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       Aine: Another Complication (Tales of the Executioners), p.1
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Aine: Another Complication (Tales of the Executioners)


  Tales of the Executioners

  AINE:

  Another Complication

  A short story

  By Joleene Naylor

  https://www.joleenenaylor.com

  Joleene@joleenenaylor.com

  Second Edition, 2017

  Copyright 2013 by Joleene Naylor

  Cover images courtesy of carloscastilla and canstockphoto

  Cover by Joleene Naylor

  Ramblings from the Darkness at https://www.joleenenaylor.com

  You never know what you’ll find in the shadows…..

  Tales of the Executioners:

  Aine

  Ark

  Verchiel

  Beldren

  Byrn

  Bren

  Lisiantha

  * * * * * * * * * *

  Other books by Joleene Naylor:

  Amaranthine:

  0: Brothers of Darkness

  1: Shades of Gray

  2: Legacy of Ghosts

  3: Ties of Blood

  4: Ashes of Deceit

  5: Heart of the Raven

  6: Children of Shadows

  7. Clash of Legends

  8. Masque of the Vampire

  9: Goddess of Night

  Also:

  Vampire Morsels Collection: 17 Short Stories

  101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire by Joleene Naylor

  Heart of the Raven Mini Prologue Collection

  Tales from the Island: Six Short Stories

  Thirteen Guests: A Masque of the Vampire companion

  Road to Darkness: A short story companion to Brothers of Darkness

  COMING SOON:

  Tales of the Executioners

  * * * * * * * * * *

  Thanks to Susan Koenig and Bonnie Mutchler for their ninja-like proofreading skills.

  * * * * * * * * * *

  What is an Executioner ?

  The Executioners are the vampire’s equivalent of special police. They go on “assignments” that The Guild (the vampire government) sends them on, and they don’t have a reputation for being very nice. It’s a reputation that is often well deserved.

  For more on Executioners and the universe they live in, check out the Amaranthine series by Joleene Naylor.

  * * * * * * * * * *

  This is the first in a collection of short stories, Tales of the Executioners. Each story is about a different Executioner from the Amaranthine universe.

  Aine becomes an Executioner during Ashes of Deceit, taking over for Philip. You can find Aine in the novel Ashes of Deceit. This story takes place at the same time as the novel Heart of the Raven.

  This story may contain violence, strong language, sexual content or other disturbing scenes and is not intended for a young audience.

  * * * * * * * * * *

  Aine

  The phone reception was good, though background noise on the bus made it hard to hear. Aine plugged his other ear and listened as the male at the other end finished his spiel. “Right,” he said when it was finished. “You two keep looking. I think I’m in the last known neighborhood, or I will be soon. If he follows his usual nightly routine, I should be able to intercept him easily. But just in case, if you see him call.”

  The male on the other end agreed and Aine hung up. Those two were more than capable of handling things on their end. They’d been trained, just as he had.

  He tapped an app shortcut on the phone’s screen and flipped through the information. He’d memorized the photo and the details. The included GPS map showed that he was only about half an hour from the guy’s den. Hopefully their information was correct and his quarry would do what he was expected to, then they could get everything sorted out quickly and head back to the Citadel.

  Aine stashed his cellphone in his coat and turned to the window. The bus pulled away from the curb with a load of new arrivals. Not that there was room for more. Despite the late hour, the bus was crammed with people jostling, arguing, laughing, talking, and, in the case of the man next to him, drinking. Aine scanned the crowd, seeking the newcomers. His brown eyes moved from person to person and then-

  “Hey! Watch it!”

  Aine jerked away but didn’t avoid the splash of hot coffee. It soaked into his coat and splattered across his black t-shirt. He was still better off than the coffee’s owner, who now wore it on his pants and his heavy sweater.

  “Sorry,” the guy said and mopped at the mess with a flimsy paper napkin. His eyes moved to the large, dark skinned man who’d nearly bowled them over. “Lousy drunk.”

  But it wasn’t just a lousy drunk, not if Aine’s nose and experience told him anything, and a hundred plus year couldn’t be wrong.  It was a vampire. Or rather the vampire Aine was looking for. It was almost as if he’d stepped off the cellphone screen.

  Right on time.

  “Excuse me,” Aine murmured to his seat mate and then casually stood and moved towards the front of the bus. This wasn’t the place for a confrontation. It was too crowded. There were too many witnesses and potential casualties. Vampires hadn’t survived for millennia by advertising their existence. In fact, the Laws were very strict. You were never to reveal yourself to a live person, or at least not one you were going to leave alive.

  The bus ground to a stop and Aine followed his quarry out onto the sidewalk. The vehicle had barely pulled away when the vampire glanced over his shoulder at his pursuer. Their eyes met and then he seemed to vanish.

  Aine groaned. “A wind walker, great.”

  That hadn’t been in the information.

  He gave the darkened street a quick glance and then hurried after him, though he knew he had no chance of catching up. They might both be vampires, but their skills varied, and he was no match for the other’s speed.

  He swung down an alley that was thick with the other vampire’s smell, and skidded to a stop as a large, hulking object seemingly appeared from the shadows.

  “Who are you?”

  Aine fingered the dagger in his coat with one hand, and with the other he flashed the silver medallion that hung around his neck. Made of twisted silver bands, it was more than just jewelry; it was a badge that identified him as one of the vampire guild’s elite police force.

  An Executioner.

  A quick hiss of breath and a step back showed that the vampire knew what that meant and all the shades of dark subtleties it implied.  “What do you want?”

  “The Guild sent me, Tom,” Aine said and let the medallion drop back to his chest.

  The reaction was slow, thoughtful. “What for?”

  “You know very well, after the mess you left. If you’d like to come with me, we can do this the easy way.”

  Tom snorted. “I don’t take invitations handed out by Executioners.”

  “Look, just come with me and-”

  Tom was gone before Aine could finish his sentence. Of course this had to be difficult. That was why he’d been handed the assignment. The Executioners with seniority didn’t want it, and they couldn’t hand it to the two new recruits, not that Aine had been an Executioner for more than a month and a half himself. He wished that Verchiel was back from his trip to Germany. He seemed like the kind of guy who would enjoy an assignment like this.

  With nothing else to do, Aine turned and headed back to the street. The light above the bus stop threw flickering light over the bench and its two new occupants. The pair of teenage girls looked on their surroundings with wide eyes and nervous, drunk giggles.

  Aine checked his watch and the faded bus stop schedule. It claimed another bus would stop within the hour, though he wasn’t sure if he should bo
ther. He’d lost Tom, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find him, if The Guild’s information was correct.

  And considering they’d been wrong about Tom’s abilities, it wouldn’t be a surprise.

  He leaned against the light post and waited. The teenage girls checked him out and giggled, at first obviously finding his young face and long, copper colored hair attractive. But, as moments passed and he remained motionless, not quite human but not quite something else, their approval slipped into dislike, and they shied away, sliding to the far end of the bench with apprehensive looks. It was that moment when you were too human, but still not human enough, and the mortals got scared.

  He didn’t feel like messing with them, or trying to fake mortality, so he abandoned the wait and headed out on foot.  It would be easiest to go to Tom’s den and wait. There were only a handful of hours left until dawn, and no vampire would stay out after that, unless they wanted to turn into a crunchy mess. He tugged his cell phone from his coat pocket to check the map again, but the device was damp with coffee and when he pressed the button nothing
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