canal street

he walked down the shadowed street, cold river-mist floating in from the east, the air laden with the smell of old whiskey, spent fireworks, and old old cemeteries. he walked with his hands in his pockets, head down, feet shuffling silently along in the dim light cast from the only remaining street lamp a few blocks back. He rolls his eyes as the faint sounds of mardi gras whisper faintly from bourbon street, and he kicks at an old beer can, startling a stray cat who screeches and scuttles off into the darkness.

the vampires would be out now, eternal hunters, enjoying the warm blood of the revelers, getting drunk on the glowgreen chartreuse that runs thick tonight. The man takes a deep breath and looks up at the sky, lit with the burning fires of a million candles and a million lights burning all throughout the city. his dark eyes try to pierce the heavy fog and smoke stirred up by the last few Mardi Gras rockets and bonfires, and he fancies he can see the stars, little pinpricks of clear light glittering in silence above this fetid city.

He looks down, and his eyes fall upon the closed doors of another nondescript bar. The wooden plaque above the dusty stained glass reads "Christian's", but he doesn't care, he just wants a place where he can drown his fears and hate in a bottle of some powerful liqueur. He pushes on the wooden slatted door, opening it slowly on rusted hinges, the slow creak echoing in the still silence of the near-empty bar. The long low bar stands at the back of the room, and a tall man, immaculate in his long black coat and long dark hair glistening on his broad shoulders stands behind it. a haze seems to fill the place, smelling of primroses and incense, a few soft notes begin to play from a beat-up old jukebox sitting in the far corner. a tiny fair stands there, her thing frame swathed in spidersilk and fishnets. her thin face shines pale with dark splotches of makeup like bruises underneath her large black eyes.

The tall bartender shifts his attention from the girl to the newcomer, a tiny flicker of protective love shining briefly in his bottomless black eyes. He seems to regard him for a moment, then dismisses him as any kind of threat, passing him off to make a few more swipes with his cloth over the already-clean bartop. The man shrugs and glides effortlessly to the bar and sits atop one of the tall stools, perching like a crow on its hard edge. His eyes scan the racks of old bottles hanging on the wall behind the alabaster visage of the beautiful bartender. The little girl, she can't be much older than 16, moves cautiously up to the bar and climbs onto the barstool next to him and he starts as she whispers 'christian, may i have another screwdriver?' her soft voice breaking the heavy silence of the bar. The tall bartender, Christian, complies, mixing the drink weak and dripping two cherries into it. she fishes them out with her fingers and eats them, sucking them like little candies before slowly beginning to sip at her drink.

The man sighs and orders a bottle of chartreuse and pours it into the empty glass handed to him by Christian. they say that chartreuse glows in the dark, and if you drink enough of it, your eyes will glow green for hours....