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Shards - Chapter 2

Started by Bynw, August 16, 2021, 03:16:22 PM

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Bynw


The predawn light filters into the room between my curtains as I wake from an adventurous night at work. The dust particles sift through the air and readjust with each breath taken and exhaled. The twelve point antlers above my bed casts a shadow on the wall of a mystical beast waking with the new day. A slight humming noise echoes in the still room overhead as the three bladed ceiling fan spins fiercely in the air. Pulling the camouflage printed comforter off of me to sit up I noticed the purple and blackish bruise on my right forearm. It is a small reminder of a drunken fool trying to smash a beer bottle up against my head last night. One of the benefits of being a bouncer is the pleasure of feeling your work the next morning. Sitting up and twisting around to put my feet on the cold hardwood floor, there comes a twinge in my lower back where the drunkard got in a wild punch before I took away his ability to breathe easily. I had to thrust my palm into his throat and then slammed my fist into his sternum, which ended the drunkard's advancement. I arched my back a little before I was able to stand up and get my balance. I glimpsed at the clock and it read five forty-eight in the morning. After tilting my head side to side to get a release of a neck pop I then made my way to the dresser, where I got out my jogging gear.

After getting dressed, I stumbled my way downstairs to the coffee pot in the kitchen. I live in a two story log cabin in the middle of hill country. It takes a four wheeled drive vehicle to get out to my cabin that's located between North Horn Lake and Mud Lake in Tennessee just north of the Mississippi line. The area is sought after by a lot of individuals both human and non-human. The spring books are rumored to have healing properties for the supernatural, and the hill folk believe it makes the best moonshine in the four states. For me though, it is home. The closest civilization to me is about five miles west to a town called Zealot, TN, which is the town I work in. Zealot is a community of about one hundred and twenty folks and not found on any map. This is the way the community likes it. The major income for the town is the Triple H bar. It is a Hick Hop bar that has concerts in it from time to time that can hold about four to six hundred people easily. However, the supernatural world brings in a lot of hidden income into the community as well.

I live alone for the most part. Well, technically that is not true. I have two roommates, Jeremy and Doug Blanchard. Doug looks to be about thirty and the older of the two brothers. He is very rugged, about six foot three inches, broad shouldered, has a very full beard and a scar above his left eye, he looks like he stepped right out of a Paul Bunyan story. Jeremy, I would say is twenty five, he is a lot smaller about five foot four inches, skinny as a rail, and clean shaven. Jeremy reminds me of Jack Spratt if I could make a comparison. The one thing they do have in common is their cool baby blue eyes, and their passion of annoying the hell out of one another. These brothers are also known as the best two moonshiners that ever lived in the state of Tennessee. The shine they make is a thing of legend in our neck of the woods. The hill folk say that Blanchard Shine, reminds the elders of the kind of rarity that they drank when they were knee high to a grasshopper. I believe them when they say it; oh did I forget to mention they are dead. Dead is an understatement, ghosts would be the correct definition I suppose. Back in 1728, the Blanchard brothers, had a distillery out back here in the hills. From the way the two argue about that night, they were out making a new batch of shine when their life came to a fiery end. They were not attacked by rival moonshiners for their recipe, or anything of the sorts. Folks back then said that there was a giant fireball that lit up the night sky, and sending the brothers into a new world.

Their kinfolk think that god was jealous of their talent and decided that they should come home and make him their heavenly brew. Others thought they made a pact with the devil and he came to claim their souls, since that was the only way their shine could have been so divine. Others believe that the shine was so cursed by the universe, that the universe wanted to smite them for challenging the laws of nature to make such an un-earthy libation for mere mortals to drink. So the sky opened up and sent a falling fiery stone to rid this plane of their existence. The truth is a lot less mystical and just well, they were working late one night to get a batch finished, they heard a leak in the distillery since some of their corn mash glue came off one of their copper pipes. They were unable to see where the leak was coming from. They ran out of lamp oil, which made the lantern of no use, so they decided that if they were very quick with a match they could fix the issue before they lost everything they worked so hard for. Needless to say, they now can argue the decision they made for the rest of eternity.

