Thursday, October 17, 2013

Party on the Riverwalk, Part Two

“So do you know how to get to the Sinner’s Dance?” Jennifer asked, shuffling her feet nervously. While she liked to put on a tough front, she really wasn’t used to dealing with people who were less fortunate. They made her a little nervous, truth be told.

The man smiled a grim smile, scratching at his neck slowly as he spoke. “Depends on what you’re willing to part with. Been a long while since I got a drink in me, seeing as all those freaks ‘ave been keeping me out of the bars round here.”
Timothy rolled his eyes and threw a twenty at the man, who greedily snatched it from the air with speed that belied his age.
“Just keep on heading straight down past the wood yards and over the old bridge. Once you go over, there’s gonna be another homeless guy sitting against a light pole. Show him your little flyer and you’ll be let on in.”
“How do you know this?” James asked, eyes narrowed. “How do we know you aren’t just yanking out chains and ripping us off?”
“You don’t,” the old man said with a careless shrug. “But I got yer money now, so no sense in lying to ya unless I think your willing to beat on an old man, and none of you look like you got the stomach for that.”
They all shifted uncomfortably at that, to which the old man crowed, slowly rising to his feet, scooping the discarded five on his way up. “Now if you will excuse me, I’m off to the corner store to buy me a case or two of beer! Might be able to share some with the fellas down by the rails, get a little weed…”
Timothy turned and looked down the foreboding alleyway that the old man had pointed out, the only lights spaced a good forty feet apart, and dim at best. The entire alleyway was littered with planks and large sheets of wood stacked against the cement walls, fire escapes mere inches above the gathered wood. A scant few trash cans, overflowing with garbage, were visible in the dim light.
All in all, not an inviting picture.
“This party better be fucking worth it,” James groused as he shoved his hands into his pockets, stomping off into the lead with Jennifer in tow, Timothy bringing up the rear.
For minutes they walked in silence, the only sounds being the sharp clacking of their hard soled shoes on stone alleyway and the distant call of mariachi bands from the River walk. Above the double story buildings, fireworks occasionally burst in the air, lighting up the alley to a disturbing degree. With one such burst Jennifer flinched back as she saw a large splatter of… something on the wall.
She hadn’t brought it to anyone’s attention, but it held her thoughts until they exited the alleyway onto a street running along the San Antonio River, a stone bridge sitting in front of them leading across the bubbling waters. Slowly walking across, Jennifer was the first to catch sight of the homeless man they sought out.
She suddenly wished she didn’t have that good of eyesight.
The man was huge and muscular, almost too muscular for his rags to contain him. With a tattered coat sewn from several other coats, he sat against a mailbox next to a light pole, drinking from a bottle in a brown paper bag. His skin was a sickly yellow, with open sores and lesions, his eyes pale and watery. Beneath his hood, as they approached him, they could see he was bald, though he had the faintest markings of a tattoo going up the back of his head, hidden from view.
“Spare some change?” He asked, his voice thick and course, holding out a hand towards James. James balked slightly, though quickly regained his nerve as he turned around and spoke with Jennifer in hushed tones. Turning back, he cleared his throat.
“We’re here for the Sinner’s Dance,” He said calmly, holding his nose high as if he were important.
The man sat there, staring at the long haired youth for several moments, before he wrestled his way to his feet, revealing he was three times as wide as any of them, and over a head taller.
“The dance is by invitation only. You got an invite, or what?” The man asked, taking a long swig from his bottle before wiping his mouth on his forearm.
Jennifer pulled the folded up flyer from her pocket, passing it forward with trembling hand to James, who unfolded it enough to show to the burly guardian. Looking over them critically, the man snorted once before shaking his head.
“How old are you kids?” He asked, eyebrow raised.
“Old enough to party.” James replied with confidence.
“Is that so? Well, who am I to turn away three fine specimens such as yourselves?” The man said, bowing drunkenly before them before laughing, slow and low. Turning, he walked up to a warehouse, windows boarded up and yellow police tape crossing over the entrance. Lifting up the tape, he pushed open the door. “Just head down to the basement, and have some fun. Tell the bartender that the first drink’s on Hastur.”
“Hastur? What kind of name is Hastur?” James asked as he ducked beneath the tape, entering the darkness of the warehouse.
“The kind that belongs to a man that can fuck you up big time if you keep asking dumbass questions, that’s what.” The man snapped, nodding his head to Jennifer as she ducked under the tape. Timothy stopped and pulled out his money clip, pulling a five from it and tucking it into the gigantic man’s front pocket.
“My father always said tip the doorman and pay the ferryman.” Timothy explained, earning a bark of laughter from the giant.

“Wise words to live by!” He cried as he slammed the door shut, plunging the trio into a musty darkness.

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