[Greetings folks! I missed a week, thanks to some travel and such, but now we’re back with a new Sharkey chapter! If you haven’t been reading along from the beginning, you can catch up HERE. If you’re all caught up, let’s get the show moving! —RFY]
Motorbike Bill spent the majority of Saturday driving through Broken Ankle Point on his bike looking for Alice. He knew she was there. A psychic had told him so, and not just some two-bit psychic, either. A professional, upscale psychic registered with the Work Board and everything. She’d said that Alice was in Broken Ankle Point, and that Bill would find her. She also said that he would get the justice that he deserved, and being of a somewhat bent persuasion, Bill assumed that meant he’d get to knock her on her ass in front of a crowd of people, just like she’d done to him before stealing all his cash and ditching town.
Bill wasn’t very bright.
So Bill, knowing what little information he knew, headed for a city of nearly a million souls (not necessarily all human, mind you) and figured he’d spot Alice walking the streets. He hoped this would happen before lunch. After several hours of roaring up and down the main streets of town, scowling at anyone who looked his way, Bill gave up and headed for the filthiest looking bar he could find, and The Rat Hole met his expectations. (It was owned by Matty “Rat Face” Tillbrook, a former biker who’d hit a minor lottery jackpot, winning enough cash to buy an abandoned bar and, after two years, drive it back into the ground. It now stayed in business primarily thanks to the illegal drug trade that Matty ran out of the back room.) Bill proceeded to sit alone in a booth, angrily ordering some fried food and a pair of whiskey shots. Truth be told, however, he felt remarkably at home in that thoroughly unwholesome atmosphere. By the time Bill had finished sulking, the sun had set, and he’d downed enough hundred proof to floor the average citizen. He tossed a buck on the table (for which the ancient bartender secretly flipped him the bird) and headed for the door, listing only slightly.
He paced towards his bike. The street was partially lit by the beer signs in the window of The Rat Hole, and by a flickering amber bulb in the tall lamp on the corner across the street, but the area beyond the neon glow was mostly shadow. A movement in those shadows caught Bill’s attention, and he paused just after throwing his leg over the seat of his bike. He swayed slightly, trying to focus on an area of black that seemed to be moving a bit more than the buildings and sidewalks.
A tall figure, too thin, and too much covered in shadow, moved towards Bill, close enough that the neon from the beer signs imposed a vague, chalk-like definition on the figure, but the man (or whatever he was) seemed more out of focus than Bill thought he should.
“A lovely night, isn’t it friend?” said a soft hiss of a voice. A voice like ice cracking or bone being whittled away by dry, sandy winds.
“You a fag? I ain’t into that,” Bill said. He still couldn’t focus on the man. At least he thought it was a man.
Sharkey would have smelled that it wasn’t a man. Alice would have felt and seen that it wasn’t a man.
Bill wasn’t very bright, even when he hadn’t drunk half a bottle of rot gut.
The man that wasn’t a man laughed. A dry leaves against tree branches laugh.
“No, I’m not a fag, Motorbike Bill.” The voice was still soft, still a hiss. Bill crawled off his bike, without realizing he’d done it.
“How the fuck you know my name?”
Again the laugh that wasn’t a laugh slithered from the man that wasn’t a man. Bill started to move back a step but stopped himself. He wasn’t a fuckin’ coward, no matter how weird a motherfucker was.
“That’s right, Bill. You’re not afraid. You’re never afraid, are you?”
“What you want, man? I got shit to do,” Bill said. His whiskey soaked blood felt cold, but he wasn’t going to be talked shit at by a fucking shadow.
“Of course you have ‘shit’ to do,” the creature said, “and I can help you. You’re looking for a woman.”
Bill swayed but didn’t say anything. The thing laughed, like paper rotting in an attic.
“Not only can I help you find her,” said the creature as he moved several steps closer, too quickly for Bill to react, “but I can help you punish her.” It reached out an arm, flexing long, grotesquely thin fingers, like spider’s legs with too many joints. It grabbed Bill’s shoulder. The other hand reached around Bill’s skull, stabbing a long, thin fingertip into his brain.
Bill felt a rush of heat, of pleasure. His world began to glow, and the spidery creature in front of him flashed in front of his eyes, brighter than the neon. The pleasure increased as the creature continued to pump venom into Bill’s body. He could feel himself burning up, from the inside out. He wanted to scream but couldn’t move.
Slowly, but inevitably, Motorbike Bill dissolved, and Nightmare Bill took his place.
[Oh my… Hopefully, you weren’t too invested in Bill. Either way, he’s CHANGED now, but the new Bill will be back pretty soon. Our next chapter, hopefully coming your way in one week, goes back to Adam and the Knights, who are getting ready for a stakeout! The excitement builds!!! —RFY]
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)
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