Sneaking weapons into a club isn’t something I normally consider given the authority of my position, but when I’m carrying enough hardware to make a distraught postal worker appear like cuddly toy bear I have to think through my options. Walking in shadow-time is easy enough, but that’s where Steve lives. I keep hearing his voice, a whisper calling my name. His scent lingers in the damp air. He steals memories, and the best I can figure is he took mine that night when he lay bleeding on my checkerboard floor. He did something before disappearing into violet smoke, and he’s been haunting me ever since. There’s only so much shit a girl can deal with.
The line at Necropolis is longer than usual full of young people wearing clothes too skimpy for the cold Autumn night. They bounce about or hug each other for warmth. I’m in my black party dress, and why not? At least I have my coat on. Behind me, a young man holds two young women in his muscular arms. He has that cocky look on his face like he’s God’s gift to the world. I’d love a bite of him, and his lovely ladies. Pulling my gaze from the morsels, I scan the street for danger. No Itoril thugs or creepy wraiths. The scent of rain mixed with cheap body spray hangs in the air.
Hearing my name, I spin around spotting the doorman, Axe, waving me over. Passing irritated faces, I march to the front of the line.
“What’s in the bag?” says Axe, wrinkling his brow. A vein rises on his bald head, but his body glow remains cool.
I press a hundred dollars into the doorman’s palm and say, “What bag?”
Axe laughs and says, “Just try not to wreck the place.”
Necropolis swallows me, doors banging shut. Striding down the stairs, the electronica works into my legs, and I bounce to the beat. If not an executioner, I’d be a dancer. Can’t beat getting paid to dance all night.
I don’t know if it’s even possible to push Steve into another head. Memory thief. Is it truly him? Or does the wraith have him? Sucking the memories out of someone has to be the most invasive intrusion imaginable. Finding another victim isn’t tough. Original Steve Reynolds, Torx, is apparently a mind he’s at least lifted the name from if not indulged in. I’m certain Torx will take to the vampire ice rumor and arrive looking for a good time.
If the wraith doesn’t accept my offering, then it’s going to end one way or another. Kill the wraith, and be free of the torment. Or die and be free of it all. Retirement is permanent for executioners.
There’s plenty of open space on the dance floor at the early hour. On the stage, a disc jockey with a tired expression works his machine. Hopefully the main band is loud enough to hide the screams, if it comes to that. Maybe Torx can handle a little bite. Passing the dance floor, I dive into the dark back hall coming to a closed black curtain.
Peeling the curtain aside, I find a dressing room lit by circles of glowing bulbs around mirrors on the left wall. At the back, a shower drips on the tile. Lockers occupy the wall on the right where a young woman sets a black purse on the floor of an open locker. Walking to the locker on the near end, I open the door. It squeaks, so I close it and try another. It’s tall, nearly big enough for a small person to squeeze inside.
The woman, one of the podium dancers if I remember correctly, glares at me. “You’re not supposed to be in here. I’ll call security.”
Opening my bag, I pull out my shotgun and lean it, barrel up, inside the locker. Holding my katana, I pop the blade free checking friction, and push it closed. I lean the sword into the other corner. On the shelf, I set several spare ammunition clips for my handgun.
“You can’t do that.” The dancer folds her arms in defiance, but her scowl gives way to fear. The girl glows hot like a human and smells just as nice. “I’m calling the cops.”
“You do that.” Shrugging out of my coat, I hang it on the hook inside the locker and close the door.
“I will,” says the dancer, stomping her foot.