Kyla sighed loudly, loving the sound of her breath rushing out into the night sky, the city noises just a few steps away as her hands found the lock, thrusting the key into it as she forced the old heavy lock. Ramming her shoulder against the door, it swung free and she groaned just as loud as the protesting hinges.
"Dammit, Raul," She complained, as always. "Get the damned door fixed…."
"Never, m'dear," he answered from the depths of the room. "It keeps out the Normies. Only someone with above human strength could force that door open." Kyla made a face, grabbing for her work apron.
"Yeah, and what would you do if your beloved employees broke their shoulders on the thing? Who would serve your drinks then?" She asked in a falsely sweet, innocent, smiling voice. Raul looked over his shoulder to the girl, a smile brightening his features.
"I would just have to kill myself then. Good thing I have you." Kyla groaned, and slumped forward on her feet. She grimaced as her employer laughed, and hefted up the part of the bar counter that lifted to admit the worker behind.
Kyla proceeded to move through the motions needed to complete the check-list before the bar could be opened for the night. Raul hummed behind her, counting and re-counting the money in the till before closing and locking it. Whatever good that'll do, Kyla complained to herself. Come on, we serve to fucking vampires, werewolves, faeries and more, like a little lock like that will stop them….
In just that moment, Raul glanced in her direction, and winked. Kyla frowned and looked away, continuing to wipe down the bar, and then the glasses. She didn't hate her job. Honestly, she kind of liked it. Often, Kyla heard stories of newborns of what was referred to as "the Underworld", how they struggled to understand their new lives as a cursed creature, and often, she heard stories of how they were killed. Kyla knew she had it easy, she knew that the necromancer who brought her back to life was kind enough to abandon her at the bar.
At least this way she was able to adjust. She knew she was lucky. Not even dead six months and she was well adjusted. She had a job, an apartment (granted, she had to share it with a rather disagreeable nixie), but it was better than struggling to make sense of what happened to her.
Plus, she got to meet other zombies.
"Alright, you ready to open for the night?" Raul asked from the other side of the bar, his hand positioned on the switch that would turn on the light switch that would turn on the neons to the sign that proclaimed the bar's name. "The Silver Cross." Raul's master, years ago, had opened the bar, and jokingly called it two things that the most famous Underworld creatures were allergic to. Kyla found it highly amusing her first time to the bar.
Well, not her first time. She couldn't remember her first trip to the bar. She was newly risen, didn't know anything, couldn't see past the fact that she smelled blood and formaldehyde in her nose. However, her second trip, that was the memorable one, meaning, the one she could remember. It was that trip she found the name amusing.
"Ready or not, it's time to open isn't it?" Kyla responded, positioning herself behind the bar. Raul laughed, throwing his head back. His long thin finger flicked the light switch to the on position.
"My dear, I know not what I would do without you."
"I thought you said you'd kill yourself," she responded again, dryly this time. Laughter flowed out of Raul again as he made his way to the bar.
"Hey, Eddie," Kyla warmly welcomed a regular to the bar, stuffing another patron's money into her apron pocket. "Your usual?" The old werewolf smiled kindly.
"If you could." His words were muffled by his large pointed teeth that crowded his mouth. After being attacked by a hunter of his kind, Eddie was forever trapped between human and wolf form. Nodding, Kyla turned, pouring vodka and a mixture of other juices into a small glass before setting it before Eddie.
"On the tab, or up front?" He barked out a laugh at Kyla's joke. To the werewolf, everything was on tab. Or specifically, on the house. Raul owed a rather odd debt to the man.
"Just yell when you want a refill. I'm sure we'll all come running to do it for you." Kyla's smiled and turned to another customer who had just taken a seat next to Eddie. "Can I help you?" The girl smirked. Kyla glared at her, before she recognized, and nearly screamed in frustration.
"You know what you could help me with," she lisped past fangs.
"If you say one more word about wanting me in any way, shape or form, I'll have Raul throw you out." Kyla nearly growled, annoyed, frustrated, and at her wit's end with the horny vampire.
"But he wouldn't dare!" the vampire said, shocked. "I came with Uncle Eddie tonight." Contradictory to popular belief, vampires and werewolves did get a long pretty well. At least, in this town, in this part of the Underworld. Kyla let out a noise of impatience. Raul glanced at her from a length down the bar. Gritting her teeth, Kyla turned to the vampire.
"What could I get you, to drink?" she said between clenched teeth. Eddie laughed, amused by the situation.
"I'll order if you say my name," the vampire goaded, resting chin on her hands and smiling sweetly.
"Jezebel," she spat out the name. "What can I get you to drink?" The vampire smiled happily and clapped her hands.
"Some of that delicious yak's blood you serve. And I'd like it with some lemon and orange in it." Kyla muttered something about "as you wish" as she went to work, pulling out the chilled bottle, flipping it in her hand, before dropping it back into the cooler, before sprinkled the requested juices, spinning the bottles in her hands. When Kyla dropped the glass in front of the vampires face, she very politely thanked Kyla before drinking deeply. "I swear, you get better at making that drink each time I come here." Kyla scoffed.
