Prey
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    #330
    The 1998 MTV movie awards featured Ben Stiller, Jeneane Garaffalo, and Mike Myers in the roles of Malcolm, Sarah, and Nick in a parody of TLW's trailer scene. In the parody, a giant Jay Leno attacks the trailer and is subdued by TLW's own Vince Vaughn, both appearing as themselves. (From: jurassiraptor)
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    Nightshade version 2; Prolouge and Chapter 1
    By Aragorn

    ~PROLOGUE~


    It was long past midnight in Fort St. John and the streets of the small city were practically deserted as most of the reasonable citizens were long-asleep in their comfy beds. However, a lot of citizens were also out partying up the clubs and having a crazy time in the town’s wild nightlife.

    Susan Deakin, a young, polite, well-liked Kindergarten teacher by day and a wild drug-addicted partier by night, had been one such person and was now stumbling down the lonely sidewalk of Main Street, obviously way passed the point of safe intoxication. Under her opened jacket, which the light cool breeze of the night often blew open, she wore a shining red dress - her party clothes for the night, which had found itself on the floor of a stranger’s bedroom just an hour before. Some may find such a life a wild one, however it seemed to be the standard for the town of Fort St. John.

    She stumbled and tripped over her own feet, but caught herself on the side of a building, giggling noisily to herself. She straightened herself up to the best of her intoxicated abilities and continued walking, or rather stumbling, down the sidewalk. Soon she reached a long pitch black alley and walked passed it without giving it any second thought. A sober person however, would know better then to pass so haphazardly past such an area so late at night, without at least a tiny bit of caution.

    Seconds after she passed by, multiple voices of laughter echoed from deep inside the alley.

    The laughter got a bit louder and continued to rise in volume as three shapes wearing long trench coats walked out from the alley, snickering quietly to each other, as if they were all in on some kind of inside joke. The more muscular heavy-set bearded man had a circular golden medallion hanging around his neck, which had a mystic green jewel in the middle and runes running along the outer edge. This twenty-six year-old man wasn’t well known at all among the general citizens of Fort St. John, however the underworld of crime in Fort St. John knew of him as Alan Lannigan.

    On one side of him was Jason, his black hair spiked up in long thick points, that were stuck up taller then any person should allow their hair to stick up. On the other side of Alan was Brad, who was a bit on the short side with a mushroom cut hair style, but his physical strength made up for any short comings.

    All three of them carried baseball bats, and Brad also wore a pair of metal knuckle rings on one hand.

    The trio began to follow Susan from a distance, but quickly closed the gap between them and her. She leaned against a wall to catch her balance once more and Alan took that moment to rush and stand in front of her, blocking her path. She turned to move around him, but Brad then stepped in her way. She turned around to face the way she came from, but Jason moved to block that path as well.

    They had her surrounded.

    “Let me by!” Susan slurred, still quite heavily under the influence of large amounts of alcohol. Her drunken body formed a playful smile as she tried to push by.

    “Oh come now, sweet thing, surly you aren’t ready to go home quite yet,” Alan sneered. His voice lowered to a whisper as he went on, “You know, we can have our own party right here, ain’t nobody around to see.” He leaned in and slowly licked Susan’s cheek. She tried to cower in disgust, but couldn’t move far.

    “Leave me alone…” she pleaded.

    “Oh come on!” Alan shouted, contrasting against his previous whisper. “We’re pretty good partiers, if I do say so myself.”

    He leaned in to her again, but Susan slammed her foot forward, nailing Alan in the shin. He let out a yell and bent down to rub his shin. The girl cowered away from her screaming attacker, only to have Jason grab her by the hair and tilt her head back hard. She began to cry as Alan stood up.

    “Hold her still, Jason,” he ordered. “Time we teach this bitch how to respect us.”

    With Alan’s signal, Brad stepped closer to the girl, raising his glistening chrome bat high in the air. Just as it reached the pinnacle of it’s height and Brad was about to swing it down, a gloved hand flew out of the darkness from behind him and grabbed the back of the bat. The hand jerked the bat back, causing Brad to step back as well, not expecting the pull of force. The bat was yanked from Brad’s hands and flung, clattering to the ground and rolling away.

