Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Pit

Content advisory: violence, dog fighting, adult language.

Cody Reid roamed the crappy greater LA neighborhood simply because he had to move and stretch his legs. His little apartment was too confining but it was all he could afford.

He prowled with long strides, traveling unfamiliar territory. Wound tight, he needed release from the tension coiled in his body. He turned down a street lined with dead and dying spindly, young trees. The houses looked no better and most looked worse.

Scantily dressed women chatted in small clusters while grubby children played nearby. Tough looking young men eyed him as he went on his way. He looked right back at them, unafraid, not intimidated in the least.

He kept going, working off the tension, or at least trying to. He turned down an even worse street. The unmistakable sounds of an aggressive dog drew his attention. Not one dog. At least two. Maybe more. His curiosity roused, he followed the sounds of the animals.

A canine cry cut above the indignant yell of a man.

What the fuck was going on? More people verbally joined in the commotion and understanding clicked into place.

“Sons of bitches,” he hissed and homed in on the noise, following it unerringly toward a large, abandoned looking building. The door stood ajar but two large men who appeared to be overage gang members stood at the entrance.

Cody strode past them as if he had zero interest in the goings-on’s inside the ramshackle building. No one gave him a second look which made it clear that what they were doing took place on a regular basis and no one fucked with them.

He made his way on by the building and kept going till he reached the end of the block. He turned right, went to the end of the block and doubled back toward the building. If there was one thing that burned Cody’s nuts, it was someone abusing an animal. And that was what was going on back there.

At the back of the building he stopped and scanned for a way inside. No doors. No windows. He went around the side and found one small window. He eyed it critically. Not at all sure he could squeeze through, he looked for something to pry it open with anyway. He sure as hell didn’t want to smash it and have a bunch of goons come to investigate the noise. That is, assuming they heard it over the dogs fighting in the front of the building.

Cody had no idea what he was going to do beyond snapping a few pictures with his iPhone for evidence. Over the sounds of combat in the fighting pit, he couldn’t tell how many people were there but it sounded like a shitload of the sons of bitches were taking part in the festivities. Where there were dog fights, there was also betting and money changing hands.

These were not people who would take his presence in a good way. Not that he was a coward. He wasn’t. But he wasn’t an idiot either.

He found a piece of flat metal that might work to pry the window open. He snatched it and hurried over to the filthy pane of glass. After some wiggling, he managed to get the edge under the frame. He put his weight on the metal and to his satisfaction the window gave to the pressure and rose silently.

Cody hoisted himself up and through the opening. He dropped almost soundlessly into a room that apparently served as nothing more than junk storage. Picking his way carefully through the disaster area, he headed for the doorway.

The sudden cheer of onlookers left a cold pit in his gut. A moment later two dogs got busy trying to rip each other to shreds, much to the delight of what had to be a considerable crowd of spectators. If there were that many people, he should be able to slip in, snap some pictures, and get out of Dodge.

With that thought, he pushed open the door leading into what was being used as a fighting ring. Two pit bulls were busy tearing each other to shreds. The scent of blood was thick and the dog’s growls were savage. His stomach turned. The dogs were bloody, both badly injured, each determined to kill the other.

A thick ring of onlookers had formed around the canine combatants, cheering or cursing, depending on which animal they were betting on.

No one paid Cody a bit of attention. He slipped his phone from his pocket and clicked three fast pictures of the action which consisted of one dog with its teeth buried in the other’s throat.

Cody pushed closer. He wanted to video the scene but he wouldn’t get away with it and not be noticed. His hand squeezed so tightly on the phone that the case cracked. Forcing himself to relax his hold, he maneuvered closer. The smell of blood was overpowering. He tensed, his muscles twitching. He held himself in check with difficulty.

A sudden shriek from the dog that had been choking its foe brought cheers and curses as the animal’s powerful jaws locked down, breaking bone.  

“Son of a bitch, bastards,” Cody said. “Ruin good animals.”

A man turned and stared at him. And then another. And another until a cluster of men were no longer watching the dogs. The fight was over. The stronger dog had the loser on its side, its teeth locked on its throat. The dog gasped to breathe.

