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Shadows Chapter 9

*WARNING:-This chapter may contain violence and/or swear words. It is advised that if you are of an unsound mind like myself that you look away now*

Alker and Jake strolled up to what was known locally as the speakeasy. Of course under the EWO, public drinking was firmily prohibited, so it was only natural that there would be some places where drinks would, abeit under false pretences, still be sold. The building, disguised as a hotel, set deep into the inner city of Neon Town was one such place. From the outside it seemed run down and disused. This was of course the apperance that its properiters wanted you to perceive. Inside, as Alker was soon to learn as he uneasily entered a drinking house for the first time in his life, was different. Set on two floors, it appeared to resemble a night club, with the bar inset on the first floor beside a rack of pool tables, jukeboxes and cigerette machines. Despite the establishment being relatively sparce of furniture, it was packed. The kind of client that would illegally enter a drinking house was mainly of the rebellious sort and thus it was in this way that Jake being a rebel among the shadows of the EWO would acquire information, goods during the course of light hearted conversation and naturally drink. Jake had been careful to tell Alker to be discreet and not to mention what they did. The phrase don't trust anyone except me certainly held true in places like these.
"Well Alker what is it to be?", Jake inquired as they approached the immaculatly polished bar.
"Hm", even though Alker had drunk alcohol before at private parties, he had never actually been at a place like here before. He was not sure what it was customarily to drink, so he pumped for the one kind that he was sure would be approved.
"How about a pint of lager?", Alker replied.
"Lager? At your age? hah! You want something much stronger", Jake grinned and promptly ordered two triple vodkas.
"Aren't you going to pay him?", Alker queried as they took their drinks and looked for somewhere to sit.
"Nah", Jake replied, "We have an agreement you could say"
A couple of drinks later, Alker was surprised to discover that the barman had joined them. He was a percular fellow, being quite short, yet well built. With a lazy eye and grey hair tied back into a ponytail he walked with a slight, limp in his right leg, which hinted of an injury somewhere in his past. Being in his late forties, he seemed to be the sterotypical barman. And so he was.
"Oh yeah", Jake winked at the newcomer, "This is one time associate and life long friend, Mart. You could say that we both go back a long way. This man can get anything for me with his contacts"
"Hi Mart", Alker stretched out his hand to shake Mart's.
"What's your name kid?"
"Its Alker"
"Alker? We don't get very many of those round here. Anyway", Mart decided to change the topic, "how's the life of superherodom Jake?"
"Huh?", Alker was taken aback at Mart's directiveness.
"Don't be so shocked Alker. As I said he has known me for a long time. Yeah Mart, it's going quite well. We haven't lost anyone as of yet. Not since...", Jake paused for a second with a look of sadness in his eyes, before continuing, "...Anyway the good news is that we have a new recruit"
"Really? Where is this new recruit then?", Mart replied.
"Why, he's right here", Jake gestured to Alker.
"What? He looks kind of scrawny..."
"You doubt my training ability?", Jake mocked seriousness, "Why don't you find out for yourself? Give him an arm wrestle"
"Okay. If Alker's up for it", Mart grinned confidently, he was the champion at arm wrestling.
"Yeah. Why not?", Alker put his elbow on the table and grasped Mart's hand. After about ten seconds of waiting for Mart to start, he felt kind of dumb.
"Aren't you going to start or something?", Alker asked.
"Are you taking the piss out of me or what?", Mart gasped, teeth clentched, his face turning bright red, "I HAVE STARTED!"
"Oh...", and with that Alker put a little bit of pressure upon Mart's hand which practically sent it flying through the table.
"AGHHhhHHhhh", Mart howlered, desperatly clutching his hand. After about ten seconds of yelling jumping about like a lunatic and swearing, which altogether aroused some strange looks from the general public, he blustered, " Jake...OWw!"
After a couple more drinks, where upon Jake and Alker were both starting to get drunk, Alker decided to challenge Jake to a game of pool. Jake ever confident accepted.
"Piss off you losers", they were greeted to as they walked towards a table.
"And why...", Alker began only to be nudged by Jake.
"Just leave ish, Alker", Jake whisphered his speech slightly slurred, "We don't wantsh to start a fight or anyshhing. Itsh might attract unwanted attention to ourselves. Shhese guys are nutters, always causing trouble..."
"Fair enough", Alker replied as they walked over to the table beside it.
Some more alcholic beverages were consumed, whereupon the game was almost finished. It turned out that both Alker and Jake were on the final black ball.
"All itsh needs is a hard shotsh for shhis one", Jake grinned as he lined up his cue. He struck the ball hard. Too hard. With impossible speed, the white ball leapt off the table, rickocheded off the wall and struck one of the nutters, who happened to be the leader(well fancy that ), directly between his legs in a very private place indeed.
"Aghhh!", he screamed in agony grabbing his groin.
"Oh ****sh Jake", Alker burst out in horror pointing to the man behind him.
"Huh?", Jake turned around with his cue outstretched with some motion. In fact it was with a lot of motion. Unfortunatly this cue, travelling under a very high speed, struck the man already in absolute pain directly between the eyes.
"Sshhitsh", Jake simply stated.
The nutters as they were known, numbered four in total. With their leader out of commision the remaining three charged Jake and Alker.
"Sso much for keeping quiet Jake", Alker gave Jake a scornful look.
"Not my faultsh. Not enough chalk on the cue. Oh ****sh here they come..."
Despite his drunken state, Jake easily dodged the first punch that came his way. Powering up ever so slightly, he zazoukened behind the leading attacker and lightly tapped him, causing him to lift off the ground and crash into the wall at the opposite end of the bar, rendering him unconscious. The second attacker attempted to throw a blow at Alker instead. In his drunken state, the punch actually connected. Unfortunatly for the attacker, the blow seemed to do more damage to his hand than to Alker, who just stood there unfazed.
"YAGHHH!!!", the thug went for Alker's head with his other fist. With relative ease it was blocked this time. Alker swiftly retailated with a light uppercut which sent the unfortunate man flying towards the roof, 'through' the roof and into the night sky. Witnessing this, the rest decided that now would be a good time to escape. Running as fast as they could, they fled the building, almost crashing through the doors as they passed.
Alker looked at Jake. Jake looked at Alker.
"Quarsher past twelvesh", Jake suddenly said, noticing the time, "Happy 16th Alker"
"Why thank you Jake", Alker smirked.
"So far has this birshhday been different from all the other ones?"
"Yes. You could say it hash", Alker grinned and with that they both broke into laughter, tears streaming down their eyes. Where they lived moments like these were short and few.

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by Abe Stemmons

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