A Story For Sunday: The Neon Boneyard

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The Werewolf Detective.

The Neon Boneyard

Detective Ivan Walker was dead on his feet and no amount of coffee could help, even the strong, death-black stuff that he usually drank.  He switched off the espresso machine and took his cup over to the only table in the station canteen that was being used.  Roman Dalton PI sat with his head in his hands, and he didn’t look much better than Walker. He looked up as his friend sat.

“You look like death cooled down,” said Dalton.

Walker grunted.

“So, how did it go,” rasped Walker. “How was your meeting with the legendary Sherlock Holmes and his … companion?”

“Well, for a start, he was looking pretty damned sprightly for a man who was supposed to have died over a quarter of a century ago. Dr Watson, too. They both looked a lot better than you do, anyway. Hot time in The City?” said Dalton.

“I tell you, this place is a mad house these days. It ,akes me nostalgic for the days when we only had Dragan and his mob to deal with. The days without zombies, witches and werewolves. No offence,” said Walker.

“None taken. I hear you. Dragan and the boys were bad guys for sure but at least they mostly kept their shenanigans all amongst themselves.”

“Well, these news boys aren’t showing such discretion,” said Walker. “Especially that Haitian’s crew.”

He leaned close to his former partner.

“So what exactly did Sherlock Holmes have to say about Ton Ton Philippe?” said Walker.

“Not much more than he told me on the phone. He said that he first encountered Philippe in London around fifty years ago and at the time the Haitian was running a gambling den and a bordello in Soho.”

“So, how old does that make Ton Ton? I mean, I’ve only ever caught an occasional glimpse of him going in and out of The Pink Pussy Club but he certainly looked much more likely to be in his thirties than his seventies,” said Walker.

“He certainly looked young enough when he had me strapped to a chair in his office that time,” said Dalton. “But Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson should both be about 150 by my reckoning but like I say they’re both in fine fettle.”

Walker drained his coffee.

“There certainly is some weird shit going down these days,” he said.

“Agreed. The City is turning into Disneyland on acid. More freaks than you can shake a stick at.”

“Says the werewolf private eye. So why is Holmes here, anyway? Is he following Philippe?”

“Something like that. Apparently, Philippe stole something valuable from him a while back. Holmes wouldn’t say what it is, but it seems like he’s been hunting the Haitian ever since.”

Walker got up and stretched. He walked around the room.

“So what’s next? I admit that I feel more and more out of my depth here these days,” he said.

“Well, Holmes wants me to go with him to The Pink Pussy Club. To act as security against Philippe’s zombie henchmen,” said Dalton.

Walker snorted.

“He actually said that? He said zombies?” said Walker.

“Oh yes. And he was deadly serious,” said Dalton, shuffling in his pocket for his hip flask.

“And what’s the story with Count Otto Rhino these days? A few years ago he was buying up the odd run-down places now it looks like he owns half The City.”

“You’ve got to speculate to accumulate,” said Dalton.

“You know, I don’t trust him or that sister of his. The witch.”

Dalton drained his coffee.

“Daria? She could turn me into a frog any day. And I think you’ll find she’s more of a Siren than a witch.”

Walker sat back down.

“And that’s another thing,” said Walker. “What the hell are those Frog Boys that Otto Rhino keeps recruiting? They’re like speed-pumped mutants.”

“Yep, they’re a strange bunch for sure but I think we’ll be seeing stranger types than them in the future, the way things are going.”

Dalton closed his eyes and whistled a Jim Morrison song. When he opened them, Walker was gone.

*

Sherlock Holmes gazed at his reflection in the hotel bedroom’s mirror, still pleasantly surprised by how well he looked, considering he was 152 years old. He had first taken Bimini when he was in Hong Kong in the 1920s. He’d bought a bottle of it from a cohort of Dr Fu Manchu, the retired crime kingpin that had once ruled most of East London’s Limehouse district. Holmes had then taken to regularly imbibing the elixir, which was said to have originally come from the legendary fountain of youth. He had even built up a good supply which he had kept locked away in Howard Hughes’ Las Vegas penthouse apartment, taking only occasional sips for fear of draining his source of eternal life. He took out his hip flask and took a nip of the potion.

“Best get a move on,” he said, still checking his reflection.

“Okay,” said Dr Watson, yawning.

Watson got out of the bed and walked into the bathroom.

“Two ticks,” he shouted, before switching on the shower.

Holmes placed one Derringer in its wrist strap and checked the other one in his ankle holster. He picked up a walking cane with a death’s head handle. He clicked it to make sure the silver sword was still functioning. He knew that he would need all of his resources if he was to survive a battle with Ton Ton Philippe and his zombie horde.

Satisfied, he sat down in the red leather armchair and lit up a Gitanes. A foul habit, he knew, and one that he had kicked many times before, but the thought of being so close to retrieving the Rara Avis was consuming him and he needed to calm his nerves. This could be his final curtain call, he knew.

“That fag smells foul,” said Dr Watson as he stepped naked out of the bathroom.

“Yes, it does, rather,” said Holmes, examining the cigarette, curiously. He sniffed it but it smelt normal. The aroma was being emitted by something else.

He locked eyes with Watson.

“Brimstone,” said the doctor. His eyes scoured the room.

Holmes nodded.

There was loud bang and an explosion filled the room with smoke. When it cleared, Ton Ton Philippe stood there grinning. He was a handsome man with a red Mohican hairstyle and eye patch. He was bare-chested, wearing a red leather suit. Tattoos and scars latticed his body. Snakes writhed around his arms. Two massive, black-clad zombies stood beside him.

“The great detective,” hissed Philippe. “As I expected.”

“Long time no see, old chum,” said Holmes.

Dr Watson yawned and started to dress.

“Fancy a drink, Philippe?” he said.

Philippe walked over to the globe shaped drinks cabinet and opened it.

“I don’t think I see any Bimini here,” he said.

“No, just the domestic stuff. Dark Valentine,” said Holmes. He tapped his hip flask. “But I do have a shot or two of Bimini in here.”

Ton Ton Philippe’s eyes sparkled.

“Have you been using your supply sparingly?”  he said. “Resisting temptation?”

“Of course! Moderation in all things,” said Holmes. “Looking at you however, I’d say you’ve been guzzling the stuff. Not much left? Down to the dregs?”

Philippe frowned.

“I assume you didn’t come all the way to The City just to gloat at me?” said Philippe. “To flaunt your fountains of youth.” He leaned against a bookcase, took out a snuff box from his back pocket and inhaled.

“Of course not. This is strictly a business matter. A barter. Just a straight exchange, Philippe. The elixir for the Raven,” said Dr Watson, now fully dressed in black jeans and a roll neck sweater.

“The Andalusian Raven is no use to you anyway. Its gifts you already possess,” said Holmes. He tapped his left eye. “Otherwise you wouldn’t have known we were here.”

“For sure,” said Philippe. “Although you were quite difficult to spot. But I’ve been saving the Raven just in case I ever needed to use it as a bargaining tool.”

“Well, it appears that now that time has finally come,” said Holmes.

“Maybe,” said Philippe. “I’ll have to think about it. How much of the Bimini would you be willing to set free from your clutches? Considering I’m an old … chum?”

“Mm. How about ten bottles?” said Dr Watson.

“Make it fifty and we may have a deal,” said Philippe. “Ten won’t last me long.”

Holmes slumped forward in his seat. He put out his cigarette and lit another.

“Oh, I do so loath haggling.” He sighed. “Is forty acceptable?”

Philippe smirked. “It’s a deal.”

Holmes held out his hand. Philippe took it and grinned. He winked and muttered a voodoo spell.

 And then Holmes burst into flames. He was dust within seconds.

“Well, that turned out alright,” said Dr Watson. He coughed.

Philippe tittered. “Yes, it was easier than expected.”

“So?”

Philippe clicked a finger and one of his zombie henchmen walked over and put a small elaborately decorated egg- shaped box on the bed. Watson tapped it on the top and it opened in segments. Inside was a jewel encrusted raven with only one eye in the middle of its head.

“Does that suit you?” said Philippe.

