Author: Emma Hamm
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Copyright 2019 © Emma Hamm
THE DROWNING MAN
The name would go down in history as the man who gave up, no, ruined, his own life. The man who once had everything. A thriving career as a doctor. A fiancée so blindingly beautiful she rivaled the sun. A future brighter than her love. All ruined, destroyed, decimated by a night in a god-damned circus.
He stared at the glass in his hand, ignoring the sounds of merriment in the bar where he was trying to drown his sorrows. How was it fair that his world could be taken away from him so easily?
She was supposed to stay as long as he needed. Hell, she was ready to say "I do" and pledge her life to him, but one night in the circus, one night when he stopped worrying about his reputation, and suddenly he wasn't worthy of her? How many men had she disappointed like that? A stiff breeze would have blown away that woman's loyalty.
He tossed back the whiskey, draining the glass, then slammed it back onto the bar. It wasn't the top shelf quality he was used to, but it would do. The taste didn't matter when all he wanted was to get drunk.
The worn bar had cracks in it, likely from the war. The bartender behind the counter was a grizzled old man, suspenders stretched too far to hold his pants up, and a bowler cap hanging low over his brow.
Frank didn't even know where he was. But it didn't matter all that much. This place had alcohol. He'd rather be here than anywhere else.
A hand clapped down on his shoulder, and when he looked, he noted there was dirt caked underneath the nails. "Frank Fairwell, we need you to come with us."
"No can do," he replied, then motioned to the bartender for another drink. "I'm indisposed tonight."
" 'Fraid that's not an answer I can take."
"It's the only answer you'll get."
The bartender hadn't moved at all. The man remained at the other end of the bar, cleaning glasses and ignoring that Frank existed. Didn't he know who Frank was? He narrowed his eyes when the world tilted dangerously to the side.
At the very least, Frank was a paying customer. How dare the bartender ignore him? He might not have as much money as he'd had before, back when his trust fund was still in his name, but that didn't mean his savings was gone. He wanted to spend it all on this man's whiskey.
The hand on his shoulder tightened, and then the barstool disappeared from underneath him. The room whirled in front of his eyes. Red leather benches, cracked and torn. Wooden floors that showed the wear of booted feet that had stomped through hundreds of times.
"What the-" he had the chance to say, before being tossed from the bar so fast he thought he was flying before he hit the ground.
Air spewed from his lungs, spit flecking the ground in front of him. His lungs screamed for air, but he couldn't quite get them to inhale. Had he broken something? He was destined to be a doctor for God's sake. He should know when he was hurt.
Coughing, he rolled over onto his back and stared up at the man who'd thrown him. Or... three men, so it seemed. He couldn't quite be sure; they were moving a little awkwardly. Perhaps that was his vision impaired by the alcohol.
Once he could focus on the three of them, he realized they were hulking monoliths of men. Broad shoulders, bulging muscles, jaws that were far too square and expressions far too grim. These weren't just thugs on the street, they were hired men.
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