“Who the fuck are you?” a large scruffy man demanded.

“Name’s Cody.”

The big man came closer. “I don’t know you. What the fuck you doin’ here?”

“I just heard the good time and walked in. Meant no harm, dude.” Shit. Things might get ugly fast. And if he lost control things would get a hell of a lot uglier than any of these redneck fucks would be able to imagine. Problem was, he couldn’t let that happen.

“This is a private affair. We don’t like people just invitin’ they selves in.”

Cody held his hands up like a shield. “Sorry, man. I’ll just leave. No harm.”

A beefy hand shot out and grabbed Cody’s arm. “You ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

“Get off me,” Cody said and jerked his arm loose. “I don’t give a rat’s-fuck about what you’re doing here.”

“That so, cowboy?” The man moved fast. His hand dove into Cody’s jacket pocket and pulled out the iPhone. “Let’s see what you’ve been taking pictures of. Yeah, I saw you.” He gave Cody a cold smirk.

He scrolled through the last few pictures with a scowl on his face. “For someone who doesn’t give a rat’s-fuck you sure have a lot of pictures of something that’s none of your biz.”

“I liked it. No big deal. I wanted pictures.”

“You must think I was born yesterday.” He drove his fist into Cody’s stomach, doubling him over. Before he managed to straighten, the ring of men closed around him.


Cody opened his eyes slowly. His body ached in a hundred places. He rolled onto his side and groaned. Outnumbered, he’d been on the losing end of a serious ass-whipping. Now he lay in a small room with peeling paint and dirt covered walls. There were no windows and he was willing to bet the door was locked.

Shit. Now he’d done it.

His body quivered. He glanced at his watch. 10:54. Jesus, he’d been out a long time.

“Hey, Tom,” a voice said from the other side of the door. A guard?

“He in there?”

“Yeah. Boss wants you to take care of him.”

Holy fuck. Cody struggled onto his feet. They were talking about him. And not in a good way.

“Not a prob. Want him done here or somewhere else?”

“Take his ass out of here. Too big for the dogs to eat.” Both men laughed.

So what was he going to do? Go with Tom and take care of things while they were alone at whatever place Tom decided to murder him? Or wait for them to open the door and give them a taste of what they obviously enjoyed enough to sacrifice countless animals for?

Why should he show them an ounce of mercy? After all, they were plotting his death.


Cody stood close to the wall, head lowered, eyes trained on the door. A low growl rumbled deep in his chest. He planted his feet and waited. They were just on the other side of the door. He smelled them. Two men.

Someone flipped open the lock with a loud click.

Cody gathered and braced himself.

The knob turned.

Cody hunkered down, ready.

The door opened.

Cody leapt.

He landed on the man in front taking them both down onto dirty, bare linoleum. The man let out a squall of surprise and fright.

Another man burst into the room. “What the fuck?” He rushed forward and kicked hard, catching Cody in the ribs. He yelped but it wasn’t enough to dislodge him from the man pinned on the floor. He grabbed the man’s throat, clamping down. The man thrashed, flailing, struggling for breath.

The second man pulled a weapon but he didn’t get to use it. Cody released the first man and leapt toward his companion. Catching Weapon Wielder in the shoulder, Cody yanked with every ounce of his considerable strength. Weapon Wielder went down hard, screeching like a girl, he tried to pull away. The gun dropped from his hand and clattered on the floor.

The man struggling under Cody punched hard, catching him in the stomach. The blow hurt but he didn’t yield except to go for the man’s throat. Getting a lock on him, Cody jerked hard. Bone cracked. The man gasped, his eyes bugged then rolled up in his head. He fell away from Cody and lay unmoving.

Cody turned his attention to the other man who stood frozen, staring at his deceased comrade.

The man let out a little hiss of fright. His eyes locked with Cody’s then he spun and fled. He made it through the doorway before Cody went after him.

An extremely ugly middle aged woman and another man rushed into the building, presumably to the aid of their scumbag friends. Both skidded to a halt.

