keeper, Grey. She wants a partner. And you know she's just as scared of the future and what's in it as you are."

"You know we don't have much time. I mean, hell... I could die today. Or she could. Or Robbie-boy could call in her contract, drag her back to him." He ran his hands through his hair in frustration. "And all this shiz with Menace-"

"Same as everyone, Grey. One lifetime. No less, no more." He fingers traced across his, her touch like ice. "You really wanna spend the time you got holding her at arm's length, making her twist in the wind?

"Listen. Of course she's gonna break your heart. An' you're gonna break hers. The two of you, you're like magnets. You keep pushing each other away, and then dragging each other back. You're not gonna cut and run, Grey, 'cause it's not in you. You wouldn't know how if you wanted. So stop trying to walk the line, stop pretending that your heart's not involved. There's no 'middle,' not in this."

He rubbed at his eyes again. "You're the second person that's said that."

"How many is it gonna take for you to start listening? How do you feel, Grey? Beneath all the posturing and attitude, behind that crooked smile and that 'devil may care' attitude - how do you really feel?"

"I love her." A long pause, and then with a fragility he hated running through his voice like the fracture lines in a splintered pane of glass, "I'm in love with her."

There was a sharp chill as she tapped the center of his forehead with an outstretched finger. Boop. "Then maybe you should let her know that, dummy. Three little words. Five if you've gotta go and get fancy again."

"When this is over-" he started. That chill again, a swat this time.

"It's never gonna be over, Grey. You know it, I know it, and she already called you on that bull. You go from one fire to another, livin' on the edge. It's the way you are. One more day and one more day until suddenly time's run out and you're sitting there with all those unspoken words rattling around your head like cannonballs. Leaving you hollow inside. It's why you tried to get your fool self killed after Moonie and I... well. After us."

"She's not a replacement for you," he said quietly. That swat again.

"She's not supposed to be, you jerk. You don't replace people, that's not how these things work, and the only person who's afraid that's what it is, is you. Of all the things in your life, you pick happiness to be the one you get guilty over? Honestly, Grey..." He could picture the long suffering look on her face, and it was almost enough to make him laugh. Then her arms were around him, her embrace like a damp shroud wrapped tight around his neck. "Be happy, Grey. Make her happy. You both deserve one bright thing in this world, so why not each other?"

He reached up and patted her awkwardly, felt her thin, reedy bones, the hollow planes of her skull pressed against his hair. "You're just a dream, aren't you Sadie?"

"Look who's talkin', baby boy. Don't wake up."

He jerked and sat upright, staring around the room wildly. Same old basement. Back in the World it wouldn't legally be an apartment; you had to have windows for that, an exit route in case of fire. Rhydin didn't suffer from those legal niceties, although Grey had often mulled over the need for a bolthole or emergency egress. Problem was, an exit was just a more subtle entrance to anyone with bad intents.

There was a photo stuck to his face from where he musta fallen asleep with his head in a file, and he plucked it off with a wince. Roach smiled back at him, her and her grandmother standing in front of the house. He set it down, made a note to slip it into her stuff at some point when she wasn't looking. The dream was already shredding away like morning mist, leaving only a vague melancholy in its wake. "I gotta start goin' to bed earlier," he muttered. "Or drink more coffee." He pushed himself away from the table and paused, wondering why the room smelled like lilacs, and why his cheeks were damp with tears he couldn't remember having shed.

The Grey Market

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Moya Sumasshedshaya 'Zizhe
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2016, 09:53:43 PM »
The subject entered the apartment just before dawn lit up the West End sky. They tightened up the cordon, moved in SWAT. Two hours later, when they were sure he'd gone to sleep, they sprung the trap.

Because it was the West End, they couldn't use any of the fancier breaching tools. No flash bangs, no tear gas, no explosive charges to blow the door. Fortunately, they didn't need it; an ogre with a battering ram made a hell of an entry unit, and the rest of the team rolled in heavy behind his armored bulk.

They came back out three minutes later, shaking their heads and swearing.

"Apartment's empty, lieutenant." The team commander shrugged. "Place isn't much bigger'n a postage stamp, no windows, no other exits. I've got Finnick cataloguing everything, but... doesn't look like anyone actually lives there."

"Our informant lied, then," the lieutenant swore under his breath. "What a ****show. Pack up the boys, let's get the hell out of here before the media gets wind of this. We'll find this *** sooner or later."

They conducted a few cursory interviews with the landlord and the neighbours, but nobody claimed to know anything about the guy in the basement. Did he live there? Did he just stay there occasionally? Was there another place he could be found? No clue. Just a ghost, living underground.

