Oumar ~ Hunters

Previously ~ Grey Eyes in the Dark

Anh Sinh Oumar
The moment Patrick mentioned the hunt, Oumar felt as though something had clicked on, was set in motion.  Something which couldn't be stopped.

"After you shower, we should head to the bar," Patrick suggested.  "Ami will want an update."

Once again, Oumar was getting the feeling that Patrick Mai wasn't who he said he was.  Or rather, he wasn't the way he appeared to be.  There was something about this glasses-wearing, buttoned-down, monotone accountant that Oumar just wasn't buying.

But then again, Oumar was far more alert today than he had been yesterday and he was noticing all kinds of things, like how small, dusty, and rundown Ami's bar really was.  Located in a quieter, less lit part of the Westchase district, it seemed invisible to the average person's eye.

As you walked through the front door, the bar was to the right, several tables and chairs to the left, and a small stage straight ahead.  When Patrick and Oumar arrived, a band was setting up.  A few patrons were already settling in while Ami tended bar.

Patrick Mai
Patrick pulled up a stool, clearly out of habit, and didn't even have to order.  Ami was already pouring him a Scotch on the rocks.

"What about you, cousin?" she greeted warmly.  "Craving anything special?"

"Appletini," Oumar shrugged innocently.  For a split second, Patrick gave him a "look" before smoothing his facial features back into his signature neutral expression.

Oumar didn't care.  Much like the dumplings from last night, an ice cold appletini hit the spot.  Ami was ever the consummate bartender, balancing the sour with the sweet.

"How did you sleep?" she pointedly asked her cousin.

"He woke in a fit," Patrick cut in bluntly.  "It seems Oumar got a message from your uncle about a dangerous man with grey eyes."

Ami nodded solemnly.  "I assume there's to be a hunt."

Though Patrick kept his face emotionless, Oumar picked up a tone, a note, the vaguest hint of something in his voice when he spoke.

"You assume correctly."

***



***

Oumar would've very much liked him to elaborate, of course, but a patron from the other side of the bar called, "Ami!  A song!"

Ami Oumar
Ami chuckled, flashing a broad smile and wiping her hands on a her barkeep's towel.  It suddenly occurred to Oumar that in all the years Ami had sung in bands, he'd never actually heard her.  And while he was oddly nervous for her, she seemed perfectly comfortable on the little stage, confidently grabbing the mike and smiling at her expectant audience.

Oumar gauged the slowly growing crowd, noting that they swapped and polished weapons openly, casually even.  The crossbow was clearly the favored weapon, and within a space of few minutes, Oumar got to see dozens of types, varying in shape, size and design.  Blades came in as a close second favorite; they were typically short and broad.  Some were straight, some were curved, all gleamed dangerously in the dim lights of the bar.

The hunters themselves were much more varied than their weapons.  Some were like Patrick, looking as though they'd just come from offices and board meetings.  Others looked like squeaky clean college kids, much as he himself had once been, and yet more still looked like as though they belonged in punk and metal bands.

But despite their highly diverse outer appearances, they all had the same look in their eyes.

Costumes, Oumar theorized.  They work and live simply to blend in.

"That's my sister Aryssa on lead guitar," Patrick suddenly gestured with a nod towards a moody musician with blue streaks in her hair.  "She was my last seer."

Vyvy Nguyen as
Aryssa Mai
Oumar blinked.  "Wait...wait, the one who quit?"

"That's right."

"Because she didn't like your methods?"

"Yep."

Oumar raised a wary brow.  "And, uh...you assume I'll like your methods better because...?"

Patrick gave the faintest sigh, as though his patience was starting to wear thin.  "Your cousin believes we'll be a good influence on each other, Oumar."

"Dude, how come you don't call me by my first name?"

"Because 'Anh Sinh' is a girly-ass name that doesn't even make sense," Patrick said.  "Don't get me wrong; you're not the only one with a Vietnamese mother. Mine had the gall to name me 'Patrick.'  She actually signed that to my birth certificate with a straight face like she was doing me some kind of favor.  But back to yours.  It doesn't really mean anything.  As my grandmother would say, 'Anh Sinh' is precisely the kind of name the Communists give their children."

Oumar bristled.  "That may be, but I'll have you know my parents deliberated heavily before naming me.  And to the West African ear, 'Anh Sinh Oumar' is a beautifully musical name."

Patrick's lips teased a smirk, but he didn't give in.  Instead he turned back to the stage where Aryssa was plucking out a few notes on her guitar.

"This is a song we've been working on," Ami announced.  "Bear with us; it's quite new and we're still debating some of the lyrics.  We haven't even it named it yet."

There was a ripple of chuckles in the crowd before Ami began.  Her voice was low, steady and haunting in a way.  Her band had a slow, stripp style of music which took Oumar back to the 1990s.

"So long, so long
So long, old friend
Hear tell you're off
Back on the mend

"Two limbs, two fractures
 Two wounds dug far too deep
Two lips, still trembling
Cannot will them to speak

"It's on, it's on
It's on, my old friend
We'll find it, we'll track it
And it's flesh will never mend...."


"She's singing about Rico," Patrick murmured.  "Dude went three rounds with a golem and nearly lost both legs.  Guys like him are the reason hunters rarely go out alone."  He finished his Scotch and didn't order a refill, nor did the other bartenders offer.  It seemed Patrick had a limit.  "So what else did your dad tell you about that man with grey eyes?"

"It was weird," Oumar said uncomfortably.  "We were surrounded by darkness, and I couldn't see him.  I just sort of heard him, felt him in passing."  He scowled at Patrick.  "You know, I thought I was supposed to learn stuff on the Other Side.  Not a whole lot going on over there, dude."

Again, Patrick almost smirked.  "Give it time.  Many people travel to the Other Side and back.  Or they commune with the Other Side.  They say first you have to learn to understand what you're experiencing.  Then you have to learn to remember.  Truth is, there's way more going on over there than you can imagine."

"I assume I'm supposed to see stuff that you intend to hunt."

"Yes."

"Like the man with grey eyes."

"Assuming he is a man," Patrick raised an eyebrow.  "Don't take everything you hear so literally.  The language of the Other Side is a bit more complicated than that."

"Okay, so...grey eyes.  We find this person...thing...how?"

"We'll have to run it by someone who's sight is a bit more trained than yours," Patrick replied.  "Grey eyes may mean nothing to you, but to someone like my sister, it's all that's needed to give me a target."

"And you've been doing this how long now?"

"Few years," Patrick shrugged.  "I was lucky enough to train under one of the greats."  He looked at Oumar.  "One whose methods people don't always agree with."

"Why do you do this?" Oumar asked, genuinely concerned now.  "Why risk your life this way?  I mean, you've got an education, you've got a steady job...."

Patrick looked over his empty glass briefly before pushing it away and looking back at the stage.  "Because if it wasn't this, it would just be something else."

Next ~ 101

Comments

  1. But then again, Oumar was far more alert today than he had been yesterday and he was noticing all kinds of things, like how small, dusty, and rundown Ami's bar really was.

    This made me laugh along with Oumar and Patrick's back and forth lol. Poor Oumar. I also find it funny that Patrick's sister was the one who quit on him.

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