Whimsy Wednesday: Just Another Face

The drink was sweating and he’d only been there a minute. Raine picked it up, twisted the glass in his hand, and downed the whiskey. It was old, not quite what he’d been hoping for, but it would do. The burn cut down and he reveled in the feeling washing over him.

The place was small, secluded, the kind of place he liked to relax. Where he could watch the people pass him by, the kind with a quiet house band that knew just how to dial it back when air was busy. Raine thrived here. It was one of the few areas that remained untouched after the devastation. And still barely anyone flocked here. He liked it that way.

He dropped the glass down, and motioned for a refill. When he was ignored, he slipped his hand over the counter and poured his own refill. The bartender threw a glance over to Raine but he simply grimaced and went back to the pretty blonde he’d been pouring all his efforts into.

Raine leaned back and sipped the liquor and turned to watch the band, which had begun to pick up in the waning patronage.

A shout rang out from the front of the building. The door slammed into the side wall, letting out a loud bang that nearly silenced the band. Raine turned and watched as a woman stumbled in, took a few awkward steps, and then collapsed into a table, sending glass flying and shattering against the floor.

Her fire red hair was a mess, mixing with the liquid in stringy lines. She wore a torn white blouse with its fair share of blood on it. Shallow breaths were the best she could muster.

Beyond her crumpled body, a man was charging through the darkness. The sparse lamps lit up his face in uneven intervals, revealing his anger stricken face. The man was saying something, but the band resumed playing beyond any commotion that was beginning. They were truly consummate professionals.

Everyone else in the building was quiet, watching, unmoving, unflinching. They would do nothing as they watched this woman receive whatever due reward she was to be given.

This simply would not do.

Raine sighed and set the cool glass on the bar and rose to his feet. He turned briskly and made his way to the front. He weaved through the tables, precise with his movements as if he was trying his damndest not to disturb the world around him.

The shouts threatened to disturb the music in the background, it clashed dramatically with the inspired bass line and the staccato beats of the drums, but somehow thery managed to mingle, twist, blend, and become something else entirely. The beat changed.

It had quickened.

“-- not to betray me. I told you not to mess with these things. I . . . It’s your goddamn fault.” He was screaming. His words shifted into some native tongue, then melted back. Regardless of the language, he was not happy.

Raine came within swinging distance of the man.

The man’s eagle eyes remained trained on the woman. He was holding something behind his leg, guarding it from prying eyes. Still, he hadn’t noticed that Raine was right up on him.

Raine’s eyes flashed. And then he struck.

It was a single movement, quick, merciless.

He took a step forward, grabbed the man’s arm, twisted it, and drove it upwards.

The man stopped screaming.

He had stopped breathing.

The makeshift blade glinted in the low light of the bar. A single stream of blood curved around the blade from where it jutted from his chin.

The music slowed once more, drifting, aimless.

Raine wasn’t sure anyone had noticed the change.

He pushed his way back to the bar. He didn’t even bother to look back. No one had seemed to notice the unconscious woman, the dying man. They weren’t going to do anything about them.

And for now, neither was Raine.

He picked up his sweating drink and downed it. He motioned for another refill.

No one ever noticed him anymore.

And that’s the way he liked it.

Not Really a City  by Tobias Kwan

Not Really a City by Tobias Kwan


Justin D. Herd

Justin D. Herd is a purveyor of the weird and strange. He occasionally squawks at friends and family, but does so only under the cover of night. Okay, that's not true. He squawks in full daylight. Drinking games have been built around his peculiarities, but the truth of it is this: he is a loving husband, with two wonderful dem--children. One growls at things he likes, including pretty women. The other has started to learn hand-eye coordination. Neither had made it to the tender age of three. From there, things will only get more interesting. He spends most of his writing time either at a coffee shop or sitting at one of his many desks around his house. Any other place makes it nearly impossible for him to write. He uses horror movies and rock music to help get the juices flowing. His favorite authors are Jeremy Robert Johnson, Alan Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Justin Cronin, and Patrick Rothfuss. He consumes most of his books through audiobooks, but still loves his personal library and getting lost in the printed word.