Thursday, March 31, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 18-3

As he met my eyes, I saw the same jagged dagger Saul held before, the one he used to kill Franz and Harry. As Solomon met my eyes, he pulled the blade across his own throat.

Blood jetted from the wound. I felt it splash across my face and chest. My skin burnt at its touch. I tried to struggle away, to clean myself, but I couldn’t break free of whatever they used to drug me.

The energy grew into a palpable force all around me. It whirled and twisted in blue and purple lights around the room. The energy circled and flowed through me even as I could feel my own skin bubble and blister where Solomon’s blood had struck.

But while the energy ripped through me, it also encircled Saul. As I felt my skin melt into something else, I watched the bursts of energy fly directly into Saul’s frame. Each burst shook his frame and he screamed out in the agony I felt but could not express.

His body seemed to glow with some kind of dark light. And as I watched the dark light seemed to fall over him like a veil. It consumed his entire frame and he disappeared from my view. The light took in the entire altar. It darkened in front of me, almost as if it formed some sort of energy shell. I tried to move, to break free of my own agony before something similar could happen to me.

But I couldn’t move. Thinking started to become more of a strain, even as I watched the shell darken blacker than the darkest corner of the abyss. My vision started to blur as I took it in. I felt Solomon’s hand fall away from me and I caught only a glimpse of his body before it fell to the ground between Saul’s shell and me.

My thoughts were growing hazy. At first I thought it might be the drug that held my body in check, but as I watched bits of skin dribble across my vision, I realized it was something else. I was slowly falling apart. I would soon cease to be me.

I wasn’t going to be—no, even my name escaped me. Whatever they did to me, my mind was slowly turning into something else, while my body melted into nothing else.

For some reason, a quote popped into my head at that very moment, from one of my favorite actresses. The nicest thing for me is sleep, so at least I can dream.

I closed my eyes and let myself drift into an endless sleep, one which I’m not sure I would ever wake from.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 18-2

He reached down and grabbed my head. I tried to pull away, but still my body betrayed me. He turned my head to one side and for the first time, I took in the rest of the room.

We were in some kind of basement. The stone floor was unfinished and the walls looked like foundation brick. But across the floor were spread body after body after body. I recognized most of them, various other members of the Survivor’s Club. Franz and Harry’s body were near the altar I rested upon, almost as if they had just fell away from it the way they had the bed on which they were murdered. But it was the cold dead eyes of Audrey, just a few feet farther away that caught my attention. She seemed to stare at me, but her lips were curled into a smile, even as her clothes were left bloody from the long slice across her jugular vein.

I wanted to panic and I wanted to run. My body could only twitch.

Saul chuckled at the slight amount of movement. He walked back into my line of sight and bent down to meet me face to face. I tried to spit in his eye, but managed only to let a thin vein of drool slip from my lips.

“I didn’t expect her to be so willful. She should make an interesting vessel for the power.”

“As will you, brother.”

Saul rose up and patted Solomon on the shoulder before me. He turned and walked from my view again. Solomon closed and once again twisted my head, this time lulling it to the other side.

From here, I could take in the other alter. Saul disrobed as he approached it. He climbed on it completely naked. He rested his head on it and crossed his arms in front of him, a mimicry of the position they left me in.

“I know you are fearful, Meredith. But know that you will be reborn as a greater being. You will become something more than just a lonely woman. Your future will be one filled with power and strength. And one day, you will be responsible for the very survival and propagation of the human race. But for now, just know that I do this out of care and love. I want to see you survive, even if I cannot.”

I still didn’t know what he was talking about, even as he rested a hand on my chest. It was cold, as if lifeless. But I felt something flow from it to me, as if some kind of energy was channeling into my frame.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 18. Then

I woke in dim light. I rested on something cold, a slab of metal that offered no comfort. I moved to sit up, but couldn’t. For a moment, I thought I was tied or bound by chains or manacles. But I was naked, with only the cold metal beneath me. Still I could not pull myself off of the slab, no matter how hard I tried. It was like my body had betrayed me.

I heard the sound of steps somewhere around me, but it was hard to see anything other than straight up towards the dim ceiling lamp. The room smelled of formaldehyde, a scent that sought to pervade every smell in the room. She could see the flash of lights from something to her right and left, but could not make them out anymore than the approaching footsteps.

