Bride of the Dark One
by Florent Verbell Brown
Copyright 2010 Florent Verbell Brown
The last light in the Galaxy was a torch. High in the rafters of Mytoh's Cafe Yaroto it burned, and its red glare illuminated a gallery of the damned. Hands that were never far from blaster or knife; eyes that picked a hundred private hells out of the swirling smoke where a man danced.
He was good to look at, moving in time to the savage rhythm of the music. The single garment he wore bared his supple body, and thighs and pectorals and a cloud of dark hair wove a pattern of desire in the close room.
Fat Mytoh watched, and her little crafty eyes gleamed. The Earth boy danced like a he-devil tonight. The tables were crowded with the outcast and the hunted of all the brighter worlds. The man's warm body, moving in the torchlight, would stir memories that women had thought they left light years behind. Gold coins would shower into Mytoh's palm for bad wine, for stupor and forgetfulness.
Mytoh sipped her imported amber kali, and the black eyes moved with seeming casualness, penetrating the deep shadows where the tables were, resting briefly on each drunken, greedy or fear-ridden face.
It was an old process with Mytoh, nearly automatic. A glance told her enough, the state of a woman's mind and senses and wallet. This trembling wreck, staring at the man and nursing a glass of the cheapest green Yarotian wine, had spent her last silver. Mytoh would have her thrown out. Another, head down and muttering over a tumbler of raw whiskey, would pass out before the night was over, and wake in an alley blocks away, with her gold in Mytoh's pocket. A third wanted a man, and Mytoh knew what kind of a man.