“You’re up Devon, for the record I still think this is a really bad idea.”
My lips curl at the edges. “Half the reason I’m doing this.”
“If Uriel finds out,” he leaves the rest unsaid. Uncle Uriel is working late, there’s no reason for him to find out about any of this. I mean he hadn’t been specific about what I could and couldn’t do. He had given my cousin Jaye the go ahead to show me around the office. None of us could have predicted Jaye would get a call out, number thirteen on the bounty list had just been spotted in a bar out west. It was too good to pass up and if Jaye had to take me home, the opportunity might have passed.
I snap my phone shut, slotting it in my back pocket. If only I looked more like my mother, she’d been beautiful. She would have walked in and the whole room would have paid attention. I’m not so lucky. Dark hair that skims my shoulders, teal colored eyes and a scar that nearly wiped out my eye. Shifter claws that shredded my face, the one near my eye the worst of them. The others healed to thin white lines. A reminder of my last stand, trying to save my mother. Another failure.
What I don’t have in looks I make up for in attitude. I shove open the door of the bar, greeted with a face full of greasy foods and stale beer. Most the tables are full, people hunched over talking between themselves. A few play pool, while the dart board is missing chunks from the center. Wooden tables and home made looking metal bar stools. The carpet actually crunches under foot. By the time I reach the laminated floor, my shoes stick, squelching with each step. Stella place, right off the beaten track. People watch me, obvious they don’t welcome newcomers. No-ones tried to kick me out, not yet anyway. I weave my way to the bar and slide onto a stool, well I try. My jeans stick to it forcing me to try another approach. Cringing on the inside, I try not to think about it.
“What can I get for you?”
I glance up at what could possibly be the biggest mother fucker I have ever seen in my life. Shoulders to challenge a doorway, enough hair he could pass for yeti. Tiny black eyes zone in on me. I draw a deep breath, nose wrinkling. Bear. My nights becoming a real winner.
“Beer, whatever you got on tap.” A meaty hand wraps around a pot, tilting it under the tap. He pours the beer and takes my cash, not shifting his eyes from me the whole time.
“You’re not from around here.”
“What makes you say that?” I sip from the glass, surprised to find its not complete shit. Bear man points to the side of his face, referencing to my scars.
“Wow, thanks for being subtle about it.” I roll my eyes at him. In truth I don’t care. My scars are part of me, they ain’t going no-where. I’m accustom to the staring, the hushed whispers. I glance by him to the mirrored splash back. Hair with a slight wave, the color of midnight. The ring through my nose glitters in the light, light freckles spread across my nose and cheeks. Invading bastards, each one I got, another five joined the party. My eyes look too big for my face, usually narrowed as I glare at the world. Unfortunately, I look more like my father.
Bear man gives me a shrug and moves down the bar to serve others. I take the time, scanning faces and spot the infamous Mr Rogers, four seats down from me. There’s a curvy red head sitting half in his lap as he sucks away at a bottle. His night is about to get a whole lot duller. Bounty have been tracking him for months, he dropped off the radar and vanished. This is the first time he’s been sighted since then. Glancing around the bar, I guess he thought he’d be safe here. I have to move quick, Jaye gave me a ten minute advantage, after that he was coming in. My knife is a weight in my pocket, not silver for the risk of it being scented. Bringing silver into a shifter bar is a bad idea. I drain the remainder of my pot and wriggle from the stool. Shoes sticking to the floor make it hard to be discreet. Bear man watches from the end where he stands drying glasses. Will he step in, assist Mr Rogers? I’m prepared for one but if the whole bar turns, this is a shit storm waiting to happen. My fingers spread, reaching for his sleeve.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
I stiffen at the words spoken at my neck. My heart throbs in my ears, anger warming my skin. How hadn’t I heard him approach? The bar’s gone quiet around us.
“And you would be?” I tilt my head, turning just enough to look at him.
Artic grey eyes flick to the side of my face. I don’t step back, not playing into his intimidation tactics. We’re close enough it could pass for intimate. Warm breath tickles my skin. He’s my height, around six foot. Hair like coffee grounds, longer in the front than back. T-shirt tight enough to challenge the stitching. That’s as far as I get before looking back up, over a couple days’ worth of stubble.
“You shouldn’t be here.”
“I don’t plan on staying long.”