Fifteen years ago, the brothers were out in the hills fighting over something, when they came across me unconscious lying naked in the middle of some brush. The only thing I had on me was a suitcase handcuffed to my wrist, a necklace with a bunch of wooden charms on it, and 3 tattoos. There was no way I should have been there. No tracks going to or from my body, no roads or walking paths within a mile or two. The way they say it, I wasn't there one moment and the next moment I was. They helped me to their distillery cabin, and brought me around. I had no idea of who I was or where I came from, but since no one was looking for me, I guess it didn't matter. With the use of a rock and a lot of time on my hands I was able to get the suitcase off my wrist and get it open. Inside the suitcase, was a photo id of me with a name of Daj Hoyle and an address for a place that doesn't exist, yet? It was published in Memphis, TN. There was also, a birth certificate from the Baptist Memorial hospital in Memphis, a deed to the area I was now laying on, and three hundred thousand dollars in cash.

The brothers introduced their selves, and gave me a rundown of the area that is now my home. In return for helping me get on my feet and teaching me all they knew about the area, I offered to rebuild their distillery and sale their booze. They were not in it for the money; it was their name, their legacy that they wanted to keep going. So all the money that was made from their product, we would put back in the business and the rest would go to local charities. It took me about five years to build the cabin from hand, which in the basement was the distillery. Since it was their home as well, we worked together to get the place to make everyone happy.

Over the last fifteen years we kind of adopted each other. Even though they never need anything I still worry about them. I also have seen them pop up every now and again on one of my other jobs, to make sure I am ok as well. Time and time again they have proven that they are not the sharpest tools in the shed, but damn dem boys make me laugh, and they is my kin.

As soon as my feet hit the floor at the bottom of the stairs, my ears become privy to the first dispute of the day. Jeremy is standing on his tippy toes, getting in to Doug's face and is shouting in his squeaky like tone, "They could not!"

Doug in more of a bass tone that echoes very well in the log cabin retorts with a, "They could too!"

Back and forth, like a scene out an old Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoon, I watch the scene play out in my kitchen.

"They could not," Jeremy yells.

"They could too," Doug wails.

I quickly step through the two arguing apparitions, for two reasons. For one, it was the quickest way to get to the coffee. I love them to death but if I don't get coffee before I start hearing this. I may find a permanent way to exercise them. The second reason, of course, is to interrupt the bickering. Passing through them makes the sparring stop and they admit that I was in the room. It also takes them a second to have to reform into a solid like state, but immediately after their congealing I was being bombarded with the who's right questioning.

"Guys," I yelled over the two bickering children, "what is the routine? The same damn routine every day for the last ten years?"

Both of them dropped their heads like scalded dogs and slouched their shoulders is despair. Then with unison response replied, "No bothering Daj, until he had his cup of coffee and got back from his run." I poured me a cup of black rich bliss and drank it down without another word said. I looked at both of them and with a sigh, "I am going for my run, when I get back. I will take my shower, and tidy my room. You two get the dishes sorted out, and when I sit down for my next cup, I will be glad to hear both sides of the story." Both of them lit up with joy, I found it very amusing. Before I step out onto the porch I turn and inform them the same thing I say every time. "Now I will only be gone for 20 minutes you both know my route, so if you need me, come get me. And Jeremy, do not pop up in front of me again, I am tired of falling over. You know I can't hear anything with these things on."

Jeremy nods his head in confirmation and I step out the swinging door. The green air hits my senses like a monsoon. The fresh dew of the morning smells like freshly fallen rain. The flora is sweet and woodsy. But not like an amazon, more on the lines of fresh cut lawn mixed with a flower shop. I put my Bluetooth headphones on, and pair it with my phone. I go to my favorite app, and hit radio, the Hick Hop Music app starts playing the song We All Country remix, and I start off my run keeping with the beat of the music. About thirteen minutes into my jog, I come to a complete stop. Standing in the middle of the jogging trail stands an old Chickasaw Indian. He looks to be in his late 70's with wrinkles covering most of his face. There is a single feather in his hair above his left ear, and a simple headband with a few beads in it, to hold his long black bangs out of his face. He is wearing moccasins that look to be made out of deer pelt, with a matching vest. A pair of denim jeans with a black belt and a t-shirt that says, "If you can read this, you are within my scope." In his mouth he has a single piece of fresh wheat sticking out. I have no idea where it comes from since the closest wheat farm is three states over.

