Don’t Hate the Player (Image from Penumbra comic)

“Did it hurt?” Nico leaned closer to the fabulous creature in the pink tank top and fire engine lip color. Her eyes scrunched up, thinking.
“Ok, I give up… did what hurt?”
“When you fell from heaven.”

Nico smiled with all his teeth and leaned in close but the girl just rolled her black lined eyes up and around. She slid away from the bar, careful not to get too close to Nico who shrugged and took another swig of Jack and Coke. Some ladies couldn’t handle the heat.

He swaggered over to an empty table near the dance floor and as Nico sat, a divine looking woman in a yellow dress walked through the door. She headed straight for his table and when she came within earshot he put both hands over his chest.

“Oh sweetheart, you must be a thief… cuz’ you stole my heart.” He paused for a reaction. Nothing. She didn’t look at him. Instead, she scanned the room. Her dark eyes deep in thought.

“Is your name Summer?” Nico purred. He didn’t wait for her to answer, “Because baby, you’re hot as hell.”

The mystery woman reached out a hand and snagged his drink off the table, still not bothering to even glance at him. Nico’s mouth fell open. The perfect woman. Beautiful and gutsy to boot. He cleared his throat to deliver another great line when an ear busting boom rocked the nightclub.

Smoke and screams mixed with techno beats and created a chaotic mess. Clubbers rushed off the dance floor, tipping over chairs and shoving each other to the ground. Nico stood with slow exaggeration and watched the unfolding madness. A hand tapped him on the shoulder and he turned.

The yellow dressed woman smiled, tipped back his drink, emptied it, then shook the tumbler in front of his face. Ice cubes danced in the glass.

“Be an angel and get me another one of these, would you sweetcheeks?” The woman tossed the tumbler into his hands and he fumbled to catch it.

“The name’s Penumbra,” she said with a smirk. Movement from the floor caught Nico’s attention and his stomach squirmed. He stared open-mouthed as inky darkness crawled up Penumbra’s calves, her hips, her bosom.

“And I’ll steal more than your heart if it’s worth anything…” She looked him over and let out a disappointed sigh. With a flick of her hand, she transformed into a living shadow.

Nico’s eyes bulged and he tried to take a drink from the empty glass to wet his suddenly dry mouth. An ice cube stuck in his throat. He spluttered and coughed it out.

“Now stand back Romeo,” Penumbra melted into darkness, “I’ve got work to do.”