He launched, catching the running man in the back. Growling, Cody clamped powerful jaws on the back of the man’s neck and bit hard. The man’s scream was piercing. Tasting blood, Cody locked his jaws as the man tried to fight for his life. His two would-be rescuers didn’t bother to confer with one another, they simply ran away.

Cody jerked his head, breaking the man’s neck. He released the dead man and trotted calmly toward the open door. His toenails clicked over the linoleum. He couldn’t stop his bushy tail from waiving high over his back.

He went through the door. Outside a few people lingered around a bon fire. The ugly woman stood beside a junker car. “See,” she yelled. “See, a wolf. It’s a fucking wolf.”

Cody couldn’t laugh in his wolf form but he wished he could. He charged at the humans and they scattered like cockroaches. He didn’t give chase. He kept going, racing down the street and quickly putting the shitty neighborhood behind him.

He’d only killed two of the dirty bastards but the police would see what was going down and take care of the rest.

Pleased with putting them out of business, Cody broke into a trot. There was no need to rush. It wasn’t like any of them would catch up and harm him. There was a hell of a big difference between abusing a poor dog and taking on a werewolf. If only they would come after him. . .  He slowed to a walk, taking his time—in  case one of them brewed up a case of courage.

With his appetite for destruction and lust for blood wetted, he padded along, hoping for another kill.

 ~ Nickie Asher ~

If you missed any of our previous posts and would like to catch up, you can purchase the Digital Digest Volume II anthology as an ebook for only $.99.

Copyright © 2011 Nickie Asher

All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Daria's Dating Dilemma, Part Three

Daria’s Dating Dilemma, Part Three
When we left Daria on Aug 26th, she was facing down the guy she’d just insulted and hours of horror at a party…

I walked forward with confidence, silently praying Keith wasn’t the type to hold a grudge. I held my hand out and, miracles, he shook it. “Pleased to meet you again.” I leaned in a little closer. “Sorry about last night.”

Keith removed his hand and frowned. “We’ll see. Maggie and Pat have set up snacks in the kitchen.”

“Oh, I’m not hungry,” I lied. Why stain a perfectly good skirt? Unfortunately, my belly chose that moment to rumble a loud symphony of starved in B flat.

Keith grabbed my elbow and tugged me along. “Don’t be silly. Try Maggie’s quiche.” My face must have given me away because he laughed deep and rich again. “Or there’s crackers.”

Crackers- no stains. I smiled and walked with him. It felt good to hear him laugh. Maybe he was the type to forgive a drunken girl’s mistake and move on. I’d really had fun with him last night, maybe today would be passable?

As soon as the kitchen door closed, I awoke from fantasy land and my dream Keith was gone. He leaned against the island frowning at me. Well, shit.

“I did say I was sorry. I was completely mistaken and I regret insulting you.” I started but got cut off by his movement away from me.

“Now you think it’s terrible to be gay?”

This was going from bad to worse and fast. “Absolutely not.” I snapped my mouth shut before my foot could slide further.

“Look, I know the honest truth about what you assume of me. So let’s try to get through this civilly. Honestly, when Pete told me about you, I couldn’t believe it was the same girl. Maggie and her stupid blind dates…”

“You get them too?” I tried injecting some humor into the situation and he cracked a semblance of a smile. “For what it’s worth, I did have a good time last night until my slip up.”

I made plans to underline the last rule in my notebook as soon as I got the chance. Why was it a gay man easily forgave you for thinking him straight, but a straight man held a grudge? Hell, they should find it a compliment.

“You were going to eat something,” Keith interrupted my thoughts, stacking his small plate with little food stuffs.

“Right,” I answered, not knowing what else to say. “Just taking in the selection.”

“It’s vegetables, crackers, dips, cheese, and quiche… are you that picky?”

A look at his face confirmed he was joking as I piled the less disastrous options on my own plate, cheese and crackers. “Well, I did keep hoping brownies would magically appear.”

He laughed outright. “Brownies would definitely have been better.”

“I make great brownies,” I winked as we walked out of the kitchen.

“I’ll have to try them sometime,” he responded sending my heart pounding. Was this it? Four rules written and Mr. Right had just fallen into my lap? Or was Keith the king of mood swing rollercoasters?

