All Steve wanted was a few cheap beers and a pretty girl shaking her arse in his face. Instead, he got a world of hurt, and he’s still not sure why he even got involved.
*Warning*: Adult Content
She had horns. He’d heard about it, of course. If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have come to a dive like this. But hearing about something and actually seeing it are as far apart as strumming a guitar in your bedroom and standing on stage at the O3.
They was real fucking horns, a foot long and sharp as all bastards at the end. Not that Steve was looking at the horns much. Maybe if she’d had more clothes on and wasn’t gyrating round a pole, he’d have been able to pay attention, but her tits were as near to him as they could be without things getting illegal and ignoring them was close to impossible.
He chuckled, slipped another tenner in the waistband of her panties, and sunk lower in his chair. She had horns. Smashing tits, too. Made him wonder what else she had hidden beneath the tiny lace things he’d been cramming money into for the last five minutes. He glanced at the horns and shuddered. Maybe it was best he didn’t find out.
He glanced over his shoulder, trying to see everything without being seen. It was a pointless exercise, mostly because he was the only one in the place. Not surprising, considering it was eleven in the morning on a Tuesday, but still. With tits like hers on display, it was criminal the place wasn’t rammed.
The girl behind the bar was watching him with hard eyes. What was a girl doing serving in a place like this? She wasn’t unattractive, so maybe she did more than serve, but still. He’d expected some giant of a man, bald and muscled like the hulk, to stave off any trouble that might walk in.
Not that he was going to start trouble with the girl, either. She had the sort of eyes that made your balls climb up inside and beg for mercy. He turned back to the dancer he had, in his mind, called Lily. The main reason for calling her that was the same reason he was here.
Lily had dumped him two weeks ago and, somehow, he still wasn’t over it. They’d been dating for two months, which was serious mileage when it came to Steve, and he’d really quite liked her. He’d liked her arse, and her tits, and her hair, and, when he’d had a few, he even quite liked her personality. Quite.
Now she was gone, taking his vintage GNR t-shirt and the half bottle of Jack Daniels he’d been saving for a rainy day. Every day had been rainy since she’d left. He’d tried the other joints in town, but they were norms and the girls left him cold. Well, them and the dress code, enforced by the fridges with arms that loitered at the door.
This place, though, was something else. He could get a lap dance with a girl who’d been born in the fires of hell. Apparently, she could do things with her tongue that made Juicy Lucy at the 3 Dime Whorehouse pale in comparison. Not that he’d ever visited either the house or Lucy. He’d just heard.
The drinks were sensibly priced as well, instead of those ridiculous City tariffs that meant you’d spent your wad hours before you actually spent your wad. Lily waved her outstanding orbs in his face and he coughed and rubbed himself for the tenth time that minute. Lily didn’t do lap dances, she just danced, but those horns were something else.
He was just reaching for another tenner when the door slammed open. He sneaked a peek round the chair and his hard on curled up and went on vacation. In the doorway stood three men he’d be hard pressed to describe even if he wasn’t filling his pants in very much the wrong way.
They were far taller than anyone human had a right to be, and… and they weren’t human. Bloody typical. The centre one pulled down the deep hood that covered his face to reveal a mouth that stretched right around the sides of his elongated head. It was filled with teeth that were on display due to the absence of lips. Above the creepy-arse mouth were a pair of eyes that twinkled, like some old dude’s in a nursery rhyme.
When the unhuman turned to him, the twinkle became a fire that seemed to see right into his soul. Steve wasn’t that bothered because he knew that, if he had a soul, it wasn’t much to write home about. And he knew this guy had seen some pretty revolting souls.
His first thought was to leap up onto his chair and scream. ‘Dude, this is a fucking strip joint. You’re the least sexy thing I’ve ever seen in my life, get the fuck out.’
But a small voice in his head told him that was a bad idea. Instead, he sunk even further down and looked back at Lily. She was frozen. Not stopped dancing, actually frozen. Her eyes were staring at the door, but they weren’t moving, not even twitching. Her leg was somewhere around her ear and that wasn’t twitching either. It was a wonderful pose, but somehow the frozen thing killed the sexiness.
Another dancer at the far end of the stage was in the same state of immobility. Whatever those things were, they had power. Steve knew there were people in the City with power he didn’t understand. Hell, he worked for one. But he’d never seen any flaunting that power, or their complete alienness, with such disregard for the rules.