“Oh yes,” said Dr Watson.

He bent down and pulled a silver briefcase from under the bed. He handed it to Ton Ton Philippe.

“Take small doses from time to time and that should keep you going for a while. At least until one of us can find a new supplier,” said Dr Watson.

“Where are you off to next?” said Philippe.

“Anywhere. Just out of this dump. I’m just relieved to be rid of that tiresome, pompous old fool,” said Watson, pointing to a pile of dust on the floor that used to be the world’s greatest detective.

*

The long black train silently snaked its way into The City’s Central Railway Station and Count Otto Rhino was reminded of the story of the funeral train that used to take The City’s plague victims out of the town. Apparently, there was even a special station just for this particular train. It had been called Necropolis Central Station, if he remembered correctly.

Otto was a massive, overweight man in his mid-fifties with a bald head and a permanently furrowed brow. He was wearing an expensive black suit and overcoat. A large pair of black-framed sunglasses were a permanent fixture, worn inside as well as outside, whether it was sunny or not.

The lone passenger stepped off the train. He was wearing a dark overcoat and a Cossack hat. A black scarf was wrapped around his saggy face.

Igor, a wiry leather-clad man with a bushy white beard, excitedly rushed past Otto like a bitch on heat.

“Herr Doctor, Herr Doctor, it is so good to see you again,” said Igor, holding out a leather-gloved hand.

Doctor Victor Frankenstein ignored the hand and said nothing. He ignored Igor and walked toward Otto. He pulled down his scarf.

“Otto Rhino,” he said, in an accent sharp enough to cut diamonds.  “An honour.” He clicked his heels.

“A pleasure Doctor,” said Otto. “I trust you and your … Monster had a comfortable journey from Geneva?”

“It was quite adequate, Count Otto. Which is the best that one can ask for these days, andat my time of life,” said Frankenstein.

A long black box was pulled from the train by two of Otto’s Frog Boy’s, Igor excitedly barking orders. Otto and Frankenstein walked to the waiting limousine and got in the back.  The car was warm, John Coltrane playing through the speakers.

“Ready to go boss?” said Igor, as he squeezed into the driver’s seat. “Or are we waiting for someone else?”

“Let’s getting moving,” said Otto. “There’s a storm brewing.”

***

***

The roar was like that of a hundred lions. The sound of a hurricane. Of the world being ripped apart. Frankenstein’s Monster was strapped to the operating table, connected to some strange machinery. It struggled to escape its bonds, veins bulging on its shaven head.  

Igor rushed though the laboratory with what looked like an adapted cattle prod and slammed it against The Monsters head. There was a flash of light, a fizzing sound and The Monster closed its eyes.       

“It truly is a fearsome sight,” said Otto Rhino.

The laboratory had a green glow that only accentuated The Monsters scaly green skin.

“Indeed,” said Doctor Frankenstein. “But the creation of a superman is not a simple process and not without its teething troubles. The more aesthetic aspects of The Monster can be modified at a later date. I’ve already tinkered a little.”

“He looks a little familiar, actually,” said Otto.

“Yes, I based his appearance on that of the actor Dolph Lundgren.”

“And the swastika on the forehead?”

“Oh, that was already there. I left it. I felt it gave him an extra … oomph!”

“It’s striking,” said Otto.

 “Speaking of which,” said Frankenstein.

He looked up at the stormy night sky through the skylight.

“Shall I open the skylight?” said Igor.

“Of course,” said Doctor Frankenstein.

Igor pulled a chain and the skylight slowly opened, filling the room with wind and rain. Lightning flashed. Thunder cracked.

“Are you sure this is necessary?” yelled Otto, lifting a black umbrella.

“I am always sure,” said Frankenstein. He flicked a switch as lightning flashed and struck The Monster. Otto was aghast, his mouth wide open and his umbrella was ripped from his hands by the wind.

The Monster opened its eyes. Smiled.

“Close the skylight,” said Frankenstein and Igor did as he was told.

Silence filled the room. Otto felt as if his heart had been ripped from his chest.

The Doctor walked over to The Monster and examined him with some strange sort of stethoscope.

“You are remarkably quiet,” said Frankenstein.

“I am … rebooting,” said The Monster. “It was a long sleep this time, I think.”

“Three months,” said The Doctor.

He put down his stethoscope.

“Thirsty? Hungry?”

He and Igor unstrapped The Monster.

“Of course,” he looked at Otto.

“Our host?”

“Yes, Count Otto Rhino. May I introduce you to … actually, what are we going to call you now?”  said Frankenstein.

The Monster slowly sat. Eased himself off the operating table. Yawned.

“How about …Adam,” said Otto. “You know, the first man and all that.”

“Well?” said Frankenstein.

“Not bad,” said The Monster. Igor handed him a black suit and white shirt. He dressed stiffly. “But I think I’d prefer something more dramatic.”

“Such as?” said Frankenstein.

“Such as … Victor Frankenstein,” said The Monster. “That has a nice ring to it.”

At which point, he ripped Doctor Victor Frankenstein’s head clean off.

“Oh dear,” said Count Otto Rhino. “That is most unfortunate.” He was holding a glass of brandy, swaying a little.

“Do you have a problem, Otto?” said The Monster.

He stood on an oak table in the shadowy living room, illuminated by a swinging chandelier. He held The Doctor’s head aloft, having just ripped it from his shoulders. 

Igor cowered under the table.

“Er, well, no,” said Otto.  “Not really. To be frank, Doctor Frankenstein was a little surplus to my requirements anyway since, it seems, his work on you is complete. But that was a tad shocking.”

“The time for freedom was upon me,” said The Monster.   “For years I have danced to his tune. That, I think was the perfect moment to snap the puppet master’s strings.”

He hurled Frankenstein’s head out of an open window. “I have been waiting for far too long a time to do … that.”

He jumped off the table. Igor whimpered.

“Perhaps you would like to share with me some of the details of this great battle that you are preparing for?” said The Monster.

“Of course,” said Otto. “Let’s go to my office.”

The Monster looked around the room.

Otto sighed.

“It’s time to get down to business,” he said.

*

It was a bitter, cold dawn and seagulls screeched and flapped around maniacally as a fishing trawler adorned with fairy lights cut across the stormy, metallic sea. A sharp autumn wind sliced through Daria as she waited dockside with Count Otto Rhino.  She wrapped the black leather coat tight around her muscular frame. Tied back her long black hair and put on a black Fedora. Her emerald, green eyes twinkled as she gazed up at the black clouds that looked like bullet holes in the granite sky. She frowned and turned to Otto.

“Couldn’t we have chosen another location, more civilised?” she said. “Maybe a nice warm bar or nightclub.”

“Still yearning for your nights singing at Klub Zodiak, are you dear? Are you missing Dragan, the mad, bad Serb?” said Otto Rhino, not looking at her, still gazing out to sea. “Maybe the Haitian can find an opening for you at The Pink Pussycat Club.”

Daria stuck out her tongue at him.

“Don’t you feel the cold at all?” she said. “It’s colder than your mother’s heart.”

Otto grimaced.

“She was your mother, too,” said Otto Rhino. “For better or for worse.”

He lit a cigarette with a scratched, silver Zippo lighter. Sucked it. Coughed. Offered the packet to Daria.

“I prefer my own, Otto,” she said. “You know that.”

She took out a long black cigarette from a silver cigarette case.  Rhino lit it for her. The smoke trailed away like a spectre.

A black Zephyr Zodiac pulled up close to where they stood. Igor got out. He was wearing a black leather jacket and gloves, and carrying a silver briefcase. He walked over to them, scowling as a gust of wind battered him. He shook hands with Otto and handed the briefcase to Daria.

“Any problems?” said Otto.

“Nothing I couldn’t handle,” said Igor.

He grinned and picked flecks of blood from his beard. “Is Dr Jekyll arriving in that?”

The trawler was getting closer.

“Indeed,” said Otto. “Hardly the standard he’s used to, I’m sure. But needs must. Discretion is all.”

“Do you have anything to restrain him in case he loses control? In case he’s been drinking his own potions?”  said Igor. He patted the Glock in his shoulder holster. “If he has transformed this may not be enough. Mr Hyde’ reputation …”

“I have all the ammunition that I need,” said Otto, nodding toward Daria. “More than enough. Even for Mr Hyde.”

Igor smirked. “Music soothes the savage beast, eh?”

Daria turned and glared at him. “Breast, Igor. The savage breast.”

“Ah, I’ve never been very good with Shakespeare,” he said.

Otto chuckled. Patted Igor on the arm.

“William Congreve, Igor,” said Otto. “A common misconception. But on to more pressing matters …”

He pointed toward the trawler which was docking with a clang.

After a few minutes, a frail, elderly man got off the boat and shuffled toward them carrying a battered old suitcase.  A Russian sailor walked behind him carrying a rifle.

“Count Otto Rhino, I presume,” said the old man in a soft Scottish accent. He held out a hand. Otto shook it.

“Dr Henry Jekyll, it is an honour to meet you,” said Otto. “I hope your passage wasn’t too uncomfortable.”

“Far from it,” said Jekyll. “Vodka is a great comforter.”

“I hope you’ll be able to get to work at once, Doctor,” said Otto. “My Frog Boys are invaluable but they do have their limitations.”

“Not a problem,” said Jekyll. He tapped his suitcase.  “I have more than enough …”

The Russian moved forward and pointed his gun at Otto. Stepped in front of Jekyll.

“No talk. Money,” he said. “Now.”

“Charmed I’m sure,” said Otto. He nodded to Daria who handed over the briefcase.

The Russian crouched down and put it on the floor. Clicked it open. Its contents glowed. The Russian smirked. “It is good,” he said.

“Better than grubby old cash, eh?” said Daria.

The Russian was already walking back to the boat with the briefcase, the gun over his shoulder, whistling Swan Lake.

“Now?” said Igor, as the Russian got back on the boat.

“Let’s get a little further away,” said Otto. “Better safe than sorry.”

They all got into the Zephyr Zodiac, with Igor driving.

As the car pulled away from the docks, Otto took his Zippo from his pocket, clicked it open and the fishing trawler exploded, filling the sky with flames.

“I do like a bit of spring cleaning,” said Otto.

“It’s winter,” said Daria.

“A mere technicality, dear,” said Otto, as he watched the sky turn red.

*

Count Otto Rhino reclined on a black-leather chaise lounge wearing only a paisley silk dressing gown and his sunglasses. The sound of Gershwin’s An American In Paris filled the dimly lit library. He smoked a massive Cuban cigar, its smoke rings trailing toward a creaking ceiling fan like wraiths.

“You are being uncharacteristically anxious, my dear,” he said, stifling a yawn.

Daria sat in a wicker armchair, nursing a glass of Rosso Esperanto. She wore a long black evening gown. A Yin and Yang amulet hung loosely around her neck. Her lips and fingernails were blood red.

“Otto, you know as well as I do that it’s not normal for Carmilla to stay out for two nights in a row. Not without contacting one of us anyway,” she said.

“She can take care of herself,” said Otto. “You know that. If she encounters any pests she can just sink her fangs into them. Or rip their heads off. She’s done it plenty of times before, after all.”

Daria rubbed the amulet.

“It’s just that I can’t sense her anywhere,” she said. “And that’s certainly never happened before.”

“Don’t you have any idea where she went?”

“Yes, I do and that’s part of the problem. She said she was going to go back to The Pink Pussy Club and take revenge on that damned Haitian but I thought she was joking. Now, I’m not so sure …”

“Well, there’s only way to find out. I can send a few of The Frog Boys down there for a bit of a blitzkrieg.”

Daria stood, poured herself a glass of brandy. Filled Otto’s glass.

“Mmm. A nice idea but that would probably spark an all-out war with Ton Ton Phillippe and we’re not full prepared yet. Are we?”

“No, no. Dr Jekyll will need a little more time, I’m sure. And The Monster or Frankenstein, or whatever he want us to call him, is still not ready – he needs to rest. Do you have a solution?”

“Maybe. We can call the police?”

“Ha! A last resort. Let’s leave it a day or two and see if she turns up. Carmilla is as tough as nails, you know that,” said Otto.

“Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t fret. But you know that the Haitian has his … ways.”

“If the rumours are to be believed …”

“Of course you believe them, or you wouldn’t be calling in such … exceptional reinforcements,” said Daria.

Otto walked over to the window.

“Well, why not send in a neutral party to check things out?” he said.

“And who do you have in mind?”

Otto pointed at the ivory moon that filled the sky and howled.

*

Dr Henry Jekyll had felt the lure of the night for far too long. The penthouse apartment, luxurious though it may have been, seemed antiseptic: clean but claustrophobic. He needed to taste The City. Taste its sin. Its decadence. He showered, dressed in a brand new suit that was three sizes too big for him and stood by the window, looking out at The City’s twinkling neon. He poured a toxic green liquid into a tall glass and downed it in one. It burned as it shuddered through him. His skin began to tingle. Sweat poured from him. He could barely breathe as he headed out of his apartment and took a shining gold lift down to Rhino Towers’ luxurious lobby. He nodded to the prune- faced night-watchman and burst through the front doors, the full moon hanging over him.

He stopped in the neon soaked street to breath in the sultry air. He could smell the lust, sin, the decay.  An old drunk collapsed at his feet, shattering a bottle of Dark Valentine. Jekyll stepped over him as he lay sobbing.  A young blonde woman was bent over a dumpster, her red dress pulled up to her waist.  Her screams of passion obviously fake as a hairy biker, his leather trousers around his ankles, silently rammed into her. A group of Hoodies waving broken bottles and baseball bats chased a fat, wheezing business man into a darkened alleyway.

Jekyll smiled, flexed his muscles. He could feel Mr Hyde crawling to the surface.

A battered Ferrari screeched to a halt in front of a 24-hour liquor store. Two skinheads rushed out. One went into the shop, the other into the alleyway, unzipping his fly.

Jekyll grinned, feeling stronger by the second. He whistled a Johnny Mercer tune as he walked into the alleyway.

At first, the smell almost overpowered him but then it invigorated Hyde and speeded the transformation.  The alleyway was illuminated by the light from a stained glass window and he could see that the skinhead was bleeding on the ground, four or five Hoodies beating him with a variety of weapons even though he was clearly already dead to the world, if not actually dead.  The other Hoodies were ripping the fat businessman limb from limb and feasting on his flesh. Jekyll licked his lips. He could almost taste the corpse. He muscles stretched, ballooned. His bones twisted and snapped. His skin ripped. It was an exquisite agony.

As one, the Hoodies glared at Mr Hyde. Their eyes were glowing red pinpricks.  They stood and stalked toward him. Hyde guffawed. Fully transformed, he was massive, handsome with a cruel look in his eyes.

“Come to daddy,” he said, with a smirk.

The Hoodies attacked. Hyde ripped apart the first one with ease and worked his way through the rest within minutes.

“Thank … you,” gasped the flabby businessman who struggled across the floor, a trail of blood behind him, barely clinging onto life.

Hyde stepped toward him and grinned.

“No, thank you,” he said and he ripped the man’s heart from his chest and devoured it with one swallow.

*

The City was ablaze. Crimson and gold ripped through the night sky, sliced and skewered by black smoke.

“This reminds me of the last days of the war,” said Walker. He was on the roof of the Basilica, his gun in his hand, surveying the scene. The carnage. His long raincoat flapped in the breeze.

“The good old days, eh?” said Duffy.

“I try to forget them. Try being the operative word,” said Walker.

Duffy stood beside him armed with his AK47.  A loud thump and they turned to see Roman Dalton, completely transformed into a werewolf. Dalton howled.

“Fancy meeting you here,” said Duffy. He took out a hip flask filled with Dark Valentine. Took a swig and handed it to Walker who took a nip. Then he handed it to Dalton, who growled.

“Prefer something with more bite, eh?” said Duffy.

Dalton howled and beat his chest, his eyes glowing red.

“Are we ready to kick ass?”  said Duffy.

