THE NECROMANCER OF GRACELAND CEMETERY
by Garret Schuelke
 
NICK, WAITING FOR the bus to come pick him up, scrolled through songs on his phone, trying to find the appropriate ones to add to the lo-fi beats playlist he was assembling.

‘Who is that one guy I was looking for?’ he asked himself, his finger pressing over artists that, while he was sure they were excellent and that he would probably become an instant fan of the second he listened to them, was not the specific artist he was looking for. ‘No, it’s not Jinsang...’

He heard some soft squeaking nearby. Thinking nothing of it, he looked towards the sky, trying to think.

‘Oh, right!’ He got excited at what he just remembered. ‘I’ll just check out Adult Swim’s website. He should be mentioned there.’

As he searched for the animation block on Google, the squeak became louder. He looked up, and only saw a single car drive by, not slowing down in the least.

He then felt something on his foot.

Nick looked down, and saw a rat, nearly the size of his shoe, sniffing his ankle.

‘WHAT THE FUCK!’ he yelled, kicking the rat away.

The rat let out a loud screech, recovered, and jumped towards Nick’s leg.

‘Oh, you still want some?’ he yelled, lifting his foot. The rat landed on the pavement, and Nick began stomping him. He did so until the squeaking and screeching stopped.

‘Yeah, that’s fucking right,’ Nick said as he calmed down, and stepped back, ‘see if you’ll attack my leg...’

Nick examined the rat and, rather than what he thought would be a horror show of gore, there was a rat skeleton, smashed to bits.

‘Okay, what the shit?’ he said, crouching down to examine what he saw was the smooth, white bones of a rat skeleton. ‘Is this a toy?’

Nick heard another squeak. He looked up, and saw another skeleton rat appear under the same street lamp he was under, sniffing around.

His eyes widened, and he stopped breathing.

 

‘GET THE FUCK OFF ME!’ the woman yelled, pushing Gareth Manion away from her, making his face, and headphones, smack against the bus window.

‘OW!’ Gareth yelled, sitting up straight, ‘What was that for?’

‘Your drunk ass fell on my shoulder, dickhead!’

Gareth looked around, and saw that he was, indeed, on a CTA bus. He did not know where he was headed. ‘Okay, how did I get here?’

He then remembered that he had stopped by the L&L Tavern after he was done battling some Melton’s, for a celebratory drink. After the first drink, he decided he deserved a break, and stayed a bit longer. He got promptly hammered, and nearly got into it with a dude bro who did not appreciate him hogging the free jukebox, not allowing him to play the David Allan Coe song he desired to hear.

‘Fucking idiot,’ Gareth muttered, taking his headphones off and letting them rest around his neck, ‘I should have wiped the floor with that hick!’

‘I’m gonna wipe your ass if you don’t get your smelly self away from me!’ the woman interjected.

Gareth snorted, and began to laugh. The woman looked confused. ‘What?’ she asked. She looked around, and saw that the other passengers who were looking on were laughing as well. ‘What the fuck y’all laughing at?’

‘Ma’am,’ Gareth took a deep breath, and composed himself, ‘I would absolutely love it if someone as gorgeous as you would wipe my ass!’

‘Hey!’ they heard the driver suddenly yell. ‘YOU NEED TO PAY!’

Gareth, along with the other passengers, looked towards the front, and saw Nick, sitting on one of the seats, breathing heavily.

‘CLOSE THE DOOR, MAN!’ Nick yelled back, ‘THERE’S FUCKING SKELETON RATS OUT THERE!’

‘Okay, I’m out of here,’ Gareth said, getting up. ‘Excuse me, beautiful.’

Gareth exited through the back door, nearly tripping as he stepped onto the pavement. The doors closed, and the bus departed. He looked back, and saw the woman flip him off.

He grew angry.

‘YOU WOULDN’T DISRESPECT ME IF YOU KNEW WHO I WAS!’ he yelled at the bus, also remembering the dude bro he almost knocked out at the tavern. ‘I’M THE GREY WOLF OF CHICAGO—YOU KNOW, THE GUY WHO SAVED DOWNTOWN FROM A BUNCH OF FISH MONSTERS!’

Gareth heard a squeaking, and looked down. He saw what he perceived to be an albino rat, sniffing his boot.

‘FUCK OFF!’ he yelled, winding his foot up. Gareth kicked the rat, sending it flying through the darkness.

