This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
A child cried, causing me to stir. I had had my head resting on the window of the grey hound bus. I was traveling to New York City from my small hometown near Nashville. I readjusted my black ten gallon hat on my knee, crossed my arms over my chest then rested my head on the window again. The mother attempted to calm her child, a little boy of two years, but then his older sister of five began to cry because her mother’s iPhone ran out of battery and her entertainment was gone. It was around midnight and for the most part everyone was asleep until the siblings screamed and cried. The driver, I saw, rolled his eyes and then put a kid’s movie on. The kid’s calmed and became entranced by the bright colors and cartoon characters. Everyone on the bus seemed to have sighed in relief when they shut up, including their mother.
I had been on this bus for two days now, and I was sick and tired of it. We would stop at a small town or city for a half an hour every once in a while to sight see then be on our way. I could tell you that the only people who wanted to sight see were the two elderly couples at the front of the bus. The couples came alive when we were told that we were stopping.
A majority of the bus’s passengers were teens like the young man I had been sitting next to the last few days. He had many facial piercings, blue tips of his spikey hair, and a dragon tattoo on the side of his neck. He was always on his phone and listening to music, rarely looking up from either his phone or iPod. When he heard the siblings screaming he groaned then turned up his already blasting music. I knew I should have taken a plane.
I returned to watching the darkness rush passed. The tree tops were highlighted by the full moon. I saw a pair of, what appeared to be, glowing green eyes peering out from behind a tree and the darkness of the forest. I cleared the thought away, knowing I just desperately needed to sleep. I closed my eyes, and tried to clear my head. When I opened them we were long gone from those eyes or whatever they were.
I would have never left home if I would have known it was going to be hell trying to get to The City That Never Sleeps. My dad, Brock Wills, told me about five years ago on his death bed that if I ever found myself without a job or in need of an adventure to go see Jack Deacon; an old friend of his. Jack owned a bar in New York City. However, Dad said he hadn’t seen Jack in twenty years. I was heading to New York with absolutely nothing to my name, but the clothes on my back, a small duffle bag, the scrap of paper Dad left in his will for me with Jack’s address on it, and an envelope addressed to Jack.
I had no job, and because Dad had died Mom could no longer support the eighty acre ranch we owned on her own. She ended up having to sell it and now lived with her sister in the next county over. That left me to fend for myself when I turned eighteen. I had lived with a friend and his family to work on their ranch until I was just recently kicked out. I had done nothing wrong, but they kicked me out when my friend, Luke, got married. I tried finding a job, but when you have nowhere to live finding a job was difficult to do. I was able to afford a one way bus ticket to New York City, and took it with open arms. Now I was regretting it, but hopefully once I got to New York I would no longer regret it.
Another day and a half and the New York City skyline was in view with a halo of smog over it. We were stuck in rush hour traffic; a concept completely foreign to me. Now after seeing it firsthand I understood the dread and agony behind the words. People took their phones and cameras out and began to take pictures. I had neither, so I studied the large buildings and the busyness of it all. I already missed the peace and quiet of our ranch where all you heard was the wind rushing through the tall grasses, or the sounds of horses in a stable, or the sound of boots on the hardwood floor.
At the bus station all of my fellow traveling companions grabbed their belongings out of the bottom of the bus before splitting off into several directions. The kid I had been sitting next to grabbed his backpack and suitcase then sluggishly walked over to a minivan where a smiling woman stood waiting for him. He removed his headphones and embraced her for a long moment before they got into the van and drove off. The elderly couples piled into a taxi while continuously snapping pictures, because, you know, the bus station is the most memorable thing they’ll see here in New York.
I didn’t know where I was or how to get anywhere near my destination, so I asked our bus driver. “To get into the city you need to head east, cross Lincoln Bridge, and that will put you in Manhattan. I couldn’t tell you anything after that,” he said while sweeping the aisles and rows.
“Thank you, sir,” I tipped my hat to him then started east.
I reached Lincoln Bridge by sheer luck. As I was crossing the busyness and hustle were beginning to show. I looked down at the Hudson, and spotted something in the water splashing around. I stopped and focused in on it. The person was swimming around and seemed to be enjoying the dark green water. I gagged slightly. That’s when he floated there on his back and stared right at me. His eyes were a bright glowing green color. I stepped back and cleared the thought when he smirked. I looked again. He was gone, and the water was undisturbed as if no one had been there in the first place. I rubbed my hand over my face and then continued on. Sitting on a bus for nearly a week was messing with my head. I took a deep breath of polluted city air then continued walking.
