The prompt line is: "All that blood looks good on you. It really brings out your eyes.”
The prompt will be in BOLD in the story, and this is my current WIP, DUDE WITH A COOL CAR. Happy reading!
I came awake with a start, trying to get my bearings before I did anything drastic. My heart pounded in my chest and I panted as if I’d been running.
I was running…Wasn’t I?
I frowned as I sat up, taking in my bedroom. Everything sat quiet and serene. But the panic in my heart was real. Except nothing was happening where I sat in my bed.
I shot a look out the window and the half moon cast wan light over the ground. I couldn’t see the actual satellite from my window, but the ground glowed with its silvery light. Again, everything sat quiet and calm.
I knew it in my gut just as clearly as I knew when someone needed their cosmic bill collected. I shook my head, trying to ferret out the feelings and emotions associated with my gut instinct, but nothing came to me. I frowned. Must have been a nightmare.
Except I never had nightmares. As the physical manifestation of karma, my dreams weren’t full of fear. They always consisted of setting things right and the satisfaction that came with it.
Taking a deep breath to calm my heartbeat, I lay back and closed my eyes, trying to coax my stressed body back into relaxation. It had gotten harder and harder to do since Coop left, but it was better than having the man around me. I’d want him too much and I couldn’t trust him.
I settled finally and let my mind go back into that twilight area between waking and sleeping. At first, everything swirled around my awareness and I swirled with it, not focused on anything. But shadows and eddies of mist took shape and I found myself standing in the shadow cast by a building in an industrial part of a city. The walls had graffiti in large light-colored loops that were vaguely reflected in to puddles of the alley floor. Dumpsters created a strange obstacle course into the darkness and small mammals—probably rats—scurried away from any light presented.
Like the set of headlights on the vehicle at the mouth of the alley.
Rhythmic thumps came from behind one of the Dumpsters along with grunts and moans of pain. At first, I was just listening to them, but after a while I could feel the impacts of each blow and pain filtered into my awareness. Agony seared through the ribs on my right side and my left hand screamed with pain at each beat of my frantic heart. My face had grown numb from all the blows it had sustained and one eye had swollen shut.
What the actual fuck?
“All right, Kinsley. That’s enough.”
The beating stopped and from my place in the shadows I saw a cop with a nightstick step away from the Dumpster. It took me a few moments to realize Officer Kinsley had been beating someone on the ground. The man who’d spoken shifted in front of one headlight, his silhouette a stark, black smear against the light. He wore a fedora hat and actually held a walking cane. Now all he needs are black-sided spats and he’s got the whole Chicago Mafioso thing going.
Fedora Guy tilted his head to take in the body on the ground. “So, Marshal DeVille, have I gotten your attention now?”
Marshal DeVille? My blood chilled and my gut clamped into a painful spasm. I had to get closer to see if the name fit the man I thought I knew.
“F-f-fuck off.” I recognized the voice, but it sounded haggard, tired, and resigned.
Fedora Guy shook his head, tsking with disappointment. “Not the best response, Marshal. Kinsley?”
The uniform moved in and dealt several more blows, DeVille moaning with each impact. I felt them on my own body and bit back the screams as pain swelled in a crescendo. At last, Kinsley stopped and stepped back once more. I crept closer, trying to get a better view, but my breath wheezed in my chest, the pain making it hard to breathe.
“Now then.” Fedora Guy leaned forward on his cane. “I’ll say this again. Have I gotten your undivided attention, Marshal?”
“Y-y-yeah.” Anger remained in DeVille’s voice, but it had been banked.
“Very good.” Fedora Guy nodded and straightened before he tilted his head. “You know, all that blood looks good on you. It really brings out your eyes. Of course, you were much prettier before Kinsley got to you, but such is life.” He shrugged. “So here’s the deal. You need to stop looking into the Backlog. Don’t look for us or our money. Don’t talk to anyone about it. Don’t even mention it to your pretty, darkie girlfriend.”
Coop made a sound in the back of his throat and Fedora Guy nodded.
“Oh yeah, we know who she is and how to get to her, so keep that in mind.” Fedora Guy motioned to Kinsley. “Give him back his gun.”
The uniform set the gun on the ground near Coop, but far enough away that he couldn’t get to it quickly.
“This is how it’s all gonna play out. You forget about the Backlog. Stop researching where the money goes or who the players are, and you got back to your life as Marshal Cooper DeVille.” Fedora Guy waved at someone else and the engine of the car started, the headlights flickering with ignition. “If you don’t, we’ll come back to finish the job we started tonight. And we’ll make sure your girlfriend is collateral damage. Got me?”
“Y-y-you s-s-stay away f-f-from her or I’ll f-f-fuckin’ kill you.”
Officer Kinsley barked an ugly laugh. “You hear that, boss? He’s the big man givin’ orders now.” He aimed a kick at the man on the ground and I marked him for death in that moment.
“Hey, Marshal DeVille, the choice is yours. Your girlfriend won’t know a thing if you let the Backlog go. Simple as that.”
Oh, I’d know. I already did, and they’d just pissed off karma. From what I could tell, all the men surrounding Fedora Guy, him included, were due for some retribution. But he’d harmed my true mate, and while Coop and I had some issues to work out, no one harmed my mate and lived to tell about it. Fedora Guy and his crew were now marked for death. I’d see to it personally.
That's it for me this month. Check out the other authors who wrote something to the prompt.