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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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Storyverse: Stealing the Show - 1. Chapter 1 Darts of Destiny

For all you Kage fanatics, this one is for you. I said he'd be back, I just didn't say in what format.

For all of you who received messages earlier, this is not your chapter. 🤣



Brightness. Blinding light. Upbeat music blasted Kage’s ears.

From somewhere overhead, a voice rang out, “From River Styx Studios, it’s the Underworld’s game: Darts! Of! Deeessttiinnyyyy! Ladies and Gentlemen, here are the stars of our show, Charon and Ceresa!”

Kage’s gaze darted about the studio he found himself in. His brows drew together, wrinkling his forehead as two beings crossed the wide, open stage, arm in arm. The elderly woman wore a long, flowing black dress. Her silvery hair was tied back in a neat bun at the nape of her neck. She moved with grace and elegance for someone so old. Her face was wrinkled but free from the blemishes which afflicted most of the over-sixty-five demographic.

The man bowed as he waved Ceresa on her way to stand in front of a large grid lit by numerous LED lights, changing colors every few seconds. If this was indeed Charon, the Ferryman of the famed river Styx, he was certainly more refined than his depiction in Greek mythology. He wore a smart, designer suit, custom-fitted to his large but not unfit form. His beard was well-groomed, the long strands tied together with a fine, shiny black silk ribbon. His eyes were dark pools of endless blackness. A fake grin was plastered on his face, blinding in its insincerity.

As the sound of the canned applause faded, Kage became more aware of his surroundings. He was standing at a railing. On the other side, well within reach, was a long table covered with a blood-red velvet cloth. Lying on the fabric were a dozen darts. How the hell did he get here? He heard someone clear their throat, and he turned his head to the left, not seeing anyone.

Another ahem came from below, and when Kage lowered his gaze, a small man dressed in a green suit with gold trim scowled at him. Was that a fucking leprechaun? Oversized gold buckles on the small man’s pointy-toed shoes were a dead giveaway. He wore a nametag that read ‘Mallory.’

A third man, human by his looks, was on the other side of the leprechaun, appearing just as bewildered as Kage felt. Join the club, buddy, he thought. The human’s nametag read ‘Terry’.

Charon came to a halt at a podium to Kage’s right. The same fake grin was still intact. “Welcome, everybody! What an exciting game we have for you tonight. But before we get to it, let’s meet our contestants! Up first, we have Kage. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?”

A bright spotlight trained itself on Kage. Discomfort made him shift his weight from one foot to the other. “Umm, uh, I don’t know what to say.”

Charon chuckled, and canned laughter followed. “Just tell us where you’re from and how you died.”

How he what? “Did you just ask me how I died?”

More laughter from an unseen audience assaulted his ears. What the fuck was going on here?

The look Charon gave him was a cross between pity and malice. Pity he could understand, but malice? Was the man happy Kage had no clue what was going on? That was so messed up.

“Of course,” Charon answered. “All of you are dead.”

Kage froze for a moment as time stood still, and everything crashed in a flood of images. Elijah. Huntington. No, Trevor. The feeling of dissociation from himself. Fading into nothingness. Leaving a piece of himself behind for the one man, the only man he ever loved.

“I was murdered,” he said as his paralysis abated and he found his voice.

The invisible audience roared its approval.

Kage caught sight of himself in one of the large monitors positioned above the letter board, out of view of the cameras and invisible studio audience. He wore an expression of disbelief.

“Um, okay. I’m from— uh, Earth. I was, uh, murdered by a shapeshifter pretending to be a lion shifter who I was trying to kill. I was an assassin my whole life, and, yeah, that’s it.”

Once again, the sound of thunderous applause came from somewhere overhead. It was annoying as all fuck. Without any additional information, Kage decided the best thing to do would be to play along with whatever messed-up version of reality this was.

Charon went to move on to the next contestant and seemed momentarily confused when no one was there. A subtle clearing of his throat brought the host’s attention to the little leprechaun next to Kage.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” Charon swore. “Someone get the little guy a box or some shit to stand on. Do your fucking jobs, people!” Turning to the contestants, Charon grinned. “Don’t worry. We’ll edit this later.”

