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Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 31: Beam 8
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 30: Brown 165
“Take out your valuables and lay them in front of yourselves! I will not ask again!” Dawn waved her gun viciously with a savage expression; James himself was impressed by the severe aura that the tiny girl seemed to exude. Around the room, several patrons began anxiously, slowly emptying the contents of their purses in response to her crazed performance; Bron was one of those who was emptying his pockets, transfixed by Dawn's performance, and James took the bottle that had been left by the bartender and methodically poured himself a shot into Bron’s glass. However, if either the bouncer or the owner were intimidated, neither showed it in their face.
“I apologize for the interruption, everyone,” the publican began, but Dawn whirled on him, her leg sailing through the air at lethal speed in a roundhouse that connected with the tavern keeper’s head powerfully enough to knock him to the floor, where he laid unconscious, blood pouring profusely from his head injury. Her angry facade had faded, leaving in its wake the same detached, plastic expression that she typically wore. James drank the shot as Bob dived behind the counter, where he cracked the man’s head open further by beating it against the floor and then buried his face in the fresh gash to consume the brains within as the master of the house twitched spasmodically on the ground. Geronimus finally finished closing the distance, and he attempted to snatch Dawn from behind by her knees; his arms caught the air as Dawn’s heels and head gracefully swapped orientation. She moved backwards through the air above the bouncer’s head, and her foot collided with the back his cranium as her flip reached its conclusion. Geronimus’s skull smashed into the bar; James lifted the bottle just in time as wet blood splashed across the counter from the huge man’s ruined face. Before he had time to push himself off the bar to the floor, Dawn grabbed the gargantuan man around his waist and yanked him into a into a belly-to-back waistlock in almost the same instant that she delivered a picture-perfect German suplex, complete with bridge, which she held for a moment before releasing him and rising single-mindedly from her bridge to an upright position. Geronimus stayed rooted in the same position he landed on his shoulders with his legs splayed above his head in a precarious balance, unmoving.
Most of the patrons stared in shock and awe, but four rose from their seats and began advancing toward the bar with apparently aggressive intent. James poured another shot and downed it. The nearest arrived first, and threw a meaty fist at Dawn; she dodged it easily with barely a movement, then struck her attacker in the groin with her fist, sending him to the floor writhing in pain. He hadn’t fully hit the floor when she was stomping with both feet on his melon and squirting the juice inside it across the stone ground. The second swung a chair from behind her, but the chair smashed into splinters across the head of the third man approaching from in front of her as she rolled backward. She rose with a cruel sweep that sent the second tumbling to the floor with his knee bent at an unnatural angle. The third was already sitting up woozily rubbing the bleeding, and Dawn took two steps before leaping and dropkicking him hard, blood and bits of teeth exploding into the air as she connected, then rolled back and silenced the pained screams of the second with a wicked roundhouse that left his head hanging in a fatal position with his mangled countenance trapped in permanent horror.
She fluidly rose to her feet in a single motion to face the fourth. He was a lithe, shifty looking fellow, and he danced back and forth with light footwork as he flourished a large hunting knife dangerously. “You calm down, little one,” he chuckled sadistically, “And I may decide to sell you rather than killing you.” He vied for position with her, circling as she watched him with her unnervingly blank stare. Finally, he darted in with an underhanded thrust, but she handily snatched him by the hand and wrist and forced him with his own momentum to stab himself in the breast with the knife. The man with the small physique gasped and recoiled reflexively, yanking the knife back out of himself, but Dawn didn’t release him; she placed a leg behind his for leverage and drove him to the floor, jamming the knife back into his chest. This time he released the knife, and Dawn stabbed him rapidly about the chest, neck, and face until he more resembled ruddied applesauce than human. She abruptly rose and threw the ensanguined knife across the room where it stuck in the center of the dartboard.
James dropped his cigarette to the floor and crushed it beneath his boot as he asked, “Any other objections?” As if awakened from a dream, the remaining seated patrons began quickly spilling their purses onto their tables along with other small trinkets, and removing weapons, and those standing within the establishment began complying by placing their belongings on the closest surfaces. After allowing them to empty their pockets, James briefly perused some of the items, and although he did select a particular meerschaum pipe that had been carved in the shape of a dragon, he then instructed the terrified hostages, “You can take back your things. Really, go ahead.” The bartender had returned from the kitchen, but he barely glanced at the carnage. James asked him directly, “You got a problem?”
The bartender shook his head. “In fact, m’lord, it appears we are now in need of a cook.”
“Well spoken, Jeeves. I’ll be making the food for the rest of the evening, everyone, so if anybody’s hungry, leave your order with Jeeves.” Most of the patrons were understandably filtering out at this point, but James wasn’t in it for the money. He walked behind the bar and picked his way past the body of the innkeeper, snatching a bottle from the top shelf as he passed; once in the kitchen, he pulled the cork out of the bottle and took a long pull from it. Then, whistling the ditty the fiddle player had resumed playing, the white-haired man took over the cooking.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #280: Versers Reveal. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: