The scream twisted in the night, shuddering from a high-pitched terrified shriek to an undulating, moaning complaint of extinguishing life.
Malcolm Eady heard the scream, but he ignored it. None of his business. Not tonight, anyway. Tonight, the raven-haired god was on his own time, not the department’s. He intended to find some fun, well away from the suffocating restrictions of his civilized district.
In the bowels of the old city, laws ceased to have meaning. Here, with warlords battling over ever-changing territorial boundaries, law and order were only words to be cast aside. Deep in the heart of Valora, even a god could find the sweet release of death, if he wasn’t careful enough.
Malcolm crossed the broken pavement of the nearly deserted street, careful to avoid the shining pools of light cast by the regularly placed gaslights. His finely carved face broke into a devilish grin when he saw a scantily clad woman ahead. She held her fingers in a gesture at her side, showing those in the know that she had more than just her body to sell.
The beauty of the god that approached was not lost on the tired-looking woman. She straightened her stringy hair and slipped her many-times-broken toes back into the torturous spiked heels she kept nearby. Her smile revealed surgically implanted squared teeth. She was careful to keep her identifying canines hidden behind the taut skin of her lips.
“Evenin’,” she cooed. “I got everything you need, god-man.”
Malcolm Eady stopped short, keeping his muscular frame from entering the lighted area where the consort stood. He beckoned to her with his strong right arm, letting his withered left arm dangle at his side.
The woman laughed, low and silky, then moved to stand with her supposed-client. The eyes she turned to him, once they were out of the glare of light, were drug-blank. Malcolm smiled to himself then shook his head. He slipped a pair of gold coins into the woman’s hand then moved on, leaving the consort to wonder at his back. His fun wasn’t to be found in a drugged-up whore.
Malcolm Eady’s meandering path took him deeper into the ruins of the city. He crisscrossed territory lines without thought. The rare tender he encountered ignored the god’s progress. Even bearing a lame limb, Malcolm Eady was no push-over.
Nearing dawn, the deity found his fun. In an alley between two warlords’ boundaries, in a no-man’s land, a slim platinum-haired child slumbered under a pile of ragged blankets. Malcolm Eady sank to his knees beside the girl. His right arm lifted the blankets, revealing the tattered wings folded protectively around the frail body.
When his roving eyes finally focused on her face, he found startled sapphire eyes staring at him. His roguish grin brought no returning smile from the girl.
“I have a proposition for you, fairy-ling,” Malcolm Eady purred.