“Oh, excellent. I’m glad to see you’re finally awake. You’ve been unconscious for quite some time, young lady.”

I knew the voice instantly. It was Solomon, but I didn’t understand why he was here. I remembered the adventure in the club earlier in the evening. But the night’s end seemed like a blur in my aching mind.

The memories returned in screaming color as the two men approached the table. Solomon looked like he always did, but it was the grim form of his brother Saul that brought the death around me back to vivid life.

“No,” I said. My lips would only move slightly and the word slurred as I said it.

Solomon turned to his brother. “It appears her memories are still in place. I expected them to fade already.”

“The process isn’t yet complete. It won’t be long until she becomes the perfect vessel.”

I didn’t understand their meaning. Maybe this was some kind of weird impregnation routine the brothers invented. But I had a feeling it was something far darker than that. I saw Saul smile as he murdered the men with us. I doubted he was interested in just procreation.

“She’s worried,” Saul said. “She thinks we’re going to hurt her.”

Solomon bent down and gently kissed my forehead. “Don’t worry, my dear. I haven’t fucked you for the past year because I just want your corpse. I have looked for a perfect vessel to create the perfect being, a figure that will survive the coming storm. A being that can carry worthy souls through the coming apocalypse and into the new world that comes after.”

Thursday, March 24, 2016

River City History: Tomboy

Her name was Janie Jackson. Her father was a police lieutenant, Charles Jackson. Unbeknownst to his eleven year old daughter, Charles Jackson was on the take of the Red Hawk and his gang. An adventurous young girl, Janie liked to show up her brother Bill, but because she had to remain demure and proper publicly, she would often perform her adventures on the sly.

One night, she followed her father into a nightclub. She thought she would watch a raid by the River City police on the criminal enterprise. Instead she stumble into the middle of a meeting between her father and the Red Hawk. The Red Hawk had some kind of power over her father, that much was clear. Janie wasn’t happy with that realization, but she was even less happy with the next. The Red Hawk ordered Charles Jackson to hunt down a woman named Gail Porter and kill her.

Janie knew she could not just stand aside and let her father become a murderer. So she set out to do the only thing her young mind allowed her to do: she would become a costumed vigilante. Sewing a makeshift costume, she used her acrobatic abilities to become the heroic Tomboy. Years of trailing her father gave her detective skills she hadn’t even known she had. She used them to start tracking Gail Porter herself… and that path took her straight to the Crime Crusader.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Interlude II-2

“Who?” Hermes narrowed his eyes but still couldn’t make them adjust to the light, even through the thin fabric of his blindfold.

“Come now. Have you forgotten me so soon. It’s only been a few decades since you visited my forge.”


“I stick with Hephaestus now, brother. I tired of hearing nonsense about treks across the stars. But of course it is me. Do you know another master of the forge?”

“Nay, brother. I just do not understand what brings you to this place. What business do you have with me that would see you visit me in this prison? You must know of what I’ve done.”

Hephaestus chuckled. “I may be comfortable in my forge, but that does not mean I do not pay attention to the world around me. It has been a very long time since we stood so far above humanity I could pretend i have no contact with them or their ways. Nor was Persephone shy about announcing your betrayal. I know exactly what happens even while I am hard at work on my personal projects.”

“Then why, brother. Are you just here to taunt me in my prison?”

“Nay. I came to free you from this prison.”

Hermes tried to focus through the thin cloth of his blindfold. He had tried to remove it dozens of times, but some power of Pluto’s kept it in place. But he still could not make out more than the vaguest shape of his fellow son of Zeus.

“You speak in riddles, Hephaestus. It is not like you.”

“I speak to someone who now effectively belongs to me. I can speak how I choose.”

A large hand grabbed at the blindfold in front of Hermes’ eyes. Suddenly he was yanked upright, his hands and legs strained against his chains. Hermes gritted his teeth in an attempt to keep the pain from showing.

“You chose to besmirch my name, Hermes. Smith, you called yourself. I do not look kindly on this. When Pluto brought the choice of punishment before our shared father, I asked you be given to me. He agreed to my demands as I made clear the torturous work I will have for you.”