Marcus was staring at the broken door when Grey rolled up behind him, sunglasses firmly in place against the early morning glare. He took one look at the wreckage, and sighed.

"Cops? Yeah. Frakkin' cops. I'll get it fixed, man. Sorry." He dug his phone out of his pocket and dialed a number from memory. "Yo, Mitch. Gotta rush job for ya. Somethin' not made of tissue paper this time."

The Grey Market

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Moya Sumasshedshaya 'Zizhe
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2016, 04:53:30 AM »
It took a particular kind of masochism to come back here, with its attendant swarm of memories thick as the cigarette haze in the air, but it was the only game in town. If you were in Rhydin and you wanted a drink, there were a thousand and one gin joints, beer halls, and taverns delighted to take your trade. Chief among them the Red Dragon, bastion of strange and oddities since time immemorial. On the other hand, if you were in Rhydin and you wanted to hear the blues - the real blues - then you went to Catland.

And right now, Lord knew, Grey was in the mood to sing the blues. Part of him knew he was being ridiculously melodramatic about the whole thing; a ?relationship,? if you could call it that, all of a few months old, whose ?serious? stage had barely made it a couple weeks. Hollyweird weddings lasted longer. And for something that had torn him up so badly, he thought he?d done a pretty good job of playing it cool. No screaming, no
crying, no property damage that anyone would notice. Yeah, he might have done a couple of? questionable? things in his search for closure, but it was nothing anyone was likely to notice. He was pretty sure. But there were certain formalities that had to be followed in these circumstances, and heading the list was drinking and music. And since he couldn?t stand country, well?

You wanna hear the blues in Rhydin, you go to Catland. And if the memories of their first date still hung all around him, hanging over his shoulder like a shroud, well it suited him well enough to keep poking at the wound like a sore tooth. Here was where we were happy. Over there?s where she smiled at me, that special smile that was never there in photographs.

Had she smiled for them the same way? Somewhere in between the hours of sweaty sex and the poetry readings?

Forget it. Done now. Water under the bridge. So he sat and he drank and he listened to the blues, and most people were smart enough to stay away - except the bartender, who was happy to keep the glass filled, racking up the clatter of coins into the tip jar with every pour. Grey was not ungenerous, in his misery.

He was somewhere around the fourth gin and tonic - he?d been taking them easy, wanting to pace himself through the night rather than racing for oblivion - when Trouble bellied up to the bar next to him. It was a fresh one, and the bartender - maybe wanting to see if they could squeeze out a little extra tip money for the same amount of effort - had gone to the trouble of throwing a slice of lime into it. It didn?t promise to improve things much, but Grey was willing to give it a shot. It was unusual for a pretty girl to get that close to him without him noticing, but in his defense he had other things on his mind and scoping out the nightlife had been pretty low on his priorities.

Still, the flash of color from her particolored hair drew his eye like a flame, and it was only natural to trail down the rest of her. There was a lot to look at; long, sleek, dressed in a hoodie and jeans not all that different from his. On him, the clothes were loose for concealment and freedom of movement. On her, they were tight and displayed what she had. He was pretty sure she wouldn?t have any trouble on the dance floor, either.

Her grin told him she?d seen him looking, like she?d meant for him to, and her hand darted out and snagged his glass before he could pick it up and take a casually disaffected sip. Even over the music, the clink of the ice was strangely musical, like someone ringing a distant bell.

?Ugh,? she said. ?You don?t strike me as a gin drinker.?

?Ya drank my drink,? he observed the empty glass with bemusement. The lime looked disconsolate amongst the ice cubes that hadn?t had time to melt.

?You can buy me a better one,? she offered.

?Think I?ll pass.? He started to signal the bartender, just one finger, and she reached out and pushed his hand down. Hers was strangely warm on his, and he looked at it, and then at her.

?Then I?ll buy you one.?

He slipped his hand free of hers and swiveled on the stool to face her. She continued her lean, hip cocked, smirking up at him. Standing, he figured he probably only had an inch or two height advantage on her. ?Can I do somethin? for ya??

?Sure. Have a drink with me.?

?I was kinda drinkin? alone.?

?And now you can kinda drink with me. C?mon.? There was a thump as the bartender put two old-fashioned glasses of clear liquor down next to them. Grey hadn?t seen her signal, and he squinted after the man as he disappeared with the empty GNT, leaving no fresh one in its place.

?Can women smell heartbreak? Is my misery like catnip to you people?? He asked rhetorically. Her smirk got a bit broader.