    The three punks turned their heads away from the pathetic drunk girl to look at the newcomer. The figure was dressed in black from head to toe. He wore a black baseball cap with a giant ‘N’ stenciled in white on it. Below that, the figure wore a pair of sunglasses and covering his mouth and nose was a black handkerchief bandage. Whatever parts of his face were still visible, were painted black with facepaint. The figure wore a black trenchcoat, opened up to reveal a dark gray shirt under that. Further down his body, he wore a pair of black jeans, toped off with a pair of black boots. On his hands was a pair of black bicycle gloves that covered simply his palm and the back of his hand, leaving his thumb and fingers free.

    “I highly suggest you let the girl go,” the figure spoke in a low voice.

    Alan, Jason, and Brad looked at each other and smiled. Things were about to get very interesting.

    Jason let his grip on the girl go. “Sure, whatever you say.” The three turned to face the figure, smiling in evil delight. Sure, they’d let the girl go, but it’d be worth it to teach this freak a lesson. Plus the girl was drunk as hell. If they were still in the mood for her after they were done with this guy, they could easily catch up.

    Brad took out a switchblade, popping it open. “You shouldn’t have taken my bat, asshole.”

    Jason and Brad rushed the figure, Brad jabbing his blade forward while Jason swiped his bat. The figure jumped in the air, flipped over their heads, and landed in a crouch behind Susan. He stood and turned, grabbing the girl from behind. He twirled around, causing them both to turn. After they had turned, the figure let go and continued turning, so he was now facing the punks again with the girl safe behind him.

    The figure jumped straight up in the air, swinging his foot out and kicking Brad right in the bottom of the chin. Brad’s head snapped back as he stumbled backwards and tripped on the curb, falling hard onto his ass.

    Jason ran with the bat and swung down just as the figure dodged to the side and slammed his elbow to the back of Jason’s head, causing him to stumble forward. Then the figure half-turned in the opposite direction from before, and elbowed the same punk in the face. He swung his foot around the back of Jason’s foot in a hook, tripping him up and making him fall.

    Susan, finally slightly more sober after her frightening encounter, couldn’t decide if the mystery figure would attack her as well. Realizing that she really didn’t want to take any changes by sticking around to find out, she turned and ran away down the street.

    The figure raised his foot up and slammed it down on Jason’s chest as hard as he could. Jason yelped in pain and let go of the bat. The Figure kicked the bat away and glared back down at him. “Get lost and make sure I never see you again,” he warned.

    Alan Lannigan, who had smartly stayed out of the duel, took a step towards the figure, slightly amused by his display and skill. “Who are you?”

    The figure paused for a few seconds before replying in a near-whisper, “I’m Nightshade.”

    Nightshade turned and ran off into the darkness. As Brad and Jason picked themselves up, Alan stared into the darkness where Nightshade ran off into, realizing that there was now a new player on the field.
    Things were about to get very interesting indeed…



    ~CHAPTER 1~


    Early in the morning, however not nearly early enough, 22-Year-Old Jeffrey Long ran across the damp puddle-filled parking lot Fort St. John’s Sobeys grocery store, a light drizzle falling from the grey sky above. A bookbag jammed his work clothes for the day was draped over his shoulders, while the heavy purple bags under his eyes were easily visible for all to see. He pulled out his cell phone to look at the digital time displayed on it

    Oh no! I’m late! He thought anxiously to himself.

    Jeff took off running again, rushing in between a small family pushing a cart of groceries to their car. “Watch it!” the father shouted angrily to him.

    Jeff ignored the comment and rushed in through the main electric doors of the store, around the corner, and up the steps, two at a time, to the staff area. He rushed down the near-empty shining floor, almost barreling into a group of chattering employees as they came out from the lunch room. He ignored rude comments that included a few words his mother would definitely not approve of, and he continued to run as fast as he could into the male bathroom to change.

    A few minutes later, Jeff heaved a sigh of relief as he approached the Front End of the store, where he worked. As he rounded the corner, he saw the Front End manager talking with some customers. She glanced over at Jeff, an unimpressed expression on her face, before continuing on with the customers.

    Oh great, Jeff thought to himself gloomily as he slowly walked over to one of the Tills and waited for the next customer to arrive so he could bag their groceries. He was really regretting sleeping in that morning.

    The cashier at that till, Karsen Gauthier, glanced a disapproving look at his best friend as Jeff rubbed sleep from his eyes. He may have slept in, but he still hadn’t slept as much as he would have liked. “Slept in?” Karsen asked.

    Jeff nodded his head as he yawned. The sounds of someone being trained on another Till reached their ears and Jeff turned to look around. He saw a new cashier, decently attractive, being trained, a few tills down. “Hey, who’s the new chick?”

