"The Ipthia Crystal" Copyright (c) 2017 by Bradley K. McDevitt. Used under license.

The Ipthian Crystal: Part 1

Story by Jon Vassa

Illustration by Bradley K. McDevitt


It had been three days since I’d last slept. They say that going eleven will kill you, but I’ve yet to reach that point. I’m good at what I do, I can usually find the places I need to before day eleven comes around.

Thankfully the third day alleviates most of the mental pain felt on the second and first. This is when the two worlds begin to separate. I can see the lines between them, growing more defined every moment, like a vivid hallucination. Most people fall asleep at this point. It’s easy to go back to the hard reality on day three, but once you reach the fourth, things get a bit tricky; it’s not so easy to sleep it off.

I continued stumbling down various alleyways in the city, like a drunk with too many drinks in his system, looking for the right passageway to the next realm. The doors always change their positions. Their worlds don’t function like ours does. So it takes some time to find where the doors have been shifted to each time I make the plunge.

After some time of ploughing through the city, knocking down metal trash bins, scaring rodent families, and tripping over old homeless men sleeping up against the walls, I’d found the doors. They were situated in a narrow alleyway, all the doors aglow with a blue phantom mist around their frames, and dull symbols upon their faces.

I’d gotten a message about a job a few days back. It was a small blank stone from one of the other realms, with no message on it, just a dark flat stone. To anyone else, they might think it had no meaning, but once your body has lacked the right amount of sleep, and the worlds begin to divide, you start to see the glowing symbol on it, telling you which realm it came from.

I held the stone in my hand, now walking down a passageway filled with ghostly doors, as I tried to find the right one to lead me to my possible client. The stone began to glow even more in my hands as I passed by the right door. I stopped, turned towards the door, looked at the symbol glowing on its frame, and glanced at the stone in my hand. The symbols were the same.

I then fixed my jacket, touched the gun at my side, and bowed my head as I opened up the low hanging door into the dim realm. I knew this world the moment I stepped in. My heart slowed in my chest and I clenched my teeth without thinking.

The door closed behind me, shutting out the city, and encasing me in the low lights and soot-filled floors. The room was dark. The air breathed like the insides of a furnace, with ash hovering an inch from the ceiling, refusing to stir.

There were two demon-like beings watching me from across the bar. Their eyes were red and filled with smug. I hated working with their kind. Caasians, the majority population in the seventh circle of Ipth.

The taller one began rubbing one of his crooked horns that twisted near his face, like a deformed ram’s horn. He gave me a faint smile, revealing a set of yellow teeth – all sharp – it’s their custom. ‘You got our message,’ he said in a raspy baritone.

I held the stone up in the air, now glowing violet with their insignia marked upon it. ‘Sure. You think I’m walking down the hall opening doors at random?’

The Caasian squinted at me as he rubbed his crooked horn. ‘Would you care for a drink?’ he said.

The taller Caasian nodded to the smaller one, who leaned down behind the bar’s counter and stood back up with a clay pot in his hands. He set it on the bar and stood there tapping it with his hands. ‘Satan’s brew,’ he said.

I stepped along the uneven floors and pushed a seat out of my way. I went up to the bar and took the clay urn from him and gave it a sniff and then laughed. ‘I don’t need anything that strong right now. Maybe if I had a face like yours though. I’d keep right next to the bed.’

The small Caasian dropped his grin and slowly pull the clay urn towards himself.

The tall one kept his smile right under his eyes but no further. ‘Human heart is a delicacy in these parts,’ he said, his large Adam’s apple bobbing like a chicken’s head. ‘It’s supple. With a bitter tang. A flavor that we Caasians are able to appreciate.’ He licked his lips with his black tongue. ‘But that’s not why we’re here. . . Unfortunately.’

I rubbed my finger on the bar, picking up some black soot, and then wiped it off on my coat. ‘Why don’t you just spell it out for me? You’re looking for a girl? Or you just want to find out why she ran off with someone else? I can tell you that information right now if you want.’

The taller Caasian closed his mouth and turned his head. ‘There’s a very important crystal that’s gone missing from my home,’ he said. ‘And I know who stole it.’

I nodded my head for him to continue.

He licked his red lips with his dark tongue. ‘Last week there was a halfer down here with a group of mutts; like herself.’

