Sitara was a city full of life and light. Even the cold October nights could not weaken the activity in the streets. Mermaids still danced around in miniskirts at the nightclubs. In the park magicians went for a romantic midnight stroll down the small paths. Talking and kissing. Werewolves and vampires still met at bars to test their strength in laying arm and then beat each other in a game of pool. The poor looked for warm places to spend the night, away from the cold, and the rich went to fundraisers or expensive restaurants in the Entertainment district.
In the midst of all these lives, close to the centre of Sitara, a man moved across the street at a pedestrian crossing.
A light drizzling was falling. Earlier in the evening the rain had come pouring down, but now the only sign of heavy rain was the small puddles forming on their slow towards and down the sewer grates. At times a woman would squeal when she was too drunk and unintentionally stepped right into a puddle with her high heels.
The man sighed to himself and kept a firm gaze on his already set path without giving the young drunks around him a second glance. At the other side of the street he split from the bigger group of people, who were heading for the subway or shopping streets, and went into a narrow side street where a couple of street kids sat and ate on a dumpster.
They looked suspicious at the man until he had passed by them and then hurried to finish their small meal.
A small smile fled across him lips as he flipped down the collar of his trench coat since the last rain had finally stopped.
The little ones would probably not make it through the winter if they did not seek out the orphanage soon. Only the strongest could survive in the underworld of Sitara and the little ones was at the bottom.
He snorted to himself and threw a couple of coins back across the shoulder. As he turned the corner he could the children run from the dumpster to collect.
Like hungry birds, he thought and snorted yet again. It was pathetic.
The red eyes fixed on the nightclub on the other side of the next road. This time he casually crossed the street without even thinking of pedestrian crossings causing several cars to come to a sudden stop.
People angrily put their heads out the windows to yell while he passed by, but he ignorede every single one of them. The demon had more important things to take care of than handling angry drivers.
He walked under a big neon sign with the writing Welcome to the Sweet Dreams’ world and stepped through the door into the nightclub, where he was met by the massive music from the stage in the other end of the club.
Above him coloured beams hovered, creating different patterns and forms, while bodies wriggled, twisted and writhed against each other on the dance floor.
He was not there for the music and dance. Instead he walked directly to the bar.
“Good evening, Vasco,” he greeted the bartender without raising his voice one bit. The man behind the bar was a telepathic; shouting through the noise was unnecessary. “Is the boss in?”
Vasco nodded towards the storeroom, not looking away from the two tall glasses that was being filled with acidulous colours and decorations.
“Always a pleasure talking to you,” Douglas dryly noted and continued walking to the end of the bar where the door was.
Two men was standing guard on each side of it and scowled at anyone coming to close. Douglas was often nervous about just strolling by the two dragons. Even in their human form they could be quite terrifying.
They, on the other hand, did not take much notice of him as he walked by them and opened the door to the storeroom.
After all, he was actually on the guest list.
Inside the storeroom he paused for at second to take in a deep breath and shake off the nervousness. The nerves had to be under control before he continued.
The next few meters were like any other storeroom. Shelves, cleaning articles, boxes and extra uniforms for the staff in the night club. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Then he made it to another door and two other guards. This time a werewolf and vampire.
“It’s been a while, Douglas,” the vampire greeted and flashed the needle sharp corner teeth in a big grin. “The boss is kind of busy. You should have called ahead.”
The werewolf said nothing and just continued smoking his cigarette. Five butts was already laying on the floor beside him.
“This was an emergency. There was no time to call,” Douglas reluctantly answered and ran a hand through his short, black hair.
The werewolf clenched his fist and knocked three times on the door.
“I am glad you understand.” Douglas put his hands in the pockets of the trench coat and walked inside when the door was unlocked and opened.
The new room was empty aside from a table and some chairs in the middle of the room. Sometimes there would be stereos set up, dancing ladies and a lot of booze, but tonight there were unfortunately only men – one them even looking rather bloody.
Physically he only looked to be a kid in his early twenties. He was tied to a chair and had a long gash across the eyebrow along with a serious nosebleed.
“What do you want?” The boss was sitting on a chair in front of his victim, but looked up as Douglas approached. “Can you not see that I am busy?”
“It is important.”
Alvar Chernobog, the leading mob boss in the city, took time for an extra puff of his cigarette and watched as the smoke slid out between his lips. Then he put it out in the forehead of the kid, who screamed from the sudden pain.
“Do tell.” The black haired man stood up from the chair and went over to Douglas. The blue eyes calmly met Douglas’ red.
“The diamond is gone.”
The blue eyes became as cold as ice in a matter of second and squinted slightly.
“Gone?” Alvar repeated in an icy voice. “Gone how?”
“Stolen. The thief broke in today. I came here as soon as I got the message,” Douglas quickly answered, anxious to explain everything before the elf in front of him ripped out his vocal cords.
“How?!” Alvar furiously turned from the water demon and kicked his chair. It went flying through the room and smashed against the wall. The captive on the other chair looked in horror from the broken furniture to Alvar. “I thought, you had things under control!” He looked at the three men, who sat by the table playing cards. “Hang the kid up. I need to left off steam!”
The men quickly left their game and started to untie the kid from the chair so they could instead tie him to a chain in the ceiling. The guy tried to resist and fight, but three against one was not exactly good odds.
“It had to be an insider job. Someone must have told him how he could trick our securitysystems,” Douglas continued to nervously explain.
“Do we have any leads?” Alvar snarled irritably and watched the men struggle to hang up the kid.
“Yes. We know who took it.”
Alvar slowly turned and looked at Douglas.
“A boy named Daniel. We do not know a lot about him, but he lives on the street. The kid is not very old, so he has to have an accomplice,” Douglas informed with great relief. They knew the identity of the thief. All they had to do was catch him.
“Good, find him.” Alvar walked over to the now hanging man and looked as he fought to get free.
“It is not going to be that easy ...”
The first kick hit the captive in the side.
“... he is already caught ...”
A hit against the side of the head followed, and Douglas saw a tooth fall out.
“... by Luna,” he finished.
Alvar took a break from the beating.
In appearance he was almost as young as his victim and definitely the youngest amongst the other men. To Douglas the man was living proof of how different the creatures aged. In years he was the oldest and yet he looked the youngest.
“Luna,” Alvar repeated and kicked the man in the stomach so that he swung a bit back in the chain. “What a ridiculous name for a police force.” A big grin broke through on his lips.
“Can you get him out?”
“Of course,” was the arrogant answer while another kick got the victim to swing back and forth again.
“Thank you.” Douglas glanced at the beaten up kid. “What has he done?”
“He is another thief, but of less important stuff,” Alvar calmly answered. “Oh right, Douglas, if you see Lesta then kill him.”
The water demon became a little pale.
“Of course, boss,” he mumbled in response. Then he had to get more henchmen. “Excuse me if I am prying, but I was convinced that you and Lesta ...”
“Not anymore. Now he has to die,” Alvar interrupted. “I will call you when that Daniel boy gets out of prison again,” he continued with a smile and kicked the last time at the hanging kid.
It hit the nose, and the bone was pressed up into the brain.