    “Oh, that’s Vanessa. She just started this morning,” Katie, one of the other cashiers, answered.

    “I should go say hello and introduce myself,” Jeff suggested.

    “Jeff, don’t,” Katie sighed with her thick Newfie accent, already knowing what Jeff planned on doing. “This is her first day.”

    “What? So I can’t say hi?”

    “Not to her, no. I know where your Hi’s lead.”

    “Yeah,” Karsen spoke up with a laugh. “Straight to Jeff getting shot down.” Katie joined in on Karsen’s laughter. The conversation went on a temporary hold while customers arrived. Half an hour later, once neither Karsen or Katie had any more customers, the conversation resumed.

    “Well as long as he doesn't ask her about the weather, she'll be fine,” Karsen advised Katie. Katie looked back at him, confused. Karsen went on to explain, “That seems to be his pick-up line, as bad as it may be.”

    “It's called making conversation, jeez,” Jeff defended himself. Karsen just laughed, enjoying busting Jeff’s chops as he seemed to always do.

    ***

    Later that day, after the noon rush had died down, Jeff started to make his way to the stairs for his lunch break, when he passed by the Front End Manager walking in the opposite direction. Jeff stopped her. “Marnie, I just wanted to apologize,” Jeff began.

    Marnie brushed her black hair back out of her eyes as she turned and looked at him. “You used to be such a good worker, Jeff. You still are, when you actually decide to show up. Within the past month, you’ve been constantly showing up late when you decide to show up at all, and very often go home early.”

    “I know, and I am trying really hard, but I also have a lot of personal stuff going on in my life right now that I’m…”

    Marnie cut him off. “You’re here to work and to make a living. I’m not going to lie to you, Jeff, you’re dangerously close to loosing your job and then how are you supposed to pay rent and bills? Whatever problems are in your life right now, that’s only for just now. Problems like that’ll come and go in your life. But this – Work - this is important. This will determine your life. Without a job, before long you’ll be living under an underpass or in a box down the street.”

    “It’s a little bit more complicated then that…” Jeff trailed off.

    “How is that?” Marnie wasn’t trying to be rude. She was generally interested. Her employees’ well-being was always important to her and if she was able to help out with any of their problems in any way, she tried to. It was her nature, not her obligation.

    “It’s kind of hard to explain.”

    “Look, I’ll give you one more chance to make it up. From now on, you’re not allowed to call in sick without a doctor’s note, and you’re not allowed to go home early or show up late at all. If you can do that, then you can stay.”

    Jeff was overjoyed with that news. He was expecting some kind of verbal lashing or to be in some kind of trouble. But instead his manager actually let it all slide and was trying to help him.

    “You’re off for the weekend after today,” Marnie explained. “When you come back, I expect to see a change in attitude with you.”

    “Don’t worry, Marnie, you can count on it.”

    “I hope so,” Marnie turned and started walking away only to turn back around, “And can I suggest an earlier bedtime? Your eyes give away your obvious lack of sleep.” And with that, the manager went on her way.

    ***

    Once Jeff finally got upstairs, he discovered that many other people in the store were taking their breaks at the same time as the hallway was packed with employees of all ages, going about their business. Some were at their lockers, others were talking with friends or their supervisors, some were just getting off work, while others were just starting.

    Jeff yawned as he walked down the hall, heading in the direction of the lunch room. He turned around when he suddenly heard his name get called out and saw Sonum Sidhu walking up to him as she pushed past the sea of moving bodies.

    “Hey, Sonum,” Jeff greeted back. Sonum was a brown girl three years younger then Jeff, and in Grade 12. Jeff had met her two years before when he first started working at Sobeys and she was assigned to train him on the Till before she was moved to the bakery. He and Sonum began to get close to each other and became good friends over the following two years, however that quickly came undone when Jeff had gathered up the nerve to tell her about his feelings for her and ask her out, and she then spent the next while avoiding him. Even though they stopped being friends for a bit, he never did manage to remove those feelings for her. When they finally became friends again and Sonum confessed that the only reason she got freaked out was cause she too had feelings for Jeff and was scared by them, Jeff decided to ask her out on a date. Sonum had to decline however, and then in form Jeff that she was already dating some one else.

    When Sonum caught up to Jeff, her white bakery clothes covered in dried crusted icing and batter, she noticed the deep coloring of purple under Jeff’s eyes. “Wow, you look horrible.”

    “Gee, thanks,” Jeff replied sarcastically as they continued down the hall.

    “Late night last night?”

