“Wicked Whisper” – WIP
Another “almost” novel, read chapter 1 here!
WICKED WHISPER – Book 1 of the Watchmen Series
Funny Note – I cut the entire first chapter so now here is the new first chapter (at least some of it).
Sara didn’t dance for dollars, but the devils in the details. She reached Biggie’s Bar, her breathing labored and sweat clung to her neck and chest. She wasn’t scared; she was exhilarated from the chase. She could have taken down the first drunk that was harassing her but when three drunken men crawled out of that car she knew her odds weren’t great. Plus, having a Fallen influencing them, really tipped the scales.
The bar was old, tattered and reeked of booze and cigarettes, much like its patrons. It stood at the edge of town, near the freeway, a human landfill that gathered all the trash that blew over from St. Louis. The red door was guarded by Bo, a giant bouncer. His black t-shirt stretched over his huge arms and chest to the point of tearing at the seams. He towered at least six feet eight; he was efficient at clearing a room thankfully he seemed to like Sara. Seeing him, she slowed and let out a sigh of relief.
Breathless she managed a greeting, “Hey Bo, good to see you.”
“You late Sara?” He asked, obviously she didn’t usually run down the street in her Biggie’s Bar crop top, short shorts and four inch heals.
“No, but there were some guys down the street. They are really wasted and hassled me a little.” She didn’t mention the Fallen that has been with them or what she heard it whisper to the drunken men. She knew what they wanted to do to her.
Bo glanced down the street and saw the three drunks stumbling along the sidewalk. Sara turned and saw the Fallen with them, his evil beauty intensified by the twilight night. Sara shivered when he looked at her and her stomach twisted in knots. She looked away quickly, he couldn’t know she saw him; she could never let any of them know she could see them.
“No worries Sara, they won’t be getting in the bar tonight.” Bo winked and gave her a big goofy grin. She patted his huge arm and ducked inside the red door.
The bar was dark, lit with floor lights and small wall sconces. Only the stages were lit bright. It was mostly deserted this time of night. A few regulars sat at the bar, it wasn’t until midnight when the rowdy crowd would start to trickle in from St. Louis looking for a good “shoe show”, that’s what Sara called the strip tease show at Biggies because all you really ever saw were their shoes.
Michael, the bar manager and real jackass of a man was talking to the bartender. Sara tried to get backstage before he noticed her, no such luck.
“Sara” He bellowed over the low hum of dance music. She stopped, rolled her eyes and sighed. He was a piece of work, totally gross and utterly corrupt. He did anything for the all mighty dollar. It was rumored that he was stealing from the bar but Sara didn’t care enough about that place to really pay attention. As long as her tips weren’t tampered with, she didn’t have a problem with his theft. He had been terrible to some of the other girls. It’s no big surprise that some of the dancers had a few “problems”, but he used them, he stole from them, and once she heard he sold one of them to a bunch of guys from Chicago. She wasn’t sure if it was true, it happened before she started working there three months ago, but she wasn’t going to find out what he was capable of. “Hey Sara, looking good tonight,” he eyed her up and down. Sara’s skin crawled and she choked on the bile rising in her throat.
“Thanks Mike.” She turned to leave and she reached out and grabbed her arm. She twisted to face him, her big brown eyes focused on his grip on her arm. “Did you need something?” She said through gritted teeth.
“Yeah, when you gonna dance for me?” Michael loosed his grip and stroked her arm.
“I told you before Mike, I am not dancing. I will serve drinks and wear this ridicules uniform, but I am not stripping.” Sara stiffened and looked him in the eye. His eyes longing for her, she’d seen that look on too many men, and wanted to get away from him fast.
“Too bad, you’d bring in a crowd, I’m sure of it.” He closed the gap between them and moved his hand to her back, rubbing in small circles.
“Yeah, too bad.” She said sharply and turned to the backstage door. Thankfully he didn’t try to stop her again.
The hall was dark, a faint light shown at the end. Rounding the corner was a small room. Three makeup stations lined one wall. The bulbs that encased the mirrors half worked. The counter covered with various makeup, lipstick, and perfumes. The opposite wall was lined with gray lockers, like the ones in a high school. They reminded Sara of her last school in Webster Groves. It had only been two years since she graduated but it seemed life a lifetime.
A few ladies scattered the room and she nodded an acknowledgement while walking to her locker. Opening it revealed nothing about her. It was all but empty. A small tube of lip gloss and a hairbrush lay on the top shelf. She put her bag in while hearing some of the girls chatter about the nights dance schedule.
