Fiction Friday: The Strix Chronicle Anthology
My windshield is a moth-gore massacre. The wipers make it worse. The road is all cricket croons, whispering leaves, and groans-by-night corn — all things that make monsters nervous. We crossed roads even fends fear to tread. Four domains. Four temperamental dead guys. Not a hitch. But there’s one last stop.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. That whole bit.
I kill the engine under blinking neon. It’s a strip club off of I-39, surrounded by farmland, the smell of diesel, and nothing and nothing, just north of Normal.
The animated lights do lewd things through the blur of glowing guts. She looks up at me from the passenger seat, from under her red hood — escaping strands of dark hair, a nine-year old grin, and those big, big eyes.
“You better wait out here,” I say.
“OK, Daddy.” She kisses my cheek. A goofy grin breaks my goonish face. Suddenly
it’s all worth it.
Out of the car, into the halogen-bright lot, and then into the music-throb dark.
“Here to see Rycroft,” I say.
The bouncer’s eyes narrow. I sigh and whisper a secret word. He turns and leads me further in, past the tables, the stage, and the weekday dancers who don’t look anything like the billboards that haunt the lonesome freeway. Can’t say I don’t scarf a few eyefuls though.
Back in the VIP rooms with the little shower stalls that offer certain slippery fantasies, the bouncer turns.
“Hey-hey-hey,” he says. “Aren’t you…that guy?”
“Yeah-yeah. You were in that movie. What’s it called? The one with the sledgehammer fight.”
I nod. Once upon a time, I was a stuntman. I’ve got King Kong proportions and a craggy, Karloffian demeanor, scored a lot of bit roles, always a bad-guy heavy, always dying in some horrible way. You won’t remember my name, but might recognize my face. The title of the ?ick will wriggle on the tip of your tongue.
He laughs. He claps me on the shoulder, shakes my hand. “Fan-fucking-tastic! An honor, man. Truly. Best death scene ever. Must be a blast doing that work.”
“Just something I used to do.”
“Whatcha got going these days?”
“This and that. Got a little girl to feed now.”
“Ah, right. Changes your world, don’t it?”
“That it does.”
He points to a door at the end of a hall. I take a breath and open it.
Back room office. I can count three of them. Two are dead. All look up.
You can grab Vampire: The Requiem’s The Strix Chronicle Anthology in ebook and print from DriveThruFiction.
For another preview of Lullay, Lullay, see this earlier blog post.