A flash of movement came through his blurred vision. Hermes heard the sound of chains falling to the floor. The strain against his wrists and ankles vanished. He reached out and felt his brother’s shoulder.

“You will obey my will or you will know pain unlike anything even Pluto could inflict. Do you understand me, Hermes?”

Hermes nodded. A moment later, he saw the flames rise suddenly around them. He knew what it meant. One prison was gone. Now, it was only the forge of Hephaestus. But Hermes knew it was only another kind of prison.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Interlude II

He didn’t know how long he had been in the darkness. Time wasn’t an easy notion for an immortal, but the lack of movement or company made time interminable. His eyes were covered by a thick blindfold. His feet chained, he could barely move and Pluto’s power kept him from porting away. Hermes knew when he was stuck. He just didn’t like to admit it.

He was nothing if not a trickster. Caelus and Melinoe’s plan seemed like a gas and a half, a way to stick it to the gods that always looked down on him as a lowly messenger. He would have reveled in Pluto, Zeus and Poseidon brought to their knees. After centuries of their ridicule, he wanted nothing more than to stand over them and spit down in their faces.

But Caelus had betrayed him and nearly killed him. Then he abandoned the battlefield and left Hermes to face the consequences. Pluto didn’t waste time in sentencing him to the dark despair of his new existence. He doubted his wife’s daughter suffered as dread a consequence despite her role in recruiting him to the plot.

She was on his list now. Hers was just another name for him to one day stand over and torture.

In the distance, he heard movement. His ears immediately perked up and he gazed around the room as if he could actually see anything. He didn’t know how long it had been since he had any contact with anyone. The silence had played tricks on his mind. Even a god could hear voices.

For a moment, he thought the noises were also in their head. But as he heard the continued fall of steps, he realized this was no fantasy. A visitor was coming. He didn’t know why or who, but at this point Hermes didn’t care. He would accept Pluto’s torture if it meant contact with another being, god or man.

He heard the creak of a door opened in the distance. His eyes went blind as light flooded into the room for the first time in forever.

Heavy footfalls echoed across the floor. He couldn’t make out the figure as his eyes adjusted, but he was broad-chested, almost impossibly so. His massive frame featured no fat, but was the build of a man that could lift the very world.


“Nay, half-brother. But it seems you and I have much to say to one another.”

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Casting Call: Alli

Image Credit: Nylon Magazine
Alli is one of the toughest characters to crack when it comes to casting a celebrity. She's suppose to be of average appearance with short hair and a large upper arm tattoo. Not many folks fit that category well, though the tat can obviously be added.

In the last couple years, Shailene Woodley has risen to fame as a major star in Hollywood. She might prove beyond any budget a Walking Shadows film might get, but the Divergent and Secret Life of an American Teenager star would be nearly perfect to fill the role of Alli. Perhaps a character as out of place in a standard super-film as Alli is might prove a challenge for the up and coming star.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 17-10

“What are you talking about? Why would they want you?”

“I—I have a past. I used to know someone in this city very well. A crime boss. I know secrets about him and always threatened to let them out if anything happened to me. But he’s gotten antsy in the last few months and started to take risks. It’s been all over the news. I can read between the lines. Maybe he doesn’t care if I come forward with what I know, alive or dead. Maybe he just wants to cut down any loose ends like me. You have powers. You have to, as fast as you move. You can help me. Protect me.”

Rosa studied the dancer. Sexi Bach shivered in the cold night air, dressed only in a pair of panties and an abbreviated robe. She would need medical treatment, but if she was right, they couldn’t go to a hospital. But it was nothing Rosa couldn’t treat with the first responder training she had. All they needed was somewhere safe to hide out for a few hours. She could provide that, or so she hoped.  

“Alright. I’ll keep you safe. But you need to listen to me. I’ve dealt with this kind of thing before and you’re only as safe as you will help me make you. Do you understand what I’m saying, Ms. Bach.”

Sexi Bach nodded. “Please, call me Sessily. It’s my real name. Although you’re one of the only people I’ve ever met that called me Ms. Bach instead of Sexi.”

“Politeness counts,” Rosa said. “Mi padre always taught me that. Now come on, I’ll get you somewhere safe and we can talk about this old boyfriend of yours. I might be able to help, but first I have to get that head injury treated. Then you can tell me everything.”