Aside from the wind, the area he was in was eerily silent.

It then dawned on him.

‘Never seen a white rat before.’ Gareth shrugged. ‘I suppose that, if there’s white pigeons, there must be...’

‘Are you really the “Grey Wolf of Chicago”?’ an eerie voice echoed throughout the night.

Gareth jumped, getting into his usual battle stance. He looked around, and only saw the buildings and vehicles illuminated by street lamps.

‘Well, are you, my friend?’ the voice asked again.

‘Who’s there?’ Gareth looked around frantically, ‘Show yourself!’

‘Try looking behind you.’

Gareth whipped around, and saw a man with his dark hair parted to the side, wearing a striped shirt that was unbuttoned, revealing a gold chain and his hairy chest.

‘Bad idea to sneak up behind me like that, “buddy”,’ Gareth said, relaxing.

‘My apologies,’ the man narrowed his eyes, grinning. ‘I overheard what you just yelled, and my curiosity demanded that I investigate further.’

Gareth glared. ‘Is that so?’

‘So, is it true?’ the man adjusted his necklace. ‘Are you the Grey Wolf of Chicago? Go—’ the man thought the pronunciation over, ‘DEN, right?’

Gareth realized, in his buzzed state, what he revealed to the world. Shit, he thought.

‘No, I’m not, but my friends have been telling me I look like him since that whole incident downtown,’ he said, making up an excuse on the spot. ‘It was funny at first, but now it’s becoming annoying.’

‘Oh?’ the man crossed his arms. ‘Then why did you yell that at the bus?’

‘Damn, you’re pretty noisy,’ Gareth replied. ‘I just got into an argument on the bus and got pissed, that’s all.’

The man looked Gareth over, humming.

‘What? What’re you looking at?’

‘You may not be Godan,’ the man scratched his chin, ‘but you’re still got a fine structure.’

Gareth became confused. He looked at the man—at how he was dressed—and thought he had it figured out.

‘Dude, stop hitting on me—you’re not my type.’

The man laughed. ‘You’re not a superhuman, then.’ He clenched his fists. ‘But I guess I don’t have a choice, do I?’

Gareth was hit with a rush of air. He put his arms up to cover his face. Nothing else came, but he was suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of dread. The man began to glow yellow. Large, orange tentacles shot out of the man’s back, whipping around in a frenzy.

‘MELTON!’ Gareth yelled, flinching from the intense aura that was hitting him.

‘Oh, no,’ the man replied, his voice laced with venom, ‘I’m far worse than that lowly trash!’

A tentacle shot forward, wrapping fully around Gareth’s body. He screamed as the heat from the tentacles scalded his skin, even through his clothing.

‘TIME TO HAVE SOME FUN!’ the man yelled, whipping Gareth behind him.

Gareth flew through the busted gates of Graceland Cemetery Looking up, he saw that he was about to collide with a headstone.

‘FU—’ he yelled, covering himself as he smashed through it. Stunned, he let his guard down, and smashed into a larger headstone, and was knocked out.

 

‘Hey there, friend,’ Gareth heard a demonic voice say, ‘are you still alive?’

Gareth opened his eyes, and saw a skeleton rat on his chest, sniffing his chin. He screamed, and tried to swipe it away.

He could not move his arm. He looked over, and saw that it was covered entirely in skeleton rats.

Gareth screamed again, and tried to get up. He felt the same heaviness. He whipped his head around, and saw that his entire body was covered in large, feisty skeleton rats.

‘Oh, you are alive!’ said the man from before, who now slightly glowed yellow, clasping his hands. Torches surrounded the area they were in, illuminating it perfectly. ‘Not that it would have mattered too much if you died—but it would be more fun to play with you if you were still with us.’

Gareth got a hold of himself, and tried to get up.

‘Afraid of rats, are we?’ the man asked.

‘Not even a smidgen!’ Gareth yelled, gripping one of the rats. With all his strength, he whipped his arm up, and threw the resurrected rodent at the man.

The man moved his head slightly, allowing the rat to fly by. ‘If I could have summoned some that still had some flesh on them,’ he raised his hand, ‘I bet you’d feel differently.’

An army of skeleton rats rushed out from the surrounding darkness, and covered Gareth, creating a mound of undead vermin. Gareth felt himself suffocating.

‘For someone who’s not a superhuman,’ the man pushed his hair back, ‘you put up a pretty good fight. I like—’

The man then felt a strong, feral aura emit from the rat pile. His eyes widened. ‘What’s that?’

