Jules: The 2nd Adventure
Genre: Magical Realism
Date of Publication: December18, 2015
Word Count: 26,489
Cover Artist: Ryan Bayron
War. It doesn’t start with armies or bombs. It doesn’t start with declarations or protests. It doesn’t start with speeches. It starts with one thing. Intent.
Jules understands this concept. She intends to kill a cult leader. She intends to undo magic from the past. She intends to get her family home.
She intends to start a war.
The moonlight shone down silver on a small, sleepy town on the outskirts of Colorado. I arrived just as the humans of the town were settling down, which meant that night-walkers, creatures like me, were out and about.
Almost six foot of pure, sexy half-elf form, my slick boots and lithe figure slipped through the little town unnoticed. My blood-red skirt swayed with the motion, the fabric making a faint swishing sound as it slid across my legs. The crystalline broadsword across my back tapped lightly against the chain mail wrapped around my torso.
I passed by a sprite-like figure, flicking black hair out of my eyes as we watched each other pass. The sprite flinched and flitted past me. I wasn't surprised. When you encounter a biped with eyes as dark as her soul, you quickly and quietly move on.
A ghostly figure appeared next to me for just a moment; tall, like me. Long, black hair falling in waves away from a bird-like face. Hollow eyes. Pale skin. Leather outfit from neck to toe. Dual kodachi by her side and a billowing jacket behind her. She just loved the dramatics, even as a ghost of my psyche.
Julia, she thought, I hope you know what you're doing.
Oh relax, Mother, I thought back. I know exactly what I'm doing.
A small establishment innocently sat on the side of a back-street, a dirty alleyway tracking behind it. Trash bins squatted on the sidewalk, dirty and uninviting.
The brick on the outside of the building was stained with various liquids. I'd say it was various forms of blood, if only by the smell. Alien blood. Faerie blood. The black ook of various lunar skin-walkers.
It was painted on the bricks as a sort of 'human-repellant'. The sign on the front had a faded sign indicating it was some sort of hardware store, but it was just a farce so that the humans wouldn't investigate too thoroughly.
I walked through the solid glass doors painted black with a thick, tar-like substance and walked into Sting's store. The concrete floor was littered with old, wooden shelves lined with rusting tools. A counter sat on the wall to the left, and to the right the shelves opened up to a back room.
On a support beam over the back room, a neon sigh blinked and hummed, reading out the name of the nightclub behind the door: "My Fair Lady."
I walked through the backdoor and was greeted with Sting's second layer of deception.
Wooden support beams from the exposed roofing overhead gave the appearance of gross incompetence from the builders, and thick, wooden beams came down to give the small room a square appearance. The floorboards creaked in the places that weren't punched through with holes, and the entire area smelled of puke and cheap booze.
I walked up to the rotting counter where a bored-looking pirate skeptically glared at me with his one good eye.
"Whaddya want, la—" He stopped, his one eye narrowing as he squinted at me. I smiled, letting him get a good look at my fair complexion and my sloped-to-a-point ears. He glanced at the slightly angular features of my fine-boned face, the odd nature of my eyes.
With a grunt, he motioned to the door at the end of the counter. I smiled my thanks and sauntered away.
To humans, this back door led out to the alleyway. But humans wouldn't be able to activate the runes etched all around the doorframe and on the inside of the handle.
The nightclub—the actual nightclub—was crisp and clean. Old-fashioned. 1970s. Sting kept up a respectable establishment for a half-human.
Blue lights glowed overhead, a long bar covered the entire left side of the wall with a massive shrine to various drinks. A bartender stood at either end of the bar, which was lined with high, stool-like chairs. The middle was comprised of a smattering of round and straight tables made of decent but not fancy wood, cleaned as best as could be with only a rag and a little magic.
The tables were parted to either side of the room, the long space of floor filled with various creatures milling around and dancing together.
A strong beat thrummed out from a stage, a number of long planks hammered into the far end of the club. It was raised just enough for the band and singer to be off the floor and out of the range of moving, kicking feet.
A band was up on the stage, sassy jazz music flooding the room. A full set of drums was being pounded on by a fancy-looking pixie. An upright bass was being plucked by a willowy elf. A saxophone was being handled nicely by a shirtless vampire, and the piano's beat was pumped out by a half-elf. His feet were up on the bench, knees bent comically, and his motions sporadic as he played. He was practically hopping around up there as he rammed his fingers against the keys.
The last beats were fired out from the band, the piano player bringing the music to a crest before they crashed down on the final note together. I made my way to the front as everyone cheered, talons and claws and fingers crashing together as the crowd showed their appreciation. I moved to the front as everyone disbanded, moving back to the tables and the bar. I watched the piano player talk enthusiastically to the band members and waited for him to notice me.
About the Author:
A half-Hawaiian, half-Spanish, half-Italian, half-Filipino, K. Stevens is 4'6" of sarcasm and introverted weirdness. She enjoys time spent communing with local flora and fauna. She hopes to one day be considered one of the greats in literature, but will settle for people at least knowing her name.