“Why not,” said Walker. Dalton roared as he jumped down into The Pink Pussy Club’s car park. Walker and Duffy headed down the rattling fire escape.

*

Count Otto Rhino gazed out of the window of his penthouse apartment at Rhino Towers.

“The war has begun,” he said.

He turned to face Mr Hyde, The Monster, Carmilla, Daria and Igor.

“Ready?” he said.

“Let’s get this over with,” said Daria.

They all headed out of the apartment and into an elevator which took them to the building’s underground car park. A mob of Frog Boys waited for them.

*

A storm ripped the sky open and rain poured down in sheets. The Pink Pussy Club’s neon sign flashed and buzzed erratically. The sound of thrash metal emanated from inside the club.

A mob of zombies surrounded the entrance. Dalton, Duffy and Walker walked toward the club as a car exploded behind them.

As lightning flashed, they rushed toward the zombies.

Dalton jumped on two and ripped their heads off with his paws and bit the head off another. Walker shot one in the head, spun as another grasped his arm and blew its brains out. Duffy fired, spraying wildly and taking out a few of them. He reloaded and started shooting again.

More zombies rushed them as group of Frog Boys appeared and took on the zombies with baseball bats and samurai swords.

Mr Hyde and Frankenstein’s Monster appeared from black smoke and took on more, both laughing gleefully as they tore the zombies apart with ease.

Carmilla slipped through the front door of The Pink Pussy Club as Igor drove a burning police car at another group of zombies.

Inside, the club was dimly lit, lights flickering. Tom Waits’ ‘The Heart Of Saturday’ night leaked from the speakers. Ton Ton Philippe sat on his throne smoking a cigar, looking weary.

“You have returned my pet,” he said, as he saw Carmilla. He sounded tired.

Carmilla grinned, ran onto the bar, somersaulted and kicked him in the head.

Outside, the sound of Daria’s singing grew louder and then there was silence. Philippe was frozen where he lay.

Otto Rhino strolled into the room. He bent over and picked up the cigar that Philippe had dropped. He soaked a red velvet curtain with a bottle of Dark Valentine and then used the cigar to set it alight.

There was an explosion that shook the room and then Roman Dalton crashed through a skylight onto Philippe, tearing him to shreds. Carmilla leapt and sank her fangs into the Haitian. He crumbled to the ground.

Daria walked into the room and all was silent. Her green eyes glowed as she sang. Then Walker and Duffy followed her. The room was ablaze but Duffy walked behind the bar and picked up a bottle of Dark Valentine. He gulped down about a third of the stuff and handed the bottle to Walker who took a good swig.

Dalton had ripped Ton Ton Philippe to pieces and was howling as he waved the Haitian’s limbs about. The Monster and Mr Hyde leaned against the bar laughing maniacally.

“Why don’t we all head back to my joint for a bloody good booze up?” said Duffy.

“I think I shall take you up on that offer,” said Otto Rhino.

He turned to Daria.

“Is it safe for us to leave from the front entrance?” he said.

Daria nodded, took Dalton by the paw and began to sing ‘I Put A Spell On You’ as she led him out of the burning building, the others trailing behind them.

FIN

© Paul D. Brazill

ABOUT THE WEREWOLF DETECTIVE

When a full moon fills the night sky, Private Investigator Roman Dalton becomes a werewolf and prowls The City’s neon and blood soaked streets. Vivid and violent noir horror stories based on characters created by Paul D. Brazill

‘Netflix ought to swoop in and bag those stories for a new series.’

‘It’s noir. It’s supernatural. It’s sleazy as hell.’

“A crackling fun read that puts werewolves in a Sin City/hardboiled world.”

5.0 out of 5 stars.  Brilliant and Dark

5.0 out of 5 stars.  Noir Fun with a Werewolf Detective

5.0 out of 5 stars.  A Howling Good Read!

5.0 out of 5 stars.  Both gruesome and awesome

Back in 2012 I wrote a story for the late lamented Dark Valentine Magazine. It was a noir/ horror crossover called Drunk On The Moon and featured a werewolf private eye called Roman Dalton. The story proved to be quite popular and I wrote a few more Roman Dalton yarns. There were even a couple of anthologies where a wide range of authors wrote Roman Dalton yarns. Oh, and he’s been translated into Slovenian and Polish.

So sink your teeth in, if you fancy!

I’m Substacking !

Yes, I’ve set up a SUBSTACK ACCOUNT. I’ve reposted some of my older posts and am currently serialising my ROMAN DALTON- WEREWOLF DETECTIVE yarns. It’s currently free, so check it out, if you fancy, and maybe even sign up for the newsletter. I think I’ve got the hang of it and will add some new stuff as soon as I feel more SUBSTACK friendly.

Here’s the link!

The Werewolf Detective Howls Again!

Back in 2012 I wrote a story for the late lamented Dark Valentine Magazine. It was a noir/ horror crossover yarn called Drunk On The Moon, and it featured a werewolf private eye called Roman Dalton. The story proved to be quite popular and I wrote a few more Roman Dalton yarns. There were even a couple of anthologies where a wide range of authors wrote Roman Dalton yarns. Oh, and he’s been translated into Slovenian and Polish.

Anyway, I recently decided to collect as many of the yarns as possible in one place. There are stories from me, K A Laity, Carrie Clevenger, Graham Wynd, Matt Hilton, Vincent Zandri, Allan Leverone and more! (Artwork by Marcin Drzewiecki – Ilustrator)

When a full moon fills the night sky, Private Investigator Roman Dalton becomes a werewolf and prowls The City’s neon and blood soaked streets. Vivid and violent noir horror stories based on characters created by Paul D. Brazill

Netflix ought to swoop in and bag those stories for a new series.’

‘It’s noir. It’s supernatural. It’s sleazy as hell.’

“A crackling fun read that puts werewolves in a Sin City/hardboiled world.”

5.0 out of 5 stars.  Brilliant and Dark

5.0 out of 5 stars.  Noir Fun with a Werewolf Detective

5.0 out of 5 stars.  A Howling Good Read!

5.0 out of 5 stars.  Both gruesome and awesome

Why not sink your teeth in, if you fancy?

A Story For Sunday: Before The Moon Falls

Before The Moon Falls

Duffy awakes drowning in sweat. Still smothered by bad dreams. Gunshots echo through his brain. Then the sound of helicopter blades. Screams.

It takes him a moment to adjust to the surroundings; the room looks unfamiliar in the wan light. Slowly, his eyes make out the details of his sparse living room. He’s on the sofa, tangled up in a worn blanket cradling a bottle of bourbon as if it were a teddy bear. He lies for a moment, each heartbeat like the tick of a clock, and edges off the sofa. His joints ache as he stumbles to the window and peels back the blinds.  

A constellation of streetlights and a galaxy of Christmas decorations fade into the distance towards Banks’ Hill. A feral group of Hoodies trudge through the snow. They shuffle through the redbrick Ace of Spades archway and into the narrow alleyway that leads to the rear of Klub Zodiak. More of Dragan’s new recruits. More cannon fodder.

Someone, somewhere nearby is whistling Hank William’s ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.’ Or maybe he’s imagining it.

Duffy shakes his head. He’s exhausted. His mind playing tricks on him. His sleep is becoming increasingly fitful the days. Spectral. Like wading through molasses. Guilt, his mother would have said. And she’d be right.

And then Duffy sees him.

Stood in the Zebra Bar’s doorway, illuminated by the flash of his Zippo as he lights a cigarette. His face looks pallid. Lips as red as a clown’s. He’s wearing a long dark raincoat, his hair long and black like rats’ tails.  A chill slices through Duffy like the ice pick that took out Trotsky.

A black limousine purrs around the corner and stops. Ivan Walker salutes and gets in.

Duffy walks into the bathroom and switches on the shaving lamp. He avoids looking in the mirror, knowing what he’ll see; bloodshot eyes; dirty, unshaven face: inky black hair. His skin riddled with acne.

 He coughs. Spits. Coughs again. A Rorschach test of blood splashes the white basin. He turns on the tap and tries to wash it away.

