Joseph Black

An urban-fantasy novella. It is an untold story between the chapters of its parent book: The Gauntlet of Maltese.

The scent of gunpowder and rain lingered in the darkened room. A broken window, a busted TV, and five bodies all met the detective at the scene, an apartment in Hell—a place that cops didn’t go to anymore.

The call came from a neighbor around 2 AM. There were bullet holes stamped everywhere, and the detective, Joseph Black, searched the nearest body for gunshot wounds in the beam of his flashlight, but strangely, the boy hadn’t a scratch on him.

Of course he wasn’t a boy, Joseph thought. This one’s shirt had a spray-painted ‘N’ on it like the others. They were soldiers from the East-Hell Demons, a powerful gang, or at least part of the new breed of Demons that had shown up within the last six months. Intel was short these days on what went on in the Hell district. It had been like that for a good thirty years, but now it was like the whole district had been wiped off the map by the reaches of death, crawling their way from the east-side. Of course not the actual Death though, the Angel, no—this wasn’t that magnanimous being, and Joseph knew this because he had met Death—over two years ago.

No really, he had.

These woundless deaths were the work of the Angel of Zero City, but why had he been here tonight?

Joseph turned off his flashlight and tucked it away. Whatever the Angel’s doing, Joseph thought, he doesn’t need my help. Besides, I better leave before other Demons come, wondering why their friends haven’t returned.

Joseph stepped over the bodies and inspected a broken window facing an ally. This was exactly the Angel’s style.

He thought about the Angel, how he had met him, and how he had helped change his life. Each day is still a struggle in Zero City, and even though the detective sensed that some sort of great event was on the horizon, personally, things used to be a lot lonelier….

The End

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