“I can’t believe they put me on after Crystal. She always drives the men away. No one wants to look at a junky dancing like a cracked-out puppet.” snipped Destiny. Destiny was one of the older dancers. She’d been at Biggie’s for about ten years and it showed in the deep lines on her face and the plastic surgery scars on her body. She was mean and brass to everyone and especially Crystal. Sara assumed she felt entitled because she was a veteran, which in fact wasn’t something to be proud of. On the other hand,Crystal was a sweet girl. She did have a drug problem but Sara saw the goodness in her. She could see she was just a young girl that had a hard life. Sara had tried to help her, which is rare for her to do. Sara stayed out of everyone’s business. She learned early on in the foster system not to get attached to people. They usually walk out on you or become a huge disappointment. Her heart was safer when she never let it wonder.
“Hey, bitches, don’t talk about me,” a slurred voice said from behind the make shift curtain in the corner. Sara recognized the voice her stomach twisted and peeked behind the sheet. There wasCrystal, a needle in one hand and a tourniquet wrapped tightly around the other arm.
“Crystal don’t,” Sara pleaded as Crystal slide the needle in the last vein she had. She looked up to Sara, her face was sad her eyes hollow and she was as pale as a ghost. What use to be a beautiful girl was now a mask of waxy skin, blemishes, and dried cracked lips. Sara knelt to her, taking the syringe and removing the tourniquet.
“I had to Sara,”Crystalwhispered and fell into a drug induced sleep.
“Yes you did,” whispered a male voice. Sara froze, she knew who said that, she knew the other girls wouldn’t hear it and she knew that bastard had preyed on Crystal He did what all the Fallen do, prey on the week. Get them to hate themselves more. Get them to betray all the good in them. Influence the choice.
Sara moved her eyes up just enough to see a Fallen standing behind Crystal. His overly cocky stance and smirk across his beautiful face indicating he was happy with himself. Sara’s blood boiled and she clinched her fists. The silver cross that hung from a chain around her wrist cut into her palm as she squeezed. The cross burned, as it always did when they are near. She tried to breath, she tried to fight the urge, she had been able to for all these years. She wasn’t going to get involved. It wasn’t her fight. But, she looked at Crystal, the furry was raging in her, Crystal was her friend, maybe her only friend. Sara couldn’t take it; she couldn’t loose Crystal to one of them!
“Get away from her. She is not yours.” Sara said through gritted teeth, still looking at Crystal. She didn’t look up at him, but felt him stiffen. The cross burned and hummed with life in her palm. She heard him scoff. He couldn’t think she was talking to him. No human saw them, but she did, and they didn’t know it. She had always seen them but learned early on to ignore there presence for her own safety, that was the last lession Father Paul taught her before she entered the foster system. Keep your distance, never let them know you see, be careful my child, and my God always be with you. She listened to the priest. For years she just watched them suck the life of others. They stalked the earth, whispering into the minds of the battered and week spirited. They were ruthless and cruel. Human souls were a commodity to the Fallen and the more you took for the darkness the more the darkness gave back. A sick demented evil bargaining battle raged everyday. She didn’t know why she only saw them, she didn’t really care. That day was different, that day she was tired of watching them hurt. She was mad.
Sara tilted her head up and looked at him. Her eyes narrowed on him. He was tall, wearing all black, as they all did, and beautiful. His sandy brown hair and dark chestnut eyes were deceivingly lovely. She could see the evil they hid. “I said, get away from her!” Sara stood slowly as shock lay unconformable on the Fallen’s face.
“Well isn’t this interesting.” He said with a wicked grin, before disappearing into a dark mist. Sara knew it was stupid, she knew she just signed her death certificate, she knew they would never let her live knowing she saw them and yet looking down at Crystal, her friend, she knew it was worth it.
Sara covered Crystal with a ragged blanket she found in the back room.
“What’s wrong with her? Did the crack catch up with her?” Destiny snickered while looking around the sheet divider.
“Mind your own business Destiny” Sara snapped. Her stomach still tight and the while the metal cross in her palm started to cool.
“Well, excuse me! I didn’t realize you were her mother. Mike’s gonna be mad she’s messed up.” She said matter of fact as she sauntered out of the room. Sara didn’t give two shits’ about Mike, Crystal was in no shape to dance tonight. She needed sleep to heal her body and soul.
Sara knelt to Crystal, brushing the dirty blond hair from her face. Sara’s cross dangled from her wrist. As she moved her bangs to the side the cross grazed Crystal’s forehead. A sudden urge consumed Sara. She was compelled to act, her heart raced, and the smell of lilac filled the room. She bowed her head, held her cross and palm to Crystal’s forehead and prayed softly.
