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23. Match Made in Hell

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All great things must come to an end. But it was the end of Syn that marked the coming downfall of the old way. Pike and Syn are the current owners of the Black Dragon, Angyl’s place of employment, and the local tattoo parlor. They’ve been running the place for years. The death of Syn was more important than you’d think. She was more than just a local business leader. Syn came from a very special family. And like most of us, she was the last of her kind.

Like I said, the kids have their own lives. They see things their own way. Let’s walk you through the secondary characters.

Jack and Gin. Aren’t the names cute? They were boyfriend and girlfriend – they were the main attraction at the show. They were the top names under Maven’s. They had power and prestige…and the talent to get on each other’s nerves with the slightest effort. I had respect for them – they could do half of anything. Card tricks, eat fire, juggle, you name it – they did it. They had a talent for the art of deception. Perhaps that’s why they stuck together so long. They only made the world believe that they were troublesome together. But in the long run, they were truly best suited for one another.

Then there’s Irish and Colt. They’re Rev’s lackeys. See, Irish is Rev’s girl. She’s his right hand. Never, ever, elect a girl as your second in command, especially if you’re involved with her. That just makes things complicated. It makes it hard to pull the trigger when she screws you over. Yes, I say “when”, because it’s bound to happen. Sooner or later. Colt Brogan is the top of the chain under the happy couple. He’s more rational minded than Rev could ever be, more fair. He’s the kind of boss the streets need. Someone to balance things out, clean up the mess left by years of madness. From years of Ransoms and Merricks ruling the roost and fucking up. Someone like him is the cure. If he survives to get his chance. I have high hopes. Sometimes, that’s all you can have. Hope.

 

The kids had their lives, I tried to keep track of them as they came and went from the bar. When I heard Angyl was in town though, that perked my interest. Being Lucid worked at the shop, well, I had to stay informed. Whenever I wasn’t at the bar, I was there. I met her – we shook hands and everything. She seemed level headed for the most part, but she had the charm. She had that darkness in her that made you want to follow her, no matter where she was headed. You’d start smoking or drinking if it would allow you to spend more time with her. She was just very…inviting. In her own way, she had a mesmerizing quality. It was charm. She was born with it. You can’t learn something like that. She inherited it.

I was suspicious, as most people tend to be. I grew up with it and learned to ask more questions as I got older. And after asking questions, I realized I didn’t truly want to know the answers. That’s the way life went. And perhaps I could be more edgy around her, but she was an accomplished artist. She had a portfolio and everything. Angyl Hunter was the real deal. Through and through. And I couldn’t help but respect her for it. But that didn’t mean that I had to fall in love with her or bend to her beck and call or anything. I did what I had to – I got by. I ran the bar. I spent time at the shop. I lived on the sidelines. My years in the field were over.

Rev came by, as he usually does. His lackeys hang around, run their reports through here. As much of a cocky brat as he is, he’s fairly organized. A lot of paperwork in his organization. Then again, that could be a very foolish decision. It’s his choice. It’s his job. I won’t tell him how to run his boat. Not that he would listen anyway. He seldom, if ever, does.

I cleaned the glasses and I listened to the talk that night. I was the barkeep. I did my job. Syn was dead. I knew this because I had seen so much, I knew more than most. I was older – I was theoretically wiser. I knew because I had to know. I knew she was dead before the vulgar masses swelled to mourn her passing. Nobody was truly mourning though. They were inwardly cheering. She was dead. It was over. The chain, the cycle, the pain that she’d caused in her lifetime, the dozens of other lifetimes she’d destroyed or ended…the reign was done. She was no more. How could we help but be psyched?

I worked – saying hello to Rev. He helped a lot. He didn’t have to, but he did, and I appreciated the extra hand. Sure, he talked back a lot, but he was a kid, that’s how they are. And I don’t miss a beat; I throw it right back at him, just as quick. Irish and Colt work pretty steady. It’s a good cover and it’s straight money. It’s a job. That’s the bottom line with most careers in this world. It pays. It’s a job. Case and point.

Rev and I exchanged harassments and he was on his way for the night. I knew tomorrow would be a nightmare. He laughed and sauntered out the door with Irish. Colt disappeared along the way. I looked over my shoulder to find Lucid standing behind me. I bent back and kissed him. He smiled and held onto me.

“Who’s watching Relic?”

He smiled. “Who?”

I laughed. “You know, our daughter?”

“Oh, her. Well, I met some nice bikers outside, they said they were going to go score some coke, I left her with them.”

I nodded. “Oh, alright. Now, where is she really?”

He laughed, my body shaking with his. “She’s with Serkis and Layne. You know that.”

I nodded again. “Never can tell with you.”

He kissed me again. I looked over at one of my other bartenders. We exchanged smiles; I threw her the keys.

“Do me a favor and lock up?”

She nodded back at me, leaving Lucid and I to disappear ourselves. We moved upstairs, to where I lived, where I always lived. He’d moved in with me, being he had no other home. Serkis and Layne were always kind enough to take care of Relic for us whenever we wanted or needed time off. Due to the upcoming disaster, this was a perfect time to unwind.

And so, we did.

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