‘The Pub Crawl’ came out of a WriYe challenge from January. I didn’t complete the challenge, but I did get some interesting stuff. Here, we have characters from my WIP, ‘Rising’, hitting various fictitious bars while trying to develop a plan regarding another character’s safety. Let me know what you think!
Steve made his way through the crowd in The Hound Arms pub and grimaced at the sheer number of drunk people spilling drinks on each other. He’d never seen it this packed, and it wasn’t even St Patrick’s Day. Spotting Tyler crammed at the end of the bar, he waved over the throng and pushed past a group of scantily clad coeds. As soon as he was in ear shot he loudly let out a string of obscenities, to which Tyler nodded enthusiastically.
“Let’s get out of here!” Steve shouted. “Too much jumbled energy for my liking!”
Tyler nodded and followed Steve as best he could towards toward the door. Several minutes later they stood on the street and shook their heads.
“Dude, that’s crazy in there,” Tyler observed.
“Yeah. I need to get out of the Old Port. We can check out that Highwayman Tavern place in the city. I hear it’s decent – good bar menu.”
“Sounds good to me as long as it’s quiet. We need to discuss some stuff.”
Steve nodded and they walked to his car parked a couple blocks away. Steve kept a space in one of the parking garages in this district out of practicality. He did a lot of shopping down here. All the metaphysical shops and eclectic restaurants were located in the Old Port. It was his favorite part of town.
They kept conversation light on the short drive into the financial district of Portland. Parking up the block, they took stock of their surroundings. Things had been so tense lately, she were constantly on guard. After a minute they decided the area was clear and headed up the street.
One step inside and both knew it was not the place to talk about Angel and the entity seemingly after her. But, being the thirsty guys they were, they ordered a round and fought for a table near the front. Always best to sit close to an exit in case trouble heated up. They watched the patrons dressed in suits tossing back single malts and talking on cells seemingly glued to their heads.
Tyler leaned across the table after their drink order was placed. “I feel like we just walked onto the set of Wall Street.”
Steve countered. “Or maybe Boiling Point.”
The waitress brought their drinks, and they sat for a minute enjoying the drinks and appearing to be casual observers. A man in a black pinstripe suit talked into an older model phone and waving his free arm excitedly. In the corner, a trio of women with big hair giggled and pointed at potential dates.
“Working Girl?” Steve suggested.
Tyler burst out laughing and sprayed beer all over his friend. He wiped his mouth and chin with his hand and whipped it in the air to get drops of beer off of it. “Sorry, man.”
Several guys walked in and they caught Steve’s eye. One of them men wore a leather blazer and looked like he’d had a bad day: eyes squinted, jaw set. Steve saw his hands were clenched at his sides. Enforcer, he thought. The group moved quietly toward the back and disappeared through a door.
“I think we need to go, Ty. Like, right now.”
Tyler knocked back the rest of his beer and stood up. Both men put a ten on the table and left. On the sidewalk they planned their next move. They opted for a place called The Counsellor, a gastro pub just a block the other side of where Steve parked.
Walking along they came across a flier stapled to one of the poles. On it was the faded, gritty photo of a young girl. What captured Steve’s attention were her eyes; they were vibrant and full of energy. Angel’s energy. He’d recognize it anywhere. He yanked it off the pole and thrust it at Tyler.
“What’s this?” he asked and took it from Steve.
“That is Angel. My guess is around age nine.”
“She’s not missing, Steve.”
Steve shifted his stance and set his jaw. “The entity we’ve been sensing, maybe? Could he be behind this?”
Handing the flier back, Tyler shrugged. “It’s possible, man. Time for another meeting of the minds and really hash this shit out.”
“Yeah, let’s make some calls and have the others meet us at The Counsellor. We need this sorted and I’m not sure taking it to Angel right now is a good idea.”
They pulled out their phones right there on the street and made plans; only Briere was unable to join them. She claimed a psychic trauma and was laying low for the night. So that left Steve, Sebastian, Tyler and Madelyn gathered around a table at the back of the bar.
Madelyn wasn’t quite sure what to make of being the only female present in the group. It hadn’t happened in their few years they had been meeting collectively. She twirled her hair nervously and shifted her eyes frequently. Crossing and uncrossing her feet to the point Steve asked if she “took her meds”.
It was a private joke among them. The gifted often had nervous or mental disorders from the sheer intrusion of their gifts on their psyche. Medication, prescribed or otherwise, was commonly found in their homes. And holding down a job was damn near impossible. Madelyn was on her third job in less than a year.
“Alright, so what do we know?” Steve asked the group.
Sebastian was the first to offer information. “Angel is not missing, to start.” He watched everyone nod. “There’s an unknown in Portland and the surrounding area.” He took a pull off his beer. “Angel and her power development and this unknown appear to be connected; we just don’t know how or why.”
“That last part bothers me most. Old boyfriend? College roommate? Boss?” Steve suggested and leaned back. “For all we know this is some bullshit excuse to just find her. Or…”
“Or it could be much, much worse than that,” Tyler said firmly. “My money is on worse.” He shrugged when Steve tossed him a dirty look. “Well, I’m sorry, but we’re an honest collective.”
Madelyn chose that moment to add her thoughts. “It’s someone from her past. And, Steve, I’m sorry but I think this entity has malicious intent.” She couldn’t’ look him in the eye, for she knew denial would be front and center.
“So what do we do?”
“We shield her, if possible,” Sebastian said. “And if that doesn’t work, well, we didn’t try hard enough.”
“That’s some lame shit, Bass,” Tyler spat. “There is no way we’re just gonna shield her and hope for the best.” He mulled it over. “Nah, we call in another collective,” he stated with a stab of his finger to the table. “We call Boston in on this, because they had to have felt the power spikes.”
Sebastian and Steve started to argue with him, while Madelyn watched. She hated it when they fought, and she let out a high enough pitched whistle that the entire bar quieted to chatter.
“Just stop,” she said looking at the men in turn. “Fighting isn’t going to solve this problem. Calling Boston is a good idea, but one to consider carefully. We’ll owe them, and I really don’t want to get mixed up in their messes.” She took a deep breath. “Here’s what I propose we do. Get Angel safe, shield the hell out of her. Then we wait a day. If the shielding has worked, and no more spikes are felt, we may be home free. If it turns out the guy is still around and spiking, we call Boston.” She searched their faces. “Deal?”
Reluctantly, the trio agreed to her idea.