Chapter 13 - Rythe: Numb The Pain

The Shadow Realm, everything that's wrong with the world, and everything that's right, all under a single roof. Drugs, sex, money, magic, or whatever else your carnal desires crave for can be found right there. Somehow, I’ve become a regular down here even if I just go in and come right back out. I suppose I’m no different than everyone else.  

I make my way through the alley, headed to the front of the club and notice a woman. Too well put together for this place, but something is wrong. She’s sitting there trying to fix her mascara in a compact mirror while scooting away from what appears to be her own vomit. I see her dry heave on the verge of vomiting once again. Probably someone who came to the club thinking they would have the time of their life, saw her boyfriend with some Goblin and had a bad reaction with too much liquor. Happens all the time. Still, I feel a little sympathy for her, just shouldn’t be at a place like this. I drag a trash can over to her in case she needs to vomit again.  

“I don’t need it,” my chivalry goes unappreciated.

“You looked like you were going to puke,” I keep walking to the end of the alleyway.

“I’ve got it under control,” she follows me.

“Where are you going?”

“Back inside.”

“If the last time had you puking out your brains, probably not a good idea,” I’ll give her credit, she did a great job fixing her makeup.

“I can handle myself,” she gets argumentative as if I was trying to stop her.

“I never said you couldn’t. I don’t even know who you are.”

“Ci-Ci,” she says zipping her purse and standing up.

“Well Ci-Ci, I have to go now. Good luck,” I wave.

“See you,” she says, followed by a thud.

I turn around and see she’s fallen back to the ground; I notice some small specks of what appear to be mud and most certainly blood. We haven’t had rain in a while, so I’m not sure where she picked up mud. There’s more to this woman than what I’m seeing here. I don’t really care, but I feel like leaving a woman in the alleyway puking and unable to stand is a terrible thing. Worst thing that could happen is I speak to her and get a new story. I’ve still got a little while before I need another hit, so I take a seat next to her.

“What is in that club that you want so bad,” I ask.

“Magic.”

“Well, there’s a lot of magic that can be found in there. I don’t know what kind you’re looking for, but I can tell you this. I’ve been in there a thousand times before, none of the magic in there is something you want to tangle with. The people are worse than the magic. Do yourself a favor, leave it alone.”

“I can handle myself.”

“You don’t look that way. You can barely stand, you got vomit all over the alley, and your pretty red dress is covered with blood, and mud. So now I’ve said what you wanted to hear, you can’t handle what you were looking for.”

“Clay,” is all she responds with.

“What?”

“It’s clay, not mud.”

I pause to think, “who are you trying to bring back?”

“My husband.”

“What was his name?”

“Justin Christiano Evans,” Ci-Ci savors every letter of his name as she speaks.

“Sorry to hear that. How did he die?”

“I don’t know. I could never figure it out.”

“What, like no body?”

“No there was a body. Just couldn’t figure out what did it.”

“Would you mind if I asked to hear the story?”

“Well we were out, bounty hunting on Halloween a few years ago” she pauses.

“Ah, so you’re a hand for hire.”

“Not since Justin died.”

“I could see why you might call it off. But go on.”

“Well, I thought Justin had the kid cornered when he yelled, demanding to know what was going on,” she pauses, I let her wait. “Next thing I know he’s screaming in pain. I rush over, he’s bleeding out. I can’t stop it. The blood wouldn’t clot. Almost like he had been stabbed with a bunch of invisible knives.”

“That’s terrible, but at least you were with him. Did he have any last words for you?”

“No, he just kept repeating his brother Jonah’s name.”

“He must have been delirious at the end.”

“I don’t know,” she stands up and dusts herself off.

“You still thinking of going back in there?”

“Nah, I’m going home to find another way.”

“Well, good luck with that,” I offer her a wave and make my way inside.

“Yeah, whatever,” Ci-Ci stumbles into the opposite direction.

She’s heartbroken, and determined, I’ll give her that, but that won’t bring her husband back, and trying to pull his spirit back to this real, that’s nothing but trouble. The more interesting thing is she described her husband’s death as similar to the other victims I’ve been looking after. Of course, there won’t be a body to examine if it wasn’t left at the crime scene. This also confirms my theory that murders are supernatural in source. Justin Christiano Evans, I’ll make sure to look into that. His brother as well, Jonah, last name likely Evans as well. I make a mental note as I walk in and scan for Cassandra.

“Hey bae,” Cassandra greets me with a kiss on each cheek.

“What’s going on,” I take a seat in her private booth.

“Oh, you know, just watching the normies have some weird sex. There’s a guy over there trying to convince an Orc to choke him. He doesn’t know she’ll probably snap his neck,” we laugh.

“You never tried a little Orc action,” I smile at her.

“I’m even more selective with my partners than you are,” she burst into laughter and I join her.

“Same as always,” she says offering me the usual.

“Yeah, I hand her the cash.”

She hands me a twenty back, “price went down, they’re flooding the market,” Cassandra really is a dealer with a heart of gold.

“Ah, trying to push you out,” I pocket the half ounce in my jacket and the twenty into my pocket.

“Yeah, thinking of moving to Detroit,” she shrugs.

“Who will I buy from then? You’re the only one who sells fairy dust pure, and powdered.”

“Come to Detroit with me. It’s not like you have any other friends. I’m sure they have newspapers.”

“I think I’m done with the news,” I lean my head back, resting my head on top the booth.”

“Then be an English teacher,” she jokes, “I don’t know.”

“Promise me you’ll tell me if you leave.”

“Why the fuck do you care,” she bursts into laughter again.

“We can have the saddest going away party ever.”

“Yeah, you with a fairy ass up your nose and me with my favorite porn on loop. We’re a hell of couple, you and I.”

“Never say never dame,” I wink at her as I exit the booth.  

“Probably for the best,” she hugs me before I go.

Drug dealer with a heart of gold is the oldest trope of all time, but Cassandra really is good. Her prices are higher, but it’s all the way pure, no mixing agents. Hell, she actually numbs the fairies before removing the skin, not a step most people take because it increases the price. She just wants enough to get buy. Her motto is you can’t make money off dead customers. But I’m a journalist and dead customers make a lot of money.

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