The pile exploded, sending skeleton rats flying everywhere. Godan emerged, his clothes ripped in various places due to the rat bites and scratches, his mask tassels blowing in the slight breeze. The Grey Wolf growled, flexing his claws.

‘You are him!’ the man laughed. ‘I knew I felt something powerful within you!’

‘Fucking bastard!’ Godan, in the blink of an eye, rushed up to the man, and grabbed him by the throat. ‘WHO ARE YOU?’ he yelled, lifting him up.

‘I am the Son of Aztlan,’ the man answered, orange tentacles shooting out of his back again, ‘and I follow my father’s demands!’

‘He demanded that you gather a bunch of dead rats together?’ Godan asked, tightening his grip on the Son of Aztlan’s throat.

‘No,’ Aztlan coughed, ‘but they’re just so easy to resurrect,’ he raised his arm again, ‘that I just can’t stop myself!’

Skeleton rats leapt onto Godan, and began biting and scratching him. He let go of Aztlan, and began slashing and kicking at them.

‘You’d be surprised how many dead rats there are in Chicago,’ Aztlan said, rubbing his throat as he stood back up. ‘They surpass the live rat population by a large margin, and they absolutely blow away the human population!’

‘At least they don’t shit everywhere,’ Godan said, jumping away from the horde.

‘True,’ Aztlan snapped his fingers, ‘and they’re also the easiest undead creature to control.’

Swarms of skeleton rats emerged from the darkness, charging towards the Grey Wolf.

If I take him out, Godan thought, getting into his sprinting position, maybe they’ll drop dead.

Before the skeleton rats could launch themselves onto him, Godan, utilizing everything he could gather from his super speed, smashed through them, sending brittle rodent bones flying everywhere. Before the Son of Aztlan could react, the Grey Wolf slashed his throat.

‘In...’ Aztlan gargled, ‘credible!’

Godan stopped himself before he could smash into another headstone. He breathed rapidly—his legs shook violently.

‘Ah, goddammit,’ he muttered, leaning against a tree to stop himself from falling. ‘I knew that would shred my legs. FUCK!’

The Grey Wolf clasped his hands together, and activated his healing factor. Within seconds, his legs stopped shaking. He breathed easier, and allowed his healing factor to fix his legs.

‘Okay,’ Godan stood up, and looked back towards where the torches were, ‘I think I got him. Those rats would probably still be after me if I didn’t.’

He walked back to the area. The first thing he saw when he entered the perimeter was the Son of Aztlan, laying on the ground in a pool of his own blood, his head nearly decapitated by the Grey Wolf’s claws.

‘Deserved overkill,’ Godan said, looking over to where he stood previously. The rats had turned into piles of small bones that littered the ground so thoroughly that it looked like a new pathway had been created. He looked back down at the body again. ‘Let’s see you bring yourself back to life, pussy.’

 

‘Who said,’ Aztlan gargled, ‘I was dead in the first place?’

 

Godan jumped back, and got into a battle stance. The Son of Aztlan’s body glowed yellow again. The Grey Wolf watched as his neck reconnected and, after taking a few deep breaths, stood back up, with no sign of trauma.

‘So, you can summon dead rats, and bring yourself back to life,’ Godan said, ‘If that’s all you can do, you’re fucked, even if nearly chopping your head off isn’t enough.’

The Son of Aztlan smiled, and held his arms out, his palms flat, and upturned. Godan raised an eyebrow. The necromancer yelled, and threw his arms upwards.

The ground around them exploded. Dead bodies and human skeletons, in various states of decay and undress, shot out of their graves. The Grey Wolf saw that he was surrounded so completely that he could no longer see the Son of Aztlan.

‘TAKE HIM!’ Aztlan, somewhere within the army, yelled. The zombies and skeletons all let out ear-shattering screeches, and rushed at Godan.

‘Let’s try this again,’ Godan said, leaping over the undead towards where he had heard the Son of Aztlan yell. ‘Where are you, you creepy, chain-wearing prick...?’

One of the zombies’ leapt up, and grabbed the Grey Wolf by the waist. Godan punched it square in the face, exploding its head.

The stench of the rotting flesh immediately reached his nose, and made him gag.

‘HOLY SHIT!’ Godan yelled, landing back among the corpses. He immediately began slashing and kicking at them. ‘How long have you all been in the ground for?’