?Course it is. Face like that, we wanna see it smiling? unless it?s weeping over us. C?mon, tell me about your sorrows. Then make a start on getting over her by getting under me.? She picked up the glasses, pressed one against his hand until he took it, hit it with hers. ?C?mon, cowboy. Take a chance.?

He looked at the booze, then at her. Frakk it. Why not? He raised the glass and tapped hers with it with a resigned grin.

The Grey Market

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Moya Sumasshedshaya 'Zizhe
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2016, 03:57:09 AM »
Getting dressed hurt, but damned if he was sticking around. Even if there wasn?t an alarm clock in the back of his skull chanting ?time to go, to go, to go,? he wouldn?t stick around. He wasn?t sure he?d get out alive if he pushed his luck any further.

Trouble rolled over and stretched lithely, her smile smug and self-satisfied. The lioness, after a hearty meal. ?Sure you don?t want to stay the night?? she asked, her gaze languorous through heavy lids as she watched him dress. ?Could make you breakfast.?

?Thanks,? Grey said. Pulling on his shirt and hoodie - still nestled together like matrushka from where she yanked them off him earlier - wrung a wince out of him, but he had his face covered by then. Given what she?d done to him in the throes of passion, gods alone knew what she might do if she sensed weakness. He had fewer bruises the morning after he?d gotten his head nearly kicked in by a golem and been thrown out a window by a pack of gnomes. ?I?m gonna have t? take a rain check.? Like forty days and forty nights of rain. ?I?ve got a thing, and - yeah.?

?Mmm,? she said. ?Hand me my book, then?? She pointed. He toed into his boots, started to reach, and hesitated. There were an awful lot of books piled on the shelf she?d indicated, most of them with lurid titles and pictures of scantily clad people under bright, full moons.

?Which?? He started to pick up Kitty and the Midnight Hour.

?No, no. That one.? She pointed again. Sharp Teeth, it said, and he winced. That would describe her to a tee; the bruise on his pec had blossomed like a rose, bright colours and a fervent hint of blood. He suspected she?d broken the skin. His back probably looked like he?d dumped his bike on a gravel road, too. Messy.

?Any good?? He passed it over. The cover was a picture of a snarling dog, and he wasn?t going to add any commentary to that. Not even mentally, not until he was a long ways away from here.

She shrugged, her fingers lingering against his for a long moment before she slipped the book away.

?Poetic,? she said. ?I love these stories. What they get right, what they get wrong.? Her grin was a bit too wide for his comfort, and the cold sweat that it engendered made his scratches sting even worse.

?My, what big eyes you have?? he murmured.

?The better to watch you go, cowboy.? She winked. ?Don?t be a stranger.?

?Later,? he said and made his escape, closing the door softly behind him. Walking hurt, too. Was there a chiropractor, but for hips? Was that an orthopedist, or were those the foot guys? He was in a short hall lined with identical doors, but a flickering light at the end meant there was a TV on. He followed its beacon to a living room.

The nature documentary was on mute, but he could tell the narrator was probably saying something vaguely preachy about the savagery of nature as a zebra met its fate on the Serengeti. Even though he?d been equally quiet on the carpeted floor the three men sitting side by side on the couch swiveled their heads towards him in a synchronized motion, as though he?d announced his arrival with confetti and a gong. They didn?t look anything alike, but something - maybe their identical expressions - made him think, Family.

He pulled a cigarette out of his pack and stuck it between his lips before giving them an inclination of his chin. ??Sup.?

Then he sauntered by towards the front door, ignoring the way their heads turned to follow him, turning his limp into a swagger. Can?t do a walk of shame when you?re shameless. The feeling of being stared at didn?t go away until after the door had closed, and he dug out his Zippo and lit up to hide the sigh of relief. Just in case they were still listening.

The cigarette tasted wrong, bitter, and he choked on it. He could feel Roach standing next to him, picture the look on her face. Head to the side, biting her lip to keep from smirking, eyes glancing down. Have fun, gangster? Bit off a little more than you could chew, didn?tcha? He could smell her, taste her, patchouli and cherry gloss and a hint of sulphur and musk. He tore the cigarette out from between his lips, threw it as far away as he could. Dug the pack back out. American Spirit. Not his brand.

His throat was tight as he crushed it in his fist, dropped it into a bin as he descended the stairs. He?d been planning to catch a cab home, but something made him walk instead. Head down, hands shoved in his pockets, breathing in cool air with a hint of woodsmoke and listening to the skittering sound of fallen leaves. Summer was over. Autumn had come.