2.13 - 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.

Black Friday - Arthur Ashe


 I've been working another project which is why chapters have been delayed, sorry. I'll be back on point next week. For now, enjoy what I've been working on.


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2.12 - Ci-Ci: Revival


At one point, the smell of blood didn't even phase me, it was a second nature. I didn’t even notice when the metallic odor would pierce through the air. The taste for that matter either. Blood had become a part of who I was. But now, the scent catches me almost immediately as I walk into the basement of The Shadow Realm.  

Blood magic, is complicated. There’s multiple types and they aren’t treated the same. Some people can form weapons from their own wounds, or even control the bodies of some people with their blood. Others can use it to heal or make individuals sicker. A power person will be able to do most, if not all of the above. Blood magic is looked down upon, right next to necromancy. Here’s the problem, people have a lot of ideas of what Blood Magic is, that are flat out incorrect. Rituals and sacrifices that use blood are just that, rituals and sacrifices. They aren’t blood magic, they are what they are, rituals and sacrifices. Just because they use blood, doesn’t make them blood magic.

One of the key differences is, you can smell it. The putrid smell of rotting flesh squeezed dry or coagulated blood gained through nefarious means smells bad. There’s a reason you can’t hide a dead body forever, and blood rots as well. As I approach the room the smell gets stronger, I’m heading in the right direction, if blood is all that’s needed, I may be able to do it myself.

Inside the room is larger than I expected, a small crowd has gathered in a circle to watch the actual preparations and eventual ceremony. A mound of clay the size of a human body is being shaped and molded by a Wood Elf, to match a photo of a deceased woman. All while blood is being injected, making the clay that much harder to work with. I feel for the artist. People like artists, carpenters, musicians and so on aren’t usually part of these ceremonies, just brought in to fulfil some part of the work that requires skilled labor beyond magic incantations.

From what I’ve picked up on with the talking two people are trying to bring back their mother. It costs nearly $100,000 for the ceremony to be performed. I don’t have that kind of money, but I could get it. Reactivating my license wouldn’t be such a dumb idea if I needed the money. A few high-risk jobs and I can make the money pretty quickly if I need to get it, hopefully it won’t cost that much. First, I need to see if it works.

Once the artist finishes her work, people spread out, leaving more room for the ritual. A small circle of cloaked individuals surrounds the children and begin chanting while moving their arms in precise yet erratic movements. There are no pentagrams like most people would expect and from what I can glance from beneath the cloaks is a mixture of human and elf chanters. I can’t tell what they’re chanting but I can recognize that it’s Latin, a long dead language. I can only imagine the kind of power they had back then. The power to conqueror countries in days and battle on equal footing with Gods.  

For a while there’s chanting, and nothing. Slowly I begin to feel light headed, a smoke fills the room from some place I can’t see and people begin to faint. Something is happening, I fight the urge to pass out like the others and see ritual through. Slowly a portal begins to grow and open in the floor near the clay mound, now being misshapen by the portal, warping our surroundings.

I drop to one knee, I’m the last person standing that isn’t involved with the actual ritual. The portal quickly maxes in diameter, a dark and grim world is visible slightly before it is snapped close. More smoke makes the room harder to see. I didn’t witness anything come from the portal, but I can feel it. A great presence pushing down on me and everything else trying to exert a dominant will over us all. The clay is destroyed and devoured by some unseen beast as the gathered adults realize that is not the mother who raised them up from children.

A chain is brought forth and an attempt is made to chain this force, but it does no good. Soon the clay has reappeared, and begun wrapping around what was unseen at this point. Now a twisted visage of the mother they had lost, filled with demonic proportions. Vomit spews from my mouth as I find myself succumbing on the verge of passing out.

***


I awake to find myself being cared for by several of the cloaked figures, thankful for whatever I had done. The people looking to bring back their mother cry loudly on the other side of the room. No signs of the creature, the clay or the portals. But there is blood and clay, everywhere, including me.

That’s the thing about blood magic, it is messy, doesn’t matter how skilled you are or precise you are, there’s going to need to be a cleanup. I can’t help with cleaning this; the taste of vomit reenters my mouth. I swallow it down long enough to ask for an exit, not thinking about how I just swallowed puke back down.

I rush into the back alley and lean against a wall as everything from this morning until my drinks at the club exits my body at the wrong end. My legs are weak, and standing is hard so I take a seat at the other side of the alleyway. I wish I had brought a jacket, it’s cold now. So damn cold, haven’t felt like this since I was suffering through low iron. Not the puke, that was from watching some kind of demon claw back into this would by possessing a statue of a mother. I don’t think this is the route I’ll be taking.  

For the first time, I think Justin might be right, I might be forced to let this go if I can’t find any other ways.