The force of Gunnar’s words drove me from the pub. While I wrenched the door shut behind me, something large and fragile shattered against the frame, narrowly missing my head. The projectile may or may not have been aimed with the intent to do harm – perhaps he was just trying to make his point. But you never really know with Gunnar.
You must login to vote
Moody immortals are such a pain in my mortal ass.
Another brittle smash sounded from within. At the rate Gunnar was rampaging, he'd destroy the place. That would be a bad thing. Having a place to dine is what keeps most of the city safe from the hungers that prowl after the sun goes down.
The past two of my thirty-five years have seemed like a dream I can’t quite wake from. I’ve been tending bar at The Diablo though I steer clear of particular clientele with unnatural thirsts and that one special walk-in cooler downstairs. Rubbing elbows with the seedier side of life, very few of whom are human, has tainted my sunny outlook on things. I might even say I’ve gotten bitchy. If this thing between Gunnar and I were to end poorly, whether or not I’m up for Miss Congeniality will be the least of my worries.
But this was no time for a pity party.
A torrent of Gaelic expletives chased me away from the doorway. I spent my early childhood with a father from Dublin but I can't say I speak the language. What few words I did recognize weren't the sort to be repeated in the presence of ones mother. An arsenal of insults was poised on my tongue, but I let them slide; my mouth was getting me into trouble a lot lately. Instead, I swallowed the bitter words and walked away.
The night was damp and chilly under a sky full of low slung clouds that threatened the city with their burden. The temperature did little to cool my temper. The mist off the river carried with it the smell of creosote and diesel from the shipyards. Except for the din of the freeway in the distance, an ominous quiet had settled over the streets.
The night was not my friend.
“Shit,” I mumbled.
Yellow lights wavered on the wet pavement, shimmering across mud puddles as a taxi cab rattled to a stop at the corner. My hand went up to hail the driver before I realized my bag was in the pub where I'd left it. A quick search of my pockets yielded twenty-three cents and a stale piece of gum, both of little use at the moment.
“Shit!” The night just kept getting better and better.
Then a thought occurred: I was also without my after-dark essentials including ‘Hutch’ - my nickel-plated Heckler and Koch USP Tactical .45mm, with night sites and custom-made silver bullets. Though I’ve taken to naming my guns, I don’t really have a hardware fetish. Not really. The gun was a gift from Gunnar though I'm not sure if it was meant to protect me from the bad guys or from him.
The cabby must have thought I was daft, or a bit drunk, of which I was neither. I was hoping to remedy the latter. After deciding I wasn’t committed to his services, the transport lurched forward and accelerated across the street.
As if to mock my situation, God loosed a thin drizzle that began to fall. Rebelliously I zipped my jacket to the top and jammed both hands into the pockets of my jeans. Even so, clammy fingers still found their way through my clothes like a drunken date.
A survey of my surroundings showed the streets and nearby rooftops were deserted. Good thing; I know too well what tends to loiter in this part of town after nightfall.
There was no particular destination on my radar as I set out on foot, away from the pub. I just needed to gain some measureable distance between Gunnar and I before one of us said or did something that we'd both regret later on. He and I aren't so tight these days; too many unspoken words wedged between us. But then, I'm not dealing only with Gunnar but also Wulfric, his inner beast. Nothing between lovers is clandestine when one of them shares a conscience and awareness a wolf. Gunnar and I have had plenty of quarrels since we broke up but never before has he thrown stuff at me. And trust me, I've pushed his buttons.
I really needed a drink.
The lights of downtown Portland were less than a mile east of me; their inviting glow illuminated the clouds like salvation found. City lights meant people and lots of people meant safety in numbers. In hindsight, I should have seen the sign from heaven for what it was and made my way to safety without hesitation. I should have, I should have, I should have – Christ, the list could go on.
How was I to know that a single misguided decision would have such a drastic effect on my immediate future?
Hindsight is such a bitch.