I pulled a smoke from my jacket and gave it a light. I needed to get some rest soon. But there was no way I’d be caught sleeping in Ipth. Not if I could manage it. ‘Alright,’ I said. ‘So you get a weirdo up in your place, and then your jewel goes missing. The hell am I supposed to do? Give me something go on or I’m finding my way out the door.’

The Caasian put his finger down on the bar and slowly tapped his long nail upon it. ‘This halfer spat off her mouth to her mutt friends. She had a lot of funny ideas about this crystal, opening portals, and calling forth ancient terrors.’ He shook his head. ‘I don’t trust her kind. So well informed it makes me unsettled.

‘No one comes here looking for a drink. Our customers are the same miserable people day in and day out. I don’t take well to foreigners with wide eyes, trying to flatter me with ancient Ipthian prose or a few cheap cultural facts.

‘These kinds of people always have something else in mind.’

I cleared the ash from my cigarette, letting it fall onto the soot-covered floor. ‘Sure. I get you. You want to give me a bit more about this jewel though? And a good reason to care.’

The taller Caasian nodded to the smaller one and then looked back at me. ‘It’s not a jewel,’ he said.


The smaller Caasian pulled up a metallic box from under the counter and slid it to his boss. The tall Caasian took hold of it and threw open the reflective lid. There was a glass bottle inside, filled with a golden liquid.

My eyes were sharp upon it; there was no point in hiding my lust.

He smiled at me. ‘Humans are so easily bought,’ he said. ‘I take it you’re familiar with this brew?’

‘Sure. I’ve had it before.’ And I needed it again.

The Caasian licked his sharp teeth with his black tongue. ‘I’m glad to see we’ve reached a common ground.’

I took a drag off my cigarette and spoke on the exhale. ‘I don’t appreciate being lied to,’ I said, looking at him. ‘Liquid gold is nice and all. I won’t deny it. But I know when I’m being pulled along for a ride I don’t care to take.’

They didn’t flinch. They stood like men caught in a lie, nervous, in a stolid manner. The taller one moved his head slowly to the side.

I dropped more ash off my cigarette. ‘Yeah. You lost a stone. Okay. Some halfer comes in here sniffing around. I can believe it.’ I took another drag off my cigarette. ‘But I won’t, so tell me what you’re after and then we can start talking about this mission.’

The taller one sighed and put his hand down on the table. ‘The crystal belongs to us. It was stolen from my family long ago. I am its rightful owner, by blood.’

I stubbed the cigarette on counter and tossed it to the floor. I then nodded at the small Caasian, while looking at the clay urn. He began to pour me a drink with hesitation. I reached out when he finished and took a sip. It wasn’t cinnamon, but those spices still burnt.

‘What’s this crystal then?’

The Caasian pursed his lips a moment, rubbing the crooked horn again. ‘It’s a green stone. The size of my palm.’ They were big palms too. ‘It has a rough exterior, like filaments, waiting to be peeled off.’

I took another sip. The room didn’t feel so hot anymore. Heck, I might last until day eleven on this stuff. ‘Okay. So what’s got you in a heap about it? You want me to buy a new jewel to hang on your neck or something?’

‘That stone is a crystal. And it doesn’t hang on anyone’s neck. They’re rare because of their unique properties. In the right hands, something like that could be used to call forth a type of spirit, which I’m sure you’ve only heard of.’

I smacked my lips. They tasted like motor oil. I threw another cigarette in my mouth and gave it a light. I then shot plumes of smoke out my nostrils as I spoke. ‘There’s a lot of myths out there,’ I said. ‘What kind of spirits are we talking? Giants with heads full of eyes, and mouths full of teeth? Serpents with timid dispositions? You want my help or not? Because I’m running low on sleep, getting ready to book it to the nearest bed, you got me?’

He tapped on the bar, the clicking grew louder and faster. ‘The crystal can bring forth a unique type of Imp. Small kinds; with daggers for teeth, and thin fingers with sharp claws at their ends. No eyes in their heads though. But it doesn’t stop them from causing a great deal of trouble.’

I nodded my head taking it all in. ’Tell me about the halfer. He’s a Caasian – and what else?’

‘She,’ he said.

‘Fine. What’s her mix?’

‘Human. That’s part of the reason why I searched you out. They say you’re good at dealing with your kind in these situations. Even if it’s only half.’

I dropped some more ash to the floor and had a swig, emptying the glass. ‘What does she look like then?’

‘Her skin is a fainter red than ours. Her eyes are human enough though. Yellow if I recall.’

‘That ain’t human.’

