Friday, November 9, 2012

Upon Dark Wing

Upon Dark Wing
That which has haunted my dreams for a fortnight or more,
Pale of flesh and gleaming red eyes which bore,
Jaunting along walls, inhuman movements terrifying to behold,
Has finally come to claim that which has been sold

Crimson dead eyes dance long my supine frame
As if seeking which part first to claim
My tender meat and warm blood it does desire
But it visibly curbs such wants due to a higher power

“You know why,” its says, the words cutting my mind like a knife
“That tonight is the last night of your miserable life?”
And know well I do, I happily admit,
That tonight will be the night of my final exit

“Will I see her? Will she be there?” I croak to inquire,
“Will she be with me, in the Heavenly Choir?”
The creature’s eyes grow wide, teeth a silvery gleam
A horrid dark chuckle rumbling from its throat and it starts to sing.

“She burns as well as the rest.” It sings soothing my worries.
“For her sins done in life, the flames bury her with unholy fury.”
The Beast now looms overhead, arms stretched out as if to embrace
And I find myself leaning in, the cold of death breathing soft on my face.
“So long as she burns, than all shall be well.
Take me dear Angel, for my fears have been quelled.”
Cradled like a child to chilled breast,
Hugging me close with no protests,
The Angel takes flight upon rotted black wing
The fell chill of death now stilling my joyous heart,
Dragging my soul to where the Seraphim still sing.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Many Misadventures of Master Mystery: Murderous Mohrgs from the Moors, Part Four

