Chapter One

Thinking about his older brother had Micah gritting his teeth in irritation. Booker Veyhl was an impatient man, testy when jobs took longer than necessary to be finished and downright dangerous when kept waiting. The Games were tonight. Booker’s favorite past-time. And he’d expect his little brother to be home in time to watch them.  

The faint glimmer of the flickering streetlamps served as the only light illuminating his way through the many rows of establishments in the Pleasure District. Luckily, Micah had long since committed these streets to memory. He skirted to the left briefly before jutting down yet another alley to the right and arriving at Sister Anna’s Brothel. 

Sister Anna’s, though just as run-down as the rest of Tartarus, boomed with business. The unpatched roof and shattered windows served as no deterrent to patrons that flocked to Sister Anna’s to make merry, forget their worries, and revel in all sorts of vicious debaucheries. Tonight was no different. Especially since the Games would be showcased on the few dusty television sets mounted around the interior. Sister Anna’s was one of the few places in Tartarus where civilians would be able to watch. But Micah was here on other business. 

No one looked up as he entered, too busy in their depravity to take heed of a skinny little runt like Micah. His small stature and slim figure made him insignificant in a place like this, a place where those with the most mass were thought to have the most power. But even as they ignored him, Micah felt them. Felt their disgusting emotions pulsing and tugging and wrapping around him. Lust. Pleasure. Anger. Despair. Micah forced himself to focus, to tug down the walls around his mind. To shut them out. Shut them out. 

A horde of five patrons and their bed-warmers for the night lounged greedily at the bar in the far-left corner. Elsewhere around the wide-open space were well-dressed men and their scantily clad counterparts. Micah knew better than to make eye contact. Eye contact in Sister Anna’s was like a contract made on wet paper. The ink would bleed, and the substance would molder and dissolve into nothing, providing neither proof nor deniability. But still binding to those involved. 

Perched at the far end of the bar sat the woman with whom Micah had been sent to commune. Stooped and elderly, with dark skin and long plaited gray hair, she seemed completely at ease, a glass of amber-colored liquid in her hand. Though her back was hunched, her body still showed the thick muscles of a past life, her gaze clear and focused.

Copyright © 2020 – All rights reserved by Hellie Heat

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