NIGHTLIFE: Book 1 Prologue
People… they do the craziest shit.
Yeah, I know. It’s not the most elegant observation. Definitely not along the lines of you can’t go home again or it was the best of times; it was the worst of times. But considering I was making it with a knife blade buried in my stomach, kudos to me. Although I had to say that it didn’t hurt as much as I would’ve expected. In fact it didn’t hurt at all. It just felt cold… cold and numb, like I had a belly full of ice water.
It was the touch of a much warmer liquid on my fingers let me know different. It was blood. My blood. I tightened my hand over the one that held the knife handle. The blood covered both of our hands, his and mine. He had done it. He had actually done it… stabbed me. Not that that was the crazy part. It wasn’t, not by a long shot. No, the crazy part, the howling at the moon madness bit, was that he had tried so hard to avoid it. But wasn’t that my brother all over? Honest, loyal, all but rolling in integrity. Too good for his own good. But, Hell, in the end, too good for my good as well.
“Well,” I said ruefully. “Look at that.” Then my knees buckled and I dropped to them, sliding off the blade as easy as you please. There was the kiss of metal and then only gaping emptiness as I fell. Letting go of his hand, I covered the wound in my abdomen. It was strange, how the blood was so warm while I felt all but frozen. I looked up into eyes the same color as mine, pale gray as a winter sky. Curling up the side of my mouth, I gave him a half smile. “My mistake. I guess you have the balls after all. Good for you, big brother.”
That winter sky darkened to a stark and despairing shadow. Poor guy. He felt bad. Can you imagine? Damn, I hated that for him. Almost as much as I hated the darkness creeping in around the edges of my vision, the drifting fingers of spilled ink. The blade dropped from his hand to clatter on the floor with the metallic, ringing peal of a bell. And why not? Its job was done.
“What? No souvenir?” I asked curiously. The words came out slurred and thick, heavy and fading. Like me. Fading and fading fast. A morning mist dissipating in the rising sun. A broken bird plunging from the sky. A scuttling dark thing fleeing the light of day. Shit, I should’ve been writing some of this down. Dying really brought out the poet in me.
I heard the gate close, a thunderous and oddly final sound that threatened to bring the building down. The walls shook with a peculiar rippling effect that rose from floor to ceiling which promptly began to drop plaster and metal like rain. If you had to go, might as well go out with a bang. “Better run, Chicken Little. The sky’s falling.” Fairy tale words with a predator bite. They weren’t deep, not meaningful, but they had teeth. And like any good predator I wanted to go out with the sweet taste of blood in my mouth.
Naturally he didn’t run. Heroes don’t do that. And apparently neither do brothers. Hands gripped me and I was flung over a shoulder in a fireman’s carry before I could even take a swing at him. Of course that was making the assumption I had enough life left in me to make a fist. One damn huge assumption. Then he was running, jolting me up and down. Behind us I could see the monsters boiling in frustration, rushing at where the gate hung, impenetrable. This time it was closed for good and they knew it. Knew it and weren’t exactly too happy about it. To a one every narrow, pointed face turned in our direction; every molten lava eye seething with bloodlust and a poisonous, black hatred. Like an ocean wave they came after us, a riptide of murderous intent. Monsters, they didn’t handle disappointment well. I should know.
I was one.