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Whiskey, Blood, and Magic

Chapter One

The night Jake Reece sang onstage with Burnt Offering, he realized everything he feared was going down.
He’d been discovered by Darkened hunters.
And they were going to go all out to get him. 
Let’s talk about the band opportunity first, though. Singing for them had initially sounded like a killer opportunity. Burnt Offering played speed metal suitable for an action movie soundtrack. They were young pretty guys with black flowing hair thrown studiously to one side, their tongue rings like hidden weapons. They reminded Jake of musician friends in California who were snotty as hell to him until they saw him surrounded by girls at a keg party (He’d looked like a cult leader). Well, these guys radiated gothic hauteur on such a laughable level that he thought getting onstage with them would be great fun. Besides, they were dying to have Jake play front man for a few nights. He was a hot commodity in Atlanta. His progressive rock band Lost Angel was about to get signed, and his theatrics and playboy reputation were a huge draw.
The drummer, bassist, and guitarist had showed up at Jake’s bartending gig at the trendy Midtown bar Medusa’s like starving children demanding justice in a Charles Dickens novel. They were fucking tired of their singer’s coked-out bullshit, so they’d told him to hit the road.

“You gotta save us, man. It’s just for three nights,” the bassist insisted, pounding the bar with a determined fist.
“Yeah, the shows are already booked,” the drummer added.
“Alright! I’ll do it! I’ll do it! I’ll sing!” Jake exclaimed, and then he made celebratory shots while listening to a wild tale of the fired singer attempting to throw the bass player’s girlfriend off a balcony. 
He saw playing with them as a chance to rejuvenate his creative juices. Plus, it would be a nice distraction from his personal problems…and the pressure to join the world of magic.
He wound up putting a lot of energy into the short project, even rewriting a few really cheesy songs for them. He also thought the band needed a little pizzazz infused into their drab look, so he dressed flashy for the metal role: a tight mesh top, lace-up front leather pants, and a gauzy black scarf around his neck for a glam touch. Dyeing his hair black for the show was another fleeting notion he had, but then he decided to stick with his vanilla streaked russet mane. 
“Dye your hair black? Have you lost your mind?” a waitress scoffed when he mentioned it at work. “Where would you be without that candy colored mop of yours?”
She was right. His distinctive front man looks were what everyone expected.
Sure enough, the bar Ironworks was packed. Jake came out onstage to a wild clamor and raised pumping fists. The girls went wild. The guitarist Kurt charged out onstage playing a Flying V that looked like a medieval weapon. Slinging long black hair, he went right into a power chord slashing riff. A swirling bed of fake fog made him look like hell spawn. A double bass drum fusillade joined the thrashing sound, and then the bass player barged into it all with a deep romping thump. Kurt indulged in a passage of flashy arpeggios and blazing runs before Jake began to sing the opening lines to Motel Hell.