***

A brittle, icy morning and the air tastes like lead. Duffy glides the black BMW through The City’s cobbled streets, listening to Bessie Smith’s ‘Downhearted Blues’. Eases the car along New World Street, taking in its expensive shops, hotels, cafes and bars. It feels like the calm before the storm. It is.

A rickshaw pulls up outside the Euro – China Hotel and a couple of drunken Chinese business men tumble out. The rickshaw driver is Travis, a tall blonde Californian surfer girl. She wears a screaming red chauffeur’s uniform and a forced grin. She laughs at something the men say as she clutches the wad of notes one of them hands her. She notices Duffy as he cruises past and taps her chauffeurs cap in a mock salute. He blows her a kiss.

Dragan, crouches in the back seat, like a coiled python. He wipes a fleck of cocaine from his nose and sits up. His eyes dance the flamenco. He chuckles, lights a cigar and gazes out of the window, like a king surveying his domain. Which isn’t too far from the truth.

‘Why do you always listen to such depressing music, Duffy?’ says Dragan.

‘Not depressing,’ says Duffy. ‘Cathartic. Helps me process the wear and tear of life. Chew it up and spit it out. You should do the same. Listen to a bit of Billie Holliday. Lady Day, as she was known. Would sort you out, no worries.’

But Dragan’s not listening.  

‘Remember, Richie Sharp?’ he says, gesturing toward Patrick’s Irish Pub, which spills out its early morning dregs. Puking and mewling executives. Pumped up pimps. Hairy arsed bikers.

‘Rings a bell,’ says Duffy.

‘You must remember. The fence. He used to call himself Mr Google. Said he could find anything for you. Eh? Remember ?’

 ‘Yeah,’ says Duffy. ‘That flabby farm boy that used to practically live in Patrick’s? The shittiest pub in The City but he loved it.’

‘Happy days, those, eh? I miss them sometimes. Don’t you?’

‘Naw. Nostalgia’s not what it used to be.’

Back in those days, Dragan was just a speed freak. A jumped up Serbian car thief. A drug dealer with ambitions. There’d been a lot of blood under the bridge since then, thought Duffy. Rivers of the stuff.

‘Whatever happened to him, anyway?’ he says.

‘Fuck knows,’ says Dragan. ‘Last time I saw him was well over five years ago. Just after the last wave of refugees swarmed into The City. He had hundreds of them working for him; dealers, whores, pickpockets, hackers, croupiers.  I think he was screwing Bronek Malinowski’s wife at the time, though. So …’

Duffy laughs.

‘Was Sharp the one they roasted in the pizza oven?’

‘No, that was the French guy. Journalist. They frizzled him. Who knows what happened to Richie Sharp, though  …’ 

Duffy turns right at the Palm Tree Bar and heads down Othello Avenue, looking up at Rhino Towers, Count Otto Rhino’s grey Gothic headquarters, looming over The City like a giant gargoyle keeping danger at bay. Though not exactly doing too good a job of it.

As he turns the corner and heads toward the Central Railway Station, a big black van suddenly screeches in front of him and blocks his way. He brakes but his reactions are slow and he slams into the side of the van.

 ‘Bollocks,’ says Duffy.

‘What the fuck,’ growls Dragan. His eyes bulge out of his head. He grabs his Glock from its shoulder holster and opens the car door.

‘Close it and hold on!’ Duffy shouts.

He screeches the car into reverse. Dragan falls back in his seat, the door wide open. And then another van turns the corner and slams into the back of Duffy’s car, stopping his exit. 

Within seconds, a swarm of massive shaven headed men dressed in military fatigues rush out of the vans. Otto Rhino’s Frog Boys.

Dragan slams his door closed. The men start attacking the car with hammers and baseball bats. A giant of a man pulls out a shotgun and blasts the bullet proof windscreen which cracks like a spider web.

 ‘What the fuck, is this?’ screams Dragan. The cigar falls into his lap.

One of the vans sounds its horn and within seconds the men rush back inside.

‘Who would dare? Who the fuck would dare?’

 He sits back, stunned. The dropped cigar burns a hole into his lap. He looks down for a moment and brushes it away as if it is a mosquito.

***

Dragan slumps in the blood- red leather armchair that is jammed in a darkened corner of the office. A ghost of the man he once was.

‘So, what’s the plan?’ says Duffy, flicking through a copy of the National Geographic.

Dragan grunts. He holds a bottle of red wine in one of his hands. He disinterestedly watches as it drips onto the wooden floorboards. 

‘There’s a rat in the kitchen,’ he says. ‘An informer. There’s no way that Otto Rhino would come at me like that without information.’

At a large desk, Lulu, a tall raven haired woman, uses a gold credit card to chop up a little heap of cocaine. She leans forward and snorts through an Eiffel Tower souvenir pen.  

‘Ay Caramba!,’ she says, her Galway accent as thick and dark as an Irish coffee. She turns to Dragan. ‘Maybe it’s that Haitian guy? Ton Ton Philippe?’

Dragan growls.

Duffy pours himself another large gin and hands the bottle to Lulu. 

‘Gin makes you sin,’ she says, with a chuckle. Dragan glares at her as she swigs from the bottle. 

She turns away, retouches her make-up in a hand mirror and stands.

Duffy can see rage rumble inside Dragan like a thundercloud.

Lulu walks over to him. She looks good. She’s tall and in her early twenties with wan looking skin, red lipstick slashed across her full lips and black hair cut into a bob. She wears a red PVC raincoat and shiny black stiletto heels that click on the floorboards. Dragan takes a wad of cash from his wallet and wearily hands it to her.

‘Whatever you can find out, okay?’ he says.

‘Aye,’ says Lulu.

‘And by whatever means necessary.’

She nods. Smiles. 

The James Bond theme begins to play and Dragan takes out his mobile phone. 

‘Yes,’ he says and listens for a few moments before answering.

He slumps over the large oak desk.

‘And exactly how much of a bollocks is ‘a bit of a bollocks’?’ he says. His expression is volcanic.

‘Maybe I’ll go?’ says Lulu.

‘Not a bad idea,’ says Duffy.

Dragan waves indifferently toward her and she walks out of the office door, her head held down but still watching. And still listening. 

Dragan smashes the bottle on the floor. The red stain crawls into the wood’s cracks and crevices. He stands up, lights a cigar and gazes out of the window. 

The Old Town square is almost empty. Just the occasional little ant scuttling across the snow. Duffy can hear the sound of the music from Klub Zodiak below. He can feel the throb of the bass, thumping its message. 

Dragan pulls a bag of cocaine from his desk drawer and trails a line of powder along the window pane.

‘I’ll be off, then,’ says Duffy.

Dragan nods slowly.

‘And Duffy, remember to watch out for mercenary eyes.’

He points a shaking finger and immediately looks over one thousand years old.

***

As Duffy blasts Ricardo’s brains across the snow smothered ground, a row of black birds, that were lined up on telephone lines like notes on sheet music, scatter and slice through the milky whiteness.

Snow dandruffs the corpse as he takes the Glock from Ricardo’s hand and pushes it down the back of his jeans. Looking at the fat heap on the ground, his scraggly beard and unkempt hair matted with blood, he is overcome with sadness, guilt. And anger.

‘You useless fucker, Ric,’ he says.

He takes out his hip flask, toasts Ricardo, takes a sip and pours the rest of the vodka onto the snow.

He grabs the cadaver by the ankles and hauls his massive corpse towards the dilapidated cottage, leaving behind a snaking trail of blood. In front of the door, he pauses and wipes his brow with the blood stained sleeve of his biker’s jacket. 

He catches his breath and gazes over at a Christmas tree which is lit up with shimmering, dancing multi-coloured lights. A wind chime that hangs above the door tinkles.  He smiles. Elsewhere, for a moment.     

Dragan’s Harley pulls up outside the cottage.  He takes off his black crash helmet and runs a hand through his freshly cropped hair, scratches his head and dismounts.

‘Well?’ he says.