      “…So I tells the bloke, why not just put the bloody ting on the mantle an’ call it yer mum!” Charles finishes his story with a snort and a laugh, on shared by everyone at the table save Reginald, who was nursing the last of his Absinthe with both a look of bliss and disdain.
So far he’d been slumming it with these magical dock workers, all clearly descended from Troll or perhaps even Ogre stock, and he’d yet to have even gotten a bit of lip service to the murders within Whitechapel.
Oh, he’d gleaned a few things here and there. The murderer was targeting magical people, specifically women. The murderer was removing organs after the fact, but was particularly brutal in his methodology, generally slitting the throat of the victim in a fashion that O’Donahue referred to as a “Chelsea Grin.” So far the public, and indeed Reginald himself, had been convinced those targeted were mere ladies of the evening.
That was what all of the clues pointed to, in any sense.
Sipping from his second bottle of Absinthe, Reginald steeped his fingers before himself as he pretended to listen to the boisterous workers as they told their bawdy tales and sordid deeds. He’d already woven a subtle charm over himself to make those around him merely “forget” he was there, and in doing so was learning more and more about the London underground.
The only victim reported to the police so far had been dear Mary Anne, who had inde3ed been a prostitute.
She’d also been part-Succubae, a descendent of a fiend that fed off of latent sexual energy from their string of lovers. For a being such as her, a profession such as that of a working girl seemed appropriate. There had been two other deaths that hadn’t been reported due to their… sensitive nature. One was a Witch from Nottingham that had come to town with the intent to sell a good deal of treated opium, her liver and spleen cut from her body with unique precision.
The third victim was the daughter of a local Hedge Wizard, a sort of magical repair man for the supernatural community. Emily Schroeder had died a horrid death to say the very least, but she’d at least been able to put up a fight. She’d been found dead, her throat slashed and neck broke, numerous organs missing from a savaged chest cavity… but a few feet from her lay a silver knife with what Charles had described as “charred goo.”
With that tidbit of information, along with the knowledge that the killer seemed to prefer hunting those of the supernatural community, Reginald had a good deal to begin his case with. Now all he had to do was wriggle his way onto the case itself…
            Sitting in perhaps the stiffest wooden chair in all of London, Reginald quietly picked the smallest pieces of lint from his black silken clothes as the Detective Inspector looked over his documentation citing him as an “outside source called in to aid the local Police with the rising rate of crime in Whitechapel,” or some other such nonsense. He’d merely glamoured a newspaper to reflect impressive qualifications, along with a message proclaiming him to be the Metropolitan Police force’s newest forensics expert.
            Perhaps the only thing not to be a bold faced lie upon that paper was his self-proclaimed title of forensics expert. Over the years Reginald had discovered that the budding world of science was in no way an enemy to the ancient world of magic, but more of a complimentary tool that could be used side by side with his esoteric forms of investigation, providing him not only a new perspective with which to look at a crime, but evidence he could present to normal people without having to resort to such… petty trickery, like some common street magician.
            “So… Master Reginald,” The Inspector said, clearing his throat as he folded the magically enhanced newspaper in half, placing it gently atop his paper strewn desk next to his lukewarm cup of tea. “I must say it is something of a relief to be getting a man of your qualifications at such a time as this. I’m sure you’ve heard of the recent killing in the Whitechapel district, no doubt?”
            “Of course,” Reginald replies, bobbing his head as in ascent. Reading the man’s aura, Reginald could tell he was a ball of nerves string far too taut, with too little rest. His words rang true to say the least: he was glad to have someone of the visiting Wizards supposed skills around. “I know I am from America, but my skills are among the finest in the western world I assure you. Allow me a chance to take a crack at this killer and perhaps I’ll uncover a stone as of yet unturned.”
            He waves his hands in front of him, leaning back in his far more comfortable chair with a smile upon his moustached face. “By all means, please do. The poor girl is still in the morgue, the poor lass; the clergymen have been up in arms at my refusal to release her remains for a proper burial, but with the recent advances in medicine and forensics…”
            “You wanted to wait for an expert to examine her before turning her over for burial.” Reginald finishes for him, nodding in understanding. “Well I happen to be such an expert, so let’s get this unpleasantness undone, shall we?”
Both men stand up, the portly detective grunting as he gets to his feet, tugging at his vest to smooth out the wrinkles. Reginald ran his thumb over the head of his walking stick, activating an enchantment that made those around him seem to disregard him, making them suddenly remember something of great importance or that they’d forgotten something instead of noticing the magical detective.
“That’s alright Detective Inspector, I know where the morgue is and already have the clearance granted by you to perform the autopsy.” Reginald said with a kind smile, allowing a bit of energy to flow into his walking stick to empower the confusing aura it gave off. “Just give me the papers and I’ll be on my way. I imagine you have more important matters than watching a yank cut into a stiff, eh?”
The detective stared at Reginald for a moment before shaking his head, muttering to himself how he did have a notice that needed to be addressed. He leaned over his desk and grabbed a small stack of papers, as well as a golden badge that would allow him access to restricted areas of any police stations. Accepting them with a kind smile and firm handshake, Reginald allowed the heavy set man to drop back into his chair, a relaxed sigh escaping his lips.
Reginald made his way from the office towards the morgue, a room set in the basement of the Metro Police station. Walking past several officers at a brisk pace, he quickly shuffled through the papers that the befuddled Detective Inspector, magically altering certain portions to grant him further access here, allowing him certain privileges there.
Descending the stairs two steps at a time, Reginald quickly made his way to the morgue with a sense of familiarity. All places that housed the dead were of course more attuned to the magical world due to the passage of the souls from this world to the next. Stopping at the door to the morgue, Reginald straightens his coat, reaching into his pocket for a small tool kit bound with a leather thong.
Knocking on the door hurriedly, Reginald waited to see if anyone was within the morgue at the moment.
“Come in!” A woman’s voice called out, hollow and watery.
Smiling grimly, Reginald pushes the door open into the dimly lit room holding five bodies on metal push tables, along with three specters hovering about, all bearing horrendous wounds they’d sustained in life. One familiar ghost drifted down from her perch atop a cabinet, her clothes silvery where the blood spattered wounds had been inflicted upon her in life. Her throat was savagely torn to utter shreds, whereas her abdominal wounds were neat and precise.
She lunged forward, her sunken features seemingly elated at the very sight of him. “You came after all!” She cried her voice watery as silvery fluids seeped from her opened wound. She wrapped herself around him in what would have been a hug had she been solid, but was more of a chilling wind combined with the slimy feel of ectoplasm seeping through his clothes.
Today was turning out to be as bad as he thought it would be. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Son of a Preacher Man: The Carver, Part Three