‘Some have been here even before Graceland’s creation,’ the Son of Aztlan yelled from somewhere in the crowd, ‘some have only been buried for a week or so. The powers of Aztlan do not discriminate!’

The smell of the corpses was starting to overwhelm the Grey Wolf’s senses. ‘I think I would have preferred if you stuck to skeletons,’ he said, kicking a skeleton so hard that it shattered to dust.

‘Skeletons are fun and all,’ Aztlan climbed onto an angel statue, and held on with one arm as he watched Godan struggle, ‘but they don’t have the spiritual power that I crave!’

The Grey Wolf once again leapt over the army, and landed outside of it. He sped towards the cemetery gates.

‘YOU AREN’T GETTING AWAY THAT EASILY!’ Aztlan yelled, swinging his other arm upwards.

Zombies and skeletons that were buried near the entrance shot out of the ground, and ran towards Godan. The Grey Wolf held his breath, and slashed through them.

‘NO!’ Aztlan yelled.

The undead horde gave chase. Godan grabbed one of the broken gates, ripped it off its hinges, and threw it towards them. The gate easily ripped through the army.

‘Oh, good,’ Aztlan breathed a sigh of relief, ‘for a minute there, I thought I lost you.’

‘I’M NOT LEAVING UNTIL YOU’RE FUCKING DEAD, “ASSLAN” !’ Godan yelled, ripping the other half of the gate off its hinges.

Aztlan grinned. ‘Thankfully for me, you have a big ego.’

Positioning the other gate in front of him, Godan ran towards the remaining undead. Using it as a battering ram, the Grey Wolf decimated the remaining corpses and skeletons.

‘WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO SUMMON SOME MORE FOR YOU TO FIGHT?’ Aztlan asked.

‘I’D PREFER IF YOU DO LIKE YOUR ZOMBIES AND TAKE A FUCKING DIRT NAP!’ Godan replied, throwing the gate at the Son of Aztlan.

‘I couldn’t,’ Aztlan jumped off the statue just as the gate smashed it to pieces, ‘even if I did desire to be dead!’

Before he could get back up, Godan kneed the Son of Aztlan in the nose. Growling, the Grey Wolf grabbed the stunned necromancer by his chain, and began pounding him in the face.

‘Maybe if I smash your head to pieces,’ Godan wound back again, ‘you’ll stay down for—’

A hulking arm, with some of the flesh missing, wrapped itself around the Grey Wolf’s neck, and pulled him away. Godan elbowed and kicked at the giant ghoul.

The rotting stench made him nauseous.

‘Some undead are vastly more powerful than others,’ Aztlan said, wiping the blood from his nose and mouth as he tried to stand up. ‘But they have to have been warriors of some type when they were alive.’ He removed his arm, revealing his puffy, bruised face. ‘Soldiers, cops, or, in this case,’ Aztlan snapped his fingers, ‘Pinkertons!’

More zombies emerged from the darkness. They were dressed in immaculate, though obviously ancient, suits. Unlike the others, they had a yellow aura similar to the Son of Aztlan. Godan looked up as he continued to struggle, and saw that the zombie holding him was a huge, muscular thug.

‘Ever heard of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Grey Wolf?’ the Son of Aztlan asked, as the other zombies stood alongside him.

‘No,’ Godan gagged. ‘Were they named after that one Weezer album everybody cries to?’

‘No, but they did sue Weezer for that album title,’ Aztlan walked up to the Grey Wolf, ‘though I personally prefer Make Believe as my favourite album.’

An orange tentacle appeared out of the Son of Aztlan’s back.

‘I’ll never get why you Meltons love tentacles so damn much,’ Godan said, as he tried to break away from the undead thug.

‘Oh, please,’ Aztlan wrapped the tentacle around Godan’s legs, ‘I’m not with those losers. They did try to recruit me, though...’

Godan felt like he was jabbed with a giant needle. He screamed, and his body began to give off a silver aura.

‘I wiped them out, but they didn’t have the energy I needed—neither did any of the other wimps back in that lab!’

He also came from that place, Godan thought, referring to the lab in the Back of the Yards that he was informed of when he first fought the Meltons’ leader, Paris. He continued to struggle, and looked down to see the silver energy that surrounded his body being sucked away by the Son of Aztlan’s tentacle.

