Psamurai #7.5



Hunter Goes to School


This hadn’t gone so well. Nothing since Tabula Rasa had. Hunter and the others had followed Cheryl around for months as she fixated on this ridiculous Go Fish gang and their bank heists only to be humiliated every time. Humiliated by people in fish masks. Hunter sat on the curb of their latest defeat, staring down at his flip-flops as he wiggled his toes. He had started doing this a lot. After the others had scrambled, he just sat on the curb, looking at his feet.

“You’re going to lose those if you don’t get better footwear,” he said aloud to himself.

He failed to notice the press forming around him like a growth, jabbing recording devices at his head. He leaned back and his head lolled as his eyes stared at them, hidden behind his mirrored aviators. He gave a delayed flinch in recognition.

“Psamurai,” one reported shouted, “How do you…”

“Mr. Psamurai,” another barked, “Would you like to….”

“Psamurai? Sir?,” another chirped, “Could we get a…”

“No questions today,” Hunter growled with a cigarette clinched in his teeth.

“Mr. Psamurai,” the one barked again, “Would you like…”

“Nothing. I’d like nothing,” Hunter teetered to his feet and smoothed out his flannel robe, “Now, if you’ll excuse me,” he swayed between the reporters and trotted down the sidewalk.

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The Joneses #7



We Have All Been Here Before


“Tycho Hall,” Yalda gave a cheery shout as Tycho, Wolf and Luna entered the office splattered with miner bits. “When did you take up with these reprobates?”

Tycho raised his claw in greeting.

“Alice, Martin,” Yalda nodded. “So sorry, Luna and Wolfram, you guys are big time bounty hunters now. How’s the little one?”

Luna struck him in the mouth.

“I’m not interested in your daughter,” he said wiping his blood from his lip with his thumb, “Or the two of you for that matter. You really haven’t been much of a factor up to this point.”

“What? How dare you? We bagged you on Antares Gamma,” Wolf objected.

“Wolf, c’mon,” Yalda shook his head. “You caught me because I wanted to be caught. I had some people at Intelligence I needed to talk to and getting arrested seemed like the way to do it without blowing their cover. Particularly Abaddon and Raziel,” he leaned toward Wolf. “I saw the security feed. You looked like you were enjoying yourself, Wolf. My empire could use people like you.”

“Empire? Whatever nonsense you have planned we’re not going make it easy for you,” Luna said.

“Oh, why do you two care, anyway?” Yalda whined. “Nothing will change for you. We’ll still need bounty hunters in the new order. There will be plenty of lucrative work for experienced Seraphim hunters, such as yourselves. You’ve had plenty of practice on one of the best.”

“I suppose that’s you?” Luna groaned.

“Sure, why not?” Yalda replied.

“Because you’re an idiot, small time thug,” Wolf answered.

“You think I am, Wolf,” Yalda began. “And that’s worked great for me, so far. But let’s drop the games. Adapt, Joneses. Adapt to the new order or perish. Because it will happen. In fact, barring any more unforeseen complications, it will have already happened. About three centuries ago. Get on the winning team, Joneses.”

“I should have killed you when I had the chance,” Wolf glared.

“But you didn’t and, for that, I will be eternally grateful. In fact, I’m promising you three front row seats to my big day. Your daughter is also invited, of course.”

“Pass,” Luna said.

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Psamurai #7



We Can’t Dance


Ian and Hunter sat on the sidewalk leaning against a car. A hail of gunfire whizzed overhead from across the street. One bullet broke through the car’s windows, raining glass on them. The bullet continued through a glass storefront, taking the head off a mannequin. A store patron who had taken cover behind the mannequin display poked her head up and saw Hunter and Ian. She gave them an irked frown. Hunter shrugged and Ian shook his head.

“She has a point,” Ian said. “What the hell are we doing?”

“Foiling a bank heist, I think.” Hunter replied, shaking the glass out of his hair.  

“That’s how it started. That’s how it always starts. Why are we involving ourselves in bank heists? Simon Vyx says everything is forgiven and we forget about it? We’ve spent the last few months turning bank robberies into warzones. Why aren’t we focusing on Vyx instead of chasing around this imbecilic gang?”

“Cheryl seems to think we need to practice our teamwork.”

“Practice? Like a garage band? This isn’t practice. Practice shouldn’t shut down city blocks,” Ian slouched further against the car. “Practice would also imply eventual improvement. And doesn’t it seem a bit odd that we’re getting away with it?”

“I’m not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth,” Hunter said leaping to his feet to swat back a smoke bomb with his katana. The bomb sailed back across the street and plinked off the glass of the lobby and hit the sidewalk, smoking.

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Crescent City Creeps #7



Give Up the Ghost


Sturgis pulled Parker into a side room away from the attention of the party.

“When did you lose the peregrine?” Sturgis coughed as he whispered and tamped a cigarette on the lid of its gold case.

“It was gone when I went to retrieve it,” Parker stammered. “The tabernacle was empty.”

“Did you set the lock right?”

“I hadn’t opened it since you handed it off to me last night.”

“Did you have a thief in the nigh…wait a second. You don’t think…?”

“Le Bec?”

“That’s right.”

“Doesn’t he return everything he steals?”

“Unless he knows what the peregrine is.”

“How would he know what the peregrine is?”

“I hear he’s pretty spooky. Like a sorcerer or something. What’s the Sleeper’s condition?”

“It’s opened three of its eyes already. It still gazes within, but it’s getting restless.”

“We don’t have much time. Get in touch with the Ghost.”

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Ray #7



Journey to the Center of Your Mind


Pietro dashed from alley to street to alley, avoiding the puddles of water and lamplight. He kept his tricorn hat pulled low over his eyes and the tails of his coat flapped and snapped as he darted from one shadow to another.

Pietro was accustomed to the role of the nocturnal hunter, but tonight he he couldn’t shake the feeling he was the one being hunted. He had seen several cloaked shadows and figures that seemed to appear around every corner he turned. He would turn down an alley and one would appear at the other end. He would climb the jutting stones of a nearby wall and a hooded head would peer down from the roof. He began to eschew his normal grace in favor of panic driven sprints down wide thoroughfares, anywhere at least a handful of people were still out and about. At this hour they were mostly drunks, whores, and stickup artists, no different than his old friends from the circus and they seemed to keep the shadows at bay.

At least, for a bit they did. The shadows seemed to be getting bolder in their pursuit. There were now two behind him following in a slow, steady gait. And now there were two more ahead. Another slipped out from an alcove and another from the opposite side of the street. Pietro ran toward a shop and began to scale the timber frame. Two more hooded men began descending from the roof. Pietro dropped to the ground and was grabbed by the collar. He slipped out of his coat and sped toward a narrow street, but he was cut off by a grim man with dead eyes who grabbed Pietro by the arms. Pietro recognized the Fleet Street demon.

“Ay,” yelled a woman in a gravely voice as she stomped toward the demon, shaking her finger. “Leave the boy alone, he’s just a kid.”

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