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STRAY: Chapter One

STRAY: Chapter One

STRAY: Chapter One

by J.K. Hogan

“Tell me, my young friend, have you ever heard of the Midnight Sentinel? No? Don’t worry, I am not surprised. If we’ve done our job correctly, you wouldn’t have.

“What would you say, little mouse, if I told you that nightmares are real? That all of the stories you’ve heard of things that go bump in the night are true? All things that howl, prowl, bite, and kill—from vampires to werewolves, from wendigos to witches, monsters to demons. Would you believe me? Would you take care?

“Your face tells me that you don’t, and you wouldn’t. That is why the Midnight Sentinel exists. Though religion is such an archaic notion conceived of by primitive humans…things like Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil… but I can assure you, dear boy, that there is a Hell—and we are living in it.”

~ Sebastian Locke, said to Ethan, a go-go boy giving him a lap dance

****

Same old shit, different day. That was the thought Sebastian Locke had as he walked down a darkened alley in the Lilliputian city of Beltrane. He’d found himself heading to Club Sanctuary for the third night in a row, because he had nothing goddamn else to do. Estranged from his old-money-rich family and harboring a life-destroying secret, Sebastian drifted along the fringes of life, constantly at loose ends.

It was why he took such risks, like walking alone in the deserted alley. It was why he had no fear when the trio of thugs in hoodies approached him slowly, posturing like chained male dogs when someone invaded their territory. Maybe it was his waist-length white-blond hair and pale blue eyes. Perhaps it was the innate arrogance that came from being born into aristocracy, or maybe it was his utter inability to give any fucks about them, but something about Sebastian seemed to instantly provoke these humans into violence.

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