"Hallito Daj, chinchokma?"

"I am good Inki Abu. How are you, this blessed morning?"

Inki Abu is an elder of the tribe in this area. Most people in the area are afraid to speak to him, since his presence demands very high respect. For a man of his age he somehow is able to make it where he is only seen when he wishes to be. Some people think that he may be a medicine man or even a shaman of the tribe. After dealing with him over the last decade I have come to realize he is a lot more than that. In fact, if I was betting man, I would put money on him being the god that the Chickasaw people pray too. The small gestures and ticks that he projects with his mannerisms prove to me he is of something of the supernatural plane. At one time, I thought he was Coyote, another god of many Native American tribes. That idea was tossed out the window when I stumbled upon the two having a conversation over a piece pipe. I was able to sit and join them, since I was carrying some Blanchard Moonshine on me; I just had to mistakenly loose a bottle or two on transport. I also, at one time, had the notion he may have been a Wendigo. A Wendigo, in Native American history, is a beast which stands about six foot nine inches tall, that feast on humans, and resembles a mixture between a Werewolf and a Yeti. All three of them are real, and only two of them can be friendly. That idea was crushed, when I watched Inki, no bigger than five foot 4 inches lift a Wendigo off the ground by the throat with only his left hand and cut its head clean off with a small black like dagger with his right hand in one quick slice. When he seen me witness this feat of strength he simply wiped off his blade on the Wendigo's fur, put it back into the sheath then while raising his right hand and waving it slightly said, "This is not the Wendigo you were looking for." Then he simply turned around and walked into the brush and disappeared. To be honest, he is one of only four creatures I have ever met that literally scares the hell out of me.

"I am also good Daj, I am happy to hear you understanding the language of my people more. I have come bearing sad news today. You are about to have company at your house about a job that you must take. Open your eyes on this adventure, not everything is as it appears."

Inki never talks to me about my work, unless it is of great importance. The last time he informed me of an issue with a case, an orphanage was being used as a blood bank for vampires in Louisiana. The remnants of that nest are still trying to track me down for payback, but you don't hurt kids like that, ever. I looked the old one into his dark brown eyes and I could see he meant to tell me something more. I remember from previous talks that if I offer him a trade, he may be able to loosen his lip on the subject.

"I am honored by your words and wisdom. I will stay the course and keep my eyes open. I know we haven't spoken much and I miss our conversations. Maybe you can take these as a token of gratitude of your friendship and wisdom." I then take my bluetooth headphones off my head and hand them to him. Instantly the old man looks like a child on his birthday and a smile comes across his face in amazement.

"Yappa nanta?" he asks me with puzzlement. I think his words through and I realize he is asking what it is.

"They allow music to play through a device like I gave you last time, the one that plays music in your ears. This will let it play music without the wires as I was doing before our conversation started this day."

He starts to fish at his pocket for something to trade for them and I stop him. "No trade, you gave me words of wisdom, we are even," I informed him. I made a gesture with my hand to make a flat line in the air. The smile broadens more and I can now see a gap of missing teeth in his grin. I turn to leave and he calls out. "Not every step on the path that is walked is left by the owner of the step."

I turned to thank him but he was already gone. I unfortunately do know how Commissioner Gordon feels. I turn back down my path and start making my back to the cabin. When I get up to my running speed, Jeremy spontaneously appears in front of me. I trip on my own feet trying to stop and take a dive into the sharp branch covered path. I scrape my knees on the branches and my hands skid across a few jagged stones, I turn my shoulder and roll through the fall and quickly stand up.

"Damn it Jeremy, what did I tell you about that," I demand while I bring myself back up.

