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03 August 2006 @ 04:36 pm
sci-fi drabbles of the first-draft kind  
So I'm excrutiatingly bored at work, and ended up spitting this out instead of anything I should be doing. It's a sci-fi fantasy type o' thing, so if that's not your bag, this probably won't interest you. Serious space-opera type action coming in the future.

If that is your bag, let me know what you think. More to follow...I hope.

She didn't belong here.

A cough clawed its way out of her throat as bitter cigarette smoke filled her lungs. The pub was hazy with it, casting its already disreputable appearance under an exceedingly seedy veil. Through the gray curtain of smoke, she could see pitted tables of heavy, dark wood, hanging mirrors that were cracked and spotted with rusty discoloration, a floor which at first appeared to be dirt but upon closer inspection was wood that had simply been caked with grime.

The patrons of this establishment did little or nothing to dispel its rough atmosphere. Their clothes were colored in varying shades of tan, brown, and grey, all faded. Many had unruly beards or several days' worth of stubble, and any exposed skin lay hidden beneath a veneer of dust and sweat. Their eyes were bloodshot, weathered hands cradling drinks which were low in quality but high in proof. All in all, it was no place for a lady, of her calibre or otherwise. This was a bar of the working man.

She loved it.

Her steps, at first tentative, grew bolder as she was swallowed by the pub's tangible ambience. Many eyes drifted her way, but she carefully ignored them. Inconspicuous, she thought. Inconspicuous, inconspicuous.

She knew that she looked out of place, no matter how she'd tried to blend in. Even apart from being the only woman present in the bar, her leather breeches were in too fine condition, her boots too soft and pliant, her linen shirt and overcoat too fashionable. Even her blonde hair, too long to hide under a cap, shone too brightly in its peasant pigtails, despite the dirt she'd rubbed into it. She'd just have to make up for her failings with a confident demeanor.

She chose her seat carefully. At the bar, she slid onto a high stool next to the only clean-shaven man in the place. He was no less dusty than the other customers, but his face was young, and something about his smooth skin made her think, Here is a man with some small concern for his appearance. He cannot be a complete ruffian.

The barkeep left her a glass of tepid water, gave her a suspicious once-over, and didn't offer her an actual drink. She smiled her thanks anyway, and turned towards her young neighbor. He was perhaps twenty-two or slightly older, staring moodily into a glass of amber liquid with an intensity that suggested he wanted no interruptions.

"Hello!" she said anyway. No response, so she scooted a little closer and tried again. "Hello, there!"

He looked at her, then, with something like disgruntled surprise. "Are you addressing me?"

"Who else might I be addressing? Your drink?"

He grunted, and returned his attention to the beverage in question. Clearly, he had no interest in conversation, but she wasn't about to give up.

"I'm a bit new to the area, a bit out of touch with local goings-on. Would you mind terribly catching me up on any news of import?"

He knocked back the rest of his drink, and signalled the keep for another. Turning fully in his seat to face her, the young man said, "Look, I'm sure you're very charming, and that many men have told you so. But though your come-on is certainly flattering, I have no interest--"

"Come-on!" she breathed in mortification. "That's not what I meant at all! I was just hoping for a bit of...of..." She gestured vaguely. "Perspective on life here! Since I'm new."

He eyed her speculatively. "I see. Since you're...new." When he said it like that, her excuse sounded decidedly suspicious. She pulled nervously at the cuff of her left sleeve as he signalled the barkeep once more. Perhaps she was not so skilled at dissembling as she'd thought?

"A drink for the lady, on my account," he said to the keep, who set a glass of the same amber liquid on the bar in front of her.

"Oh! Thank you, but I really don't need--"

"Just shut up and drink it."

They fell silent for several minutes, and she sipped at the fiery substance gingerly. It was coarser than anything she'd had before, making her splutter a bit before she got the hang of drinking it. She watched her companion over the rim of her glass, while he studiously avoided her curious gaze.

Beneath all the dust, his hair was darker than she'd thought, maybe even black. Under an old leather greatcoat he wore a plain tan shirt of unimpressive material, and a brown wool vest with matching trousers. The pants were tucked into high calf-boots, of a well-worn military issue. Probably bought second-hand. A thick belt was slung low about his waist, but the greatcoat blocked any view of what might be hanging from it. He wore no jewelry, not even the silver hoops that most rebels favored, and she wondered if she'd made a mistake.

By the end of her examination, his drink had once again fallen by the wayside, and she commented, "You're the morose, silent type, aren't you?"

"You're the bubbly, intrusive kind, aren't you?" he monotoned back.

She laughed, wagging a hand in his direction. "I see you've a bit of humor in you, after all! A pleasant surprise, even if it's at my expense. By the by, I haven't caught your--?"

A large fist suddenly gripped her waggling left hand by the wrist. She looked over her shoulder in surprise, and found two sizeable bartoughs hovering just behind her. Both sported silver hoops.

"Here now, girlie," growled the one who held her wrist, a large thirty-something with a shaved-bald head. "You seem to be a bit far from home."

She swallowed quickly, trying to speak past the lump in her throat. "Well, as I was just telling this gentleman, I'm new in town--"

With a jerk, the bald man yanked her from her stool. "Everyone!" he thundered, though the entire pub was already watching the unfolding scene. "We've a rat in our midst!" Holding her left hand high above her head, he shoved down the sleeve, leaving everyone a clear view of the blue tattoo inside her wrist.

"The Mark of Alchennioux!" A roar of anger and resentment went up around the bar. Drunkards staggered to their feet, shaking their fists, some throwing things. She cried out as a metal tankard bruised her hip, and again when a glass snifter shattered by her feet, its shards bloodying her right leg.

"There's only one thing to do with a rat!" the bald man boomed over the din, and the crowd cheered as he and his friend dragged her outside.

Current Mood: grumpyheadachey
Current Music: Muse -- City of Delusion
Jack Tradesdreams4ever25 on August 4th, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
mmm one second for the awe to pass.. mm ..
O Ma HOLY LORD of Aphrodisia!

So, I obviously like it! 'love' sings a better note.

It's very rich and colorful! I love the humor as well as the dark undertone you have with the setting. Great descriptions and great dialoge!

Pulease write more!

Annabelle Bandit: bitches love mepinksugardemon on August 4th, 2006 04:53 pm (UTC)
Re: mmm one second for the awe to pass.. mm ..
Haha, thank you darling! I posted this mostly for your personal enjoyment...at least one person in the group who I know has similar literary tastes! :P

Have you been working on anything lately? *eyebrows a-waggling*
vitamin_emmyvitamin_emmy on August 4th, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
ohh, i like it!! it piques my interest, you are such a good writer. it flows very naturally and i was disappointed that it was over so quickly. keep up the good work, kiddo!!
Annabelle Banditpinksugardemon on August 4th, 2006 08:14 pm (UTC)
Danke, danke! This story got started from an idea I got while listening to the new Muse CD -- which I bought while you were in town! CRAZINESS.

What've you been up to? Why doncha post something, so I can love all over you, as well? :P