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99 Bottles of Salt



 
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Claire Cross


Each clank of the ice against the glass spoke of promises. 

 

/Clank/ I promise this won't be the last camping trip. /Swish/ Truth.

/Clank/ I promise everything will be alright. /Heavy gulp/ False.

 

Claire stared at the clear glass in front of her with a set blank expression. The bags under her eyes gave way to the sleepless nights, and even as she slumped against the bar she could feel herself give in.

 

It was uncommon to find her on a sober bend. Cassidy had witnessed failed tries with her mother, and the most recent would not dissapoint. When she stopped drinking the phantom pains started. She could feel the fetus ripped out of her stomach, and her devastated shrieks echo through her concious mind.

 

Several nights ago she decided to act upon her life. Claire Cross was going to take charge of everything as she should have done. Instead the bottle drowned her, it wrapped around her, it gave her the security she craved. The blonde brought the glass to her lips and took another long drink of the amber liquid. Before slamming the empty glass onto the counter, and making a motion to fill it. 

 

They were used to her by now. One of the first ones in, and one of the last they had to kick out on last call. Hell, sometimes they gave up, and let her fall asleep on the bar counter undisturbed. 

 

Now she had a purpose. Exactly two days ago she put a want ad out. A boldly specific one for a hunter. It was time that the wolves that took everything from her, would finally get their payback. The refill of the liquid made her crook her neck, and grin sheepishly to the tender. "Thankshuu!" 

 

The amount had been precise, and even more detailed was the bar at the exact time. She figured all hunters looked the same, but that was before she had slammed back her tenth shot.
January 12, 2017 11:00 pm

Genesis

Most mercs and bounty hunters got their assignments from a handler, and yes, Genesis did have someone akin to that. But when boredom struck, she took it upon herself to dig through the highly specialize and secretly encrypted and coded ‘want ads’.

 

She perused them carefully. She liked a bit of adventure rather than simply taking out a mark. It gave her something to do, and fattened her bank accounts.

 

One such ad had caught her attention. It seemed easy enough, and the requestor was in her vicinity, going so far as to offer up a time and date, so no traveling half way around the world. The price was peanuts for her specialty, but hey, not everyone could make her rates for a good kill.

 

She made herself ready, never looking very assuming at all. Plain grey t-shirt, hunters vest which really just hid her weapons and a plain pair of khaki cargos cut off at the knee. She did wear her favorite pair of dessert combat boots, a little bit of white socks peeking from above.

 

Genesis made her way to the specified bar and entered inside, the pungent smells making her Lycan nose crinkle. A dive bar. One she had never really been to before, but that didn’t matter. Her contact was hopefully someone that stuck out like a sore thumb.

 

Luck wasn’t on her side. No one really stuck out. She ground her teeth in irritation. Letting her Lycan sense of smell take in the scents, she found that a few patrons were indeed carrying concealed weapons, the smell of gun oil thick, but…that didn’t mean any of them had put out the ad.

 

She finally started letting her eyes move over the less conspicuous people. There was a clichéd ‘man in a dark corner’. She almost laughed. Nope. Couldn’t be him.

 

There was a blonde woman sitting alone seemingly drowning in whiskey. Genesis’ hazel eyes stayed on that woman for a moment. It was worth a shot.

 

She moved gracefully to the blonde and plunkered down next to her, holding up two fingers, her index and middle, close together, indicating she wanted 2 fingers of whiskey.

 

She looked at the woman, though not directly at her.

 

“A lot of hunters pass this way…dangerous for a lone woman to be out…” She said cryptically, just in case this was the wrong woman.

January 13, 2017 12:47 am

Claire Cross

"Are you going to spend the night blondie?"

The tender commented to Claire, as her glossy reddened eyes landed on him coolly. A soft chuckle left her lips. Her head shook slowly as she waved a hand dismissively.

"I'm meeting someone."

This was a normal situation, for Claire to be talking to the holographic twin of the tender once she dawned her drunk goggles. This wasn't even near her normal cut off point, but to be clear Claire was nervous. She knew absolutely zip about even hiring a hunter or hitman. All she knew was there was one movie the mother was caught. Hopefully this wasn't her case. Make no mistake, Claire wasn't trying to take out a cheerleader, she was trying to take on a whole entire pack.