Sessily nodded. She walked into Rosa’s arms again. Rosa couldn’t help but notice the feeling of the nearly naked form pressed against her. She took a deep breath again, but this time it was to calm her own nerves. She lifted Sessily into her arms, made sure to cradle her head again to protect her from whiplash and shot back out into the River City streets.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 17-9

Rosa knew the proper course of action would be to go with the crowd and escape. But she knew these attackers’ type. She knew they would hurt as many people as they could in order to get whatever they wanted. I’m supposed to be retired, she thought. But she already knew that crimefighting ran in her blood.

With a flash of movement, she ran towards the bondage queen. Rosa struck the woman with a long swinging blow that knocked her off her feet. Rosa whisked back into the dressing area. She paused for only a second, ready to strike again.

“Help me!” The words stopped her in her tracks.

Rosa’s eyes scanned the dressing room at metahuman speeds. It took her nearly two seconds to find the source of the voice, a mostly naked woman huddled beneath the dressing table. It took her only a moment to recognize Sexi Bach from her stage performance earlier.

Rosa ran—at human speeds—over to the huddled woman. She bent down beside her and met her eyes. Bach was frightened and a gash on her forehead just below her hairline bled profusely. But she showed no signs of shock. She met Rosa’s eyes without any glassiness and reached out to take a hand as soon as it was offered.

“Come on. We need to get you out of here.”

“How? They could have more people out the back door. Pain and Pleasure have always worked for the highest bidder.”

Rosa didn’t stop now to ask her how she knew the identities of the two metahuman thugs. She didn’t have time for that. She needed to get Sexi Bach outside and to safety so she could help Keith and Mel. She yanked Sexi up off her feet.

“Hold on to my neck.”

To her credit, Sexi didn’t argue. She wrapped her arms around Rosa’s neck. Rosa cradled the dancer’s head against her chest. She took a deep breath and ran.

Six seconds later, they were outside over a quarter of a mile away.

“Find a phone,” Rosa said. “Call the police and an ambulance. You need to get that head injury looked at. I have to go back and help—”

“No, please don’t leave me. Those people back there. I think they might have come for me.”

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 17-8

Seconds later, multiple dancers ran out from the back in various states of dress. For a moment, the crowd were excited by the additional skin on display. But it was almost immediately apparent that the dancers were scared for their lives. The crowd grew edgy and the disc jockey quickly cut off the music.

“Folks, stay calm. I’m sure—”

The DJ’s words were cut off as two figures emerged from the back room.

The man stood well over six feet tall. He was heavily muscled with long black hair and the frame of a linebacker. Dressed in a simple pair of jeans and a wifebeater, he might have been handsome but for the cold yellow eyes.

The woman was almost a foot shorter. She wore some kind of bondage gear, form fitting leather that barely covered up any of her frame, but for the thigh high boots and the elbow length gloves. Chains and spikes adorned her clothes and a dog collar around her neck. Her red hair blazed in the flashing lights and a sadistic grin made her love for the chaos obvious. She held a whip in her hand and it glowed with some kind of dark energy. It lit everything around it in moody tones, even as she used it to rip a bloody gash into the chest of a patron.

Keith was on his feet almost instantly. His pistol appeared from somewhere. It momentarily shocked Rosa as she hadn’t realized he carried it. But she was glad he did as he ran up towards the stage and Mel.

Mel didn’t really seem surprised by the two new arrivals. She stared at them, eyes narrowed in anger. She seemed mad they interrupted her set rather than because they were clearly here to hurt or kill people. Rosa wasn’t quite sure what to make of the other woman’s lack of shock, even as the man stomped towards her. A bouncer tried to intercept him, but the man just slammed the back of his fist into the side of the man’s skull. The bouncer dropped like a sack of bricks as Rosa caught a glance of what could only be a skull fracture on the side of his head. His attacker’s hand was bloody, but he only shook it once before he continued to stalk towards Mel.