The rest of the meal passed pleasantly enough for me, though Takeshi kept his eyes locked on me the whole time as he ate his steak. I myself merely had ordered the Seafood platter to appease the nervous waitress, who seemed to somehow be nervous around me. Perhaps she could sense what I was.
We make idle chatter, catching up on old times like old friends often do, doing my best to break the ice with a few jokes or humorous tales I’d heard during my long life. As he finished his steak and began on his baked potato, I pulled an envelope from my wallet and placed it on the table. Looking at it, he looked back to my eyes with the same nervous tension that I’d tried so hard to quell.
“Now I know you believe me to be the perpetrator in this “Carver” case of yours, and I must admit my hand was involved.” I say, holding my hands up as if to surrender. “But the wholesale slaughter of so many, all in one night… it’s just not good business to do so.”
“What is good business to you then Salinger?” He asked, an edge to his voice.
“Please, call me Shylock. Good business to me is leaving no clues and leaving a clean crime scene. From what I recall when I left the entire place was practically drenched in blood and positively stank of gore. Like I said, not good business.”
“What does that even mean?” Takeshi asked, cutting into his potatoes slowly.
“What it means is that even as we speak, your forensic experts are determining that the victims hearts were torn out with a forceful jab to the chest, piercing through bone and muscle alike to reach the precious organ. What you thought to be my handiwork in cleanly cutting them apart was actually the brutality of my son finally showing itself for the first time.”
“Your son?” Takeshi asked, disbelief on his face.
“Shocked? Yes, before I was turned into what I am today, I had a baby boy that survived the horrors War with me. I cared for him as best I could, and helped him along his own path to greatness in becoming an engineer.” I said, looking at the salt shaker as memories flew past my mind’s eye of better days. “But then he grew ill. Liver cancer, inoperable at the time, a parasite slowly leeching the very life from the very flesh and blood that had kept me human for so many years, that had prevented me from being a mindless hunter… a beast just looking for his next meal.”
“So what happened?” Takeshi asked, leaning forward.
“I Turned him. Human illnesses were of no concern to me, and I hoped that my own sickness would override his, kill it as it transformed him into a Vampire as well.” I continue, reading the thoughts of a few people passing outside out booth, waiting for Takeshi’s signal. “Sadly, his cancer persevered and kept him locked in a state of permanent weakness and pain, the only panacea a temporary one that he could be granted very rarely due tio his own unique gifts.”
“Yes, just as I can wrap the shadows around me to fade into the darkness and read minds, he could transfer wounds and his ailments to other people, living hosts. Of course such hosts would die, and his ailments would return… we kept on like this for well over twenty years, before you entered my life.”
“Me? What do I have to do with anything?” Takeshi asked, looking at me with concern.
“You were a man bent on catching the killer that was plaguing your town, a man you thought to be a heartless, amoral beast that merely wished to kill.” I said, my voice full of emotion. “And for the first time in a long time, I felt a pang of guilt over my actions, however necessary they were for my continued survival.”
“So that’s why you stopped?” Takeshi asks around a mouthful of potato.
“No, that is merely incidental. What made me stop was the discovery that I could create a new home, and a new family far from here. Start anew, as it were.” I said with a growing smile. “When time is but a meaningless concept, you have to dig up your roots now and again, just to chase away the doldrums.”
“So you stopped because you were… bored?”
“Essentially. Your partner was… a relative of mine, however distant, and I chose to claim his niece as my next Vampire. The poor girl was a wreck, a torrent of depression and darkness that not even I could rival on my darkest of days.”
“Elizabeth…?” Takeshi asked, remembering how upset his old partner had been upon his niece’s suicide. “But she killed herself!”
“Again, that is merely incidental. I was there when she slit her throat, and I aided her during her transition.” I say with a calm reverie as I remember Elizabeth, who chose to be called Ash thereafter, charming the mortician into thinking the corpse of a drifter we’d brought in was indeed her own body. Her dark gifts were the ability to cloud others minds with illusions and the creation of Ghouls, intelligent dead that hungered for the flesh of the recently deceased.
“So she’s still alive?”
“In a way, yes. She lives with me and our extended family down in the South, far away from the big city lights and the nosy neighbors and detectives.” I answer honestly, before leaning forward in my seat. “I bet you’re wondering what’s that envelope there, aren’t you?”
He remained silent, but I could see it in his eyes.
“It’s where my no-good son, cured of his ailment through a bit of trickery, has holed himself up at here in the big city. He fed enough at that little rally to not have to hunt again for over two months, but rest assured, he will hunt again.”
“And you’d just turn it over to me?” Takeshi asks, sounding a tad doubtful.
“I’d trade it to you in exchange for two things: the first being calling off your reinforcements so I don’t have to carve my way out this fine restaurant myself, the second being that you deliver a letter to your former partner, on behalf of Elizabeth. Tell him it’s from a lawyer that was told to give it to him after a number of years had passed.”
“What’s in it?” Takeshi asks guardedly. Rightfully so, as Elizabeth’s death had led to a series of child abductions and murders, as well as a round of post-mortem letters dear Elizabeth had written speaking ill of her former family.
“A check. From what I can tell, he has begun to develop the same disease that claimed his father, and was claiming my son. The money in the check will cover all the necessary costs to keep him healthy for years to come.”
“Why?” Takeshi asked after a few moments, staring at the envelope on the table.
“Because my family, while gruesome by your standards, are not rabid dogs loose amongst sheep. We do not merely kill as wantonly as my recently revified son thinks we ought to. We take what little we need and merely live on what will keep us going.” I say with a heavy heart. “We created a Vampire for him from a nosy child that had come to our property, having him transfer his disease over to the boy before doing so. Now that child is locked in eternal torment, his cancer slowly consuming his body as his Vampirism tries regenerates the lost cells within his body as fast as it can.”
“Why not just kill him yourself?” Takeshi asked quietly.
I look at him with a slight frown. “Because we don’t kill our own. If you want the Carver to be stopped, than you’d best agree to the trade and call your bodyguards off.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dark Moon Digest Nine is Out!