I looked over the room at hearing the increased chatter. A few more people had arrived while we’d been sequestered away. I studied the faces, thankful I didn’t recognize anyone so far. Keith guided me into a corner.

“Do you recognize anyone yet?” I shook my head and he grinned again. “So we don’t have to make their acquaintances yet. Want to play the story game again.”

“How well do you know Maggie?” I asked instead, not daring to add any possible insults to my good fortune.

“Not well.” Keith ate a carrot and thought about it before swallowing. “Only met her a few times. The few dates I’ve had with her friends went horribly bad.” He leaned in close enough I caught a whiff of his delicious cologne. “I’d say snob.”

“I won’t say anything then.” I hedged. “I love Pat to pieces and if he loves Maggie, there has to be something to like.”

“Well said. How long have you known Pat?”

I smiled warmly and found my friend across the room. “We grew up next to each other. Matter of fact, he was born a day after me. We were neighbors from birth you could say. Same schools until college, but we still kept in touch.” I pointed to a picture on the table next to us. “That’s me in the wedding photos.”

“You love him?”

I got the reaction a lot and nodded. “I love him like a brother.”

Keith smiled down at me and I grinned back. “You know, he gave me quite the speech about you. Even if Maggie called you a last resort.”

I laughed, surprising him I could tell. “Maggie holds a grudge. I drunkenly offered to spirit Pat away the night of his bachelor party. I was supposed to be at the bachelorette shindig, but skipped it to be at his. One of his friends let the secret slip in the best man speech.” I paused. “Were you at the wedding?”

“I had to miss it. I was working an account in England, but I did get a tape.” He stopped and then chuckled. “You’re the Daria Ned was talking about.”

I gave a little curtsey. “One and the same. Regardless of the laughs on the tape, Maggie didn’t find it too funny. I still get introduced as the friend who tried to kidnap her husband.”

Keith, bless his soul, actually winced on my behalf. “That goes over well I take it.”

“Not really. Stick with me today and they’ll avoid us like lepers.”

He moved in closer and whispered huskily, “Deal.”

We traded small talk about our childhood while finishing our snacks. Soon enough Maggie hustled everyone by us for introductions. I winked at my date as they all quickly found other places to be. I wasn’t kidding when I’d suggested her friends hated me. I was the plague she inherited by marriage. 

Too soon after, we were herded into groups for games. Keith and I ended up at Pictionary. Maggie, rot her, had set up game stations and we quickly learned many of the folks present were paired on blind dates.

“Remind me to get her a matchmaker hat,” I whispered to Keith, who chuckled and earned us stares from the team playing.

Finally our turn to draw and guess arrived. I was the champ at Pictionary; hell my dad and I were unbeaten in our family history. I hoped Keith was just as good. I drew my card, decided how to draw it out, and waited for the timer to be set. Putting marker to pad, I was confident Keith and I would kick some Pictionary ass.

“Stick, uh… tree. God, I’m horrible at this.”

I hurried to try a different method, confusing my date further. The competitor in me wanted to win, the lonely woman in me beat her into submission. I frowned at the paper when the timer went off, shrugged, and sat down next to Keith again.

“Sorry,” he whispered in my ear. “I’m better at trivia games.”

“How are you at charades? I think it will be our next rotation.” I smiled, resisting the urge to stick my tongue out at the other players. There were no rules in Pictionary saying we had to be silent.

“I’m not sure, it’s been awhile,” Keith answered. “And I can tell your competitive. “

Crap. “It’s okay. I’m just used to playing with my family. Let’s practice charades.” I motioned over my shoulder and then mimicked eating and drinking.

Keith snapped his fingers, ignoring the startled woman beside him. “Let’s go to the kitchen for more snacks and drinks.”

I touched my finger to my nose. “Bingo,” I said, standing and smoothing my skirt. “Excuse us, we’ll be back. If we miss our turn, just play on.”

We moved quickly and sneakily toward the door, trying not to get caught by the host. I let out a sigh of relief as the door swung closed behind us and the kitchen was empty.  Maggie had put the snacks away, so I grabbed a bottle of water and took a sip. I swallowed and studied the label. Peach flavored, how uptown of her.

