The Redemption of Daniel Clydesdale Chapter One: Kostka's Club

Rated Mature Readers

The club was not officially named Kostka's, but that name would have to do because this dump didn't have an official name. It was just another anonymous outlaw fighting club set up in a condemned bar in Old Furriston—hopefully one the law wouldn't remember was still standing.

Jarrod Kostka took a drag from his blunt as the cat looked over his club. It was another regular night, same drunks and addicts betting on the same drugged-up freelance fighters—and which drugs the fighters were taking showed which had fought and which had yet to fight: those who hadn't fought were smoking rageweed and snorting cocaine, PCB, and whatever else would rev them up for the next fight, those who had fought were downing booze, smoking pot, shooting heroine, and whatever else would get them through the aftermath of their fight. The ones who'd won their fights were in the next room, watching the strippers, and—if they had won enough money—renting one for the night.

Between the strippers/hookers, booze and drugs, Jarrod could usually make sure that little of the money he paid these drugged-up losers ever left the club.

The two fighters arriving, however, posed a problem. The pony and rat were in damn good shape and, worse, they had Bosses with them, trainers who gave the fighters training, a place to stay, and got them into the higher-end (and somewhat legitimate) clubs—for a price. Because of that price, these fighters wouldn't piss away their money on hookers and blow, which meant that Jarrod risked having that money walk out of his club. Not good.

Nor were these two bosses anyone to mess with. One was Garayl Gurrad, a rat from up north who trained his fellow murines under the name of the Biter Swarm. The other was Tsakhia Guai, a Mongolian horse who trained fellow equines, calling them the Wyld Stallyons. The two schools were rivals, but the two fighters with the Bosses took that rivalry all the way to bitter hatred.

They fight next, growled Garayl.

Look, rat, I got whole lineup of fighters dosin' up on rageweed right now—

He was cut off when Garayl gripped dangerously close to his throat. These boys fight next. Let's get this bullshit over with.

The pony and rat were already taking off their shirts. Shit, thought Jarrod. These two were branded fighters, good enough that the Bosses openly advertised that these were their students. Well, this was shaping up to be a Jim Dandy night; the crowd would get to watch a real fight, and watching druggies throw themselves at each other after this would just be a load of bullshit.

And if Jarrod decided to toss these four out, they'd be back within hours, entire school in tow. Fine, go next, he growled. Still, he might be able to get something out of this, or at least maybe find some way to keep the money in the club.

The fight was nothing short of hideous. Legitimate clubs had a host of rules to ensure the safety of the fighters, and even one like Kostka's at least had the universal rule Don't Kill Each Other—but it looked like these two were barely following even that. Within seconds, the Stallyon had smashed the rat in the face, busting open the rat's eyebrow and half-blinding the rodent with his own blood. The rodent responded by trying to choke out the pony, who managed to break free before the choke was cinched in. This was shaping up to be a hell of a dirty fight.

The cheering of the crowd as the two clashed again confirmed Jarrod's fears. The crowd got to see what a real fight between real fighters was, and they liked what they saw.

Finally, the two bosses nodded to each other, entered the ring and jabbed their fighters with syringes, The fighters fought a bit more, but soon collapsed—it must have been a powerful sedative to make those two go limp.

As the two fighters were hauled from the ring, Jarrod had a brainstorm: sometimes some idiot got the bright idea to tip the strippers or pay the club with counterfeit bills, and he had a lot of them. If he paid with that, the funny money would be off his hands, and he wouldn't have lost squat. He happily wrote the names of the schools on the envelopes and stuffed them with counterfeit cash. The situation was well in hand.

And that's when the cops kicked in the door.