So, in return of all my tweeple being incredibly awesome, I’m sharing with you a snippet from the last book in the Screw-Up Princess and Skillful Huntsman Trilogy. Urban Fairy Tale. And Bayou Fairy Tale isn’t even out yet! Don’t you want to know what’s ahead for our intrepid heroes? I had to find the least spoileriffic chapter, because oh. my. god. They’re everywhere!
This one is for all of my beloved Precious Snowflakes in the Atticus Hatfield Fan Club! Oh At-At…Beloved baby, how far you’ve fallen!
Urban Fairy Tale
by Lex Chase
The Screw-Up Princess and Skillful Huntsman Trilogy #3
A Fairy Tales of the Open Road Novel
Chapter 5: The Sky Is Falling
The Drunken Unicorn, Atlanta, Georgia
Atticus stood in the middle of the gyrating crowd. The club smelled of sweat, sex, and ecstasy. The bombastic music, far too heavy on the bass, thumpa-thumped under his feet and vibrated in his chest. Lights pulsated around him, swirling over the walls in a senseless jumble of lasers, strobes, spotlights, and anything else that could be used in what the military would call cruel and unusual punishment.
In the right packaging, even torture seemed sexy.
He narrowed his eyes, scanning the crowd. Frost escaped his lips.
In the wake of the wretched excuse for what passed as music, his mind was elsewhere. Locked in strategy, focused on the end game.
The final chapter.
A hot blonde with a huge rack pressed her sweating breasts up against him, smiling as she twerked against his thigh.
He scowled at the assault on his person, and with a firm hand slowly pushed her away.
“You’re not the one,” he grumbled absently and slipped into the crowd.
He was like a shark, catching the scent of blood in the water. The club-goers bumped against him, but pulled back sharply, shivering and wide-eyed with the freezing bite on their hot skin.
Another woman tried her luck. She came up behind him and made a bold grab for his crotch.
He snatched her wrist before she could cop a cheap feel. She cried out at the cold stinging into her flesh.
“Fuck,” she gasped as Atticus released her. She retaliated by shoving back at him. “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
“You’re not the one,” he said as he continued on to the bar.
Stepping out of the recessed dance floor, he found him.
Ren was a young sprite of a man a complete twink looking for someone to hustle. He flicked at his canary yellow feather earing casually. And his eyes were far too yellow to be contacts.
Atticus slid up next to him, and then made eye contact with the bartender. He tapped the worn, sticky counter and the bartender nodded with comprehension. He turned and reached for the top shelf vodka.
“You got it?” Atticus asked Ren.
Ren smiled sweetly at him. His lips curled like an innocent cherub.
Was he that pretty once? Not a care in the world? Perfect?
Ren leaned against the bar and casually perused the club. “You know what they’ll do to me if they know I’m helping you,” he said with a smile.
The bartender set Atticus’s line of vodka shooters in front of him. Atticus nodded in a semblance of politeness and flicked his fingers, sending him on his way.
“Show it to me,” Atticus demanded.
Ren’s eyes widened. “Now, isn’t that a loaded command.” He swayed his hips in that whorish way that probably worked for any drunk on the street. “Wanna discuss cost first?”
Atticus slammed one of his shooters and hissed through the burn scorching through his throat.
“I don’t give a fuck about your dick. Either you got it or not.”
Ren waved him off. “Such a shame.” He ran his fingers through his perfect blow wave in his hair. “I bet you taste like snowcones.”
Atticus didn’t even let Ren come close to smirking as he seized him by the throat. He dug his icy nails into the flesh of his windpipe. “Where. Is. It,” he ground out.
Ren weakly batted against his wrist. “Out…back…” he choked out. “O-o-out…b-b-back…”
Atticus dropped him to his feet without a care and then tossed back another vodka shooter. Of course it was out back. Perfect, most cliché place to get jumped.
They didn’t know they were dealing with the Fairest of Them All.
He shoved Ren’s shoulder, causing him to stumble forward. “Show it to me.”
“Okay,” Ren winced under Atticus’s demands. “Okay.” He gave a cheerful, albeit anxious smile.
Leading Atticus to the emergency exit, Ren held the door open into the filthy alley. Flies buzzed to the left, and zipped inside, whizzing against Atticus’s ears. Dumpster, he imprinted in his mind. The scent of spilled beer and vomit came next mingling with the humidity. And fresh peaches.
“Your Highness,” Ren said sweet as a sugar-plum, holding the door for him.
Atticus fingered the ice shard in his hoodie pocket. Under his touch he worked it into a sharper, meaner weapon.
He narrowed his eyes, taking one step out to the back stoop.
The scent of peaches came in a rush, and Atticus ducked, predicting a giant hairy hand sailing over his head. Atticus kept low and pivoted with his back into the peach scented giant’s front. Locking his forearm around the guy’s thick elbow, he then flipped him forward, and the giant crashed spine first down the series of sharp, concrete steps.
The giant gasped with each telltale sickening crackle of breaking bones.
Ren remained behind in the threshold like a tiny chick too scared to move.