“You know, Daria. There’s something I wanted to do last night and I didn’t get the chance.”

I turned back to him. “What’s that?”

I was about to ask him if he’d meant to slap me or throw beer on me. Instead, his lips covered mine. By some other date miracle, I’d sat the peach water back on the counter before he moved in. My hands wrapped around his neck as his mouth studied mine. It was the sweetest, hottest kiss I’d ever tasted.

I let him lead, knowing it wasn’t smart for a girl to charge on (thank you, Cosmo) and my heart skipped a beat when his tongue traced my lips. Oh, I wanted to taste him. I pulled him closer and opened my lips in invitation. Keith molded my body into his and the heat of the solid muscle under the laid back clothes caused me to moan.

“Sam, you just have to see the kitchen remodel! I’m so glad you could…” Maggie’s excitement cut off as the door smacking into Keith’s back startled everyone. “Oh, I’m sorry Keith, can I help you find something?”

I quickly looked for a place to hide. Sam, otherwise known as Samantha, was Maggie’s best friend and therefore my arch nemesis. The fact that I’d just been caught in the kitchen in a less than proper position flushed me with color and guaranteed my leper status for centuries. I could hear her now, “This is the woman who tried to kidnap my husband and then acted lewdly on my granite counter…”

Keith’s left arm moved ever so slightly, allowing me to shift my position and hopefully cover up our previous activity. Thank God for tall men and my short stature. “No, my date and I were just looking for more wonderful snacks.”

“Oh, Daria. I didn’t see you.”

I nodded. “Hello, Maggie. Sam.” I caught her studying Keith’s face and sent a thank you to whichever scientist invented stay proof lipstick. “I was wondering where you found this great water.”

“Oh, it’s special delivery from Franco’s down the street. It is delicious, isn’t it?”

I nodded and watched as the long-legged, flat bellied, full chested Sam set her sights on my date. “I’m Sam,” she purred at him, fluffing her blonde hair with one hand while holding the other out. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”

Attention, this is your captain speaking; we’re going down… The alert rang out through my head. The only escape was to leave the kitchen by the back door and pray someone let me in the front. I cursed the tiny townhouse kitchen until Keith surprised me.

“Nice to meet you, Sam. Have you met my date, Daria?”

I blinked in surprise and then smiled broadly at the bimbo. I had actually won a round with the Pam Anderson twin. Keith tucked my arm in his and smiled politely at Maggie. “Maybe we’ll get something later. We’re probably missing our round at Pictionary.”

I let him lead me out, but I dreaded the silly games to come. I had managed to squash my competitive side once, would I be able to keep doing it? I was locked in a sea of sharks and had to play nice. God help me.

“I’ll try to do better,” Keith laughed and I realized I’d prayed out loud.

I smiled. “You better, or it’s off to Pictionary boot camp for you,” I joked to cover.

The best date of my life so far and I just wanted it to end before anything could happen to ruin it. The front door slammed and Pat turned as a man walked into the parlor area. I froze.

“Scott?” Pat asked, astonished. “I didn’t think you’d make it.”

I watched, paralyzed as they hugged in their manly way and Maggie rushed past us to greet him. Eventually, Scott’s eyes turned and met mine. I saw surprise, warmth, and then the dreaded anger. Oh, for fuck’s sake! I wanted to throw my hands into the air and sign into a nunnery.

“Why, Keith, have you met Daria’s fiancĂ©?” Sam chuckled smoothly behind us.

“Ex!” I countered quickly. “Ex-fiancĂ©.”  Who is forever ruining my life, I added silently.

Mental note, rule number 5: Make sure your worthless, lying scumbag of an ex will NOT be at any date or anywhere within a 50 mile radius.

I looked up into Keith’s face hoping to find forgiveness. I should have dragged him out the kitchen’s back door and asked Pat to mail my handbag and jacket to the Bahamas. So much for my first great date…

Please return for the continuation of Daria’s journey on October 26th, only here on Digital Digest. Get more for your dollar and catch up with us by checking out our ebooks on Amazon!

~Jennifer Feuerstein~

Copyright © 2011 Jennifer Feuerstein
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.