‘She seems to be missing horns from her head. Possibly sawed off. I couldn’t tell from under her hood, but I knew they were missing. Teeth are natural, haven’t been shaped like ours.’

Then the smaller guy cleared his throat. He looked at us with his beady eyes. ‘There was something else,’ he said.

The taller Caasian bared his teeth and nodded for him to continue.

The smaller guy watched him as he spoke. ’She had a strange mark on the middle of her forehead,’ he said. ‘You can’t see it far away, cause she’s put something over it, like a cosmetic. Either way. If you get close enough, you’ll be able to see it there.’

I dropped the cigarette on the floor and nodded. ‘She’s not in Ipth I take it?’

The tall one stared at me. ‘I believe she’s fled to the mid-realm. And as you’re aware, full bloods aren’t allowed there. Not without a good reason, that is.’

I glanced at the gold liquid again. I reached out to touch it, but the Caasian grabbed my hand before I was able to. His giant palm covered my arm as if I were a small child.

‘You look weak, lustfully so,’ he said. ‘You bring me that crystal, and you get a few more years to live, but not until then.’

I put my small hand on his, trying to pry my other out of his grip. ‘I’m well aware of the pay. Thanks though. You want to give me my arm back? Or are we going to court each other a while longer?’

He let go, snapped the metallic case shut, and then handed it to his employee. ‘That crystal belongs to me. It’s a family heirloom. One that the other realms stole from my ancestors.’

I rubbed my arm a bit. ‘I get you. Calm down.’

He stared at me a moment longer, kind of exasperated like there’s more he’s not telling me.

I stared at him, searching deep in his eyes. What’s the secret? I thought. What are you keeping from me?

He glanced to the side of the walls. ‘Do you need me to open the door for you?’

I wiped my lips with the back of my hand. ’I can manage. I’ve been there before.’

He crossed his arms, standing as firm as a statue. I slid the glass towards them and went to the other side of the room. ‘See you in a few days then.’

‘Maybe,’ he said.

I bowed with a smirk and then opened the realm back up. There was a hall full of white doors, all leading to different places. I closed the Ipthian realm behind me and opened the first door I saw, stepping into the mid-realm. I guess it’d been four days now since I’ve slept.

— ♦♦♦ —

I don’t like sleeping in the mid-realm but it had to be done, if I was to work. It makes you feel like you’re having an out of body dream rather than being part of a story in your head. Like my spirt goes off wandering the night like a black cat and then comes back in time for me wake up and pet it to bed. I guess I feel well rested. The best I’m going get in this lifetime anyhow.

There was a station, some distance from where I slept. It was all alone in the white streets of nothingness, standing like an abandoned home. I made my way towards it.

There were a few people inside. Drifters. With pasts ready to be forgotten and futures kept in a shade of lies. Another drink is all these people want. And I don’t mind being the guy to offer it to them.

I scanned the room for some time before deciding on a prey. I noticed one of the booths up against the wall with a mesh curtain pulled around it. I could see the faint outline of a person inside. They were alone. I thought I’d go join them. They could use some company.

I pulled the curtain back and sat down across from them. It was one of those androgynous figures, dark blue skin, with the smile of a woman and the jawline of a man. Nice eyes though. Orange, a bit glossy, but nice enough.

‘Did you miss the curtain somehow?’ she said.

I sat looking at her a moment. It’s easier to call her a she, even if she’s got both. ’I thought I’d come to say hello. You want a drink? It’s on me.’

She licked her lips and then glanced up at me. ‘I’m not that type. You’re sniffing in the wrong district.’

I squinted my right eye with a sly grin. ’Didn’t mean anything like that. I’m just looking for someone to talk to.’ I tapped my finger twice on the table. ‘You pick your drink and let me ask you a few questions. What do you say?’

She laughed a bit. And then gave me nice feminine grin. ‘I’m not drinking though. You mind buying a round of gas?’

I cocked my head to the side. ‘Be my guest. Get any flavor you want. I’m sure they have a good mix. Like yourself.’

She pursed her lips, now looking a bit masculine. Then she balanced it out by putting her hands delicately in her lap. I keep saying her, but it was both, you see.

After she’d made the order, a server came to our booth, drawing the mesh curtain back with his pus-filled hands. The grease seeped out of them, dripping down his skin, causing it to shine. His eyes were dark though, no pupils, just black. He stepped in further towards our table, extended his long arms across it, laying a triangular pyramid in the middle.