    “Yeah, kind of,” Jeff stayed vague on purpose. Of course he couldn’t tell her the full reason, obviously. “Couldn’t sleep.”

    “Well you know you can always call me on my cell, even late at night like we used to do,” Sonum offered as she lightly bit her lower lip. “If I’m asleep, I don’t mind waking up and talking to you.”

    “Thanks, but I think I’ll pass,’ Jeff replied. Even though his feelings for her were so strong he could hardly stand it, he had given up on thoughts of them ever being together. It was always one thing or another standing in the way. He decided long ago that he would not spend any more time entertaining the notion. “Unless you’re really boring on the phone and can put me to sleep,” he added jokingly.

    They both laughed for a minute, but stopped when Sonum waved to a group of her friends who had just emerged from the female bathroom. “I’ll catch you later,” she said as she rubbed Jeff’s shoulder with one hand. “Hope you sleep better tonight.”

    “See you around,” Jeff replied as Sonum went and joined her friends. Jeff stared after her as she and her friends disappeared around the corner. A hand fall on Jeff’s shoulder and he turned to see Karsen standing there.

    “You should make your move,” Karsen sighed as the two of them walked into the lunchroom. “Don’t be a pussy. You missed your chance before, but now you have another one.”

    “What do you mean?” Jeff asked, his interest slightly piped.

    “Oh, you didn’t hear?” Karsen asked, surprised. “Her and Ryan broke up a few days ago.”

    Jeff’s mind began to race. What Sonum had said earlier about calling her if he ever needed to talk, had she actually been making a move when she had said that? Or was he just looking too far into it? Jeff normally wouldn’t entertain the notion but under the circumstances, he couldn’t help it. “She just got out of a long relationship,” Jeff started to say, realizing that Sonum probably wasn’t in the mood for another relationship quite yet. “I don’t think she would want…”

    “Now would be the perfect time,” Karsen interrupted, cutting his friend off. “She’s hurt and needs a rock to lean against. You like her, obviously, and she seems to dig you too, for some unknown reason, so I say go for it.” The two pulled out a couple chairs from the near-empty table and sat down. Karsen widened his eyes and hit himself in the head. “Oh by the way, Happy Birthday!” He couldn’t believe that he had almost forgot. He and Jeff had been friends for over a year now and he couldn’t believe that he had forgotten.

    “Thanks,” Jeff replied without much enthusiasm. He hadn’t been excited about his birthday for quite a few years now, and people rarely ever gave him a reason to change his mind.

    Karsen got his first real good look at Jeff’s sleep-deprived eyes. “Wow you look…”

    “Shut up,” Jeff cut his friend off, already knowing the end of that sentence. Karsen retrieved his box consisting of two slices of pizza from the microwave and sat back down as Dane Lucas entered the lunch room as well.

    Dane was well-liked by many people, however with that in mind, he seemed to also be picked on constantly by those exact same people. And even though Jeff and Karsen were his bigger tormentors, all three of them were close friends.

    “Hey Dane, I’ve got a trick for you,” Karsen spoke to his long-time buddy. Dane turned to him and smiled, oblivious to the fact that Karsen had a very twisted plan in his head.

    “What is it?” Dane loved tricks. Growing up, he had attended more magic shows then he could count.

    Karsen took a seemingly normal quarter out from his pocket. “I bet you five bucks that you can’t roll this quarter from the top of your forehead down to your chin, without it leaving your face.”

    “Oh, that’s easy!” Dane exclaimed with joy, thinking that it would the easiest five bucks of his life.

    “I don’t know,” Karsen went on, voice oozing with sarcasm. “I tried it last night and I couldn’t do. It was really frustrating.” He gave the quarter to Dane, who put it on its side at the top of his forehead and rolled it down his face to the bottom of his chin. However, Dane was unaware that earlier that day, when Karsen had been bored waiting for work to start, he ran a pencil over the edge of the quarter and it was currently leaving a pencil-lead line right down the middle of his face.

    When he finished, Dane proudly beamed. “See? I told you it was easy!”

    “Gee Dane, you sure showed me,” Karsen tried his best not to laugh. He took his quarter back from Dane while Jeff, giving up on the blues, finally broke a smile.

    “So where’s my money?” Dane asked as he finally sat down next to them and took a can of pop out from his pocket.

    “We never shook on it,” Karsen remarked much to Dane’s disappointment.

    “Oh man, that is a load of shit.”

    “So Dane, how’s the new car coming along?” Jeff asked, remembering that Dane has been spending all his free time for the last couple months, rebuilding an old car from scratch.

