Chapter One - "Freeze"
The thought crossed Nathan's mind to ruin the fool's charade by teaching him a lesson in front of his own students. But he knew there was little need. The other gangs in this district would solve the problem for him before long. He ordered another drink and laughed to himself quietly, realising the similarities between how the poorest, and the wealthiest, control their own.
Drink number four came sliding down the bar and landed in Nathan's hand. He offered a nod of appreciation to the barkeep, noticing the look of relief upon his face. There'd be no need to mop up blood. Not tonight. And with numerous dark stains throughout the textured flooring in the bar, and the last two nights yielding scrimmages for entertainment, that might just be a first for him.
While the bartender may have been glad to see no violence in his place of business tonight, the recent prospect of a bloody brawl had left Nathan feeling restless. His temperature had been fired and a mild dose of adrenaline had invaded his system. He loved the feeling of it. It was the same rush that would overcome him when hunting in the family's private forest. Eldridge had always been a major rifle enthusiast, but Nathan's allegiance forever resided with the bow.
Back then, the feeling dancing around his body would be met with the sweet sound of an arrow whistling through the air and the satisfaction of a fresh kill. He glanced back over his shoulder for a second. No. There'd be no such answer to that itch tonight. Even if he did decide to force a fight from the gang leader, he'd likely have to go through a few of the younger ones to get to him. That fool may have been deserving of a serious beating. But they were surely not. They'd probably only joined this gang to acquire a level of protection against all the others that have been forming since the fall.
Nathan's eyes fell into the drink in his hand. He began to wonder, that same thing he had wondered every night for as long as he could remember - What point is there in all of this? For all his blessings, ungodly though they may be, he couldn't find a good enough reason why he should be glad of them. If he'd been born a commoner he might still be in this same bar, probably standing beside the imbecile in the corner and pretending to be entertained by his jokes. But what significance to that difference would there be, he questioned. Safe, or at risk. Wealthy, or starving. Strong or feeble. Intelligent, or otherwise. They're all just conditions. Conditions that harbour no intrinsic meaning within them. He could find no value in being at such an advantage, without a purpose beyond seeking further advantage to pursuit.
Tired of staring at his drink, he threw it down his throat and withdrew his phone to order one more. The cost of a triple was 4750 Satoshis, and before the balance had even corrected, his brain had already shown him the sequence of threes that was about to present itself. Five of them in a row this time. He didn't know what it meant. But he was sure that the meaning in his life he was looking for was hidden within the mystery of these numbers.
The next drink slid down the bar and past his hand. He'd fallen into a meditation, replaying the word three in his mind on repeat. It was getting him nowhere. He closed his eyes hopefully, quietening his mind and began to listen. Whatever force was manufacturing these coincidences, a seemingly impossible task, was surely just as capable of communicating a message directly to him.
Tell me what you're trying to say. Unsurprisingly, there was no response. Tell me. Again, nothing could be heard bar the sound of pool balls clunking together. Please. He humbled himself before a power he knew to be mightier than he. Show me what you want from me.
Ten seconds passed with nothing at all occurring. Only silence. Nathan opened his defeated eyes and began to question if he was drifting into insanity. As he reached out to grab his drink, three loud thumps fell upon the door behind him.
Part IV coming soon.