It was kinda cool. He was gonna be sick. The three came into the room like they weren’t walking. They were floating, somehow, and he was glad he couldn’t see their feet. They weren’t heading towards him, so he wriggled round in his seat and peeked over the back.
They were heading for the bar lady, who was neither frozen nor amused. In fact, she was looking more animated than at any other time since he’d got in here. She was doing something under the bar, moving in jerks that made her tight brown ponytail flop around on her back.
When she straightened, Steve gasped. It sounded horribly loud in the empty joint and he ducked down. But not before he saw the shotgun she brandished in both hands. He looked back up in time to see her thrust the barrel towards the nearest of the three and pull the trigger.
Suddenly, his gasp didn’t seem so loud.
The gunshot roared and bounced off the walls of the club, going round and round until his eyes hurt. The figure in front of the bar flew backwards, smashed into the far wall, and crumpled into a heap. Without warning, the other two moved.
The only clue they were moving at all was the blur of their limbs. Steve tried to track them, but they were far too fast, especially for his three pints and a shot of whisky before he dared leave the flat addled brain.
The gun boomed again, but the next second the girl was pinioned against the bar, with one of the creature’s hands around her throat and the other gripping both her wrists. Their hands was more claws, really. They were covered in what looked, in the dim light, to be green slime. Actual slime. There were rules against bodily secretions in public places as well, but these guys just didn’t give a shit.
He tried to slow the breath that rushed in and out of his open mouth. As he did, he heard it speak. ‘… the last time, you little bitch. Did you really believe we wouldn’t find you?’
Whatever she replied was too soft for him to hear, but the creature that held her roared with something he thought was laughter, but sounded like a cat vomiting.
‘Give us back our cargo and I will kill you swiftly.’
Another answer that was met with silence. Then the creature extended a long, green finger, tipped with a claw larger than Steve’s now utterly shriveled penis, and pressed it against the girl’s eye. He heard her scream.
‘Hey, cut it out.’ Who said that? Why was he standing on the chair? Oh, fuck it. Steve prided himself on knowing he wasn’t the smartest tool in the box. He prided himself on knowing when to shut up and let other people make fools of themselves. So why the hell had he forgotten this time?
The two creatures turned to stare at him. They twinkled in a way that made him certain they weren’t about to offer him treats or say ho ho, bloody ho. The one that wasn’t about to poke the bar lady’s eye out extended a thin, slime laden finger his way. ‘What are you?’
‘What am I?’ Steve climbed down from the seat considerably more slowly than he’d climbed up it and strode towards them. ‘What am I? I’m a human. I know there aren’t that many of us left in this place, but you really should recognise one. You see many rules around here about how I’m supposed to behave? No, me neither. Rules for you, though…’ He rubbed his chin as he came to a halt, a hopefully safe five metres away from the things.
‘There are plenty of rules for you. You seem to have forgotten about them.’
‘Rules are for people who care.’ The creature dismissed him with a shrug of its shoulders and turned back to the bar lady.
‘Here, hold on. You should care.’
It ignored him. That was bad. That was very bad. Because it meant he was going to have to get closer and he knew he really didn’t want to do that. In fact, it was the last thing he wanted to do. Any other time, he wouldn’t have. But the three beers were boiling in his guts, warming him and telling him they were just unhumans, nothing more and nothing less.
He’d fought unhumans before. Actually, the few times he had, they’d always kicked his arse but then, so had the humans, so that didn’t make any difference. There was a vague question, hammering on the door of his mind, which was ‘why the hell are you fighting them at all?’ But the door of his mind was made of thick, ignorant oak and the hammering was more of a tapping, really.
One more beer and it would be barely a scratching.
Steve found himself right behind one of the nasty bastard things, so he grabbed its shoulder and hauled it backwards. It was a little like pulling a wall, except a wall didn’t turn around and bash you in the face.
This wall not only punched him in the nose, it followed it up with a kick in the balls that, despite their recent retreat into the depths of his belly, still made him drop to the floor and whimper for his mommy.
Mommy wasn’t coming. Well, she might be, if his father was out. Mommy’s relationship with her dildo was so much stronger than anything his parents had ever enjoyed. Why the hell was he thinking about his mother masturbating? He only did that when he was in a situation he was desperate to get out of. Oh.
The unhuman towered above him. It probably wasn’t towering, not really, but the vast distance between its scary as fuck eyes and the floor was enough to make him feel tiny.
‘You dared to touch me.’
‘Leave her alone.’
‘You sad, pathetic scrap of a human. Ruled by your sex organs, just the same as the rest.’
