Fuck. He thought his eyes were open but it was dark as fuck. Couldn’t see a thing. The waves of pain told him he was awake, though. They’d worked him over a bit after the blow to the head. Whoever they were. He tried to stretch out, move but there wasn’t enough room. Feet pressed against something, legs bent up, knees bumping against some rough surface. Goddamned hands tied together. And for fuck’s sake. A goddamned ball gag in his mouth. He growled, biting down on it, tongue pressing against it. Cheap bastards. Was only a whiffle gag. They thought this was going to get rid of him? It was damn near insulting. Someone must have only given them the barest of instructions. Gag his mouth, keep his hands restrained. Did they know why? And why not just kill him?
He ground his teeth on the gag, determined to bite through the fucking thing. No fucking way he was going to die in a goddamned grave trussed like a holiday bird. Drool ran down the side of his face as he chewed at the gag. He could feel it starting to give way then finally his teeth crashed together. Fuck. Finally. It appeared he hadn’t been doing enough to keep his rep intact. A year ago nobody would have had the balls to even think about taking him on, whether they knew he was a mage or not. Snarling, his fingers worked at the knots. Taking a breath, he let it out slowly, then muttered a few words. The ropes glowed with that weird green light of mage fire and burnt away. He shook his hands as much as he could, dissipating the fire before it burned on through his wrists. It felt like he was in some kind of movie. But without a cell phone or training in the one inch punch.
He’d kick himself in the fucking ass when he got out of here, falling for that young bitch that way. Christ, you’d think he was old enough to know better. Did they know who he was? Or did their employer just tell them what he wanted without any explanation? No way they’d done this on their own. He didn’t look like a good enough score. Didn’t matter. He’d find them and they would lead him on up the chain. He closed his eyes, breathing slowed, extending his senses. They’d been too lazy to dig deep, just enough to cover whatever box they’d dumped him in. Ahh, there, that was the spot. He drew up his legs then pushed out, using both his body and magical force. Nails screeched as the lid flew up then fell back down. He pushed it aside, climbing stiffly out of the hole. Ripped the fucking gag off his head, spitting away the drool. He brushed off as much dirt as he could. Goddamn, he’d just bought this fucking shirt yesterday. He kicked at the coffin lid. Roughed up plywood? What the fuck did hey do, steal it from a Wild West ghost town?
So. They’d dumped him in some rundown cemetary. Which was well away from the city judging by the clear sky and all the stars. Fuck. He’d have to swing a ride back. Without any money. His wallet had been inside his jacket and gods only knew where that was. He looked around, trying to figure out how to get to the road. The bonfire was a complete surprise. Surely the assholes hadn’t stayed to party.
“Mannn, this is some primo weed,” the chick exhaled slowly. “Great gig you found us, Timmy.”
“Heh. Did you have to show him your tits?”
“Get over it, Timmy. It worked, didn’t it? God. I didn’t even have to fuck the old dude.”
“Still, did you have to go that far?”
“Oh, get over it,” she said, jumping up. “How many men have you tried getting in bed? Besides Matt and John here have seen them.”
“Yeah, but that’s different.”
“Why, cause you like to fuck in a pile?”
“Damn, Tim, relax man. Here, take a hit of this.” Matt passed the joint over. “Take a walk with it, call the man and see about getting the rest of our money.”
Timmy took a long pull from the joint then stood up. “Yeah sure, whatever.”
John looked up. “Roll another one, Becky. Dude was dressed like a bum but this jacket is nice. Fuck, look, a roll of money. People still use money clips?”
The mage shook his head. These potheads were the people who had left him in a shallow grave? He squinted at the girl. Yep, that was the chick. There was that tattoo poking up above the neckline of her tanktop, whatever the fuck it was supposed to be. He supposed he was lucky he got hit by these whackjobs instead of real pros. At least nobody would ever hear about it.
The mage watched Timmy walk away, yanking a phone from his hoodie. He looked back at the group before following Timmy. Business before pleasure. He needed to know who had set this up. The headstones made it tough going, had to step carefully around fallen stones. Wouldn’t do to roll an ankle.
“Hey, yeah yeah it’s me,” Timmy said into the phone. “Yeah, it’s done. Yes, we did what you said. God. Yes the fucking gag and hands tied. What’s up with that kinky shit, anyway? Plan on visiting him later?”
He’d finally gotten close enough. A few whispered words and he could now hear both sides of the conversation. “That is none of your concern. As long as you have followed my orders.” Who the fuck was that? He would swear he knew that voice.
“I fucking told you we had, didn’t I? What about our money?”
“Meet my man the same place as before. He’ll have it for you.”
“And more of that weed?” The mage slid up behind Timmy, reaching out and squeezing the boy’s shoulder. The man on the other end was still speaking as he picked the phone up.
“…does not come free. If you want any more, you will have to purchase it the same as anyone else.”
The mage grinned. He knew who it was now. “Well, well, turning to murder and drug peddling now, Andrew?”
“You are still alive,” Andrew said after a slight pause. “And free. After he assured me you were taken care of.”
“Just can’t get good help these days. Ya know, bad things happen when you cheap out on your sex toys.”
“I am sure you have personal experience in such matters.”
“Oh, of course. Who hasn’t heard of the orgies at my house. Faeries, trolls, the guest list goes on and on.” His voice lost the light tone, anger bleeding through. “Why’d you do it, Andew? Can’t operate on my level so thought you’d take me out?”
“Oh, that is just like you, assuming everything is always about you. I was hoping you would die in that grave but that is fine. You have been kept out of the picture long enough. It is too late for you to stop me now.”
“I’m still alive. Just remember, you want someone dead you take care of it yourself.”
“Duly noted. You have been moping around and to drunk to see what has been right in front of you. Just stay away. You have been outplayed, Gwydion.”
“Perhaps. I guess I overlooked you for too long, Andrew. Thought you weren’t much of a threat since you couldn’t hardly do any magic. I won’t make that mistake again.”
Andrew just laughed and ended the call. Gwydion swore and threw the phone against a headstone. With a growl he kicked Timmy in the head and stomped toward the bonfire, muttering under his breath. He slightly glowed in the dark as magical armour covered his body. It was time to get his jacket back.