- Small Worlds
- Chapter Eight
The three men had very different builds. One was blond, one brown-haired, but the leader was, like the prophetess's barmaid incarnation, red-haired. The one thing they definitely had in common was that they were all pointing guns at Vaniah. And they not only looked crazy enough to shoot him, but appeared to have enough crazy left over to keep shooting, reload, shoot him until he stop twitching, and then shoot him some more for good measure.
And the day was going so well, Vaniah reflected. He had made a new friend (well, turned an enemy into a not-enemy, that was something at least), had gotten his gun back, and avoided the prophetess yet again.
And yet somehow, the multitude of worlds, trouble seemed to find him. These three had found him and Visstor merely an hour after they had jumped from the train onto what Vaniah later found out was Dringenberg's World, a satellite of Cree'ata.
Vaniah had followed the path (and the trail of Chocolate Cakincreem wrappers) to a settler town, where he and Visstor had proceed to find the nearest alcohol serving establishment.
Vaniah was on his third Screaming Viking, while Visstor was still nursing a gin-and-nozzie, when he heard the guns click. He turned around slowly to see the three men.
"Hello," the red-haired one said cheerily. "These are my associates, Jack-in-the-bush and Jack-in-the-pulpit." He motioned to the blond and brown-haired ones and then nodded downward at himself. "And I am Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon. Silly name, yes, but one my ema gave me. I prefer, however, the moniker Noonjack." Noonjack's grin almost went from ear to ear. "I'd say we'd prefer not to have any trouble, but my dear old ema, well, she told me never to tell lies."
"There must be some way we can work this out," Vaniah said, hand trying to subtly reach down to his gun. His eyes turned to Visstor, who had somehow moved to the other end of the counter and was trying very hard to look like he didn't know Vaniah. Visstor gave him a small shrug that looked strange coming from a shedim.
"Oh, there is," Noonjack said. "All your worldly and otherworldly possessions and you lying on the floor, slowly bleeding to death. That's one way this'll work out. Hands up."
Vaniah couldn't touch his gun without one of the three seeing and he'd prefer not to be shot, so his hands stayed up. The Prophetess worked fast; however, when he thought about it, he didn't see these men as employees of hers (she prefered minions who didn't question or have opinions of their own) and considering she had been thrown off before he and Visstor had jumped, she probably was still looking for where they had landed.
"Excuse me, gentlement, for prying," Vaniah asked, "but under whose employ are you under?"
Noonjack's head tilted to the right a bit. His teeth were a grayish tint. "Technically," he said, "we're self-employed. But we've decided to lend our plentiful services to this here town."
"Services?" Vaniah asked. "As what?"
Noonjack laughed and said, "As law enforcement, of course."