The creek of the aging wood door of the dive bar tugged her attention from the cyclone of her inner thoughts. The woman that entered wasn't much taller than her, and she had a hard time seeing any other attributes. Sh!t. Maybe she shouldn't have drowned herself already in whiskey. The blurred woman moved and took the seat in front of her.

Claire closed her eyes and used her fingertips to massage them delicately. When she re-opened them she had a clearer picture in front of her.. & her holographic twin. Silently she praised Genesis's features up close. At least she wasn't trying to hit on her, Claire was the property of Christ now.

“A lot of hunters pass this way…dangerous for a lone woman to be out…”


She thought back to the ad she had penciled in her minutes of sobriety. Such an odd thing to say. Her unfocused eyes fasten on Genesis, as an indifferent shrug is given to the other female.

"I've always got my Cross on me. What about yourself?"
January 14, 2017 02:22 pm

Genesis

Genesis offered a rarely seen small smile to the woman’s word. “I’ve always got my guns. Something gets in my cross-hairs, its gonna get dead.” She said.

 

She motioned to the barkeep for more whiskey. That seemed to be common ground for now, trying to ascertain is this woman was indeed her contact or not.

 

She was drunk. Very very drunk. Bags under her eyes. She may have spoken of having her ‘cross’ with her, but it was more like she was carrying a cross of burden. Seeing someone in this sort of condition almost made Genesis feel bad. Almost. They had done it to themselves, so not too much compassion was given.

 

The woman’s story was an altogether different matter. If she was the one who placed the contract ad out, Genesis had to know details before even making a positive decision.

 

“So, are you just here to drowned your sorrows, or do you have…business…in this sh*t-hole?” It was only after the words left her mouth did she realize that the word ‘business’ could be taken in a wrong manner, such as implying this pretty blonde was a prostitute or something of that nature. Too late now, the words were already out there. She tried to come up with something to soften that rough and blunt nature of hers.

 

“Most people come around dives like this for something in particular. Drugs, attempting to kill their livers, or meet unsavory people who do stuff. Bloody stuff. Bringing pain and death.” She said, keeping her voice low. “So tell me…what are you looking for in this place. This bar doesn’t seem like the kind of place one visits to …enjoy the company, atmosphere and to relax.” She said. There, hopefully that clarified things. Genesis really needed to work on her ‘people skills’.

January 14, 2017 07:26 pm

Claire Cross


Guns.

Of course this strong woman and her holograph twin were packing heat. Claire didn't cringe outwardly at the guns, but she was screaming internally. What if she accidentally fell onto the woman? Would the lady light her up like a Fourth of July redneck picnic?

The question lingered behind the glossy wall the alcohol had put up, as her expression did little change. That is until the question first left the lips of the aggressive scary gun lady beside her. Her lips pressed together, and her eyes blinked taken slightly aback. Jesus guide her.

"I sometimes come here." She never came here. It was the other dive bar she frequents. Yet, one dive bar and you've seen them all. At least to the eyes of an alcoholic. "I came here for my fix." Claire murmured defensively with a slur. However, maybe the guns were a key. Was this woman answering her ad? The beast inside her was sedated under a brick wall of whiskey. No words of wisdom or second chances were here in this place.

This place and the other bars she made her rounds at were nothing but figuratively places of Hell. The next set of words clarified everything Claire needed to know about Genesis. To the point, and the words guided home to the small setting in her brain not yet drowned by her choice of poison.

"I'm here for business." Claire heard herself say, as she turned in her bar seat. So her back straightened against the back of the bar, she gave Genesis another once over. Splitting her lips apart to blow a wild golden bang from shanking her eye.

"I need someone.. A person that will finally put my demons to rest." Claire snorted followed by a low chuckle. "I need someone that understands I need my revenge." She hadn't ordered any more drinks, but steered her face in the direction of Genesis. Her golden brows press together in a furrow, as Claire asks possibly the most pointed question from the drunk. "Are you that person?"
January 25, 2017 01:38 pm

Genesis

Genesis watched the blonde's movements carefully. The way she swayed just a little, the way her eyes seemed to be floating in pools of whiskey, all glossy. The bags under her eyes also told her story, and they way she seemed so weary. She must have some sort of history to bring her this far down into a bottle every night. She was also a little uncomfortable with the mention of Genesis’ guns. She didn’t outwardly show it, but there were small telltale signs. The way the hair on her arms raised a little, the slight increase in heart rate. This woman would have to get over it. Genesis was rarely without firearms and knives. They were her comfort, her friends, her own addiction.

