The Shadows That Coat Your Heart

Chapter 1

The Stags Head shall roll


When the clock in the worn down bar chimed 12:00, the bartender started to usher even his most loyal patrons out the door and into the night.
“You have a goodnight, Hamish” slurred Baily O’Connell, one of his most loyal patrons, also known around town as a notorious drunkard.
“You to Bail, you to” Hamish sighed and flung down the rag he’d been using to wipe down the heavy oak bar in front of him.
He always found it odd that the only thing you could really rely one in the town of Green Hills were the time and drunks. Even the tide here was irregular.
But the drunks showed up faithfully every day from opening time to closing time to drink away their sorrows and pain and Hamish had always welcomed them with open arms and a hearty grin.

Hamish had successfully run The Stages Head tavern for fifteen years after his father died of a rare flesh eating disease that the doctors had no name for before he had contracted it. They always assumed it was rare, almost unknown strain of leprosy.
But Hamish knew the truth; his father had been cursed by a Draconess, a witch like creature that feeds on the youth and memories of susceptible men.
To them the Draconess looks like a beautifully striking woman, but that is just their signature kind of demon glamor.
To the strong willed and strong-minded that are not ensnared by mortal ignorance, they look how they really are, twisted hags with jagged serrated teeth, dark red eyes and ashy grey skin.
Hamish had always vowed to destroy their kind, but in his age the righteous fury of youth had dimmed into the dull ach of loathing, of both himself and the beasts.

Hamish sighed and wondered if Baily would come back, as he did on many nights, to try and get another drink. “Just one last one” he’d always slur, practically begging, and Hamish would always relent, and pour him one more to keep him warm in the cold, cold night.

Baily was his favourite of the group, a rightful sot, but one with a robust, hacking laugh and a lifetime of stories under his belt. He was old and grizzled now, always wearing oversized tweed wool sweaters too big for his shrunken frame. But oh how he loved to tell the stories about when he was young and handsome, working on a ship as deckhand, with his red haired lover Mary waiting for him back on land.
Hamish often wondered what had become of Mary, and what she would think of the old decrepit drunk that used to be her lover.

The chime of a bell was heard throughout the bar as the door swung open into the street and a cold gust of pre-autumn wind blew in from the street carrying dust and burnt orange autumn leaves.
A figure stood silhouetted in the darkness of the door frame; light from the street lamp pouring in behind it. The figure was tall and thin, wearing a black leather fedora and a black trench coat.

Hamish looked up and froze, the words he was about to say dying on his lips as he saw the foreboding figure in the doorway, instead of Baily back to score one last drink.
He quickly ducked behind the bar and sunk back into the shadows, praying to god that the figure hadn’t seen him. Then, heart racing he grabbed the shotgun that was under the counter in case of situations like this and proceeded to try and quickly load it.

The sound of footsteps echoed across the grimy, stained wooden floor as a figure swathed in shadows made their way along.
Hamish, the man hiding behind the bar, now had the loaded shotgun grasped in between his sweaty sausage fingers. His breath came in quick pants that where loud enough for even the most inattentive scoundrel to hear.

When Hamish had plucked up enough courage to dare a peak around the edge of the bar, he saw nothing but shadows in the near dark. But then he heard a wisp of cloth sweeping across the floor, and saw a slight blur in the shadows. He quickly looked about and then howled in pain as he felt his nose cave into his face as a tall, black boot came out of the shadows and caught him with a good kick to the nose and mouth. He leaped up squealing from the pain of the broken nose and swiftly unloaded both barrels the shotgun in the direction the kick had come from.

“You missed on both counts” a voice like tinted glass said in a dry sort of way from the left of the bartender “you should really advance you weapons, if I was a Wolfen in a bloodlust or a Vampyre on the hunt you would be dead in a matter of seconds”
The bartender cursed as his fingers, burning from adrenalin, shook and made him drop another bullet.
The bullets, just like his time on earth, were slipping through his fingers at a rapid rate.

Just as he got one bullet into the gun and snapped it shut did the stranger come out of the shadows and attack him. A quick punch to his already broken nose came out of the shadows like missile from a sling, making him tumble backwards to the floor and drop his gun in pain and surprise.

“I don’t want to kill you” the voice said reasonably “But I will if you don’t tell me what I want”.

“Aye, but what if I don’t know what you want” Hamish had a thick Scottish accent, and now what he was saying was nearly indecipherable through it and his wheezing through a broken nose “ You’ll just as well kill me then”.

“You Fay look and listen in the shadows; I guarantee you know who I’m looking for” the stranger replied with an air of security.

Hamish, who had stiffened at the mention of the word Fay looked up and whispered shakily “Who are you”.

“Your kind knows me as many names, but to my friends I’m known only as Vex”
As the stranger said this she stepped out of the shadows, into the light “But you can call me your worst nightmare”.

The shadows played across her sharp as glass features to the tips of her long red and blue hair to the deep green eyes set in her creamy white face.

She then smiled the coldest smile he could ever hope to see and said “And you will give me what I want”



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