Temporary Monsters by Ian Rogers - Read Online
Temporary Monsters
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Summary

Felix Renn is a private investigator in a supernatural world, an alternate reality where a dark dimension called The Black Lands co-exists alongside our own. Travelling to and from The Black Lands is dangerous - and illegal - but that doesn't stop some of the creatures that reside there from crossing over into our world from time to time. After a man goes berserk in a posh Toronto restaurant, Felix suddenly finds himself torn between both worlds as he is drawn into a deadly game of movies, murder, and monsters.

Published: Burning Effigy Press on

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Temporary Monsters - Ian Rogers

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Monsters

Chapter 1

The waiter got killed before he could drop off the bill.

I happened to be looking toward the back of the restaurant and saw him coming: a tall smooth-faced man in a black vest, carrying a slip of paper on a small plastic tray, winding his way through the maze of tables. Gel didn’t have a lot of space, and although it tried to make the most of what it had, there were simply too many tables for so small a room. All through lunch I kept waiting for one of the waiters to trip and deposit someone’s order in their lap. It was something to do while I waited for Sandra to stop talking.

Presently she said, It’s just not enough, Felix.

I sipped my coffee and muttered, It never is.

You’re not even listening to me, she said, using that petulant tone I didn’t miss at all.

I’m listening, Dee. I just don’t care.

She fell silent. I didn’t need to look at her to know she was pissed. I could feel her eyes burning a hole in the side of my head. Not because of what I’d said, but because of what I’d called her. I plead ignorance on that one. The divorce lawyers never told me I was supposed to relinquish the nickname along with the house key.

Sandra heaved a big sigh. Would you at least look at me when I’m talking to you? I hate it when you zone out like this.

I turned and looked across the table at her – Sandra Clifton Renn, although she’d probably be dropping the Renn in the not-too-distant future. She didn’t need it for me or for her work. Not anymore. She was on the downslope of her acting career, and she knew it. Her last sitcom effort, Not Tested on Animals, had been cancelled a month ago, after only three episodes aired. The network said it was dumping it because of low ratings. I knew the feeling.

I’m listening, I told her. You said it isn’t enough. I know. I’ve heard this bit before.

"You hear, Felix, but you don’t "listen."

I took out my wallet as the waiter approached. At the table next to ours, a young guy stared at an untouched tuna melt. He was alone, but that wasn’t unusual. Gel was one of the few restaurants in downtown Toronto where you could dine alone and not look like a dateless loser. It was a hangout for actors, both successful and struggling. I thought the kid looked familiar, but I couldn’t make the connection. Early twenties, black feathered shoulder-length hair, white Oxford shirt, dark slacks. He had probably done a pilot that never got picked up. He had that kind of look, the one that said, You might remember who I was, if I ever did anything memorable.

And then he did.

As the waiter was placing the bill on our table, the kid suddenly leaped out of his chair and looped his arm around the waiter’s neck. His other arm encircled the waiter’s waist, pulling him back into a tight embrace. The kid pivoted them both around, like a couple performing a clumsy dance manoeuvre, and I saw something that made me drop my wallet and my jaw.

The kid had fangs.

I only saw them for a split second before he sank them into the side of the waiter’s panic-taut neck.

A surreal couple of seconds followed. Everyone in the restaurant kept eating and talking as if nothing unusual was happening. Then the waiter reached out with one flailing hand, grabbed onto our tablecloth, and pulled it away like an amateur magician. Everything on the table – our plates, cutlery, my glass of water, Sandra’s glass of white wine – went crashing to the floor.

Then, as if this was his cue, the waiter began