Steve laughed. He didn’t mean to, but the mention of sex organs had coincided with him seeing the bar lady’s eyes in his mind and the combination was so unlikely he couldn’t stop the bubble of mirth that crept up and out of his throat.
Which begged a very important question. Why the hell was he doing this? If he did want to shag her, which he wasn’t entirely convinced about, why was he putting his life on the line? He could hear his father’s voice, preaching from behind his bottle of whisky.
‘You’re doing it, Steven, because it’s the right thing to do.’
Bollocks to that. He rolled onto his back and held his hands up, palm out to the unhuman. ‘Look, I’ve made a mistake, I see that now. I’ll just get out of here and leave you to it.’
The unhuman looked surprised. He thought it was surprise. Those creepy eyes opened wider and the teeth came apart, revealing razor sharp points. It bent, wrapped one hand around his throat, and hauled him to his feet.
‘You will leave us to it? That is most generous of you. Unfortunately, you are part of this now.’
It spun and shoved him against the bar. He bumped against the bar lady who turned her eyes on him. They weren’t quite as murderous as when he called her ‘Toots’. Nearly, but not quite.
‘Hi, I’m Steve.’
‘A lotta what?’
The murderous look was back. She spoke through gritted teeth. ‘Why did you do that?’
‘Sorry, you must get sick of those sorts of puns. I can’t help it, I’m just naturally funn—’
‘Stop talking. I meant, why did you help me?’
‘That’s an excellent question and not one I can answer straight away. It might have been your charming and sexy manner at the bar. It might be that seeing Lily in that position did funny things to my brain. I—’
‘Oh, sorry, the hot girl with the horns.’
‘The horns? Oh, those things are plastic. She’s called Sandra. Why did you call her Lily?’
‘Plastic? You’re bloody kidding me.’
‘’Fraid not. She gets so much more work with them.’
‘I’d have thought she got enough work with those tits.’
‘They definitely help. Why did you call her Lily?’
‘Okay, why did you help me?’
‘I genuinely have no idea. It’s not like I’ve got any chance of saving you.’
‘There are two loaded shotguns behind the bar. Can you shoot?’
‘What does that mean?’
‘It means I’ve seen lots of people shooting, you know, in movies and stuff.’
‘Are you good at anything except pointless heroic gestures?’
‘Of late, I’ve been bloody brilliant at wanking.’
‘Nice. I can distract them. Get the guns, kill them.’
‘Wha—’ Steve’s question was interrupted by the unhuman grabbing him round the throat again and lifting him off the floor. It turned its evil eyes on Arlotta. ‘Tell us where the cargo is or I tear his throat out.’
Arlotta shrugged. ‘Doesn’t bother me, I don’t even know him.’
‘You do know me, I’m Steve, remember? Great with the one liners, generous to the strippers?’
‘I don’t believe you.’ The unhuman growled to Arlotta. She shrugged again then took a step away from the bar. The other unhuman grabbed her arms. She didn’t struggle, but she did lean closer and open her eyes just a little too wide as she stared at the creepy bastard facing her. ‘I don’t care. You can do anything you like to him, or me. It won’t change a thing. You won’t get your precious fucking cargo.’
‘Then you will die and we will find somewhere else to get the cells.’
‘No, you won’t. They’re the only ones in the galaxy. You’re screwed. Admit it, you nasty piece of shit. I’ve beaten you.’
The unhuman howled and batted her across the face. At the same time, it dropped Steve. He slammed to the floor and crumpled up as his knees tried to join his testicles. But despite their best efforts, they stayed right where they were, aching and stinging and pissing him off.
He saw Arlotta bounce off the bar and come up fighting, face covered in blood. He could hear his father’s voice again. ‘You don’t hit women. You understand me, Steven. Not ever.’
In his defence, his wanker of a father had never hit mom. He’d made her miserable for the last forty years, but he hadn’t hit her. Not like that made it any better.
But he told the truth. You don’t hit girls, especially if you want to get into their panties. Unless they like it, of course, but that’s a whole different matter.
He hauled himself to his hands and knees and crept towards the bar. Arlotta was somehow still on her feet, swaying this way and that to avoid the blows the two were throwing at her. She wasn’t fighting back, which was probably wise. Pissing these two off was a bad move, as his knees could attest.
He reached the bar unmolested and hauled himself up one of the stools. He caught a glimpse of Lily/Sandra and, for a wistful moment, thought how much he’d like to be molested. Then he dragged himself from stool to stool. He didn’t look back. If one of them was going to break his neck, he was happy not to see it coming.