Then he tapped it with his yellow fingernail to open up the sides as he pulled out two pipes from it. They wound themselves out and down to the table, serpentine-like. He then backed away, never looking at either of us.

I took the pipe and clamped it in the corner of my mouth.

She did the same.

‘You live in this realm?’ I said.

‘For now.’

‘How long?’

‘By what calculation?’

A wisp of smoke filled my mouth. It prickled along my tongue and made my inner cheeks feel like spikes. I let out a breath, releasing the tension. ‘I know what realm you’re from. So tell me in harvests. How many harvest moons have you been living here?’

She furled her brow, looking masculine. ‘Two and a half.’

‘You keep to yourself?’

She opened her mouth, unclamped the pipe, and tapped it a few times on the pyramid. ‘For my own safety, yes.’

‘Probably smart.’

She set the pipe in her teeth again.

I felt it take effect in my system. My heart began to flutter a bit as my head went for a swim. ‘You ever seen a halfer – Caasian and human – around here?’

She clicked her teeth with the pipe and then glanced past the mesh curtain. ‘There was one a few days ago. Kept her head down in a shroud though. She was pretty. Nice red skin.’ She moved the pipe to the other side of her mouth, with a private smile. ‘But there was something odd on her forehead. I don’t know what it was.’

I sniffed a few times, clearing the mist from my nose. ’You happen to know where she might have gone?’


‘Did she stop in here?’

‘No. It was another place closer to the city. Run down the same though. Called the Sonic Jade. It’s full of whores and the like.’

I stopped to look at her. My head was drifting in an unsteady ocean. ‘What was she doing in there at the time?’

‘I don’t know. Talking with a group. They didn’t seem interested in the whores. Kind of a strange batch, now that I think of it. They didn’t even participate in any of the games. I won some credits from a fight that night. It was easy money. The loser didn’t stand a chance.’

I reached into my jacket and dug out my cigarettes. I dropped them on the table, picked one out, and lit it up. They helped me balance everything out, especially after a few lungful’s of gas. ‘They didn’t bet on the game then. Fine. Can you tell me anything about the people at the table? What kind of beings were there?’

She reached forward, touching the pack of cigarettes. ‘Can I?’

‘Go ahead.’

She took one out and I gave her a light. ‘Well let’s see.’ She left the cigarette in her fingers. ‘There was a big guy with her. He looked a bit mental. His eyes were in all the wrong directions. I guess he was human enough. Not from your realm though. He had too much hair on his arms. Bit too furry.

‘Then there was a short little guy there. I thought it was a doll when I first saw it. I assume it was an Osiran, just by the look of it. He or she had pink eyes and straight black hair down to his back.’

‘Anyone else?’

She let out a strong billow smoke. ‘There was another but I couldn’t tell you anything about them. They kept themselves hidden the whole time. Similar cloaks as the halfer.’ She shook her head a bit. ‘Sorry. I didn’t really pay it much attention.’

I lifted a square piece of glass from my coat and tapped it on the side of the pyramid. It lit up, paying for the gas. ‘It was good talking with you,’ I said, as I slid out of the booth. I stood up holding the mesh curtain open a little. ‘How can I find the Sonic Jade?’

She pulled the cigarette down and smiled. ‘Go on up to the city. You can’t miss it.’

I cocked my head to the side. ‘Fair enough. I’ll be seeing you.’

She gave a wry smile. ‘Safe travels.’

I paused a moment and then let the curtain fall as I left. ‘Safe travels,’ I said. That comment made me feel unwell. Maybe it was just the gas though.

— ♦♦♦ —

The building was littered with whores. Whores sitting outside on the curb, in a pool of their own vomit; sleeping on the curb. Whores leaning out of the doorframe; wagging their forefingers at anyone who passed by. It was Sonic Jade all right. No doubt about it.

I went up to the door. A few hands touched my jacket, one of them even slipped in around my waist. ‘Oh honey,’ said the plump woman holding my waist. ‘You look like you could use a bit of momma’s care.’

She was a rotund woman, some years older than the others, with red curly hair and plump cheeks. She began to drop her hands lower, near my crotch, taking hold of me. ‘How about it sweetheart? I’ve got what you need.’

I reached down and pulled her hand away. ‘I’m not looking for any of momma’s care right now. All I want is a drink.’

She clicked her tongue at me. ‘You don’t even know what you need.’

‘I have my guesses.’