Duffy, angry, ignores him. The heavy wooden door creaks as he pushes it open. Ricardo’s head bounces off every concrete step as he drags the body downstairs into the dark and dingy basement and onto a sheet of dirty green tarpaulin.  

He switches on a lone light bulb, which buzzes and flickers, revealing a room cluttered with wooden barrels. A dirty, cracked mirror hangs precariously above a rusted metal sink.

‘So, what did he say?’ says Dragan, as he pounds down the stairs, the sound of his feet echoing around the basement.  

There is a burning in Duffy’s chest. He bends forward, grips his knees and hikes up a wad of bloody phlegm.

‘He said nothing.’

‘He said nothing or that he knew nothing?’

Duffy sighs.

‘He said that he knew nothing.’

‘And you believed him.’

‘Yes. Until then the stupid fucker grabbed my gun and tried to make a run for it. Shot at me.’

Duffy leans against the sink. It creaks and squeals as he turns the rusty tap and releases the shitty brown water. He splashes it on his face.

‘The sad fuck had nothing to lose, I suppose,’ says Dragan, ‘apart from his balls’. He snorts and lights up a large Havana cigar. ‘Idiot accountant thinks he can rip me off.’ 

‘Well, he got away with it for long enough,’ says Duffy.   

‘Did anyone see you?’ he says blowing a perfect trio of smoke rings. ‘Any spies? Any mercenary eyes?’     

‘Around here? No,’ Duffy says. ‘No. There’s no one around here. ’

‘Ha! So, you say!’

Dragan’s increasing paranoia is like finger down a blackboard to Duffy these days. He clenches his fists; digs his nails into his palms.

‘We’re in the middle of the fucking  countryside. On Christmas fucking morning. Who’s going to see me? Fucking carol singers?’     

‘Did he say anything else?’ says Dragan, his bullet-hole eyes bore into Duffy and show no amusement.   

‘Yes. He cried for his mother.’

Dragan peels off his boots and black leather jacket and sits cross-legged on the dirty floor. He is wearing a black sleeveless T-shirt depicting Edward Munch’s ‘The Scream’, and a pair of expensive denim jeans.

He plucks a bottle of vodka from one of the wooden barrels that cluttered the room. His wedding ring glints as it catches the light.    

‘You know what I mean. Did he say anything about Rhino? About Ton Ton Philippe?’

‘Ton Ton Philippe … Jesus …that’s all you talk about. I told you. He’s just a bogey man. A legend that those Haitian mobsters use to keep their protection racket running.’

Dragan turns. His face as expressionless a Golem. He pours large measures of vodka into two pink plastic tumblers. 

‘Well?’ says Dragan     

‘Well, okay,’ says Duffy. ‘Well, I’ll admit that it was when I mentioned Ton Ton Philippe that he did a runner. But it’s all these scare stories. All these voodoo and black magic bullshit rumours that are filling The City.’     

Dragan looks lost in thought for a moment. He stands motionless and not for the first time Duffy is reminded of the robot in the film The Day The Earth Stood Still, waiting for a sign from his master. The only noise is the buzz of the light and the sound of Dragan’s breathing.   

Eventually, he breaks into a smile.     

‘Well, we’ll see,’ he says.  

He walks over to Ricardo’s corpse and shakes his head.         

‘Misguided loyalty, my friend,’ sighs Dragan.     

He passes Duffy a tumbler of vodka.   

‘Cheers,’ he says.

‘Up yours,’ says Duffy.

They down the drinks in one.

‘Okay, back to work,’ says Dragan, slamming his tumbler down on the table.  

He digs into a darkened corner of the room and pulls out something heavy and metallic. 

‘I think it’s time to sever Mr Ricardo’s contract,’ smirks Dragan as he starts up the chainsaw.

***

A sliver of moon garrottes the coal black sky and Duffy’s heart pounds as he stands outside Klub Zodiak. Its shimmering and buzzing neon sign is reflected in a pool of blood.

He feels the cold metal in his fist as he slams on the steel door of the nightclub until it creaks open. He pushes his way to the bar, breathing in the scent of cheap aftershave, cigarettes and booze. A sultry Femme Fatale on a Chiaroscuro lit stage purrs a torch song that roars into the abyss.

‘Bourbon?’ says Arek. Duffy nods, take off his leather jacket and drapes it over a bar stool.

‘Is Dragan here?’ he says, downing his drink in one.

‘Of course,’ says Arek ‘Where else would he be? He thinks that the moment he sets foot outside he’s a dead man. The paranoia is eating him like a cancer.’

Duffy turns toward the metal door that leads upstairs to Dragan’s office.

‘For fuck’s sake, yer man’s lost the plot, Arek; he’s away with the fairies. He’s like Hitler in his bunker up there. When was the last time he came out?’

‘At Darko’s funeral.’

‘And when was that, for Christ sake?’

‘A long time ago,’ growls Arek, his voice like sandpaper.  ‘What do you think is happening, Duffy?’

Duffy stuffs a fistful of peanuts in his mouth. Chews. Arek waits.

‘It’s all that cocaine he hoovers up,’ Duffy says. ‘And that new stuff coming in from Greece. He’s mixing them. Starting the day with uppers, ending the day with downers. Thinks someone’s drugging him, would you believe! And I bet he still doesn’t know who it is that’s out to assassinate him.  Mercenary eyes, the streets are full of mercenary eyes, he says. That pretty little wife of his must be ready to piss off I’m sure. And who can blame her? You should do the same thing before he turns on you.’

Arek nods.

‘Maybe, maybe,’ he says, as he pours a large glass of whisky. ‘But where will I go? And what about you? Where will you go?’

‘When is more to the point.’

Duffy places a metal briefcase on the Klub Zodiak’s marble bar and turns to Arek.

‘It’s all there,’ he says. ‘Do you want to count it?’

‘No. He’ll probably count it himself, the way he is these days,’ says Arek.

 ‘Aye,’ says Duffy says.

Duffy shivers as the singer whispers ‘Gloomy Sunday’, as if it is her dying breath.

‘Great version,’ he says. ‘Best version’s by Mel Torme, though. You know what Torme’s nickname is?’

‘The Velvet Fog,’ says Arek.

‘Nice to meet a man with good musical knowledge,’ says Duffy.

***

It’s already past midnight but Krystyna could swim all night. She loves the Euro – China Hotel’s glass swimming pool and the floor to ceiling window that gives such a great view of The City’s skyline. High above the squalor, the sin, the vice, it twinkles and shines.

‘I’ll miss this,’ she says, as she floats on her back.

She gets out of the pool. Duffy rises from his seat and hands Krystyna the towel.

She looks stunning. A pure albino, with eyes as red as blood.

She dries her iron muscled body and goes into the changing room.

Duffy switches off the lights.  

Krystyna comes out of the changing room. She’s dressed all in white, as usual. Boots, jeans, sweater as pallid as her skin. She switches on her Nokia.

‘Any messages?’ says Duffy.

‘There were two missed calls from Dragan and three SMS from him written in a mad garbled mixture of Serbian, Russian, English and Mandarin.’

She hands Duffy the phone and he tries to make sense of Dragan’s ramblings.

‘Like the last words of Dutch Schulz,’ he says, and laughs. Krystyna doesn’t.

 She shivers as she plays with her loosening wedding ring.

‘He’s close to the edge now,’ she says. ‘Maybe the house of cards will tumble down quicker than we’d hoped’.

***

The tall men in the black fedoras and long black overcoats look like shadows as they cut through the snow smothered Old City Square.  

A ghostly spiral of smoke drifts up from the husk of the burnt out car as Duffy falls to his knees, the low hum that hovers in the distance growing louder.  Giovanni stares blankly at him, a red dot in the centre of his forehead. The look of incredulity frozen on his dead face. 

Duffy looks up, gasping, as a plane roars overhead. His fingers buzz and tingle and the sensation spreads through his hands and up his arms. The weight of an elephant is on his chest and then he feels cold hard metal against his forehead.

‘You’re fucked, boy,’ says the tallest man, who crouches down, cradling a high powered riffle. His vowels are long and elasticated. Stretched all the way from Tennessee to The City. He plucks Duffy’s gun from where it had fallen and takes Giovanni’s pistol from his corpse.