But no one broke his neck and the grunting sounds from behind hadn’t stopped by the time he reached the break in the bar. He fell through the gap onto his hands and knees and gasped. He’d never been behind a bar, but he’d imagined rows of glasses, and maybe spare bottles and stuff.
Arlotta had a fucking arsenal back here. There were swords and knives by the dozen, all laid out on neat racks. There were hand guns of every type, including some fancy arse laser things that would burn a hole straight through a ship’s hull. And there were two shotguns, double barreled and calling him.
He grabbed the nearest, looked for a safety before realising he wouldn’t know one if it punched him in the face, and hefted it to his shoulder. It was heavy and solid and oddly comforting. He stood, just, and rested the gun on the bar. Then he peeked over the top.
Arlotta was dancing. Not like Lily danced, not to seduce or make him feel desperate and horny. She danced like her life depended on it, which it did. But she also danced like everything else she’d been doing before had been wrong. This was what she was supposed to be doing. She was beautiful, utterly breathtaking. Steve watched for a while, mouth hanging open.
Definitely fuckable. Anyway.
One of the unhumans was behind her, but the other was off to one side, trying its darnedest to hit her and failing utterly. He sighted down the barrel of the shotgun, took a deep breath, and squeezed the trigger. Nothing happened. He squeezed a bit harder. Still nothing. He yanked on the metal and the shotgun exploded in his hands.
He flew backwards, slammed into the back of the bar, and splatted face down into the space between them. His shoulder was broken. Possibly just dislocated. Definitely hurting like a bastard. He groaned and peered up to the bar. Seconds later, the unhuman he’d shot at poked its head over the edge.
Something took over. He didn’t know what it was, though he had a feeling it was an ill-used and somewhat tardy survival instinct. But it made him grab the shotgun from where it lay beside him, haul it up into his lap, and unload the second barrel into the unhuman’s face.
The roar was contained down here and almost certainly blew both eardrums. He screamed, dropped the gun, and clapped both hands over his ears. Green blood rained down as the corpse of the unhuman thumped onto the bar. Its neck stump dripped steadily onto the floor between his feet.
He giggled, clapped his hand over his mouth, and bit his tongue. He got it. He actually got the motherfucker. He punched the air just as a claw reached over the bar and wrapped itself around his head.
As it yanked him upwards, he reached with clutching fingers for the second shotgun. He wasn’t going to reach it. He wasn’t going to get it. His middle finger hooked into the trigger guard and he curled it tight just as he was hauled up and out of the bar.
The shotgun was tearing his finger out. He grabbed it with his other hand so he had a proper grip on it and, as he cleared the top of the bar, stared around for Arlotta. She was standing back, waiting for the creature to do whatever it wanted to Steve.
He had a brief moment where he was tempted to let it, just so it could kick her arse as well. She wasn’t helping him, despite him doing everything he could to help her. Then again, he didn’t know why he was helping her and, as the beer buzz began to fade away, he realised it was bloody stupid. She didn’t seem bloody stupid.
He swung his arm back then hurled the gun towards Arlotta. She leapt forwards and threw herself through the air. The gun spun a complete rotation and came down with the butt towards the floor.
The unhuman lifted Steve right before it and pulled its other arm back. Its fingers were extended. It raised them before his eyes and snarled. Arlotta hit the floor and slid. The butt of the gun struck the floor and she caught it.
The unhuman’s fingers shot towards his eyes.
The shotgun roared.
Steve hit the floor. ‘Ow, bloody hell, my sodding arse.’
He was being dripped on again. The unhuman toppled slowly forwards and Steve screamed as it collapsed on top of him. He struggled and kicked and squirmed until the body was hauled off and dumped on the floor. Arlotta extended her hand and hauled him to his feet.
‘Thanks.’ She said. He nodded and tried to wipe the blood from his clothes.
‘Any time. Is your name really Arlotta?’
‘Are you really as much of a jerk as you seem to be?’
‘Shame. Still, thanks.’
Steve nodded, gave himself another desultory rub down, and wandered back to the stage. Lily/Sandra was still there. She’d unfrozen and was dancing again. As he came closer, she wrinkled her nose at the state of his clothes. He tore his filthy shirt off, dumped it on the floor, and sat in his chair. She stared at him for a moment, then shrugged and went right on dancing.
He pulled a tenner from his pocket and loosened his belt. It was early days yet, there was still a chance of a hard on. Pity about the horns, but you couldn’t deny it, they were smashing tits.