Keith reached the stage and grabbed Mel by the arm. He yanked her down and off it, even as he raised his gun one-handed and aimed for her would-be assailant. He sent three shots directly into the man’s chest, the gunshots echoing off the walls of Lumber Jacks. They were perfectly placed shots, but they only staggered the man. Despite bleeding from his heart and lungs, he staggered towards Mel and Keith, slower but still on the attack. Keith took this as a clear sign he was outgunned. He grabbed Mel and pulled her away, his eyes already looking for Rosa in the crowd.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 17-7

She couldn’t quite believe her own actions as she performed them. She wasn’t like this. She was a straight-laced girl raised by strict parents to follow an exact moral compass. Strip clubs weren’t some place she went and she certainly would never walk up to a dancer at one. But she was doing all of this and she loved it.

Mel slowly peeled the right legging down her body, bending at her knees to not reveal too much to the crowd too soon. She left it scrunched down by her heels, unwilling to remove the shoes to strip them completely off. She had a garter beneath it, but she didn’t move to offer anyone a chance to put money in it the way Sexi Bach had. Instead she just continued to dance slowly and sensually around the stage. By the time Rosa pushed through the other men and women that crowded the stage, Mel was already peeling down the second legging.

Even though Mel had made no eye contact with anyone else in her dance, her vision fell instantly on Rosa. Rosa caught the quick look before Mel returned her focus to her movements on the stage. She raised her left hand in front of her and slowly tugged off the gloves over one finger at a time, slowly undulating her hips as she did so.

As she dropped the glove to the stage, she sauntered down the stage, still moving with the beat of the song. But her movements took her directly towards Rosa. Mel stopped just a foot away from Rosa and made eye contact once again before she started to peel off the other glove, just as she did the first.

It took nearly a minute as she teased the crowd with the glove. But as she dropped it to the stage as well, she finally turned around. Her back now towards Rosa, she bent down and forward. The movement exposed her entire rear to the crowd and left the garter open for Rosa. The crowd whooped as Rosa slid the ones in her hand into Mel’s garter.

Mel caressed her chest as she slowly started to pull herself upright. It was clear she was moving to remove her final piece of clothing, even if the dress looked too tight to ever release her hourglass frame. But just as she started to tug at it, a series of screams rang out from the backstage.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 17-6

No music kicked off after the announcement and the crowd fell almost into a hush. Melinoe strutted out through the curtain, her head up high and her eyes away from the crowd. And she was nothing short of radiant.

Her outfit was much less abbreviated than Sexi Bach’s had been. She wore a full dress made of a dark red material with a slight gloss to it. It was cut dangerously short. There would be no way for her to even bend over slightly without exposing herself to the crowd. Considering that was the point of her act, Rosa figured that was likely on purpose. She wore a pair of black thigh high stockings as well as a pair of fingerless gloves that matched the lace patterns over her legs. Crimson stiletto heels matched the dress. Her dark hair glinted in the low light as it fell down over the right half of her face.

She looked completely different than she had when Rosa saw her only minutes before. Rosa couldn’t quite believe the speed of Mel’s change presented before her.

A single drumbeat broke the silence in the room. Melinoe turned her head with the cue. Another beat and her body shifted, her profile now on display for the room. A third drumbeat caused her to turn to show her backside to the crowd. Rosa could see the bottom third of Mel’s rear, making it very clear Mel wore nothing beneath her dress.

The drumbeats suddenly fell regularly and with them came a heavy bass beat. Melinoe twisted and twirled as she suddenly started to dance. But her movements weren’t quite like the other dancers. She moved with more flourish of her arms and hips, even as she took careful steps across the stage. The style felt classic and trained, but it did nothing to detract from the allure Mel—or Nitey Nightmare—presented on the stage. Instead it made her feel a bit more exotic, a still beautiful oddity in a group of gorgeous women.

A few men and women rose from their seats to approach the stage, but they did it with an almost religious reverence. It was like they were in some kind of holy fervor, directed solely to the vision of beauty upon the stage.  

Keith glanced back towards Rosa. She wasn’t quite sure how he could look away from Mel on the stage. But she gave him a lop-sided grin before she pulled a couple single bills from her pocket. Without saying a word, she rose from her chair and sauntered towards the stage.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 17-5

Rosa watched the dancer disappear, her eyes staying with Sexi Bach every step of the way. She continued to stare at the closed curtain, still enraptured with the beautiful woman.

“Rosa, you feeling alright?”