‘What do want? The games are over. You missed it by a few days. So if you don’t like what you see out here, then you won’t have a good time in there. Okay, honey?’

‘Alright,’ I said. ‘You want to have a drink with me then?’

She licked her lips. ‘Fine. Get me something with bubbles.’

I held my hands open to the door. ‘After you then.’ The other girls let go of my jacket as we stepped inside.

The first thing I noticed was the concrete area in the center of the room, filled with old blood stains, and barbed wire fences wrapped around it. We circled the arena to where a dimly lit bar sat in the corner of the room. I glanced back down at the arena, past the barb wire, thinking to myself for a moment.

The lady cleared her throat as she waited near the bar.

I turned and looked at her and the bartender, both eyeing me. ‘You have any scotch?’ I said, pointing my chin at the bartender.

He was polishing a glass in his hands, staring at me with his gaunt and lifeless eyes. ‘Fresh out,’ he said. ‘We got something similar though.’

‘Pour me a glass.’

He paused with his cheeks sagging off his face to look at the woman beside me. ‘And you?’

‘The usual.’

He licked the back of his teeth as his mouth hung open and then slowly went back to get us our drinks.

‘You missed a good match,’ said the lady. ‘I don’t know where they found those beasts. But honey, let me tell you, you missed a good one.’

I put a cigarette in my mouth and lit it. ‘You were here that night?’

‘I wouldn’t miss it. I had good money on it. Earned a good deal of credits that night. I knew which one of them would win.’

I reached back, taking my drink in hand, still looking down at the arena. ‘I bet there were some strange people in here then. People from all over, if it was that good of a match.’

She laughed. ‘It was packed in here. I’ll tell you that.’

‘Didn’t happen to see any halfers did you?’

She paused to take a sip of her drink. ‘We get all kinds in here.’

‘Yeah? How about a mix between Caasian and human?’

She put the drink down on the bar and turned back to the arena. Her face had gone serious, no more smile. ‘You going to take me upstairs, or do you like chatting down here?’

I squinted my eyes a bit. ’If you’d feel more comfortable up there. I’ll pay to keep talking.’

She picked up her drink and then nodded her head toward a large spiral staircase, hanging down from the wall.

I followed her up into one of the tiny rooms. I pulled a bent chair from the side of the wall and sat down in it, as she sat on the edge of the unkempt bed. ‘Pay me upfront,’ she said. ‘I want the money now.’

I took out my rectangular piece of glass and tapped it on hers, transferring the credits. ‘There you are sweetheart. Now you ready to talk?’

‘She came in here the other night with a few others at her table. I sat close enough to hear parts of their conversation. Something about a crystal. But I didn’t catch any more of it.’

‘Come on momma, you know more than that. What about this crystal? Your ears seem pretty sharp.’

She licked her lips again and raised her eyebrows. ‘They didn’t talk money,’ she said. ‘It seems they were mad at another realm. They talked about releasing something in one of them. I don’t know what. But that was all I heard. After that, I came up here with my client.’

I took a sip from my drink and set it on an unsteady desk next to me. ‘If you had to guess, what realm do you think they were talking about?’

She bobbed her head a little and then looked at me. ‘Well, I’d say it was probably the same one you’re from.’

I nodded and then put my cigarette out with the heel of my boot.

‘She’s a mean woman you know. Listening to her. She’s got something on her back she can’t get rid of. People with grudges always seem to want throw ‘em on everyone else.’

‘Have they been in here since then?’

She shook her head. ‘At least I haven’t seen them.’

I finished my drink and left it on the desk. ‘Mind giving me a call if you spot her in here again?’

She looked up at me and then winked at me with a kiss.

— ♦♦♦ —

I left the house of whores and went on further into the city. The infinite white around me began to wane behind the skyscrapers and tall monuments that stood high in the air. I went deeper in, weaving through all the narrow alleyways, heading for an area where people went to hide.

I passed by a handful of dive bars and cheap karaoke joints. The alley was so tight at one point I had to flatten my back against the wall to push myself to the other side. I found a nice stretch of shops lined in the alley before me. Some had makeshift steps crawling up to their second story, others were fortunate enough to have proper staircases near the back, but they all had one thing in common: they were cluttered with useless junk.

I walked along the side, looking into each of the shops until one of them caught my eye. Of course, it had ill-fitting steps that led up to it. I guess there aren’t many people buying crystals nowadays anyhow.