I could see the red neon sign shimmering in the pouring rain and darkness. It was around eleven at night and I had finally reached my destination. Deacon’s Pub and Grill was just across the street. I could see my breath while I adjusted my brown leather jacket. It had started to rain maybe an hour or two prior which made matters more frustrating. I looked both ways then quickly ran across the street when the way was clear. Back where I had been standing I saw a dark hooded figure standing there when I looked back. I squinted in the rain to get a better look at the man. He was medium built, tall, and dressed in all black. He looked up slightly. I spotted him smirk in the glow of a night club’s sign next to him. His eyes were glowing green like the man from earlier. A bus passed between us, and he was nowhere to be seen. He had disappeared out of thin air.
“Judah, you need a beer,” I told myself while walking into the bar. Although, I knew a beer would make me hallucinate even more.
The smell of alcohol was strong and stung my eyes at first. There were quite a few men and women inside and out of the rain. The walls were a dark green color, the booths black with white wooden table tops with white hanging lights over each table. The bar was straight ahead and on my left. There was a mirror behind the shelves of bottles and green neon lights below the drinks. This gave the bottles a green tint, creating a cool affect. Classic rock was playing to add to the effect of the bar.
The bar tender was wearing a white T-shirt with Deacon’s written on it in red letters, and jeans. He had light colored skin, a medium built figure, thick muscular arms that were bulging out of his shirt, a bald head, and bright blue eyes. A girl wearing the same Deacon’s shirt, jeans, and an apron at her waist walked over to the bar and placed the two drinks on the circular tray she was holding. She had a tall and slender figure, pale skin, long jet black hair in a loose hair tie and dark eyes.
I walked over to the bar and sat down on a stool, placing the duffle bag at my feet and my hat on the counter. I ran my hand through my damp hair.
The bar tender walked over to me, “What can I get you, Cowboy?”
“A beer,” I said, trying to keep my eyes from finding the waitress or any green eyed freaks. He checked my ID. Twenty-one and thank God for it.
He placed the beer down on the counter in front of me, “Where you from, Cowboy?”
I took a sip. “Tennessee.”
He took the piece of paper the waitress handed him and went to the wall behind him to make the drinks, “I have a good friend who lives in Tennessee.” And right then I knew he was Jack Deacon.
I took another swig of my beer before saying, “I’m looking for a job, sir.”
He placed the two drinks on the counter as if ignoring me. “Ember!” he called to the waitress. He took another drink order from her when she came to get the drinks and got to work on it. After a few moments he placed four drinks on the counter then wiped his hands on a white towel sticking out of his back pocket. “I’m sorry, kid, but I don’t have any openings.”
So, he did hear me. Good. I’m glad. I ran my finger along the neck of the beer bottle, “I was told to come find you if I ever needed a job or an adventure.”
“And you’re here for…”
“You came all the way from Tennessee for a job,” he snorted. “I’m sure you could have found a job there at a bar, no?” I nodded. “Then why come here?”
I looked up at him. He was leaning up against the counter, looking at me as if I was crazy. “I’m Brock Wills’ son.”
His eyes widened before he looked me over, “Judah?” I nodded then took a swig. “God, the last time I saw you you were in your dad’s arms in the hospital.”
“Funny, Dad never mentioned you till…”
“How is your dad doing?”
“He died five years ago.”
He went pale under the neon lights. He began to fidget with a shot glass as if nervous, “Uh…how, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“He went out for a ride and when his horse came back without him I went looking for him. I found him by the creek by our house. He said that something spooked the horse, bucked him off, and then landed on him. He died a week later of internal bleeding.”
He rubbed his head and looked down, swearing under his breath. “They killed him,” he whispered so quietly I barely heard.
“Wait. They? Who’s They?” I questioned.
He looked up at me, ignoring my questions, “Brock sent you to me?” I nodded. “Did he give you anything to give to me?”
I reached into my duffle bag and pulled out the envelope addressed to him, “This was in his will along with your name and address.”
He opened the envelope quickly and began to read the letter I had been wanting to open for the last five years, but hadn’t. The waitress, I believe Jack called, Ember walked over to him behind the counter.
“What is it, Jack?” she asked concerned by her boss’ expression.
He never looked up from the letter before pointing at me then at her, “Ember, this is your new coworker Judah. Judah, this is Ember and she’ll be training you.”
“Me?” she went to argue.
He glanced at her, folding up the letter and putting it in his back pocket, “I’ll explain later.” He looked at me, “Do you have a place to stay?” I shook my head. “You can stay in my office till closing.” He pointed at a door next to a hall that led to the bathrooms, “There’s a couch in there for you to sleep on.”
I got to my feet, grabbed my duffle bag, put my hat on, and then reached into my pocket to pay him for the beer, “How much for the beer?”
I tipped my hat, “Thank you.”