Atticus lunged for him, ensnared him by the wrist and spun him into the brick wall. The emergency door slammed, and the heavy thud would be written off as a booming bass line.
Atticus lashed out, pulling the ice shard from his pocket. With a measure of his magic, he shaped it into a formidable knife and then pressed it to Ren’s throat.
“I don’t think that was a good idea,” Atticus bit out. “Do you?” He pressed the blade harder against Ren’s throat. A rivulet of blood slipped down the clear icy blade, freezing on contact.
“Please….” Ren choked out.
“I said,” Atticus jerked against him again, the blade slipping into a small slice. “Show it to me.”
Tears rolled down Ren’s cheeks. “Back…Pocket…” he croaked. “B-back…P-p-pocket, I swear!”
Atticus snapped the knife away and tossed it over his shoulder. The blade shattered into soft snowy powder on contact with the asphalt. He shoved his hand into every one of Ren’s pockets and found his prize. He ripped out the tiny glass vial and then shoved Ren away.
Tapping the vial, Atticus held it up to the street light and inspected the smoldering ashes within. He then shook it, and the flecks of ask glowed into reigniting embers.
“Are you sure this is it?” he asked.
Ren nodded quickly. “It’s legit, I swear! If you knew the shit I went through to get it. You wanted genuine ashes of a Cronespawn, you got ‘em. You know how fucking rare those guys are? Had to find it in the fucking Curio Vault.”
He was saying useless words and Atticus let him ramble as if it made him feel better. He flicked the vial again, sparks bloomed within even without oxygen to feed it.
“Is this all they had?” he asked, concentrating on the vial.
Ren nodded. “That was it. I promise!” He smiled nervously and chuckled. “C’mon. I’m sorry about Jimmy.” He glanced to the hairy giant sprawled on the steps. “The asshole just wanted to make trouble.”
“Mmm-hmm,” Atticus said absently, shaking the vial. “How does it work?”
Atticus snarled and yanked Ren to his feet by his lapels. He shoved the vial to his face. “Work,” he barked. “You know. Spells. How does it work?”
Ren waved his hands in surrender. “All I know is it needs to go in a coffin.”
“What?” Atticus scowled. Frost curling from his mouth.
“A c-c-coffin,” Ren insisted. “That’s what I heard.”
“That’s it? Cronespawn aren’t vampires.” Atticus yanked him closer.
“N-no! I know.”
“Let me make myself clear.” Atticus’s patience wore thinner as Ren kept stammering. “If you think deceiving me is a good idea, I think it’s a great idea you don’t need your fingers. That’s just a start.”
“I’m telling you,” Ren chirped in a panic. “You put the ashes in a coffin and then burn it!” Atticus caught the stench of Ren urinating himself.
“You expect me to find any coffin, douse it in gasoline and burn it?” Atticus made sure he understood it wasn’t a question but a warning.
“I don’t know. That’s what they told me! I swear! That’s all I know.”
Atticus tossed him away like trash into a can. Ren flopped onto Jimmy, further aggravating his already dire injuries. Thumbing his chin and pocketing the vial, Atticus turned it over in his head. A coffin? Cronespawn weren’t known for such a cliché practice.
“You promised,” Ren croaked, getting to his knees. “The Book?”
Atticus blinked, startling out of his thoughts. “What?” He glowered at him.
“I got you the ashes,” he said. “You let me have my page. You promised.”
Ah. Yes. Atticus remembered.
Ren’s lips tugged into a grieving frown. “You know how much it fucks with you to be paralyzed with panic attacks every time it rains? Like thinking the fucking sky is falling?” His pleading tone was an attempt at sweetness, but came off irritatingly whiny.
“Yes,” Atticus said matter-of-fact as he pulled the gold leafed page from his pocket. “Indeed.” He held out the elegant handmade parchment with handwritten lettering and lavish paintings.
Ren excitedly held out his hands. “Yes. Please!”
Atticus took it back and ran his fingers over the raised, dried ink of Ren’s destiny written in Mother Storyteller’s own hand. She had way of dotting her I’s and the descenders of her G’s.
Such a beautiful work.
A beautiful travesty.
Atticus watched his young associate, studying him as they locked gazes. Ren’s eyes watered and round with fear, as Atticus methodically tore the page in a long rip down the middle.
Ren jerked violently, coughing blood as his skin, bone, and organs tore apart as fragile as paper.
His dismembered corpse collapsed into wet, meaty squish. No one would find his body for hours. And judging by the way Jimmy didn’t budge despite his eyes being wide open, Atticus had hit the sweet spot of internal trauma.
He dropped the Book page, and cried out as the parchment slipped from his fingers. Blood pooled at his feet, pouring from the deep gashes in his hands.
Gritting his teeth through the agony, Atticus clenched his fists and held them tight. He sucked in a series of groaning breaths as his hands frosted over with light dusting of ice, then deepened with blue, purple, then black of frostbite.
He snapped his fingers out of frozen fists, and his hands faded into their pale color. Only the dark frozen blood and scabs remained.
He turned to look back at his woeful companions one last time and spat.
“The sky is falling.”
Copyright © 2015 Lex Chase. All rights reserved.