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They had decided to go back to the cafe and lock the door behind them just in case. Rubacava wasn't the kind of town where you could just tell the police everything and neither Manny nor Nick was anyone important enough to ask for attention from them.

Especially when neither had no idea who had shot at them.

Manny had managed to catch a glimpse of the man before totally concentrating in escaping and he was sure the man had worn the traditional striped shirt and black trousers of seamen. It just made it more mysterious, why would a seaman want to shoot one of them?

Of course it was possible they wanted to avenge the sprouting of their friend, but why attack them? Like said, they weren't important and didn't have anything to do with the matter. It would have been so much more intelligent to shoot someone at the casinos.

"This dart is fine work. He wasn't just some amateur," he pointed out when picking one of the red darts up.

"That makes me feel so much better," Nick commented sarcastically and glanced around. Who knew if the man was still there waiting for them?

Manny slipped the dart in his pocket and he too took a glance at what happened around them. It was actually nothing, the sun shone and there was no one anywhere. Everything was quiet and it seemed the small cafe was totally away from everything.

"Let's go in," he suggested and Nick had nothing against it. After the sudden incident he didn't like the idea of walking around Rubacava in a while.

Not that he was very scared, but now when he had no position he had no protection either. Then again, this could be his chance of showing everyone he was someone.

"Might be the first time I agree with you," he stated. Manny closed the door and made sure it was locked, he didn't want anyone to rush in as long as it was this mysterious.

"Someone sure doesn't like you," he said to Nick, who shrugged.

"Why do you think I was the target? I just arrived here, I must be pretty difficult if I have already made enemies," he said.

"Maybe, but who would want to shoot a poor waiter?"

"Someone who is really impatient and wants this place down sooner than anyone believes," the lawyer said glancing at his wet clothes in disgust. They would dry pretty soon, but that didn't mean he felt comfortable now.

Manny didn't say anything to that, but thought that maybe someone in El Marrow had finally realised where he was and wanted to get rid of him. If that was it he would be hurt, was he really that unimportant that all they had to send after him was a common sailor?

"Or someone who just has found a new hobby," he commented.

"It could have been anyone and we will never find it out if we just talk. Maybe he had nothing to do with us, maybe he was just nuts," Nick suggested.

"Could be," Manny admitted, but he doubted it. It was more likely that everything was planned because everything had a meaning in Rubacava. But Nick was right in one thing, they would never find out like this.

Maybe if the man appeared again.


It was an early night in Rubacava and the action at the casinos started again. It was cool outside and wind blew through the city making everyone on a walk shudder. It seemed like it was going to rain and many seamen considered whether it was a good idea to set sail or not.

Because of the bad weather there was basically no one outside and Manny didn't expect anyone to come in even by accident. Not that he was on the mood to serve anyone, he had really lost his nerves with the arrogant lawyer.

Nick hadn't left despite Manny's hints, but had stayed inside. He was not going to go out when the weather was like that, he had suffered enough already.

"I think I'm going to go to sleep soon," Manny said placing cups in the cupboard. Nick gazed at him.

"Go ahead. I'm in no rush," he said. Manny was just about to say something sarcastic when the door was opened and Velasco stepped in.

"Where is that cursed demon? He promised to fix my cigarette lighter soon after visiting this place," the dockmaster said angrily and closed the door with a bang. The sound echoed in the building and it didn't take too long from Juelo to join them.

"Calavera! What is this noise?" he asked and noticed then that there were other people around. Two actually.

The bad thing was that neither of them looked like they were going to buy anything.

Manny ignored the question of his boss and turned to face Velasco.

"What do you mean? I haven't seen Glottis the whole day and he sure hasn't been here. Only me, Juelo and Virago have been here today," he said.

"Don't be stupid, son. Glottis told me he was going to visit you and that demon never lies," Velasco said to him and Manny knew it too. So if Glottis wasn't down at the docks or where he was supposed to be, where was he?