 

With a sigh, Genesis nodded. “I do believe I am indeed that person. I know the sweet taste of revenge. I also know the way those inner demons can pull you down. They can make you a whole other person if you let them.”

 

She waved to the barkeep to bring two hot black coffees. “I’ll take you up on your ad. However, we have to get a few things sorted first. It seems to me this is more than just a simple ‘hit,' as in, you show me who you want dead, I make them dead in a very messy way, and bring you either a trophy or photo. You pay me, and we’re done. I don’t think this is what is called for.” She said, stopping for a moment to collect her thoughts and choose her words.

 

“I think what you are wanting is a hunt, which is a little different. I won't charge you extra; however, when dealing with those inner demons and exacting revenge, you should be a participant. Me killing who you want is a going to be a hollow thing. It's not going to do much for you. You’re carrying a weight. You have to remove it. To move on with your life.”

 

The barkeep slid two mugs of hot coffee their way, and Genesis took one, sliding it further to the blonde. “I’m Genesis, by the way. Genesis Alvarez – feel free to call me Gen, most people do.” She said in introduction. She then reached a small deceptively strong hand out to the blonde, taking her face in her hand and making those bleary eyes look at her. “You need to be sober for this. I can't take your pain away. I need your story; I need you clear headed. To rid yourself of demons and get the purest of revenge, you need to be sober. Now drink the coffee.” With that, Genesis left the woman’s face go, turning to her own coffee.

 

“Sober up now. You smell like you’ve bathed in a tub of whiskey. Clear that head of yours and tell me your story…I need to know just what is needed in preparation. And you…you need to prepare yourself. Getting revenge seems all like hearts and stars, but it never is so pleasant as you’d like to think. You learn a lot about yourself. I don’t want to see it break you.” She said, sipping her coffee. She hadn’t had a case like this in a very long time. They were usually the worse kind of cases. But Genesis held some empathy to this woman. She wanted to know what made someone climb so comfortably into a bottle to ease their pain.

January 26, 2017 06:24 pm

Claire Cross

Claire listened patiently to everything Genesis laid out for her. The scent of the coffee threatened to tug her further down memory lane. It was part of her normal ritual. A cup of Joe and a glance at the newspaper. There used to be laughter, there used to be banter, and now she woke up dazed & hungover. Genesis was truthful in her words. The inner demons combed through her inner sanctum and picked apart all that Claire Cross used to be.

She uncrossed and recross her leg as her crystal blues became ridden with red veins. Genesis broke it down wonderfully and she was able to understand through her jumbled mind the basics of what she was saying. Participate? See those creatures again? An unexplained cold surrounded her and caused her to shudder. Her fingers curl around the coffee mug, as she lifts it to the woman and nods her thanks. "I'm Claire, Claire Cross. Genesis. A unique name, I like it. Want to be my daughter?"

She was drop dead serious. Awkward.

Claire was just used to adopting anyone she spotted. It was clearly part of the disease of her inner demons playing on what was lost that fateful day. "Sober.." Claire murmured and lifted the coffee into her hands to warm them. To expel the eerie cloud of ice that summoned around her being. Goose bumps covered both her arms, and she shift slightly on the stool of the bar. Bringing the coffee to her lips for a drink. Her eyes close to watch the story reflect on the other side of her eyelids.

The blonde's form teeters on the stool. The buzz she had comfortably held onto slipped into her own silent heartbreak. She takes a few long silent sips of Joe. "You remind me of my daughter Cassidy." A soft chuckle emits forth from her lips, as her eyes reopen. The holographic twin of Genesis now seemed to have grown more transparent.

Truth be told the bottle didn't help her escape it all. Even if she was blackout drunk the scene tormented her mind. It did worse when she was around someone that could easily be her offspring & not a wolf's chew toy. Blues turned and softened on Genesis. "I always used to wake in the morning with coffee. When I was pregnant with Cassidy, I was a grumpy hag to be around. My husband bless his heart was always there for me. My husband loved the great outdoors,and every year we made plans to go out to the woods on a camping vacation. We watched Cassiebear grow with the trees." Clair paused and cleared her throat, she took another healthy sip from the coffee mug.

