The Causeway was deserted, save for the night time stars that glimmered gently overhead. Salty ocean breeze blew gently inland, as the waves lapped softly to the rocks. The moon was overshadowed by grey clouds, and not a creature was in sight.
Save Damien, who was sauntering down the lane by the sea.
And the men that flanked him on both sides.
They carried lighters in their hands, flickering the light every so often in the darkness. They moved with minimal sound, while the glow of numerous flames cast an ethereal quality to the men dressed entirely in black. Once, the light reflected off a shiny surface, but they were wise to conceal their weapons carefully.
The silent procession continued until Damien raised his hand, signalling his men to stop. At once all the lights went out, and they waited in darkness, like hunters awaiting their prey.
Out of the shadows a man stepped forward, and acknowledged Damien with a nod. As the man lifted a cigarette to his lips, Damien produced a lighter from his pocket, and ignited it. The rest of his crew began to kindle their own flames.
Thirty other men, dressed in identical shadows, stood behind him.
"Rather a large gathering tonight, my boy."
Damien remained stoic. "Not at all, Jake. What business brings you here?"
'To my territory?' The unspoken words hung heavy in the air, but Jake smiled in spite of Damien's iron will.
"Is that how you treat your elders, boy? With such obstinacy?" Jake goaded.
"I will not waste time with you, Jacob. For the last time, stay off my territory. I control the docks. Businesses and boats are under my dominion. Your next attempt at wresting control from me will end- in your demise." Damien stared coolly at Jacob, who was doing a poor job of concealing a smirk.
"Arrogance at the prime of youth, I see. When you've been around for a long time like I have, you'll have seen everything."
Damien's fury flared as he grabbed Jake's collar. The men on both sides drew their weapons. Out came blades, chains and staves, but Jake raised his arms in mock surrender. Damien took a deep breath and released him, smoothing the creases he made on Jake's trench coat, his fingers trembling with anger. He moved closer to Jake's ear.
"I did not merely inherit my position, I earned it," he hissed. Then calmly he moved away back to his members, who kept their arms ready by their side.
"You've made your point, boy. Let's go," Jake threw a grin at Damien before retreating into the shadows.
"I don't know how you put up with him." Ethan remarked with a bitter glance to the retreating clan as he came up to Damien.
"That's business," Damien sighed. "Only twenty two and already I feel so old," he said to his closest friend. Ethan draped his arm around Damien's shoulders.
"Not as old as the geezer Jake," he grinned. "Let's go home."
DJ Lesser (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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