Chapter 11 - Ci-Ci: Shadow Realm

The Shadow Realm, to most people it's the most exclusive nightclub in the city. A place where celebrities come to rubs shoulders with the local big shots. Some of the world’s biggest celebrities haven’t been able to cross through these doors. But here’s the thing, there’s a little secret to getting in, well actually two. The first is the same as always, you just have to know the right person. The second is to be licensed.

The reason being is because The Shadow Realm is a club is billed as a club for the dark arts for those in the know. Inside, it really is an incredible night club. But, down below, there’s miles of tunnels. Different stores offering outlawed ingredients, curses for cheap, sacrifices for ceremony and tomes of terror. Everything evil in the world of magic is down here as far as I know. I’ve only been here twice in the past, and each time I didn’t find anything worth note. Third time is the charm tonight. I hand the bouncer my expired card, and he doesn’t question it. You have to keep up with jobs, doesn’t matter if you’re writing reports or turning in bodies otherwise your license expires. However, outside of the Syndicate, most people consider you registered forever once you’ve been registered. If anything, the expired license helps me get in, because an active one means I might be hunting someone.

Inside the DJ is blasting classic Chicago House Music mixed with some Elven chanting. I can’t pick out the dialect but history tells me it’s from Dark Elves. History of Black Americans and Dark Elves is essentially linked, even before the arrival here in America. We were enslaved, they were enslaved, our homelands were destroyed, as were theirs and so on and so on. When you go through the same circumstances, a bond forms, it is what is. The dance floor is the only place consistently lit, a mix of different dance styles from around the world. Every now and then a blue strobe light flashes through lighting the dark room. The place is far from drug free. Almost reminds me of the stories from Studio 54. I watch a Orc snort cocaine from the chest of a young Goblin boy before aggressively kissing a Wood Elf woman while groping them both.

Plenty of people are drinking, but this is the home of drugs regular and irregular. I move through slowly watching a human inhaling various fumes from a small wooden tube as several Wood Elves laugh. Whatever he’s taking is natural, won’t harm him. Wood Elves don’t do any drugs that aren’t natural, doesn’t agree with their biology. But, it isn’t for human consumption either, he’s going to be higher than giraffe genitals before the end of the night especially if he doesn’t slow down. The most popular drug here, Fairy Dust.

Fairy Dust is a disgusting drug, at least in my eyes. But, it’s cheap and easy to produce. The process is simple, get a fairy, strip the flesh from their bodies, dehydrate it, grind it down. The reason it’s so cheap isn’t because of an abundance of fairies, it’s because the skin grows back rather quickly. Killing a fairy is easy, but they have outstanding healing factors as well. The fairies often sell the flesh themselves, it’s no different than a human selling plasma. The drug is popular, like a high-powered cocaine with more medical uses. Can’t say I ever tried, but I’m not eager to shove particles of fairy up my nose either.

I make my way to the bar and order a Jack and coke. Not the classiest drink for a lady, but I’m not the classiest of ladies. I make small talk at the bar, trying to get reoriented with the way things are going in the world. Apparently, some Adze vampire is pissing off one of the Primeval families. I love it, I wish nothing but the best for her. While Dark Elves share history with Black Americans for the last two hundred or so years, Adze are Black Americans. Vampires birthed in blood and magic is what they say, one thing is for certain, it was to murder their slave masters. Some Primeval Vampires were slave owners, as far as I’m concerned this is revenge well served.

I’ve spent enough time blending in. The real reason I’m here is because the guy at the shop kept telling me I could see how dangerous a resurrection is. I’m not worried about danger, push come to shove, I can still handle myself. Instead I’m after whoever is performing the resurrections. I’ve got money saved up, I can at least make a down payment if they’re willing to take payment. If not, I’m sure there are other ways to get them to do the job.

“Another Jack and coke,” the bartender asks.

“Yeah,” he wanders off to mix the drank for me.

“Anything else for you? Fried jellyfish is good tonight,” he offers.

“I’ll pass, but I do need something else from you.”

“Anything you need,” he smiles and I notice his teeth. Even if he isn’t transformed, he’s a were…something. I wouldn’t call him a wolf, but maybe some kind of rodent.

“I heard someone is doing a resurrection downstairs, I want to watch.”

“No you don’t. The things that go on down there aren’t good. I mean, none of this place is good, but it pays well. Down there, is dark, you can feel it in the air when you walk through. Leave it alone,” he pleads with me.

“I’m getting really tired of men telling me what to do lately, so just tell me where I need to go. Otherwise, I’m going to head downstairs and fuck up everything, then when they ask why, I’ll give them your name….Todd,” I stare at him as he takes a few big gulps of air.

“Fine, head downstairs, take the first left, all the way to the end room 920,” he gives up the information.

“Thanks, you’ve been great,” here’s a tip, a slide a five dollar bill into his hand.

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