She turned herself back to her own table and to Keith. She offered him a weak smile to try and cover up the fact she’d been ignoring his words for at least a few moments.

“Yeah, sorry. I’m fine. I just have never seen anything like that before. She’s amazing.”

“Yeah, she is.”

“I could never do anything like that. I would be embarrassed just to wear that outfit let alone take it off in front of a crowd of people.”

“It’s a good thing you’re not an exotic dancer then.”

“It doesn’t make you sad that I’m not pretty and open like that?”

Keith shrugged. “I like looking at pretty girls, but I want them to be comfortable. If Sexi Bach is comfortable showing her assets for the entire club, I’m happy for it. If you’re only willing to show me yours in the comfort of your apartment, I’m fine with that too. I like you for your personality, not just the way you dress or how willing you are to be a little freaky.”

“But you wouldn’t mind me a little freaky?”

Keith laughed out loud. “Never ask a man that question, Rosa. We always want our girlfriends to be a little more freaky. But I’m serious. I like you the way you are.” He reached out and ran a hand down her face. She turned her cheek into him as he caressed her.

“That makes me a bit more comfortable.”

“We can leave if you like.”

“No way. I’m having way too much fun for that.”

The P.A. system came to life again with another slight squeal. Whatever money Lumber Jacks put into their dancers, they clearly didn’t share with their D.J. Still he tried his best as he yelled into his mike at the back from his booth on the edge of the room.

“Sexi sure is something. But now we’ve got a whole new fresh act ready to burn down the house. Ladies, gentlemen and anything in between, all of y’all give it up for the one and only Nitey Nightmare!”

Rosa was a bit surprised to not hear Mel’s name, but she didn’t even know the woman’s last name. It made sense that she wouldn’t want to use her real name as a dancer here though. Rosa knew enough about the unsavory types of the world to know some took attraction to a crazed extreme. Anonymity would be a good defense for that.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 17-4

“She’s certainly very attractive,” Rosa said as she watched the crowd flock to get a bit closer and deliver a couple more dollars to get Sexi’s attention.

“You haven’t seen nothing yet, lady.” The new voice caused Rosa to turn to the back end of her table. She hadn’t heard her approach, but somehow Mel had slipped into the seat behind her.

“Mel! I’ve been looking for you. Did we miss your show?”

She shook her head. “No, I’m on next. And I plan to put even the famous Sexi Bach to shame. But I doubt any of these mor—people—have ever seen anyone quite like me.”

Rosa nodded. “I can’t wait. I’m having a lot of fun. I’m so grateful you decided to invite me.”

“It’s nothing,” Mel said. “For a couple as cute as you, I’ve always got an open invitation.” She gave Rosa a wink as she rose from her seat. Rosa wanted to ask what she meant by her last sentence, but Mel was already making her way back to the dancer’s staging area.   

Sexi Bach turned her naked backside towards them and Rosa suddenly couldn’t look away from the sight. Something about the gyrating hips and the open naked vagina drew her eyes in and wouldn’t let them get away. She wanted to just keep watching the beautiful dancer continue to woo her and the crowd.

This is why she’s so popular, Rosa thought. It’s like she cast a spell over the entire room with her dance routine.

But even as she analyzed it and understood it, Rosa could not help but continue to be mesmerized. Sexi Bach found one of the twin poles jutting from the side of the stage she strutted upon. With amazing ease, she hefted herself up by just her arms. Her legs she spread as she somehow did a sideways split. The fans grew deafening with their cheers even as she dropped a leg and spun herself into a twirl. By the time she started to slow, her legs straddled the pole and her heaving breasts pointed to the ceiling as she threw her head back towards the floor. As her final spin ended, so did the music. She sat there for a moment with a smirk on her face as she took in the adulation of her fans, both from the noise and from the bills raining down on the stage.

Keith joined in the hooping and hollering, but Rosa only continued to stare. Sexi’s eyes turned their way. She smiled as she met Rosa’s view. Rosa felt her cheeks burn as the dancer blew her a kiss. It was like they were connected, joined by some hidden bond between dancer and patron.

Then it was gone. Sexi stood up, gathered the money on the stage quickly and gave the fans one final wave before she strutted through the curtains and into the backroom.