‘But you,’ Aztlan smiled, ‘your power is exactly what I need to finally be able to fully control Aztlan!’ Three more tentacles shot out of the necromancer’s back. ‘I can truly control all of the dead in this city!’

‘I’m sure...’ Godan gritted his teeth, ‘any necro—’ The pain of his energy being sucked made him scream again.

‘What was that, Grey Wolf?’ Aztlan asked, leaning in, his hand cupped over his ear.

‘I said,’ Godan growled, shaking his head, ‘any necrophile can probably tell you that it’s not that hard to control dead bodies!’

The Son of Aztlan’s energy swirled behind his body, then began to come together above his shoulders. A large, veiny, bulbous head formed. Tentacles shot out of where its mouth was supposed to be.

‘What’re you...’ Godan mumbled.

The monstrous head suddenly opened its eyes, which glowed bright red. The pain that filled the Grey Wolf was suddenly gone, replaced with an eerie numbness.

 

He felt his heart stop.

 

He was filled with a dread that dominated his entire self, body and soul.

 

‘HOLY SHIT!’ Godan yelled, unable to breath. He began flailing about.

‘What’s your problem?’ Aztlan asked. He turned his head, and gazed upon the creature that had formed from his energy.

The necromancer became just as panicked as the Grey Wolf.

‘NO!’ Aztlan yelled, his tentacle unwrapping from Godan’s legs. ‘NOT YET! NOT NOW!’

Godan, fully freaking out, kicked both of the Pinkerton’s legs, smashing them to pieces. He broke free of the zombie’s grasp, and sped away. Tripping over a kerb, he slid across the grass. He rolled behind a large gravestone, and tried to collect himself.

‘GET BACK IN THERE!’ the Son of Aztlan screamed, as he held his head. ‘YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO COME OUT YET!’

Breathing properly again, but severely shaking, Godan peeked around the headstone and saw the Son of Aztlan on his knees, holding his head as his tentacles whipped around, destroying the remaining Pinkertons, cutting nearby trees and headstones in half, and smashing into the ground with such force that it seemed to make the entire cemetery tremble. The creature the necromancer had unknowingly summoned began to be sucked back into his body.

It again made eye contact with Godan. The Grey Wolf gasped, and turned hid behind the gravestone.

‘WHAT THE FUCK?’ Godan yelled, the tears flowing from behind his mask.

The cemetery continued to rumble. The torches that the Son of Aztlan had set up before the battle fell to the ground, setting the grass ablaze.

‘Well, that’s not good,’ Godan said, finally beginning to calm down.

‘You come out...’ Aztlan mumbled, standing up, ‘WHEN I COMMAND YOU TO!’

The necromancer screamed towards the sky, and sucked the rest of the monster into his body. He fell back to his knees, breathing heavily.

The rumblings stopped. Godan looked back from behind the gravestone, and saw that the Son of Aztlan was vulnerable.

The usual feelings of rage he felt whenever he was in battle returned.

He clenched his fists until he felt his claws pierce his skin.

 

‘I went...’ Aztlan gasped, ‘too far! Why can’t I...?’

Godan kicked the Son of Aztlan in the head, sending the necromancer flying across the lawn. Aztlan gasped, only for his nose to suck up blood. The Grey Wolf appeared alongside him, and elbowed him in the chest, smashing him into the cemetery pond.

‘You really are a monster,’ Godan said, landing in the pond. He reached down, and grabbed Aztlan by the shirt. ‘I won’t let you do that shit again!’

An orange tentacle shot out of the water, hitting Godan in the face. The Grey Wolf staggered back, and the Son of Aztlan shot out of the water, enraged, and began fighting back.

‘For a dead man,’ Godan blocked the punches as he walked backwards, out of the pond, ‘you sure still got a lot of life still in you!’

‘I don’t know why I couldn’t control Aztlan with your energy,’ Aztlan’s arms and legs glowed with his orange aura, ‘but I’ll have plenty of time to find the answer when you’re just another dead body!’

They both threw a punch simultaneously, the power from their connecting fists throwing them back. Of course he’s strong, Godan thought as he shook the pain from his hand, none of these freaks can be weaklings!

They came at each other with their super speed, and fought each other throughout the cemetery, destroying headstones, monuments, trees, and other objects that littered the landscape. The fires raged on, with the Grey Wolf and the necromancer speeding through the flames, increasing its intensity.