Suddenly he felt cold inside when he realised what might have happened.

"Velasco, at what time did Glottis leave the docks?" he asked. The dockmaster looked at him thoughtfully.

"I can't quite remember, but I believe it was at noon. Why?" he answered. Manny turned to face Nick, who sat on a chair not listening this conversation.

"Didn't we go swimming just at that time?" he asked and lawyer shrugged.

"How should I know? I don't have a watch and even if I did it would have broken during your little stunt," he said. Manny didn't answer, but tapped the table with his fingers.

If Glottis had left for the cafe at that time it was more than likely that the demon had faced the man who had tried to shoot them. And that meant no good, especially when no one had seen the demon after that.

Manny didn't know if it was possible to sprout a demon, but he sure didn't want his best friend to be the one to find it out.

"I'm going to look for him," he decided and Velasco glanced at him in surprise.

"Are you sure, son? For a lad like you it's pretty dangerous to go out at night. Especially now when things are how they are," he said. Manny shook his head.

"Could be, but I have no choice. I have to find Glottis," he said.

"Wait a minute! You are not going anywhere, Calavera! There's still an hour left of you duty!" Juelo protested finally joining the conversation. Manny pointed at Nick.

"He can take care of it, he owes me one anyway," he said quickly and stepped out before either Nick or Juelo managed to protest.

Juelo took a thoughtful glance at his new replacement worker. Oh well, anyone was better than Calavera.

"Okay then, take the mop and start to swipe instead of just sitting there," he ordered taking a seat himself.

"This sure isn't my lucky day," Nick sighed frustrated.


Manny didn't actually have an idea where he should start his search. He didn't know who had attacked them or where the shooter was coming from, but he had one clue.

The man had been dressed up like a seaman, so it was a pretty good idea to try the docks.

It wasn't the safest place for him right now, he was considered to be an upper town citizen and because of that disliked just like everyone like him. Everyone knew he had nothing to do with the casinos though, so he thought he'd be all right.

It was cool outside and if he hadn't been that worried about his friend Manny would have returned to the cafe, which was pretty warm despite the fact it didn't look nice. Then again, this way he didn't have to finish his duty so the reasons to stay out were pretty heavy.

He decided to check out the Bone Wagon to see if Glottis was there anyway. It was pretty much impossible that Velasco had missed the huge orange demon, but Manny had been in Rubacava long enough to know that nothing was ever what it looked like.

He heard a distant shout somewhere, but didn't pay it any attention. The moon glowed on the dark sky above the gloomy city. The only noise Manny heard was the sound of his own steps against the stone street.

A cat meowed somewhere and he was happy for not seeing the creature, he had never liked cats. Not that he thought they were ugly, he just thought they looked very vicious and mean.

When Manny finally arrived to his destination he knew he wouldn't find Glottis there. The door of the warehouse was open which was a very bad sign. Glottis would never leave it like that and allow thieves to steal his beloved car.

The door was very heavy and Velasco hadn't been able to close it so Manny didn't even try. But something seemed to be very wrong...

If Velasco had told the truth and Glottis had left to visit him how was it possible that the door was open? Wouldn't the demon have closed the door and met the shooter on his way? So who had been there and opened the door? And why?

"Hello?" he tried stepping in the dark warehouse. Because there was no answer Manny switched the light on and took a look around.

The Bone Wagon was still there and seemed to be fine. The floor was covered in small machine parts and tools and it looked like his friend had meant to be gone only for a short while. And yet the whole place was empty.

Manny was just about to switch the light off again when he saw something right next to the Bone Wagon. He quickly stepped closer and bent down to pick up a card.

It was exactly like the one he had found after Nicander had left the previous night and Manny took the first card in his hand to view the two. Yes, they were identical.

It made the mess more complicated, but it also told him Nick had been the target of the assassin, not him. Nicander had been interested in the lawyer and it seemed there was something much more behind this and Manny had no idea what it was.

