Grey Cat Blues excerpt

From Chapter 1
Grey Cat Blues by JD Cowan

Two Tone ran a scarred hand across his soaked head, plastering down his naturally white hair which matched his skin. He had dyed it black when he was a kid to look tougher, but not these days. His flush cheeks and strong chin matched his dark brown— almost black— eyes, and his far too white skin gave him the appearance of a comic book zombie. That effect only doubled when he wore black clothes. He had his name for a reason.

“I’m not that guy anymore,” Two Tone finally answered. He shook the water from his brown bomber jacket and wiped his casual blue jeans. “But I’m also not scared of the streets. Especially not with this.” Two Tone ran his fingers along his chain. Good weight. His fingertips instantly recalled memories of brawls long since won.

“You don’t even need it.” A-Rail rhythmically tapped the neighboring dumpster with his pipe as the pair passed. “Most of the hounds around here are either getting into cults or leaving this city for a better one with juicier targets. Even they know there’s nothing left.”

“You’re also leaving.”


“This have anything to do with why you called me out here? It wasn’t to reminisce about old times. You never get nostalgic. Tell me what’s up.”

“My dad used his connections to get me a job in Central 2106. Morningstar City. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m getting out.”

Two Tone slung the chain over his shoulders and shrugged. “This place is drying up. Makes sense.”

A-Rail mindlessly nodded in agreement.

An arc of lightning split the cloud cover overhead. For an instant, Two Tone thought he saw the cascading shadows in the alley moving around him.

A pair of lean black cats bolted between trash cans into the dark. A-Rail laughed, but Two Tone sneered. His sixth sense was screaming like the thunder drumming above. A fight was coming.

“What was that thing that old man used to say?” A-Rail asked. “All cats are grey in the dark? No fooling. All those damn cats all look alike out here.”

Two Tone wrapped a fistful of his chain in his right hand, stretched it out to its full length, and held the opposite end in his left with enough of a slack in the center.

A-Rail cocked a brow. “What are you doing?”

“We’re being followed. I know it. Spend enough time in the quiet, and you learn to hear things.”

“You learned to be paranoid. Get a woman, dreg.”

The rain turned black as it slapped against their shoulders. Two Tone looked up. Three shadows brandishing dark blades descended from the rooftops. He jumped back, and the alley pavement under him shattered into chunks, revealing tiny purple weeds clumping together. Three figures emerged from the rubble.

The first thing that Two Tone noticed was that he was wrong. They weren’t shadows. They were deformed men with dark mud pouring out of every orifice. Their vacant soulless eyes let waterfalls of muck gush from the tear ducts of their sunken skulls. The musty air filled with the stink of corpses. These things were actual living monsters.

“The hell?!” A-Rail yelled.

The monsters fell upon the pair. A-Rail shouted as Two Tone moved in.

Two Tone flung the chain to the one in the center. The weapon struck down on its outstretched wrist, and the monster winced. The left one circled around to his back and sliced for his neck. He rolled forward, and rainwater ripped apart instead of his spine. Two Tone spun, and whipped the chain down. The weight struck the neck of the monster with a crack, sending it stumbling. Mud spilled onto the concrete at its crooked feet. Two Tone landed in a crouch between his two attackers.

The first mud man approached the tar puddle where the goo landed. The mud slid along the sidewalk into its foot, rejoining the body. Two Tone grimaced, and kept the ends of the chain held tight. The two enemies were on either side.

Then he noticed A-Rail was missing, as was the third aggressor.

“A-Rail?” he inquired. No answer. He swore to himself then to the two attackers. “I don’t know what you dregs are supposed to be, but if you hurt A-Rail, I’m going to have to smash your bones to dust.”

The pair sprang forward on each side of him. There was no room to dodge in the narrow alley.

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