Welcome to the beginning of Season 2 of The Wizard Killer.
Note that this is posted RAW, meaning it has not been edited nor revised.
Season 2 – Episode 3
“Hey!” yells deep a voice shoving me hard out my chair.
I stumble backwards, groggy and disoriented. I hit the wall and slump down to a sitting position. My head feels like it’s a size too small, and my heart’s racing.
Everything pushed aside as my nose is immediately assaulted by the smell of stale beer. I’ve been in some dives, but this one is a rare type of nasty. The slimy of the floor leaves offers too much to my imagination as I try to think what the yig could give something that orange-brown color, and feel both like sandpaper and snot at the same time.
The tavern has ‘rock bottom dive’ written all over it. The dingy walls and bowing ceiling don’t do it any favors either.
Touching my ear, I glare at the man, showing my lack of appreciation for the spit-shower he just gave me.
“Where the yig am I?” I squint at the open door with its burning morning light. There are a few high windows as well, though I suspect they’ve never been cleaned.
The only thing at my table’s a brown hat, likely mine. Looking down, I find that I’m wearing matching brown pressed-pants, vest, and long coat. When did I dress like such a yigging dandy?
The guy clears his throat and glares at me. He’s got a large, stocky frame. His big, bushy beard’s dark brown with a white streak down from lip to chin. In one of his meaty hands is a black bowler, his wiry hair showing that he’s been wearing that hat for a good part of the morning already. Under his dark long-coat is a red and silver vest with the chain of a pocket watch showing. Most importantly, he’s got a two-bar, tin rectangle pinned on the outside of his coat, and the scowl of authority to accompany it.
He waves at me. “You don’t have a lot of time before they come looking for you. So if you want an answer from the librarian, you get up and get moving. She doesn’t stay in one place long.”
I put a hand out. He reluctantly grabs it and hauls me up. My other shoulder erupts in pain.
“Mother of Mercy,” I say under my breath. Biting my lip and turning away, and shake a fist violently to distract myself.
I concentrate, trying to remember how I got there and why I’m there. Glancing about the empty bar, I’ve only got a vague sense.
“That look,” he shakes a finger at me, “that’s the black juice. The fog should clear soon. Some advice? Don’t drink that stuff, and don’t play any cards or drinking games with the three sisters who run the store.” He chuckles. “I’m surprised they left you with your dignity, let alone clothes. Clearly, they took pity on you.”
I grimace as the pain fades. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Good, now put some gloves on,” he says pointing at my hands.
Looking down, I don’t see any tattoos anywhere. Glancing up at him, I notice he’s looking at the sides.
Turning my hands over, there’s a blue line that comes from under my sleeves and goes to the edge of my pinky.
“We can’t do much about your face, but the hat will keep people distracted. But your hands… people notice hands.”
I nod and reach into my pockets, relieved to find that there’s some gloves, as well as other things, in there. With them on, I reach and put my hat on. It slides on too smoothly.
He catches my look. “Weren’t bald when you walked in yesterday?”
“Maybe they took some of your dignity.”
“Maybe, maybe not,” I reply. My heart’s speeding up and slowing down wildly. Almost like it’s living something else.
“You all good?”
We step out of the bar and into the blinding, dusty outdoors. The sky’s got a red haze to it. I remember something. My fingers start rubbing together like their pulling on a fishing line to get free the whole memory.
There’s about two dozen people walking about, all of them dressed up beyond what I’d expect for an outskirts town. Most of the women have shiny dresses and parasols, and most of the men long coats and hats. Glancing about at the two story and dirty road nature of the town, something rubs me the wrong way.
I point at the haze. “There a floating city being built near here?”
“Yeah, the last of them from what I hear. Just over the horizon. The last, but the most ambitious of them.”
“Huh.” I keep my head tilted down as people walk by. “That’s pretty close to a town like yours, isn’t it?”
He stops walking and gives me a sharp look. “Are you asking something?”
I relax my shoulders and straighten up a bit. “Do the scourges patrol this far?”
Cracking his neck to the side, he gives me a heated glare. “Let’s just get you on your way quickly, shall we?” He flashes a politician’s smile and starts moving.
I notice a two-storey building across the street with a sign: General Store. Staring at the ground, I remember something about sisters but nothing concrete.
Glancing back up, I notice an old man staring at me and then entering the store.
I stop and scratch the side of my clean-shaven face. I can remember the old guy’s face like he was standing right in front of me. I close my eyes and try to remember Rind and then look at him.
“You got a reason to stick out? We only have a few more doors to go.”
I raise a finger, then turn my head from side to side. What the yig is that? Is that a sound? Putting a hand up to the side of my head, I focus on it, but it slips away.
“Hey, do we have a problem?” asks Rind, his tongue pushing his cheek out.
“Ah… just curious. Where are the horses? I always heard that these types of towns used horses.”
He gives me a fresh scowl and shakes his head. “Some do, sure, and yeah, we’ve got a few. But our town’s got some levi-cars. We share them. They’re just over at that building there.”
He points to one that’s twice the length of the others, two blocks down.
“They’re in the back. We keep the main for pedestrians only, that and deliveries.”
As we continue walking, I can’t help but feel there are eyes on us. My sweaty hands go to my belt and feel around. There’s an empty holster on my side and an empty small sheath for a knife at my back. For a moment, I wonder if Rind took them, then I realize if he had, he’d probably be in more of a mood.
Keeping a watchful eye on those going by, I stay right behind Rind until we come to some arbitrary building.
He taps twice on the door with his knuckles, staring at me all the while. “Go in. If you’re still here in ten minutes, I’m coming back, and I’m going to shoot you. You understand?” His hands are on his hips, the silver grips of his hip-holstered pistols showing.
I start to push on the door and stop. “Do you hear that? It’s like a chattering or banging of something hollow.”
“Hear what? A bullet with your name on it? You better get in there and get done fast. There ain’t no way we’re going to be known as a place where a librarian died.”
My palms and head are sweaty, my heart’s racing. Something bad’s about to happen. I just don’t know what.
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