    “Slowly, but surely. I got put behind a bit last weekend though when I had to spend most of the weekend fixing my brother’s computer. But I’m back on track now and it should be up and running by the end of the month.”

    “Sweet,” Karsen exclaimed. “You’ll have to pick me up for school in it some time, and when I get my N Learner’s, you should let me drive it.”

    Dane laughed, “Not a chance in Hell am I letting you drive my baby.” Jeff joined in on his laughter and Dane turned to look at him. “Oh wow, you look horrible.” Jeff instantly stopped his laughter and glared at Dane. “What did I say?” Dane continued.


    ***

    In Fort St. John there was a special hidden club. One that only people in the underworld of crime knew existed. To anyone else, it was mere urban legend and nobody actually thought it was real. However, if it wasn’t real, then why was ‘Truth’ by Nerd playing loudly throughout the ‘imaginary’ building, causing the speakers to boom loudly with base?

    This specific club, known as ‘The Snake Pit’ to those who knew about its existence, was a kind of hidden refuge for petty thugs, street punks, thieves, and other criminals of all kinds and all ages. Throughout the room were even some corrupted cops mingling within the crowd. Heavy cigar and cigarette smoke clung around the room. There were dozens of tables set up, some used for various card games, others used for dealing drugs, and there were booth seats for just sitting and having conversations in. There were no windows or any way for outside light to shine through into the criminals’ personal club. There was a bar set up at one end of the room and nude dancers dancing in cages with neon bars of all colors. Strobe and neon lights flashed all over the room, adding even more to the atmosphere.

    A large chubby man; a man famous to both the underworld and law enforcement, a man named Jory Rowe, sat on the red leather of one of the booth seats, two beautiful topless young women on either side of him, cuddling up against him.

    Alan Lannigan walked over and slid into the seat opposite Jory. Jory stretched out his hand, offering Alan a cigarette. Alan took one out of the crumpled pack and put it in his mouth, using his own metal Zippo to light it. He leaned back as he breathed in and then out on the smoke, putting his Zippo away again.

    “I hear you got some news on this little boy playing hero that’s disrupting a lot of my business,” Jory stated.

    “That’s right Mr. Rowe, I…”

    The Crimelord cut Alan off, “Please, call me Jory.”

    Alan continued from where he was cut off, “I had a run-in with him last night. Me and my crew. The son of a bitch took both of them out in just a couple minutes, and you know how tuff they are.”

    “Indeed,” Jory’ interested was brought up a few notches. Alan’s gang was indeed one of the toughest around. “Is it true what they say? About him being just some kid?”

    “He certainly looked and sounded like he was no older then twenty at the most.”

    Jory shrugged, no longer as interested as he had been seconds before. “Then it’s just a fad. Some pimply comic book fanboy geek that wants to feel like one of his great pathetic idols. It’ll pass as soon as his fad ends. Next he’ll probably be a huge anime fan and staple his eyes wide open.” He paused, planning on ending his say there, but thought about something else and decided to continue. “Until then, he could pose a bit of trouble. He’s already a minor nuisance. Does the bugger have a name?”

    Alan breathed in and then out on the cigarette before replying with, “He calls himself Nightshade.”

    Jory nodded his head, thinking things over. “Judging from reports of the fucker, it would seem he only comes out at night. I want you to recruit more members into your gang. Hell, I’ll even supply you with some. Then I want you to go looking for him. It shouldn’t be too hard. Just cause some kind of ruckus and I’m sure he’ll come straight to you like a moth to a flame.”

    Jory stopped and turned to pay more attention to the two naked girls beside him, however Alan opened his mouth to speak. Jory however, had a feeling as to what he would say and turned back to him, cutting him off before he had the chance to speak. “And you don’t need to worry about the pigs. I have most of them under my payroll, so they won’t get in the way.” Jory paused before continuing on. “Once you have him, crush him. He’s only a boy after all. He may be strong, but he can’t be that smart.”

    “Yes sir. He’ll be ours for the killing,” Alan nodded his head as he slammed his fist on the table.

    “Make sure that he is. Now, can I buy you a dance?” Jory raised his hand and snapped his fingers as Alan smiled crookedly. Within seconds a nude dancer, seemingly slightly older then the two Jory had with him, walked over and sat on Alan’s lap, working into the beginnings of an exotic lap dance.

    Jory turned and began making out with the two women on his sides.

    8/3/2007 8:38:35 PM

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