‘Yep. Yer fucked. Fucked up the arse,’ says the squat Irishman as he presses his Doc Martin boot into Duffy’s twisted ankle.

Tears fill his eyes as pain rips through him but he refuses to give them the satisfaction of hearing him scream. He forces a smile and waits for the day to dissolve into night. 

But then a clock begins to chime, loud and cacophonous.

 The men look up.

‘What the fuck is that?’ says the Irishman.

First there are a couple of drops. Then trickles and then there is a flood until what seems to be hundreds of people spill out over the square, like jackals searching for carrion. The men in the black overcoats put away their guns.

‘Later, Duffy,’ the American says. As they slip through the crowd, approaching sirens scream nearer.

The crowd all head in the same direction. Men, women, children. And out of the milieu a stumpy punk rocker with a tall red Mohawk walks toward Duffy, beaming a broken toothed grin.

***

Shuffling into the corner of a nearby alleyway, Duffy sits down on the front steps of a butcher’s shop. Its rancid smell makes him queasy.  He pulls his black woollen hat over his frozen ears and plucks a battered packet of Galois from his jacket pocket. He hands one to the young punk, sweat peeling from his acne scarred face.

The punk grins 

‘No thanks’ he growls in English, his French accent as thick as treacle. ‘That shit will kill you’. The traces of a grin appear at the corners of his mouth. 

‘Yeah,’ says Duffy, ‘but you’ve got to die of something.’ 

Duffy coughs and spits on the ground. Takes out his hips flask and drinks its acrid contents. He hands it to the punk who shakes his head.

‘Take care of your body and it’ll take care of you.’ He snickers like the dog in an old cartoon Duffy used to watch as a kid.

 ‘Thanks for dragging me out of … that lot,’ Duffy says. Nodding toward the town square. ‘What exactly was happening? All of those people … Is it some sort of religious festival?’

The punk smirks.

‘Sort of. If you call going to work a religion. It’s the start of the next shift at the meat packing factory. These are all factory flats and houses. All owned by Otto Rhino.’

Duffy slumps to the ground. Takes a pill from his pocket and pops it. Washes it down with the booze.

‘Your body really is you temple, isn’t it, Duffy?’

Duffy glares at him.

‘Who the hell are you, anyway?’ he says.

‘Guess,’ says the punk.

‘I have no bloody idea,’ says.

‘Well, I know all about you, Sergeant Duffy.’

Duffy automatically reaches for the Bowie knife that he keeps tucked in his boot. It’s gone.

‘Who the hell are you?’

The punk steps back and holds up his hands.

‘Relax! You’re safe. Take a chill pill! I was just messing with you. Walker sent me.’

He moves closer and places the knife in front of Duffy, along with his wallet.

‘I’m Robinson,’ he says, his accent becoming Scottish. ‘Oliver Beacock Robinson.’

‘The Magician?’

‘Well, I’m no Harry Houdini, but, yeah, that’s what they call me.’

Duffy remembers the war stories about Robinson during Desert Wave. He was a legend. He could slip undercover, undetected everywhere. Anywhere. And he was never caught. Lucky bastard, he thinks.

‘I thought you’d be … cleaner,’ says Duffy.

‘And I thought that you and the Italian would be able to take out a couple of third division hired thugs without blowing up half of the town square. But you know what thought did, as my old gran used to say.’

‘Too…friggin shay,’ says Duffy, struggling to his feet.  ‘Shouldn’t we be getting out of here?’

Robinson nods.

‘Follow the white rabbit,’ he says and he’s off down the alleyway.

Duffy hobbles after him, keeping his knife in his hand.

***

‘Like something out of a Hieronymus Bosch painting, isn’t it?’ says Walker, as a Clockwork Orange skinhead French kisses an overweight transvestite. Then cracks a beer bottle over his head.

‘If you’re saying it’s a shithole, well, you’re right on the money,’ says Duffy.

And Patrick’s really is a shithole, thinks Duffy. The building itself is fine. Oak doors. Marble bar. Silver chandeliers. And a very tasty old Wurlitzer Jukebox. But the dregs of The City are drawn to Patrick’s like a used condom down a toilet bowl.

‘One of Dragan’s most successful enterprises, though, I heard?’ says Walker. He sips a death black espresso and turns his attention back to Duffy.

‘Well, I think you’ll find that this joint is actually owned by Mrs Krystyna Kostic, actually. Dragan’s wife.’

‘Yeah, yeah. Pull the other one, it plays Elvis songs. ’

Duffy pours the Budweiser down his throat without letting the bottle touch his lips. You never know what you might catch in Patrick’s.

‘So, who were the twats that wacked Giovanni and were ready to take me out? They didn’t exactly look like The Frog Boys. They were good too. Fast’

‘Out of town contractors. Ex- CIB. Like you.’

The cold sweat gripped Duffy like a cowl. Almost on cue, Barry Adamson’s version of ‘The Man With The Golden Arm’ started to play.

‘I thought you might have recognised them,’ says Walker. ‘Maybe you worked with them during the Desert Wave? Are you sure they didn’t look familiar?’

‘No. Never seen them before in my life. A covert group like CIB had people coming and going all the time. Government policy, so you didn’t get too loyal to each other and start up a mutiny when things went pear shaped. You know that. Colonel. You were there, too.’

‘Yes, I was sergeant. And I also know that you owe me. You shouldn’t need reminding of that. If I hadn’t got you out of that prison cell, those mercenaries would have sliced you up and eaten you for lunch. Literally.’

‘I know, I know. So what do you want?’

‘This is how I see it. Someone is trying to take out Dragan’s gang. At first I thought that they were just after him but now it looks like they’re taking out everyone around him. To make Dragan as vulnerable as possible. And now Giovanni is worm meat, there aren’t too many of your boys left.’

‘Maybe it’s Rhino, maybe? A few of The Frog Boys attacked us last week.’

‘No. I think someone gave the info to Rhino but there’s someone else behind it. I think they were just sent to scare you off. You in particular.’

‘Yep, well we’re certainly dropping like flies. And those Hoodies are no use. So? Who?’

‘Dunno. Maybe Ton Ton Philippe?’

‘Come on, Walker. Don’t talk cobblers.  He’s just a scare story that the Haitian’s made up. Isn’t he? You don’t believe all that stuff about zombie henchmen and werewolf bikers, do you?’

‘Maybe yes maybe no. But, remember, we saw some weird and horrible things back in the war, Duffy. Things that we couldn’t explain. How do you think I got this?’ he scratches the pentangle shaped scar on his neck. ‘Philippe’s name keeps turning up wherever I look, these days. And as much as Dragan and you boys are a pain in the arse, this guy sounds worse. Much worse.’

And then they hear the bang.

***

 The building is ablaze. Flames lick the sky. Crackle. Roar. Outside Klub Zodiak, a handful of Hoodies shuffle around. Lost sheep. Arek is on his hands and knees, coughing his guts up.

             Walker rushes over to one of the fire engines that pull up outside the building and Duffy heads toward Arek

‘What the fuck happened,’ says Duffy.

He stands up. Wipes his mouth.

‘Dragan happened.  He cleared out the safe with a suitcase full of money. Took a plane out of The City,’ says Arek. ‘I drove him to the airport. He was rambling like a madman. Worse than usual. When I came back and opened the door…boom.’

‘So the house of cards really has fallen down then?’

‘Yep, looks that way.’

Duffy hands Arek his hip flask. He stakes a swig.

‘What about Krystyna?’

Arek shrugs.

‘She went with him. Her and Lulu. But neither of them seemed too happy about it.’

Walker strolls over to Duffy with a grin.

‘Well, looks like you’re out of work, Duffy.’

Duffy shrugs. Takes a Micky Mouse napkin from his pocket and blows his nose on it. Stuffs it back into his pocket.

‘Not really,’ says Arek, ‘Here. From Krystyna.’

He hands Duffy a large envelope. He takes out a wad of documents and a set of keys.

Duffy smirks.

‘What is that?’ says Walker.