It was also clear that Glottis had been a victim of the enemy and the card had been brought there as a warning. The one who had brought it must have known a lot about the city so that he knew where to take the card.

Manny slipped both cards in his pocket and left the warehouse switching lights off. He wasn't able to close the door so he could just hope no one would go in and break anything.

Now he had to find out what the cards meant and where his friend was. Manny hoped he wasn't hurt, Glottis was his only real friend in the world.

Maybe someone in town knew the cards and could tell him something? Manny was sure Nicander was somehow involved, but he had no idea where to find the man and he needed help.

He headed to the centre of Rubacava knowing he would find people there and that he could ask them about the cards. He didn't think they'd want to answer his questions, but someone had to help him now.

The moon made the water twinkle and Manny stopped for a while on the round bridge in front of Blue Casket. Only few other souls were there and they seemed to be caught in a romantic conversation.

Well, Manny didn't let it bother him, but stepped right next to them and tapped the man on the back.

"Excuse me," he said as the man turned to look at him angrily.

"What?" he snapped. Manny showed him one of the cards.

"Could you tell me what this means?" he asked politely and the man took a look at the card, then he glanced at him.

"Aren't you the man who works at Juelo's Rub-A-Mat?" he asked and his girlfriend laughed.

"No, he's my twin brother," Manny answered shoving the card closer. The man sighed.

"Listen, I don't know what that ugly thing is and I don't even care. Ask from Blue Casket, that looks exactly like something that would interest those freaks," he said wrapping his arm around the woman's shoulders and starting to lead her away.

"Well, it was worth a try," Manny stated and decided to do as the man had told. Maybe he would be lucky and get his answer in Olivia's club.

Manny had been in Blue Casket a few times, but had soon decided he didn't like the atmosphere. All customers were beatniks whose stupid poems full of pain and death just didn't interest him.

Olivia wasn't as bad as her customers, Manny could sense the greed inside the woman, but thought it was only healthy. You couldn't survive in Rubacava if you weren't selfish.

The door was open like usually and the quiet music seemed to welcome in anyone who just happened to pass by. Manny only took few steps before the blue atmosphere had totally captured him.

It was dim and he could only barely see the dark souls sitting at the tables. No one was reading any poems, but everyone seemed to be caught up in a conversation. For the first time Manny saw the beatniks that disturbed and it just made him feel even more worried.

"You know this card?" he asked from a young woman who sat right next to the door. She took look at it and shook her head.

"Never seen it," she admitted and concentrated in staring the wall again. Manny shrugged and moved to the next beatnik.

"Have you seen this card?" he asked. The man, who he was offering it, glanced at it and snorted in despise.

"I'm not interested in your cards," he answered.

"Couldn't you just try to remember if you've even heard about this?" Manny suggested and the beatnik at the next table joined the conversation.

"Your capitalistic cards don't interest us now. We have our own problems," he said and Manny could almost smell the hatred towards him.

"Okay then, I'll ask Olivia. She must know about this," he stated, but the man who had just spoken shook his head.

"Unfortunately you won't. No one knows where she is," he answered. When taking a glance around Manny noticed everyone was quiet now and watching what he did.

"Olivia has disappeared?" he asked.

"She didn't arrive here tonight, so Fredrico, who also has the keys, had to open the club," he was answered and he put the card back in his pocket. He doubted anyone recognised it and even if someone did they wouldn't tell him anything. Beatniks would stand together and might even throw him out if weren't against violence.

"All right, there seems to be nothing for me here." he said and quickly left the club before anyone made any questions. He didn't believe anyone was actually interested in him, but he didn't want to take any risks.

When outside he stopped to stare at the moon. Two strange cards, this Nicander, someone wanted to get rid of Nick and the disappearance of Glottis and Olivia.

Yep, it was getting more mysterious with every passing moment.

To be continued...

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