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Some time after January 2000

In this issue:    Steele Haze    Dracula    Ash Wednesday    The Year in Review    Fountain Society   and    Disturbing Music Videos.
 
Steel Haze
Sutter Cane

 
In honor of ASH's undying love for the cheap trash of 1930's pulp fiction, here's a taste of what all you John Grisham/Michael Crichton readers are missing out on by buying books with actual plot-lines.
 
The metal clang of the door as it crashed against the side wall attracted little or no attention to its violator as she pushed her way through the wall of smoke, sweat and violence that billowed out into the darkness of the night. Her boots seemed almost as soundless as the electronic engine in her bike parked outside as she swaggered her way towards the bar, eschewing the lewd glances from the drunken washed out 'patrons', as she allowed her hand to casually flip back the side of her jacket to toy with the trigger of the pistol nestled beneath her arm. No one stared for long.  
 
It was a bar like any other bar in the city of Saxon, with one vital difference. This was ground zero in the brutal turf war between the Vipers and the Pawns.You didn't come here to drink. You came here to die.  
 
Once her drink, something filthy and eye-gougingly strong, was ordered and downed, Rebecca Vase leaned back against the plate steel bar and finally allowed her gaze to pass over the room. For the first time in months, she couldn't see anyone she knew. The immediate shock of this realization was overshadowed, however, as the door opened once more and two men in leather jackets strutted their way into the bar. Vase's hand, no longer languid, immediately prepared for a fight. As they turned towards the back, their intentions became glaringly obvious. With their backs turned, the white chess piece on the back the jacket seemed to sear the retinas of every low-life and scumbag in the room. All eyes turned towards Vase in expectation. Leaning a little lower, she pressed the emergency quick dial button on the side of her LAP-4 Police Issue pistol.  
 
Neither of the two had even looked her way, but she knew they were watching her every move. No Pawn ever came onto this side of town without either permission or a purpose, and there was only one reason to invade Viper turf. She pressed the button again. And again. Nothing happened.  
 
The door open and Vase looked up, trying not to look expectant, but still ready to move. The tension was strong enough to eat through metal, and about to get stronger as three more Pawns walked in.  
 
"I got you covered, Vase." Jacques the bartender's thick French-Canadian accent was punctuated by the cocking of a shotgun. Double-barrel, sawed off. Vase could still remember the first time she'd stared down its evil eyes -- fifteen and fresh on the streets. Not answering, Vase recognized the futility. Two against five were not good odds, and if help didn't get there soon, the advantage would slide further towards a checkmate. She could see them counting down before they opened fire. The taste of fear spread through her mouth, a taste that not even three years of working her way up to her position in the Vipers could wipe away. She pressed the button again.  
 
The first knock at the door had been buried beneath the general murmur of the bar, but the second one was audible as the tension killed the noise in the room. Seemingly in slow motion, the Pawn closest to the door instinctively reached for the handle, and a slow smile spread itself across Vase's face.  
 
"Cavalry's here," she said to Jacques as the door exploded into shrapnel, shredding the Pawn into piecemeal, as she herself flipped backwards over the bar, into the position that had become all too familiar in the last few months. Crouching. Pistol drawn. Ready to defend.  
 
Ready to kill.  
 
To be continued NEXT ISSUE…

 




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