I went up the stairs, cracking one along the way up into the store. An old woman greeted me as if she were breaking out of a deep trance. Her hair was silver, frizzing down to the small of her back, and her lips were swollen as if they were stung by a bee a few times. But the thing that caught me were her eyes, frosted over with some kind of cataract. I don’t know the actual condition in the mid-realm, just that it’s a similar condition.

I began to look at her collection of crystals and stones, smelling the foul scent of overused incense, wafting tackily in the air. I picked up one of the stones, turning it in my hand a few times. It was fake. I could’ve broken if I wanted to, so I set it back down.

The woman approached me and took hold of my hands to feel the pulse running along my wrist. She then quickly grabbed my face to look me in the eye. I felt her rubbing my temples with her thumbs as she held her fingers underneath my jowl. ‘Your kidneys are weak,’ she said. ‘They’ve built up deposits inside them. Deposits that you’ve passed before, with a great amount of pain.’

I laughed. It was a common ailment. Men who drank enough got stones from time to time. I backed away and pulled a cigarette out of my jacket. ‘Do you mind? What’s one more stick of incense in this bouquet?’

She waved her hand as if to say I could smoke.

I did.

‘Smells better already,’ I said.

‘You’re life is a thread.’

I shook my head, laughing at her. ‘I’m sure you get a healthy dose of gas on a regular basis. Pretty strong I assume.’

She squinted her cloudy eyes, not looking right at me, but in the general direction. ’You live holding onto that string,’ she said. ‘You once had a cloth, large and wide, but now it’s unraveled, leaving you with a tiny rope to cling to. You should’ve died long ago. It’s not natural, what you do.’

I exhaled a plume of smoke, not really caring if it went in her face. ‘Do you actually know about crystals or is this just a front for some circuit you got behind the scenes?’

‘I’ve worked with crystals my entire life. Unlike you, I stay away from the gases and drugs you speak of.’

I shook my head. ‘Whatever. Listen I came here to ask about a rare stone I’ve heard of. Something that can bring spirits out to cause a bit of trouble. You ever heard of such a thing?’

She closed her eyes down and held onto a crystal rosary near her stomach. ‘You’ll need to be more specific. Do you want to see your ancestors? And what kind of trouble are you expecting out of them?’

I rubbed my eyebrow, leaving my cigarette between my fingers. ‘They’d better not be my ancestors. Let them stay in the ground. How about Imps though, lots of them, going from cheeky to violent? Any lights going off upstairs?’

She continued to shuffle the beads in her hand. ‘An Ipthian crystal. There’s a few. Very rare. Bright green, fibrous. They were said to have been found by the Caasians, in some remote location, long ago. They were used for various purposes, most unsavory, if you can imagine that.’

I waved my finger in a circle to keep her talking.

‘No one is allowed to touch them though. They’re all locked up in a hidden realm somewhere.’

I flicked some ash in one of the incenses burners. ‘What do you think would happen if a Caasian got a hold of one now?’

She paused for a second. Her white eyes moved inside her skull, looking nowhere in particular. ‘It depends on the Caasian. We don’t live in the ancient world anymore. They’ve calmed down since the war. Especially after being banned for almost a century from inter-realm travel. So what would a modern day Caasian want? You might understand them better than I do.’

I shook my head and stubbed out my cigarette. ‘What do you think an angry one would do?’

She laughed a dry sardonic breath. ‘Get whoever they’re mad at. Now should I focus on your kidneys? When did your last stone pass?’

‘Another time,’ I said. ‘I’ll see you around.’

I walked down the steps and stopped when she spoke behind me.

‘Be careful what you get involved with,’ she whispered. ‘Some rewards don’t pay off in the end.’

I looked up at her and tapped my hat. ‘I’ll keep that in mind.’


— ♦♦♦ —


Next Week: 

"The Cabanga Situation" Illustration Copyright (c) 2017 by Toe Keen. Used under license.The Cabanga Situation.  By Nick Swain, Art by Toe Keen

Next week we’ll feature an old-school gangland story.  Mike Finley remembered a time when Frank Scarlin didn’t have to speak a word to make his point understood; he’d just show the gun under his arm and that point would get across.  Now the two of them sat in the closed, deserted bar waiting for the Sword of Damocles to fall.  Frank’s rival Vincetti was finally gonna make his move…the show-down to end all show-downs.  This story has more twists than a king-sized rollercoaster!  You don’t want to miss it.

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