“Hey baby, how much for a go-round?”
Startled, I whirled to find myself facing a nondescript Suit. Slummer. He fingered his money clip in plain view, pegging him for an outlier. Anybody who lived in Darktown knew better than to flash cash around. His gaze darted nervously from me to the play-girls and Nancies lining the street. Most likely, he was afraid of being caught, but he shouldn’t have worried. The sky-eyes seldom showed up in the Market during the day. Too many chances for somebody to try to take one down, and that was an expense the Devani didn’t want to incur. They had learned the hard way to leave the streets in Darktown and the Trips to the bogeys. Nobody with any sense went into the Trips at night unless they lived there.
I glanced down at my outfit, wondering what about it screamed hooker to him. Yes, I was showing some skin, but not like the play-girls. But the dead giveaway should have been my sword, sheathed in the scabbard slung over my shoulder. Sex-for-sales didn’t tend to carry large, ornate, prickly sharp blades when they were working. They were usually packing, yes, but not so obviously.
I brushed him off. “I’m not selling what you’re looking for.”
He tugged on his tie and cleared his throat. “You sure? I can pay—”
I stared at him coolly and then grabbed his collar, shoving him up against the wall, hard. The shadow of fear clouded his eyes as he realized just how strong I was. Good. He needed to learn a lesson before somebody really nasty got to him.
“You see my sword here?” I pointed to the hilt of my sword with one hand while holding him firm with the other.
“I thought it was a prop,” he squeaked out.
“Trust me, it’s not. I could cut you in half.” I suddenly smelled urine and realized he had peed himself. “Are you afraid?”
He nodded. I could have let go, but I wanted the lesson to sink in. “Then you’re not entirely stupid. You should be afraid. But you’re lucky that I’m the one you stumbled onto and not one of the bogeys. The shadow men don’t like strangers, and their play-girls are usually armed with steely knives and bowie clips that they’ll use without hesitation on the likes of you.”
A tendril of Wandering Ivy reached out from the swath covering the side of the building, tapping him on the shoulder, and his eyes grew wider. He squirmed harder.
“Please, let me go. It’s going to choke me.”
“And that would break my heart how?” But I loosened my grip, letting his feet hit the ground again. I held firm to his collar, ignoring the tendril. I could tear it away if the ivy got pushy.
“While we’re on the subject of stupidity, you might want to tuck your cash out of sight. You’re in Darktown, for fuck’s sake. Use your common sense. Daylight won’t protect you here. Neither will the Devani. Meanwhile, there are plenty of thieves around here who wouldn’t think twice about dragging your sorry ass into one of the burrow-lanes and snagging that windfall. Now, why don’t you run on back to Croix or Uptown, or wherever it is you’re from, and if you’re still horny, call one of the sky-high girls. Don’t come here again. Slumming’s not a hobby for the weak of heart. Or for Suits.”
FURY RISING is available in both E-format and print. You will not be able to buy this in stores, you will have to order it online. It will not be available on Google-Play. I sure hope you enjoy it! If you do, consider dropping a review, please. They matter for indie authors/books. First chapter is up on the FURY RISING page if you want to see the world I’ve started!