“God, please watch over this lost soul. She needs you now more than ever.” Sara opened her eyes and slowly removed her hand from Crystal’s forehead, leaving a faint imprint of the cross in her skin. Sara sat stunned that she prayed. She hadn’t said a prayer in at least ten years, not since the state removed her from St. Luke’s Orphanage and placed her with the first of many terrible foster families. She’d given up on God, but somewhere deep inside her she knew with out a doubt that Crystal needed a prayer, just a little protection from the evil that consumed her world.
Sara left Crystal sleeping peacefully, her face in a slight grin, she looked for once like the girl she was and not the druggie she’d become.
“Where have you been?” Mike barked at Sara as soon as she stepped up to the bar.
“Crystal’s sick and I was helping her.” Sara grabbed her black apron and tied it around her black shorts.
“She better feel better soon or she will be out on her ass.” Mike grabbed Sara’s arm and squeezed. That had been the second time he’d touched her, she was at her limit. “Are you listening to me girl?” Mike’s face was hard, his breath was hot on her face and smelled of liquor and cigars. He dark eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep and too much parting. Sara wanted to tell him where he could go, but thought better of it. She’d already put herself in danger and she needed a job, even if it meant putting up with Mike.
“I heard you, she’ll be fine. Now, can I get to work? My tables are starting to fill up and I’m sure they would like some drinks.” Sara forced a smile.
“Yeah, OK, get to work.” Mike released her arm and turned back to the bar motioning for another shot of whiskey. With a sigh Sara surveyed her section. The bar was full of black leather couches and chairs with scattered tables. Many of the regulars dotted the dancer stages. It was late June, wedding season in St. Louis, and they had at least ten bachelor parties in the bar on Saturday’s, she knew it was going be a busy night.
The patrons were behaving themselves for the most part. A few butt smacks and rude comments, but that wasn’t new. There was one fight between a couple of drunks but the bouncers cleaned up the mess pretty quick. Besides confronting a Fallen earlier it was just another typical night of ciaos and mayhem.
A group of twenty guys staggered into the bar, obviously a bachelor party from the man of honor covered in boobie paraphernalia to the matching tee-shirt that pronounced “Paul’s Possie”. They sat in Sara’s section, she sighed, well knowing they would be difficult and she was not in the mood to deal with them.
Sara went to the groom first. “I see we’re celebrating, you must be Paul.”
“Hell Yes I am!” he slurred back. “We want some beers and girls, hop to it honey.” Paul staggered a little and tried to wink. Sara forced a smile and headed back to the bar, but not without getting a credit card from one of the guys. She was going to make sure she got her tip if she was putting up with their nonsense all night.
The groom and his groupies were certainly rowdy but manageable. A couple of the dancers, including the rotten Destiny were “taking care” of the men and loving the tips that were being thrown around. Sara hated every minute of it. She hated being so close to sin and desperation. She knew it wasn’t where she should be. She knew she was more, but what she didn’t know.
Sara’s stomach tightened and she whipped her head around searching for it. A Fallen was near, she could feel him. Her cross hummed to life in her palm and she squeezed it softly. She scanned the room slowly looking for the stiff, black form that would certainly stand out in a crowd of tipsy men and half naked girls. She caught sight of him walking through the front door. There was something different about this one. He wasn’t the same Fallen that she stood up to earlier; this one was tall with black hair. He had broad shoulders and a strong jaw. His eyes were steal blue that seemed to glow through the darkened bar, cutting the fog of cigarette smoke, past the drunken patrons, right to Sara. He smiled and she froze. Something inside her buzzed and it wasn’t the usual feeling she got when they were near this was different. This was new and exciting. It felt good and that was dangerous.
She watched him walk past an older man in overalls and a plaid shirt. He patted his shoulder, bent and whispered into his ear. Shock rocked through Sara. He wasn’t invisible. He was letting all of the patrons see him. He even looked normal. He wasn’t wearing the usual all black outfit they always wore. The Fallen was wearing dark blue jeans and a white button down shirt that was tucked haphazardly into the front of his jeans. She could see the subtle outline of muscles as he bent. He was beautiful, but they all were, although this one stirred something in Sara. He wasn’t just handsome; you could feel his presence throughout her body. He excited her and she fought the primal draw to him. Sara’s eyes were fixed on his face as he saunter through the crowd. She had never seen a Fallen so bold. She had never seen a one actually interact with humans. This intrigued her and she knew this Fallen was different and that usually meant very bad things.
He walked slowly through the room, stopping every couple of feet to touch and whisper to random men and women. Each time they smiled at him and went back to what they were doing. As Sara watched she became less excited, and replaced the attraction she may have had for him with anger and spite. How could he be so arrogant?