Katrina Wilde had managed to sneak outside, leaving the deafening music behind and she fished up a pack of cigarettes, picked the last one, crumpled the package and threw it on the ground before lighting the cigarette and inhaled deeply.
She held her breath for a couple of seconds before exhaling slowly, letting the smoke encircle her with its familiar scent. Her bracelets rattled as she let her arm fall to her side, biting her lip thoughtfully.
Suddenly she heard some indistinct noises coming from the backalley and she let her gaze scan the area. She thought she heard hushed voices, but she couldn’t make out neither voices nor words and she shook her head slowly, quietly cursing all the drugdealers that had a tendency to do business behind the club. They were vermin.
Katrina was tired. The late shifts at the club had taken its toll, especially since she hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in several months. It was the nightmares that kept her awake. The bizarre dreams about a woman with hair split in the colors of fiery red and golden blonde. She was always floating in the air with two shadows on either side, trying to pull her towards them. Tess always woke up just as the woman began screaming in agony.
She brought the cigarette to her lips again, inhaling deeply a second time, feeling how she calmed down. The dream was on her mind constantly and even though she could see the woman clearly could she never make out any details of her features. Neither could she make out who the shadows on either side were.
The nightly patrols didn’t make things any better either. She didn’t know what they were, the things she hunted, but they had been part of her life for as long as she could remember. Her foster mother, Ellen, had deemed her insane when she at the age of three had said that there were things out there that wanted to hurt her. At the age of seven had she been dragged to a psychologist who had said that it was just the angsiety over not knowing who her parents were that manifested in this way, and that she would eventually grow up from it. She never did and she had been sixteen when she killed her first and she had been hunting them ever since.
The downside to it all was that she barely slept anymore. Her boss, Adam, had been lenient with her, mostly because she was friend with Melissa, but she could tell that he was beginning to tire of her forgetfulness.
Katrina puffed a final time on the cigarette, stubbed it against the railing and threw it on the ground. As she with a sigh turned around she thought she saw something in the corner of her eyes, but when she looked towards the fence there were nothing. She shook her head slightly and opened the backdoor to Inferno, just as a heavy rain started falling over the city.
She was greeted by the sound of music and the smell of vomit, and glancing at her phone she realized that it was past midnight, well past midnight even. That meant that it was now the eleventh of October. Thirty minutes left and then it was that time of year again, when she needed to visit her parents grave.
She sneaked inside and as the door slammed shut behind her, she removed her jacket and cardigan, throwing them over a chair.
“Where the hell have you been?”
She spun around, flashing her most loving smile. Adam didn’t seem to care.
“You have already had your break! Thankfully Mel is capable of working for two.” His face was red as a tomato at this point and she wondered if he was about to explode. “Katie, for fuck sake, what’s happened to you? You used to be so ambitious!” he hid his head in his hands, taking a deep breath. “Look, I don’t know what you’re doing every night after your shift, and honestly, I don’t fucking care.. But I expect you to do your job while you’re here!”
Katie sighed and shook her head slowly, burying her hands in the back pockets of her jeans.
“Look, Adam..” She approached him slowly, having this whole apology forming in her head.
“Don’t bother,” he muttered. “It’s not the first time, and I guess it won’t be the last. Just get behind the bar and make the customers happy.”
Katie smiled widely and patted him on the shoulder as she passed, knowing she just dodged a bullet, barely. She was lucky, indeed.
“And,” he said and grabbed her wrist. “take care of yourself!”
She met his gaze and nodded slowl. “I will.”
He let go off her and disappeared back to his office and she opened the door out to the bar area. As she stepped out, she was almost knocked to the ground as Melissa ran past with a tray.
“Katie!” She exclaimed and threw an apron to her. “You’re late!”
Melissa was a beautiful black woman in her mid-thirties, with dark eyes which gave her a look of sophistication, well-defined cheekbones and full lips. She was only a couple of inches shorter than Katie, sporting a stature of 5ft5″. Her black hair reached her shoulders and was really curly, bouncing around as she moved.
“So are you.” Katie laughed, “Adam caught me at the back.” She tied the apron around her waist, grabbed a towel and made her way to the bar.
Melissa came back and placed herself beside her, she reached for a bottle of Jack Daniel’s but stopped in the middle of her movement as her eyes landed on Katie’ temple.
“Christ, what’s happened to you?” She called, trying to drown out the music.
Katie wet her lips, poured a beer and placed in front of a costumer. As she placed the money in the register she glanced at Melissa, smiling wryly.
“I ran into a door.” It was the oldest excuse in the book, but she couldn’t really tell her that she got it by being slammed against a car by a monster. Mel would have thought she had lost her mind.
Melissa arched an eyebrow and nodded slowly, not exactly buying Katie’s excuse, but she knew better than to question her. Katie had more secrets than the government and yet she also knew that she was probably the closest to a best friend Katie had ever had. She wasn’t about to throw that away.
“It must’ve been an angry door,” she said instead. “ruining your tank top and jeans too.”
Katie laughed. “It was on a warpath!”
Melissa didn’t reply. She was fixated on something, or someone, out on the dancefloor and even though Katie tried to see where she was looking, she saw nothing.
“Dante’s here again!” Mel said then and frowned slightly.
“Who?” Katie wondered and glanced at Mel.
“Dante?!” Mel practically pointed by now. “The one over by the railing, the handsome one.”
As she had scanned the area Mel had pointed for a moment her eyes landed on him.
“Who’s he?” She could barely make out what he looked like, seeing as the club was dark and almost every customer had black hair, a lot of make-up and dark clothes.
“Just know his name’s Dante.” Mel answered, “Is always around when it’s your shift. He never orders anything, he just stands there, watching you. To be honest, it’s kinda freaky.” Mel emphasized the last part by making a grimace.
Katie chuckled. “And you said his name’s Dante? Like almost every other man in here?”
Mel shrugged. “Well, rumor says he’s like the one from the video games.”
Katie glanced at Mel for a second but didn’t reply. When she turned back to the spot the man was gone. She frowned and wondered where he had gone, but it was impossible to know. Maybe he didn’t like the fact that Mel had finally pointed him out to her.
She shrugged and turned around, grabbing a bottle of vodka which she almost dropped when she turned back, ending up face to face with him.
His eyes seemed to darken as he inspected her, frowning slightly when he noticed her wounded temple. It was almost as if she could see regret in his eyes.
Katie was about to open her mouth when he smiled wryly and placed a few dollars on the counter. “A beer.”
At first she just stood there, gaping at him. Mostly because she found him frighteningly attractive. He was tall, around 6ft2″ and his black hair was cut into a shorter version of a mohawk with short hair on the sides instead of shaved. He sported a dark, thick, well-trimmed stubble that gave him a rather scruffy look and his eyes were dark, but that could just have been the dark light in the club. His well-defined arms and hands were covered in tattoos – runes, glyphs, strange letters and numbers.
What she also found frightening was the fact that he barely made an effort to speak, yet she heard him as clear as day. It took Mel to place a pointy elbow in her ribs before she nodded slowly and grabbed a glass, pouring beer into it.
As she placed it in front him, he smiled wryly and grabbed it.
“Thank you, Katie.” he said before turning around and walked away.
“Wow, he’s even sexier up close.” Mel chuckled slightly and placed her towel over her shoulder.
“But.. how does he know my name?” Katie asked when the man had disappeared in the crowd.