I took the beer with me into the dark office. I flicked the light switch on, which turned on three lamps; one on his desk and one on each side of the red couch. The walls were the same dark green color as the bar with a dark wooden desk directly to my right right next to the door, the couch was up against the back wall in front of me, a large world map hung on the wall to my left with pushpins all over, and to my right was a glass case full of old wines and whiskeys dating back a hundred years ago. They were locked up and a camera was watching the case from where it hung above on the ceiling. Over his desk was a bulletin board covered in pictures and newspaper articles. Some of the articles mentioned Deacon’s as a classic pub and the place to visit when in New York, but the most recent article was from seven years ago. There was a picture of Jack younger, but just as bald and muscular as he was now with a cowboy standing next to him. They were standing over a deer they had shot in some mountainous area. The cowboy was wearing a white ten gallon hat, jeans, a large brass belt buckle peeking out in front of his blue flannel shirt and brown cowboy boots on his feet. He had olive colored skin that had been tanned due to working outside under the sun, dark brown hair, blue eyes, and the beginnings of a beard and mustache.
Dad. Mom said I looked just like him and it was hard for her the older I got to look at me. I reminded her so much of him that she kept her distance. I knew she loved me and all, but I think she left me on my own after selling the ranch because she couldn’t wait not to see Dad’s face around the house anymore.
I finished the beer, tossed the bottle in the trash then flopped down on the couch. It was no bed or as comfortable as one, but it was definitely a step up from a seat on the bus. I kicked off my boots, and placed my hat down on my duffle bag before closing my eyes. I fell asleep much quicker than I thought I would.
The weather was stormy and very windy. Mom was making supper in the kitchen while I waited patiently for Dad to return from his afternoon ride on the porch steps. Thunder, Dad’s horse, came galloping out of the cover of trees without his rider. I was sixteen at this time, but I knew what could have easily happened to any missing rider. I was able to calm the colt before putting him away and getting onto my colt, Jackson, and galloping into the forest. I tracked the hoof prints in the mud till finding Dad panting by the creek.
“Dad!” I screamed, leaping from my mount and then running over to him.
The scene changed to me sobbing in the hospital room after the man I loved and looked up to took his last breath. Now watching myself cry the scene zoomed out and the hooded man with green eyes was standing there smirking in the doorway of the hospital room. He pulled out a knife and killed my shaking and crying self.
I sat up on the couch in Jack’s office. My heart was beating a mile a minute while my breathing was heavy. Jack was sitting in his office chair looking up at Ember who was leaning up against the door with her arms crossed over her chest. They looked at me when I ran my fingers through my hair, calming myself.
Jack got to his feet and asked, “Are you all right?”
I nodded, “Just had a bad dream.” Jack and Ember shared a glance, expressions worrisome. “I’m fine,” I assured. “It was just a bad dream.”
“Describe the dream to me,” Jack replied, crossing his arms.
Odd request, but I did it anyway. “My dad died and when I was in the hospital room a dark figure killed me?”
“What did this dark figure look like?”
“I can help you. You just have to trust me.”
“It was just a bad dream.” I shrugged it off, “No big deal.” I got my boots and hat on. He was waiting for me to respond. I sighed, “He was a hooded man in all black. He had glowing green eyes. Ridiculous I know.”
Ember swore under her breath. “Gemini.”
“Gemini? Who the hell is Gemini?”
Jack turned to me, “Look, Judah, there’s a lot I must explain, but first how about some breakfast?” My stomach growled at the mention of food. “Follow me.” When we passed Ember in the doorway he told her, “Alert the others.” She nodded then walked off.
Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...
Alice Liu: Whoa! I've been wondering how would the Maurauders react to Harry's life and here we go! YOU ARE THE BEST! All the characters are consistent with their personalities shown in the book! I love how you compare Lily with Molly and it's definitely true for her being a mother! I wish Peter comes have ...
Steve Lang: I thought this story was imaginative, and well thought out. I also think it was an original piece, and not a rehash of previous scifi stories I've read in the past.Thank you for the effort put into this tale, and I look forward to reading more of your work!
ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...
Ben Gauger: Kudos go to wordworrywill, author of Kings and Things, an otherwise imaginative tale set against the trappings of the royal set, but then again I don't imagine there'd be many authors who invoked the names of Oprah Winfrey, Vladimir Putin, Jeff Bezos, Beyonce and Steven Spielberg, As for the plot...
RubyScars: I absolutely love your story! It killed me when I finished, I read it all at once and then it stopped at the epic cliffhanger! Uggggggh. But, that said, it just means that you have done such a lovely job. I am so in love with your complicated characters, and even the ones I didn't like you slowl...
Usagi Kita: This story is emotional from beginning to end. You get to watch the characters struggle and grow, maturing in different ways so that they come to be the people they are meant to be. Inea is insanely adorable, and his antics made me laugh more than once, and Kaedon is perfect for him in so many wa...
Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...
Lacey Schmidt: The Trouble with Super is that you can't stop reading it. Mr. Barrett's characters are all to easy to relate to even if you don't have a super quirk of your own, and their plight is both heart-rendingly funny and heart-warmingly sad at the same time. It's a bit like Office Space meets the Matri...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."