"Of course I do." Sniffing, Kyla turned away from Eddie and his guest, helping other patrons. The two remained for the rest of the night, as another bartender reported for duty, as Raul and Kyla took breaks in turn.
"Are you ready to leave yet?" Kyla accused the vampire roughly. "You've been here all night! What is wrong with you?"
"I fear!" Jezebel started, melodramatically. "That I have fallen for you!"
"Yeah, whatever, you say that nearly every night, stalker." Kyla huffed, pouring Eddie another drink. The funny thing about an Underworld bar is that its main hours were from dusk until dawn, the hours the cursed dare to leave their daylight hiding places. It made it easy to have a steady income, as dusk 'till dawn were the usual hours for a bar, and the fact that it was closed during the day wasn't abnormal. Unlike the Underworld clothing shop. The owners often ran into trouble with their odd hours.
"Well, ladies and gentleman," Raul announced, "It's nigh sun-rise, and is time for me to close up. Feel free to finish your drinks, no more re-fills." Turning, he began placing dirtied glasses in a cart that would be taken to the backroom and washed. Eddie smiled, and swayed slightly in his seat.
"Looks like I ordered a re-fill at the perfect time. Now, if I could manage to make this drink last for as long as possible." Eddie laughed, his words mangled by his teeth and drunkenness.
"No, no, Eddie," Jezebel chided the older man. "We must be in bed long before sunrise, and would you like to force poor Kyla to stay so long? She's been serving us since night break!" The vampire winked at Kyla, making the zombie blush with what little blood she had left in her body. She turned away, still blushing, wiping out a glass furiously before placing it in Raul's cart.
The odd thing about zombies was that their hearts still pumped, but after time, the blood rotted in the veins, and congealed, causing the decomposing to accelerate. Kyla's necromancer knew what he was doing and did two things: siphoned out a great deal of Kyla's blood, and with what little blood he left in her body, mixed it with formaldehyde. So her heart still has something to pump, and she could still blush.
The werewolf and the vampire bickered in a teasing way as Raul, Kyla, and Liam, the other bartender, did their clean-up. Before long, they were the last of the customers in the bar. Sighing, Eddie stood and waving, left the bar. Kyla was making the rounds, wiping down tables and collecting dirty glasses when Jezebel leaned over her shoulder.
"You're cute when you blush," she whispered into her ear, then bit her ear playfully. Kyla blushed, and violently recoiled, holding her hear. In the background, she vaguely heard Raul laughing as Liam shook his head, smiling.
"How can you laugh!" she screamed, shrilly, as Jezebel left the bar. "She violated my ear! Of all things to violate, an ear!" Raul continued laughing, still stacking glasses into the cart. Huffing, Kyla finished cleaning the tables.
"Well," Raul started, "We can count the till early tomorrow, since Eddie and your suitor kept us so late. It'll be fine. And you know, no one would dare rob us, so just go ahead and take fifty in tips, both of you, and leave the rest in your apron pockets." Liam and the zombie nodded, untying their aprons. Kyla's was a long house-wife style apron, complete with a cute little slogan, with a silver cross embroidered on the top left corner, while Liam's was a more masculine half apron. The silver cross was on the bottom right of his apron. His seemed to conspicuously missing the slogan, and Kayla only then noticed that.
"Hey, Raul?" she called out, still at the bar, while Raul was just coming out the backroom.
"Hmm?" he answered, locking the door to the kitchen with a look.
"Why does my apron have a slogan on it, but not Liam's?" Liam looked up from gathering his things, surprised. He walked over to where Kyla stood by the bar to examine the aprons.
"She's right. Mine doesn't have a slogan on it."
"Well, my dears, what does the slogan say?" Raul asked, tiredly. He rarely stayed in the bar all night. Generally, closing was left to Sylvia, his apprentice, but as she was currently… indisposed, he was forced to run his own bar for once.
"Silver kisses and crossed fingers," they said in unison, both leaning over Kyla's apron.
"I doubt Liam would want something like that proclaimed on his apron," the warlock commented, and Liam nodded. "In fact, I don't even know if Kyla wants it. It does seem that you are… claimed, to say the least." Again, Kyla blushed. Liam smiled, chuckling a little.
"Whatever," Kyla muttered, fed up with the teasing. "I'm heading home. Night guys, I'll see you tomorrow." Waving over her shoulder, Kyla stepped out into the night, breathing in, her dead lungs filling with useless oxygen. She didn't need to breathe, but a lifetime habit was hard to kill.
Smiling, Kyla turned left, and walked through allies and dark streets to her apartment.
AN -- Enjoy!
Granted, the title here is not the actual title (it's actually called Before I Fall Apart), but I'll leave it at that until I finally finish the story and re-post it.
Reviews are much appreciated.