You ever hear a ghost laugh? It sounds like a mixture of a baby giggling and blowing into a straw at the same time, it's creepy as hell. I know I am furious since I have told him numerous times before, but you ever get a chance to see a ghost laugh it is funny as shit. Even though he is not breathing he is still mimicking the thought, knees bent, his arms held across his abdomen, and bent over straw giggling as hard as he could. I can't hold it against him too much, I am sure I would laugh to, if it happened to someone else, but that is not the damn point. After about two to three minutes of hearing the straw giggles, and pointing at me in glee, he is finally able to speak rationally.

"I am real sorry Daj, I really am. I didn't mean too. But dat was funny right der," Jeremy squealed out.

I ignore the comment, "What is it Jeremy?"

"Oh yeah, ya got company headin' to the house. Doug thinks it may be Samuel. He is driven really fast. Since you wasn't back yet, Doug sent me to fetch ya."

I nodded my head in response. "You head on back there I'm on my way. You and Doug wait in the cabin till I get there, just in case it isn't Samuel, alright?"

"Alright, Daj," Jeremy nodded, "Me and Doug will be in the basement. We won't be seen, no sir."

"Good, I am on my way." I flicked my finger and he disappeared. I started sprinting back to the house as fast as my feet can carry me. Ghosts are a rare thing, and if a spirit witch or gods forbid a necromancer gets ahold of one, they will shred a ghost to pieces and be lost in the void forever. I was not about to let that happen to my brothers. With the thought of a possible intruder on our land my feet started pumping like pistons and I ran faster than I have in a long time.

Coming out of the woods into a clearing there stood a two tone blue and black jeep sitting in the driveway, it was Samuel's. Samuel Longstrum is the son of Jebidiah Longstrum, and he is a werewolf. His father Jebidiah is the alpha of the Nashville chapter of werewolves and is a very powerful person. Samuel is third in line to take over if anything would befall his father and Leo. Samuel is the local mechanic for the city of Zealot and for the last ten years he has become one of my best friends. If Samuel is here it is for one of two reasons, either he wants to get into trouble or there is trouble and my services are required.

"Daj, man you need to bring your truck into the shop, looks like your back spring is going to snap. You know my dad would be glad to buy you a new truck. All you done for him and the pack, they would be honored." He stated in a pleasing tone.

"Sam, how's your mom and dem?" I politely asked.

"She is good, so is pa. Thank you for the query"

I make my way closer to my friend and in a monotonous response, "You know I can't accept a gift from anyone; it would look as if I was taken a side. That is against the rules. Besides, your father doesn't owe me anything. What I do for the pack I also do for everyone else. Anyways, my truck is fine; I had it out bogging the other day, and tore the mud up."

"Right, whateva man, when it breaks off just call me up and promise I won't say I told you so, to many times," he chuckled in response.

We greeted each other with a handshake and a pat on the back. I pointed to the cabin and invited him in. As we stepped inside I hollered out, "Sam is here, come on up." Jeremy and Doug shot through the floorboards like a rocket to greet our guest. I turned to the three of them and begged their pardon, as I went upstairs to get cleaned up. After a shower, I made up the bed, straightened the room a little and headed back downstairs to visit with my friend. Jeremy, Doug and Samuel were seated at the table engaged in a conversation about the new batch of shine and when it may be ready. I poured a new cup of black liquid gold from the pot and sat down. When the first taste of bliss hit my lips, I sighed and put the cup down, and then in stereo the two brothers started in. Sam just sat back and covered his mouth to prevent from laughing out loud. He knew how the two got, and was not about to interrupt the routine. I raised one hand and they both stopped talking.

I cleared my throat and in my most serious voice stated, "I, Daj Hoyle, Arbiter of the supernatural world, call to the meeting of Brothers Jeremy and Doug to settle this dispute according to the laws of the lands. My decision will be final and there will be no disputes once the verdict has been made. Do both parties agree to these terms?"

I look upon Jeremy and he nods his head in approval. I then turn to Doug and he does the same. "I then open the floor to Jeremy first to give his side of the story."