Take a look and order one for yourself. Always nice to help out the local publishers, and local authors, I say,

Monday, November 5, 2012

Son of a Preacher Man: The Carver, Part Two

 Takeshi Sato, now off duty, clutched the ink smudged paper in his white knuckled hand as he stood in front of what he hoped would be the final chapter to this horrible nightmare. While his team had been able to decipher the code engraved upon the men, all it gave was an address to a used bookstore.
 Not exactly helpful.
 But then Takeshi had received a note from one of the numerous clerks that worked beneath him, saying it'd been left with a Polaroid photo.
 A black one.
 His forensics team had been able to determine it was a picture of the night sky in the city, the city lights blotting out the starlight and the moon going through its New Moon cycle. Written on the back had been a simple scrawl:
"Two truths in life: the blues and jazz will always be classic, and there is always a Silver Lining. So lounge about for a bit and enjoy some company one dark night."
The cold night air whipped by him as bundled up couples moved past him into the lounge where the low, mournful sound of the blues poured from.
Shaking away the chill of the night, he moved to the door, pulling it open. The low murmur of the crowd was pleasantly muffled by the blues group pouring out melancholy words of misery and sadness. A cheerful attendant stood behind a podium, smiling at the aged Asian officer as he walked up to her.
“Um… my name is Takeshi Sato. I think there might be somebody waiting for me here this evening?” Takeshi asked, feeling stupid for his wild guess that tonight would be the night the Organ-Snatcher would choose to meet, the darkness of the streets from the lack of a moon fitting his modus operandi, his only modus operandi that Takeshi was ever able to tag him with.
Much to his surprise the girl nodded and pointed to her book. “Yes sir, you have one of the private booths in the back near the band. Let me walk you there and I’ll have someone take your order for you.”
Following her through this surreal moment, Takeshi’s eyes scanned the rear booths, all shrouded with curtains for privacy, lit by candlelit from within. There was only one booth with the curtains drawn tight.
“My… friend, has he… has he been waiting long?” Takeshi asks above the den of the crowd, causing the hostess to turn and look at him with a thoughtful expression.
“He came in around seven, so only about three hours.” She said with a laugh, quickly covering it up. “He didn’t seem to mind waiting though, making requests from the band as often as we’ll let him.”
“What does he request?” Takeshi asked, his curiosity eating him alive as the wove through the sea of tables.
“He’s had the band play this one song three times now, the Son of a Preacher man, but otherwise he asks for Johnny Cash songs.” She said with a genial shrug, stopping outside the booth. “Mr. Salinger, your guest is here.”
“Go ahead and undo the curtain, but please close it after he’s settled himself in.” Came a calm voice with just the barest hint of an accent. “And anything he orders, just put on my tab.”
“Yes sir!” The hostess chirped before turning to Takeshi, “A waitress will be here in a moment.”
“Thank you,” Takeshi stuttered as he pulled the curtain open and moved into the booth seat, pulling the curtain closed as he took in the appearance of the man he’d spent a full year hunting.
He was disappointed.
The man was slightly older, yes, but Takeshi was older than he was easily. This man had greying hair peppered with black flakes desperately hanging on, skin that had just started to crinkle with age, around the corners of his lips and his eyes. Truthfully, Takeshi couldn’t place his age to save his life, but for some reason, be it the way the man held himself or by the haunted look of his hazel eyes, he looked far older than the rest of his body did.
He was dressed in a fine coat and suit with a blood red tie, golden cufflinks sparkling from his wrist.
“So…” Takeshi started, looking at the man he knew to have killed at least eighty people between the killings a few nights ago and his previous stint. “Why?”
The man, this Salinger, merely leaned forward, an expensive tray of delicious looking steamed crab and shrimp sitting untouched by his elbow. “Because a good crime can only be a great one if the people understand it.”
“Chief Detective… not much more room for advancement for you, is there?” Salinger asked, changing the subject. “Barring a good number of people go missing or die in a sudden way.”
“What do you mean by that?” Takeshi asked, a little afraid to know the answer. He couldn’t exactly pull his gun on this man in such close quarters, and he saw the autopsy reports from his victims’ years ago, the pictures of those foolish enough to think he was harmless.
“What I mean is that you are stuck in a virtual quagmire of office politics and bureaucracy that will see to it that you’ll never advance beyond where you are now, and you know it.” Salinger said, once again leaning back in his seat, just as the curtain opened up and a slender arm reached in dropping off a martini with three olives and a medium rare steak.
His favorite.
He looked up at Salinger who merely waved it away. “You’d feel better not knowing, trust me. Now, the only way for you to advance is to have you make headlines like you did with my case.”
“But I never solved it!” Takeshi said around a mouthful of steak.
“Because you couldn’t. But I noticed you trying, and let me tell you if the game had been fair back then you would have caught me.” Salinger said with no bravado or derision, just as a man stating facts. “Go ahead, I know you’ll never be able to rest should you never be able to ask certain… aspects of my killings.”
“What were you doing with the organs that you stole? How did you choose who to attack?” Takeshi asked hurriedly, ignoring the eerie fact that the man somehow seemed to know what he was thinking.
“Eleven surgeons across the state of New York would trade with me the stolen organs for polluted blood taken from the ill: HIV patients, Hepatitis victims, and the like.” Salinger replied while lifting a small stray hair from his coat with a gloved hand. “As for how I chose, I’d usually choose them from weddings I would attend.”
“Yes, at a Temple I used to frequent. As you may not have ever guessed, I’m-”
“Jewish… that’s why there were three months when there were no attacks!” Takeshi said suddenly, interrupting Salinger, who merely sat by bemused. “The New Moon fell on the Sabbath!”
Nodding, Salinger clapped a few times while letting out a low chuckle. “I know you had the police searching the city from top to bottom for my supposed extra victims, but I never hunted on the Sabbath.”
“But why hunt during the full moon?”
“Well that would be because I’m a Vampire.” Salinger replied simply enough, holding up a hand to prevent Takeshi from saying anything. “As such, I have certain abilities that allow me to hunt better within the darkness, to read the minds of those around me and grant me a certain measure of strength and speed. Makes me an excellent killer, truth be told.”
“You’re a Vampire?” Takeshi chuckled, his opinion of this criminal mastermind slowly warping into that of a deranged killer who’d merely had a savant level of planning to prevent himself from being captured.
“Proof would change your opinion of me I assume? And savant’s are good at only a few things, while I excel at hundreds.” He asked.
Takeshi, unnerved by the comment, merely shrugged as he cut another slice of steak away, waiting for Salinger to turn into a wolf or bat.
Instead he turned into a corpse. Slowly at first, so slow in fact Takeshi couldn’t tell. But with every second that ticked by Salinger grew thinner, his eyes more sunken, his skin sallow. Blue veins stretching along his neck and temples slowly turned black, radiating out like spider webs over his frame as his hazel eyes turned a hellish red, his mouth distending as a pair of snake-like fangs unfolded from the roof of his mouth. His skin continued to grow paler and paler as it began to shed and flake away, as if all the moisture was being drained from his body. His bones creaking while his skin rustled like dry leaves in the street, he reached into his coat and pulled a flask from an inner pocket before passing it to me, his arm shaking from the strain.
“Take it…” he hissed, his voice now a series of sibilant tones whispering at the fringes of my mind.
Grasping the silver flask and unscrewing the top, I’m instantly revolted by the coppery scent of blood that comes from the flask, a scent that seems to send Salinger into a fit of blissful shivers.
“B Negative… my favorite…” The voices whisper in my ear, coaxing me to hand the flask back to the… thing sitting across from me. He takes it gratefully, putting the flask to his lip and drinking greedily from it.\
Within moments his body is once again whole, his skin flushed and pink, his eyes now a soft green color. Screwing the cap back onto the flask, he tucked it into his jacket in silence, staring at me with a wicked smile.
“Believe me now?”

Stanton Creed Pt. Two

Stanton moved over to the cooler, squatting down to examine the various bottles of liquor arrayed before him. Despite the rot betwixt his ears, he could hear the girls murmuring between themselves, the remaining two boys muttering dark mutterings. Scooping up a heavy glass bottle of rum bearing an image of a cocky pirate, Stanton looked over his shoulder.
“Negro? You got a name?” Stanton asked, preferring not to have to call him by his race the entire game.
“It’s James you racist motherfucker.” The man replied through gritted teeth, a fist clenched at his side. “And you can’t just make us do this! What if we just run?”
Stanton let out a wicked laugh as he burst into a puff of black sand and shadow, reforming between the two men holding the bottle of rum, both arms slung around their shoulders. “I’m cursed to roam these lands boy,” Stanton said, stressing the last word with amusement before shoving the bottle into the older boys hands. “Since we’re getting along like a circle with a peace pipe, let’s hear some names so I don’t have to call you by what I think of you.”
The older boy, holding the bottle and looking a tad confused, merely said his name in a single word as he moved to grab shot glasses fro his backpack. “Jesse.”
“Jesse and James,” Stanton said with a thick chuckle, taking a moment to hawk and spit a globule of mud and roaches from his lungs, wiping his mouth on his dirt encrusted sleeve. “I knew a Jesse and a James back when I was more flesh than bone. Good fellas, honest through and through.”
“I’m Jessica,” A blonde girl in a two piece swimsuit, sitting next to a girl with similar hair and facial features. “And this is my sister Becky.”
Stanton merely waved at them with a cocky grin before turning his eyes as cold as death upon the last two women, Jesse walking amongst them passing out shot glasses, one by one.
Stanton smiled as his shot glass bore a small drawing of a devil on it, along with the words “South Padre” across the creatures furry ass.
“I’m Sara,” a thin brunette said, her hands in her lap and eyes on the bonfire. Girl’s in shock… Stanton thought, looking down at the corpse of the man he’d shot for being difficult. Toeing him with his muddy boot, Sara winced as he did so bringing a horrid smile to Stanon’s wrinkled features.
“And I’m Jackie,” Said a thicker girl that, if Stanton’s rotten eyes weren’t mistaken, was of injun blood.
“And who’s this lump,” Stanton asked, kicking the warm corpse soaking in it’s own bloody sand.
“Jay,” Sara said with a choke.
“Ah… young love.” Stanton said with a sneer. “You beat me in this contest girl, I’ll bring him back for you, healthy as a horse. But old Stanton’ll want something in exchange for this extra bet.”
“What do you want?” She asked, tears welling at the edges of her eyes.
“If I win, I get your soul nonetheless, as well as his, but I also want two additional souls. Don’t care how you get them. You just gotta kill two people before offing yourself.” Stanton said, smiling as he face went a further shade of pale. “You win, I’ll bring the boy back. Simple enough?”
“Now wait a minute mister!” Jackie said suddenly, standing and pointing down at the dead man perched atop a comfortable mound of sand. “Who the hell do you think you are to do this to us? What do we get if we win other than what we already had?”
Stanton stared at Jackie with his dead eyes for a moment before a wry smile cracked his face. “My oh my, a woman with sense! Alright then, you best ol’ Stanton Creed in the game of Drink and toss my body in the well at the top of the hill, you’ll find buried beneath my headstone a sack of gold. Don’t ask me how I got it ‘cause you won’t like the answer, but suffice to say it should make you all plenty happy.”
Quiet murmurs broke out around the camp at the sudden addition of not only living past this night, but possibly being richer. Only Sara remained silent, staring across the bonfire into the glimmering dead eyes of Stanton Creed.
“We’ll play your little game cowboy,” She said in a low voice, “and we’ll beat you too. We have to.”
Stanton just smiled as Jesse began filling up everyone’s shot glass one by one.
The game was on.