The needle was empty and Echo was reelin'. Jus' watchin' the shadows stretch cross the ceilin'. The lights had turned to winding worms and the sound of every pin dropped or key turned was carried up to Echo's loft, and the worst of it was the words. They slid and rolled and swelled and rushed from screaming anger to hush-hush and swept up in the voices her attention span was blurred. And just when it began to be so much that she could hardly stand the screams her mind escaped by fleeing to the forgetfulness of dreams.
She sees a woman running. It could be her, but she's not sure. There's a monster in the darkness. But it's so big she can't see all of it at once, only pieces of a claw, a scale, an eye. A light in the sky, she wants it to point towards the beast, but it shines in all the wrong places. There's a gun attached to a man attached to a smile with too many teeth. A flash, a crack, a sharp, deep pain.
Echo's eyes shot open while her hands tried to close around the pain in her chest, but they couldn't reach that deep. The sound was still pounding, and she felt herself drowning, but she wouldn't abide by dyin' without making a peep. She lifted her horn and sucked her final breath in deep, then blew one final lullaby before the big sleep. If her heart's givin' out, she's got nothin' to lose, 'cept an empty needle, her horn, and the blues.
Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to the Mutant Fighting League. I'm standing here with "Dangerous" Donny Payne, a mutant, a man, a challenger, poised to--
LUCKY CHEN!! YOU HAVE SQUIRMED AWAY FROM ME FOR THE LAST TIME!! You can run, that's right. You can HIDE, mmm hmm, okay. BUT I WILL FLIP UP YOUR MOMMA'S SKIRT AND FIND YOU!! I will be all over you like a bad rash! THIS is aMERica, Lucky Chen. I WILL SHOW YOU THE POWER!! EAGLE SOAR!! A choke slam for every stripe, power bomb for every star on old glory! One hundred percent. When we meet in the ring tomorrow night at Muti-Mania, YOU WILL KNOW WHAT IT IS TO RIDE INTO THE DANGER ZONE!! YOU HAVE A ONE WAY TICKET ON THE PAYNE TRAIN!! Destination: DOWN. One hundred percent. RED LINE OVERDRIVE!! Lemme tell ya, Joe, when "Dangerous" Donny Payne steps into the ring Lucky Chen will finally realize how unfortunate he is, mmm hmmm. One hundred percent. He will FINALLY REALIZE that his life is in serious danger. He will FINALLY REALIZE that the INTERCONTINENTAL SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT MUTANT FIGHTING LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP BELT RIGHTFULLY BELONGS TO DANGEROUS, one hundred percent, DONNY, and if yer watchin' at home and you know who's the real champ say it with me now, PAYNE!!!!
California Highway Patrol unit #110182 model P-2.3 requesting warrant. Suspect observed speeding in excess, unauthorized possession of firearms, and failure to appropriately utilize turn signal. Logging additional charges in progress. Status: in pursuit. Uploading video evidence... completed. Permission to engage requested... use of deadly force authorized. Sirens engaged. Logging additional charge: assaulting an officer of the law. Evasive maneuvers engaged. Minor damage sustained. Targeting... Engaging weapons systems. Logging additional charge: unauthorized possession of explosive material. Vehicle non-operational. Suspect threat level: neutralized. Analyzing... Suspect's injuries result in ineligibility for facial recognition identification. Sampling genetic material for DNA identification. Uploading sample analysis... Evidence confirmation requested... confirmed. Resuming patrol.
The streets would've been remarkably empty for any other part of town. Venturing into the skids on wheels often led to an involuntary exchange of ownership. When Bonnie got off the bus she checked her watch. The one thing that seemed to stay consistent among the ever changing landscape of L.A. was the inefficiency of the public trans. She was a long way from London and an hour later than she thought she'd be. She doubted the Faders would care as long as she delivered the fix. She wouldn't care much either, so long as they had the dough and she wouldn't have to waste anybody. Ugliest part of the job, that. At least she wasn't in the pleasure parlors any more.
She eyeballed the building before going in. Bullet-chipped bricks, rust, and termites seemed to be the only things holding it together. In the second story window she saw the reflection of a neon sign that read "liquor". Past that scarlet glow she saw a mutie wearing teashade glasses and a white suit. Past that she saw the bulge of a gun in his armpit, and three muscle-bound goons lined up behind him. She hit a button on her mobile and said "I'm going in. Keep my backup on standby."
Anders rocked back and forth on the worn out, uncomfortable, metal chair in front of the cafe. The hand-cannon tucked into his pants under his shirt kept digging into his gut, and he determined that some of the creds from this job would go towards one o' them fancy slide-space holsters another trigger-man told him about back in the slammer.
Something in the lighting changed and suddenly he was more aware of the slight breeze that made it past the high collar of his coat to the back of his neck. He could feel the anxious rush of adrenaline entering his system, felt his muscles coiling and his skin tightening, and knew that his prey was near.
He could smell her from where he sat. Her high-end perfume mixed with the salt of nervous sweat. As sure as he knew the hunt was on, so did she. She hurried through the swishing automatic doors of a multi-level boutique and disappeared. Anders cursed to himself: too many possible exits. He got up and pursued as casually as he could force himself to be. The doors swished shut behind him as his hand slipped into his coat to grip the holster of his gun.
I'm an illustrator based out of Los Angeles, CA. My ambition is to one day sit alongside my heroes in the fantasy art community, and have my work featured on many book covers, role playing game books, collectible card games, and much more.
I'm currently available for freelance work, please contact me at:
umbralust (at) hotmail (dot) com
I realize that art is a discipline in which there is always room for growth, and I greatly appreciate any feedback, comments, or critiques.