His eyes narrow slightly. “Starting a fight here is a bad idea,”
“I don’t plan on fighting.”
“That obsidian blade in your pocket says differently.”
“Precautionary.” And then I do something really stupid, and give him my back. Only to catch Mr Rogers slipping through the back door. I bolt after him, ignoring who’s possibly lurking at my back. I duck through the door, dropping to narrowly avoid a frypan in the face. Rogers doesn’t look so chill now, red faced and barely containing his demon. I kick out, connecting with his knees. He drops before me. I throw myself on top and we roll slamming into the bench. Something smashes to the floor, heat splashes my legs, pain collides with my cheek. Stars dance before my eyes.
“Get off me you crazy bitch.” Rogers screams at me, his elbow catches me in the shoulder. New pain to cover old. What had Jaye said, I only had to get him outside and then we had full jurisdiction? I get jelly legs beneath me, fingers threading through his hair. I grip a handful and start dragging him towards the door. High pitched wailing fills the kitchen, the door bursts open, the male from earlier. Rogers takes a swing at me, it’s messy and misses, my ass hits the screen door and I push it open, literally dragging him out by the hair.
“What the hell Devon, I said subtle,” Jaye says running to a stop beside me.
“Mr Rogers, the bounty office want to have a chat.” I drag his ass down the steps and dump him at my cousin’s feet. The door sounds and I look up meeting grey eyes. A moment later and I realize we’re not alone. Half the bar is already outside, circled around us.
“Jesus Dev, what did you do?” Jaye hisses at me. He snaps a pair of cuffs on Rogers, the blue flares to life on them. Demon cuffs, ensuring Rogers can’t pull any tricky shit.
“Hey, fuck you. You said get him outside, this is outside.”
“Subtle, this is not subtle.” He shoves a hand over his buzz cut, looking around us. “Uriel’s going to take apart the both of us. Me mostly, for bringing you here.”
I keep my attention on grey eyes, it’s not a hard job. My blade slides from my pocket, slicing my hand in the process. That’s the point after all. From my other pocket I pull a small round sphere that fits perfectly in the palm of my hand. I give grey eyes an award winning smile.
“We’ll be going now.” I declare as Jaye makes a high pitched sound beside me.
“Is that what I think it is?”
Grey eyes thin to slits. “You’ll be caught in the cross fire.” There a slight edge of uncertainty to his low voice. He should be worried, the small sphere is a Dislocator, promising everything the name suggests. I’d never seen one in action but the stories are enough. I let my blood drip onto it, smile widening.
“Did you steal that from Uriel?” Jaye’s voice still sounds too high.
“Borrowed, full intentions of giving back.” I let my smile fade, holding the sphere a little higher. “We’ll be going now, taking Mr Rogers with us.” Grey eyes just watches me in a way that promises retribution. With a small hand signal, people move away. Jaye stuffs Rogers into the car and jumps in behind the wheel. I climb in beside him, watching grey eyes until we’re out of sight.
“Have you lost your mind?”
I grab the sphere, twisting it apart to reveal the lollies I stored inside. The one I borrowed from Uriel was safely hidden, this is nothing more than an expensive decoy. “Relax cousin, I’m only half mad.” I close the sphere again, Rogers spews a line of obscenities from the back. “It worked didn’t it, how else would we have got away?”
Jaye’s hands are white on the wheel, eyes hard focused out the windscreen. “I knew this was a bad idea, you always make simple complicated. Uriel will have my head for this.”
“So don’t tell him. Drop me off, take Roger’s in. No-one will believe anything Rogers says anyway.”
He glances at me half crazed looking. “Cameras, there is footage of you threatening to dismember a pack with a Dislocator.”
“But it’s fake.”
He slaps a hand to his face, growling under his breath. “Uriel always warned me that teaching you stuff was a bad idea. It all started with you cheating at cards,”
“Uriel taught me to use weapons.”
“No you taught yourself that.”
“Fine, he taught me to hot wire a car.”
“For emergencies.” He finishes with a laugh and I know I’m forgiven. Twelve years I’ve lived with them. After my mother was killed, dad skipped out and Uriel stepped up. Jaye accepted me like a corrupt little sister. I think Uriel took pity on me, no parents, no one to turn to. They stayed by my side while I nursed my death bed. The shifter that killed my mother almost killed me too.
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