"I had plans our last trip.." An exhaustion haunted her bright blue hues and made her irises sink into the dark circles underneath them. "After Cassie was born, my husband and I tried many years to conceive another child. She was older this trip. Had a man of her own, but you see I had a miracle growing inside me. I waited for the first trimester to pass with flying colors. Only because we had plenty of babies not make it pass that. This one was going to make it." Claire's frame had been hunched, but slowly she sat up straight.Trembles started to start on her hands, so she set the coffee mug on the counter scared it would fall & break.

On second thought, she could bill sonny if that happened. "The secrecy caused a rift within my marriage, but I thought it would be worth it. I told him I wasn't having extra marital affairs. This trip. I would tell him all of this. Our marriage was strong, and we were married eighteen years that year. The long haul. It started out normal enough. We found out spot in the woods. There was a group of men on the campsite to the side of ours. Closer to the street, not as far in the woods as we are. They seemed a rowdy bunch."

"Alexander and myself had argued the morning we set the camp up. The last thing I told my husband before the attack was 'maybe we should get a divorce.' He was a wonderful man, but doubt turned him into a monster. That night the wolves came, they sank their teeth into my husband's neck. I watched the soul leave his eyes. I tried to run to get his shotgun from the truck, but they pinned me down before I got there." Claire's voice had stared to crack, and her tremor hands covered over her eyes.

"I tried to fight them off with what strength I had. I screamed out as loud as my vocals would let me. The last thing I saw before I blacked out was the pack huddled around me with their teeth exposed. Then they took a bite." Claire's shaking pointer finger landed against her lower abdomen. "They took my baby and they ate it in front of me. I.. I could see them shaking it between their muzzle." Tears had started to run down her face, as she rubbed her face with both her hands. "Cassie and I.. both.. survived if you can all it that. These men weren't just normal ruffians, we figured that out..after the next full moon.."

February 18, 2017 01:48 pm

Genesis

Genesis stared at Claire as she told her story. When she realized she was actually staring, however, she tried to avert her gaze just a bit. ‘People skills’ was something Genesis did not have in abundance. She usually worked alone. She usually did everything alone.

 

Claire was a different sort of case though. As Genesis listened further, an tears formed in the other woman’s eyes, Genesis felt a sort of panic. What was the appropriate thing to do? Having just watched other people interact, she went for the safe approach. The brunette extended a hand to the blonde and settled it on Claire’s arm, giving a small squeeze of sympathy. The poor woman had been through hell. It was no wonder she took solace in the bottom of a bottle.

 

Throughout her story, however, Genesis’ mind started popping up questions. Something wasn’t adding up. It was like an itch you couldn’t scratch. She didn’t want to lay any heavy question on Claire at the moment however. The woman was coming into sobriety, and things once repressed would be more clear, and in that, more painful.

 

Finally, after some silence, Genesis leaned to the woman, her hand still trying to be reassuring and sympathetic to Claire.

 

“I assume you and your daughter shifted with the next full moon?” She asked softly. She intentionally used the wording that she did as to not just blatantly come out and ask if she was a werewolf, mostly due to the fact that Claire seemed to feel a lot of disdain.

 

Genesis chewed her lower lip a moment before continuing. “I am... well, my tribe is the wolf. So, what I am about to say, though I don’t mean for it to dismiss the things that happened to you…but, something isn’t adding up. You see, wolves just don’t attack like that. Not normally. However, if their Alpha was…like me…they would rally to his call.” She took a sip of her coffee. She wasn’t good at this interaction stuff and she knew it, but she did not want this woman to feel as if she were the one on trial. Genesis just wanted her to have a better understanding.

 

She turned her hazel eyes to Claire’s blue and spoke softly, for she knew this next question was going to be painful. “What became of your husbands body? Was it taken? I’m really sorry for these question…I cant imagine the pain, I honestly cant, but if I am going to help you, and hopefully give you closure of some sort, I kind of need to know.”

 

Genesis tried to soften her gaze on Claire, her hazel eyes tinted with golden specks. “We’ll get your vengeance, I promise. Its going to be a rough road, with harsh realizations, but I think you are a strong woman, and you’ll make it through. You may even surprise yourself.” She said, hoping she had chosen her words well.

March 09, 2017 08:52 pm
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