‘Payback,’ says Duffy and heads back towards Patrick’s.

‘Pop down to Patrick’s for a drink later, boys. It’s under new management.’

***

‘You arseholes could have killed me!’

Duffy is red faced as he screams at Tennessee Bob and Davy Boy Ryan, who are sat at the bar grinning from ear to ear. ‘Nearly broke my bloody leg, too.’

 He half-heartedly drags a mop around Patrick’s and then heads over to the jukebox. Presses a few buttons.

‘We were just fucking with you, Duffy,’ says Bob, twirling his fedora on his index finger. ‘Had to make it look convincing to Walker and Dragan. And whoever else was watching. Had to put the shits up your old boss, eh?’

‘And it worked, didn’t it?’ says Ryan, looking around the bar. ‘You got what you wanted.’

Roy Orbison’s ‘In Dreams’ starts to play. Duffy walks behind the bar. Checks his inky black quiff in the mirror. Takes down a bottle of Dark Valentine and three glasses. Pours.

‘You’re a pair of twats,’ he says. They knock back the drinks. Duffy pours again.

‘You going to redecorate this dump, then?’ says Ryan.

‘Eventually,’ says Duffy. ‘I’ll just change the name for now. But I’ve got big plans, boys.’

‘You heard from that Albino girl?’ says Ryan.

‘Yeah. She sent me an SMS. Her and Lulu have just got off the plane in Paris. Dragan hasn’t.’

Bob snorts.

‘She doesn’t waste much time, does she?’ he says.

‘All’s well that ends well, then,’ says Ryan. They clink glasses and knock back more booze.

Outside the day is melting into night.

‘Twilight time,’ says Duffy.

‘Indeed,’ says Ryan.

Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘I Ain’t Superstitious’ kicks in as the front door creaks open.

A dishevelled figure shuffles in.

‘Detective Dalton,’ what can I do you for?’  says Duffy.

Bob and Ryan tense.

Dalton sniffs. Looks around the room.

‘Under new management?’ he growls.

Duffy nods.

‘You seen Ice–Pick Mick McKinley?’ he says.

‘Not today but I think he usually crawls in here at the end of the night.’

Duffy holds up the bottle of booze.

‘Want to have a drink and wait for him? It’s on the house.’

Dalton’s shuffles over and looks at the bottle.

‘Why not? That strong stuff, is it? I fancy something with bite.’

‘Oh yes,’ says Duffy. ‘It’ll rip your heart out, this will.’

The end.

YOU CAN BUY SUPERNATURAL NOIR HERE, IF YOU FANCY.

Out now! Nightside : Tales of Outre Noir

Nightside: Tales of Outre Noir is a collection of stories that hash together the Bizzare and the Noir. With authors who are on top of their game, this book is filled with tense prose and horrifying scenes that lovers of dark fiction will appreciate.

There are screenplays mixing Lovecraftian horror and Biblical tales, and stories of detectives solving gruesome murders. It’s a sub-genre cocktail, shaken and shared with murderous crazies that could very well be your friends or family members.

Edited by Mark Slade, it includes my Roman Dalton yarn, Drunk On The Moon.

Pre-Order Nightside : Tales of Outre Noir

Edited by Mark Slade and includes my Roman Dalton yarn Drunk On The Moon.

Nightside: Tales of Outre Noir is a collection of stories that hash together the Bizzare and the Noir. With authors who are on top of their game, this book is filled with tense prose and horrifying scenes that lovers of dark fiction will appreciate.

There are screenplays mixing Lovecraftian horror and Biblical tales, and stories of detectives solving gruesome murders. It’s a sub-genre cocktail, shaken and shared with murderous crazies that could very well be your friends or family members.’

Drunk On The Moon is FREE!

dotm

When a full moon fills the night sky, Private Investigator Roman Dalton becomes a werewolf and prowls The City’s neon and blood-soaked streets. Stories by Allan Leverone, K A Laity, Jason Michel, B R Stateham, Graham Wynd, Katherine Tomlinson, Julia Madeleine, John Donald Carlucci, Richard Godwin. Based on characters created by Paul D. Brazill.

Drunk On The Moon is currently FREE at Amazon.co.uk and every other Amazon, except the river.

Roman Dalton – Werewolf PI is FREE!

roman dalton

When a full moon fills the night sky, Private Investigator Roman Dalton becomes a werewolf and prowls The City‘s neon and blood soaked streets. There are six Roman Dalton Yarns written by Paul D. Brazill in this short collection.

You can currently grab it for FREE from Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.ca , Amazon.com.au and the rest!

And there’s even a PLAYLIST HERE!

Supernatural Noir A Go Go!

Supernatural NoirWell, Supernatural Noir was published a couple of days ago on Halloween and it’s all happening!

Graham Wynd kicks off #Noirvember with a look at Supernatural Noir and says:

‘I didn’t even know how much I missed Roman Dalton, his werewolf detective, until I started reading through the stories again. Netflix ought to swoop in and bag those stories for a new series.’

Meanwhile, over at Unlawful Acts, David Nemeth says:

‘If you like reading Brazill–and who doesn’t–, you should give this short story collection a twirl because it’s Brazill and there are zombies. Oh yeah, get it because it’s going for a little over a buck.’

Dee Arr at Amazon.com says:

‘This is crime noir with a bite (my apologies to all vampire and werewolf fans), and the combination of Mr. Brazill’s talents hooked me. Riveted, I finished the rest of the book in one sitting, never noticing the day arrive while my coffee grew colder.’

And I’m over at Toe Six Press sharing the Supernatural Noir playlist:

Supernatural Noir is collection of my short stories that I consider to be both supernatural and, er, noir. And of course, there’s music all over the place!

Drunk On The Moon by Tom Waits

It started with a song. Tom Waits’ Drunk On The Moon, to be precise. A neon soaked torch song with more than a twist of noir. A song of the city at night, sung by a man who sounded like a wolf- and not just Howlin’ Wolf. And once upon a time, there was a magazine named Dark Valentine who were looking for cross genre short stories. So, I wrote a yarn about a werewolf private eye. And I called it Drunk On The Moon.’

Read the rest here.

 

Supernatural Noir is OUT NOW!

Supernatural Noir

Werewolves, vampires and other creatures of the night prowl the neon and blood soaked streets in this sharp short story collection that places the supernatural in a hardboiled noir world.

“If you like noir then you’ll love this. If you like supernatural fiction you’ll love this. If you like great descriptive prose you’ll love this.”

— Darren Sant, author of Tales From The Longcroft Estate

You can grab Supernatural Noir from Amazon.com, Amazon UK and loads of other joints.

Pre-order Supernatural Noir for 99c/ 99p!

Supernatural NoirWerewolves, vampires and other creatures of the night prowl the neon and blood soaked streets in this sharp short story collection that places the supernatural in a hardboiled noir world.
“If you like noir then you’ll love this. If you like supernatural fiction you’ll love this. If you like great descriptive prose you’ll love this.” – Darren Sant.

Pre- order SUPERNATURAL NOIR  now at a SPECIAL REDUCED PRICE.

99c (US)  99p(UK) 

And it’s also available at Amazon Canada, Australia etc.

CONTENTS

The Liberator, The Stamp Of A Vamp, The Endless Sleep
Spectres, Drunk On The Moon, The Missionary, Black Moon Rising, The Brain Salad Murders, She’s My Witch, The Neon Boneyard.

Supernatural Noir.

Roman Dalton Gets A Couple Of Top Reviews

the neon boneyardOver at Amazon.co. ukChloë Yates reviews DRUNK ON THE MOON: A ROMAN DALTON ANTHOLOGY and says:

‘Cracking stuff. You won’t be sorry, but you will be throughly entertained.’

And Tom Leins takes a gander at THE NEON BONEYARD: A ROMAN DALTON YARN and says:

‘The Neon Boneyard is a snarling supernatural crime yarn from Brit-grit power player Paul Brazill. The plot is enjoyably chaotic, the wisecracks come thick and fast, and the pop-culture references are chewed up and spat out with admirable gusto. Good fun!’