And Jericho Burned

 

Stoker Smith caught his first whiff of his future as the band finished their set.

His spine tingled as he inhaled the scent of something sweet and wonderful, like a mountain meadow in spring; something female and green, that hit his nose like a bronco kick to the gut. As he tried to separate the layers of fragrance mingling in a potpourri of perspiration, stale beer, and the perfume marinades in which the honky-tonk angels had soaked, he realized there was another element lurking in the atmosphere of the bar.

Fear.

She was terrified.

She needed him. Now.

“Come on, Stoker,” Tokarz de Lobo Garnier–Toke Lobo to his fans–said. “Break time.”

Stoker switched off his electric keyboard and threaded his way through speakers, equalizers, Luke’s drums, and the other paraphernalia of the band to the edge of the chicken-wire enclosed stage.

“She’s here,” he murmured to Tokarz. “And she’s in trouble. I need to find her.”

“Who’s here?” Tokarz asked.

“My mate.”

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