The Son of Aztlan slammed Godan into the side of a mausoleum. Pressing his neck with one arm, he grabbed the Grey Wolf by the wrist, and began draining his energy.

‘This AGAIN?’ Godan yelled, yanking his arm away, ‘you didn’t learn from what happened the last time you did that?’

‘I just need a little bit,’ Aztlan muttered through his teeth, ‘and I can take—’

Godan slashed the Son of Aztlan across the chest with his claws. The necromancer screamed and stepped back, holding his chest.

‘You’re not gonna do that shit to me again!’ Godan yelled, his silver aura flaming with his emotions.

The Grey Wolf assaulted Aztlan with a flurry of slashes, tearing through his flesh. Blood flew everywhere, but the necromancer refused to go down.

Godan leapt into the air and, with a guttural battle cry, brought both of his claws down. The Son of Aztlan grabbed both of the Grey Wolf’s wrists, and crushed them. Godan screamed, and fell to his knees.

‘Just a little bit this time,’ Aztlan repeated, as he drained Godan’s energy.

 

‘VANAGANDR!’

A voice inside the necromancer’s head made him freeze in place.

‘No,’ Aztlan said, ‘not again! I thought I—’

‘VANAGANDR!’ the voice repeated.

The Son of Aztlan closed his eyes. He saw no sign that the monster within him had begun to reemerge.

‘VANAGANDR!’ the voice once again repeated.

‘What are you saying to me, Aztlan?’ The Son asked.

He opened his eyes, and gasped. Before him, above Godan’s hunched shoulders, was a demonic apparition, composed of the Grey Wolf’s silver energy.

‘VANAGANDR!’

The apparition became more fully formed. The Son of Aztlan felt himself become immersed in a feeling of tremendous dread.

‘VANAGANDR!’

‘SHUT UP!’ Aztlan yelled. ‘I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TELLING ME!’

The apparition became a wolf. It opened its eyes, revealing them to be bright red.

‘NO!’ The Son of Aztlan yelled, releasing Godan, ‘GOD, NO!’

‘VANAGANDR!’

The wolf let out a roar. Aztlan froze in place, his entire body shaking.

‘You’re...’ the necromancer sobbed, tears streaming down his face, ‘THE GREAT WOLF!’

Not knowing what he was talking about, but noticing an opportunity, Godan lunged at the Son of Aztlan, and once again began shredding him with his claws. Aztlan tried to put up a defence, but the wolf creature’s continued presence stifled any will he had left to fight.

All the while, the entity within him continued to taunt him with mind-shattering calls of ‘VANAGANDR!’.

 

Godan saw that the lights from fire trucks had appeared from beyond the cemetery gates. I gotta end this now, he thought. He flattened his right hand, and swiped the Son of Aztlan’s throat, nearly decapitating him. The necromancer fell back, appropriately, into an open grave of one of the corpses he had summoned earlier.

‘I said I’d put you in the ground,’ Godan said, looking down at the convulsing body. He remembered that the Son of Aztlan recovered from that same attack earlier.

The Grey Wolf then noticed a giant angel statue on top of the gravestone. He punched the base of the statue and the angel began to topple. The Grey Wolf leapt behind it, and kicked it, sending the statue into the grave, on top of the necromancer.

‘Try getting back up from that, Asslan,’ Godan mumbled.

He heard voices, and looked back to see the firefighters had begun entering the cemetery.

The wolf entity that was composed of Godan’s energy went back into his body, all without him ever knowing it was there. The Grey Wolf ran towards the nearest fence, leapt over it, and ran off into the night.

 

Godan ran until he felt like he was far enough away. He stopped, powered down, and took off his mask.

‘I need a drink,’ Gareth said, looking around. Down the street, he saw a sign that said ‘CAROL’S PUB’. He walked up to it, and heard a country band playing inside playing a cover of Hank Williams Jr. ‘s ‘A COUNTRY BOY CAN SURVIVE’.

He hated that song, as well as that country artist, and that entire genre of music.

‘Pfft, fuck that,’ Gareth said, putting his hands in his sweatshirt pockets. He began walking away.

A rat suddenly darted out in front of him.

He screamed, and jumped back. He watched as the rat ran across the street, and disappeared into a bush.

‘You know what,’ Gareth turned around, ‘I think I can endure that garbage for at least one round.’

Gareth saw that the bouncer was talking to someone. He darted inside, sat down at the one free stool, ordered an Old Style, and relaxed as he took a sip.

 

 


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