"I bring to note that there was no way that Jack could of fit on the door with Rose, when the Titanic was sinking because the door would of flipped over and they both would of froze to death in the ocean."

With all the power I could of mustard, I did not laugh not once. Deep down I knew I never should have gotten them Netflix. I then turn to Doug and nodded to him for his statement.

"Not only do I believe that they both could have survived on the door, it was proven on an episode of Mythbusters. They used science and math to prove that both of them could have survived. James Cameron just wanted to sell a movie and had to let a great man like Leonardo DiCaprio give his life, to fulfill Cameron's wishes."

Once the statement was finished the two brothers went at each other again with verbal bashings and cursing. I glanced over to Samuels's direction and the werewolf was so red from pure enjoyment, I thought he was going to burst. I slammed my hand firmly on the table and the room became a vacuum of silence. I glanced in both directions so they both knew I had enough and composed myself before speaking.

"In the matter of the door boat, and rather or not it could have saved both Jack and Rose long enough before they could have been fished out of the water. I have seen the footage from the movie, I have also bared witness to the Mythbusters' episode, and Cameron himself said they should have made the door smaller. Therefore, with all the footage that has been made available since the movie's release. I have declared that Doug is correct. Therefore, per the standing agreement between you both, Doug has the Netflix remote for the next two days. My decision is final." I then take another swig of coffee and motion to Samuel about stepping outside.

We both exit the cabin to the front porch and we can hear Jeremy express his disbelief in the matter and fade into the background. I offer Sam a seat as I take mine. Sam sits down and just lets out pure laughter in disbelief of another hard fought decision. He looks straight at me and is a jesting tone, "You know that there was no right answer to that question right?" I just shrug my shoulders and take another sip.

"Sam, it is good to see you like always but I sense you have something you need to talk about?"

Sam took in a shallow breath and then spoke softly. "Yeah, dad sent me. It sounds very important. He said that you need to bring your kit and a contract to Lucian's office tonight. Lucian is going to oversee the procedure; also dad said someone important was coming, so you need to dress appropriately."

I was puzzled by this; I mean I have met with everyone in the area, dressed like I always do. Everyone knows me, and yet I am being asked to dress appropriately. I know something isn't right and for Lucian to oversee the signing of a contract means there is a lot more going on than a simple quarrel.

I take a big swig of coffee to finish the cup off and look at Sam. I then shift my attitude to a serious manner and state, "Please inform Alpha Longstrom I will be at Mr. Wyrmwood's office at twenty hundred hours and will be honored to sit with him and his entourage to discuss the matter at hand. I will have a contract made available for all parties to sign. Like all negotiations I will come armed in case someone decides to act against the laws of the land while we are in congregation. Is there anything else I need to be aware of before we convene until this evening?"

Samuel took his queue and responded accordingly. "Arbiter Hoyle, I will inform my alpha of your arrival and make sure everyone will follow the laws of the lands in your presence. At this time our conversation will hold till we meet again. Thank you for your time, and have a blessed day." He then stood and bowed.

I sat my cup down, took a standing position and returned the bow and finished with, "Have a blessed day." Samuel turned and walked back to his jeep. As he was about to get in he shouted back in a sarcastic and playful manner, "If all goes well, you may even get to see Alex tonight." Slamming the door quickly he started the blue and black monster up and hammered the accelerator and peeled down the makeshift road.

I picked up my glass to go back inside and thought to myself that is all I need today, and rolled my eyes in discord.
President pro tempore of The Worlds of Katherine Kurtz Fan Club
IRC Administrator of #Deryni_Destinations
Discord Administrator of The Worlds of Katherine Kurtz Discord
Administrator https://www.rhemuthcastle.com

Jerusha

Oh my, oh my!  Very interesting indeed.  More please.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Bynw


Remember that I did not write this story. I am just posting it.
President pro tempore of The Worlds of Katherine Kurtz Fan Club
IRC Administrator of #Deryni_Destinations
Discord Administrator of The Worlds of Katherine Kurtz Discord
Administrator https://www.rhemuthcastle.com

Jerusha

I had forgotten that.  I had sort of lost track of this story.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany