Posted in In A Nutshell

In A Nutshell #12 – Clean

Excerpt from Wayward Divine (One of my many WIPs)

I downed the amber liquid as quickly as I could and resisted the urge to gag. It tasted like warm piss, and it probably was—you never knew with these burnt out joints. But most places couldn’t brew alcohol anymore or put ice in it.

So, I asked for another and surveyed the bar behind me. I’d been coming here a while, the Dust Bowl, a fitting name. Dirt and grime caked every surface like paint; piles of refuse littered the floor under tables and chairs. A dried stain of vomit was putrefying over in the corner.

Cleanliness didn’t matter much these days, this bar’s patrons couldn’t get sick.

Enormous wax candles burned on every table and placed on the bar’s chipping surface. Electricity was a luxury most places didn’t have. It was more crowded here than usual, and large crowds made me nervous. I felt the inside of my duster for the blade I carried. My

It was more crowded here than usual, and large crowds made me nervous. I felt the inside of my duster for the blade I carried. My maellium. It was the most valuable possession I owned.

I went to take another sip out of the cloudy glass, but it was bone dry. I signaled to Jameson, the owner, for another. He was one of my favorite of the Unholy. That’s what we called ourselves. We didn’t go by our given names anymore. It was a reminder of a time that no longer existed.

“That’ll be three flats, Eli.” He said setting the glass in front of me.

I sighed fishing the precious, golden coins out of my pocket. “You sure I can’t have the ‘drunk-in-denial’ discount?”

Jameson squared his wiry frame and gave me a hard stare. “I’d be out of business just from your habit alone if I did something like that. Sorry, but it will cost you to drink here, friend.”

“What about a discount for being your only friend?” I could hear the slur in my speech, but I didn’t care.

Jameson’s jaw clenched and his face contracted into itself tightening the skin around his mouth and eyes. “I’m cutting you off,” he said matter-of-factly. The outline of the tattoo hidden by the collar of his shirt started to blaze as if it were on fire. “That is until you can pay for your drinks like everyone else.”

I dropped two of the coins in his outstretched palm but resisted on the last. Once Jameson made up his mind, there was no changing it.

“You hear anything lately? Secrets I can use?” I said still clutching the coin.

“Nothing, that makes a difference, Elijah. You going to pay for this or do I need to repossess what you’ve consumed?” Jameson spoke sharply, his white-gold eyes burning like fire. I grimaced. Now that I thought about it, maybe he wasn’t one of my favorite people.

I’d better apologize.

I didn’t get very far, when a couple of patrons crashed through the door, dragging a flailing ball of arms and legs behind them. It was the color of ashes, soot, and grime. And it smelled.

I couldn’t place the smell at first as the strangers, two graying men with sinewy arms and lean legs, continued to pull their prize across the decaying wooden floor. But then it hit me, and my senses perked up, burning the haze of alcohol away.

The men had brought a human with them.

But that was impossible. Humans didn’t exist anymore, but if they did, how unlucky for them.

Little did I know, this human would change everything.

Clean

Photo credit: Geert Orye via Visual hunt / CC BY

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Author:

Aspiring Writer, Avid Gamer, Green-thumbed gardener.

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