Everything halted while one of the production crew dragged a crate over for the leprechaun to stand on. More giggles ensued when he still couldn’t be seen over the rail. It took a few moments before they pushed a metal platform into place. The added height brought the top of the little man’s head to the same level as the middle of Kage’s chest. It would have to do. Mallory sighed, obviously used to short-people challenges.

Charon took up residence behind his podium once again, and after a few moments of scurrying by the crew to get things back into place, the host plastered his fake smile back on and picked up where he left off. “Thank you, Kage. Next up, we have Mallory. How about a little information, Mallory? Oh! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to use the word little.” Charon tittered.

Like hell, he didn’t. Kage turned to look at the leprechaun. Pink crept up the man’s cheeks, and as he shifted his weight from one foot to the next, he nearly fell off the platform. Kage’s arm shot out to steady him. Mallory glanced up and gave him a weird smile. He didn’t realize leprechauns had pointy teeth. They didn’t show that on a box of Lucky Charms. It gave the creature an evil appearance. Unlucky Charms, they’re magically malicious.

“I’m Mallory. I’m from Over the Rainbow, and I was killed when my pot of gold fell on me.”

Kage couldn’t help the snort-laugh that came out of nowhere. A leprechaun killed by his own pot of gold? Oh, the irony! Absolutely priceless. Literally. Charon looked as if he was counting the money the boost in ratings would put in his pockets.

Charon chuckled amicably. “Oh, you poor thing! How unlucky for a leprechaun.”

Mallory glared at the host. His discomfiture at being reminded of the circumstances of his demise was reflected in his scathing stare.

Finally, Charon turned his attention to the human. “Last but not least, we have Terry. Go ahead and share something about yourself.”

Kage felt sorry for the man. He looked utterly lost.

“Well, my name’s Terry Shaw. I am, uh–was, a detective for the Owensville Police Department. I enjoy watching NCIS reruns. Gibbs is awesome. The last thing I remember’s Stefan trapping me in the apartment.” A look that couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than realization came over the detective. “That son of a bitch burned me alive!” Realization turned to indignation before Terry added, “And I’m a big University of Kentucky fan. Go Wildcats!”

Kage’s eyes widened at the detective’s exuberance. Turning to Mallory, he watched the leprechaun’s jaw drop at the random change of subject. Huh, it just goes to show how everyone reacts differently when faced with the reality of their departure from life.

Charon took control back and went on to explain the game. “Kage, you won the backstage coin toss, so you’ll go first. Go ahead and pick up one of those darts in front of you. You’ll give it a good throw at the spinning target over there. Whatever amount it lands on will be awarded for each correct letter. If it’s in the puzzle, you’ll have five seconds to solve it or decide to toss another dart. Beware of the bankrupts, if you land on one of those, you’ll lose everything, and I mean everything. Lose a turn means exactly that. We’ll move on to the next player. Our first puzzle category is A Play on Words.”

Kage’s brow drew together. The instructions blended together, but he had enough wits about him to nod his head in agreement.

A tinkling, bell-like sound accompanied the LED lights on the puzzle board, lighting up the spaces. Ceresa flourished her arms as if presenting an Academy Award to its recipient. Kage saw the following pattern appear: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

On auto-pilot, Kage leaned over and picked up a dart, turning slightly to the left where a massive wheel spun around. He drew his arm back and let the sharp, pointed projectile fly. As soon as it hit its target, the wheel slowed to a stop, revealing the tip embedded in the five-hundred-dollar space.

“Okay, Kage. Go ahead and call a letter,” Charon instructed, still grinning slightly maniacally.


Ceresa glided across the stage and tapped the highlighted two spaces.

N _ _ _ _ _ _ _ N _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“I’ll toss another dart,” Kage said, already reaching for one. His following letter, S, wasn’t in the puzzle.

Mallory was next, tossing the dart with all his might and landing on Lose A Turn. He rolled his eyes dramatically.

Terry’s luck was no better. There were no T’s in the puzzle either.

Round and round they went, calling letter after letter until the board looked like this: NEA _ _ D _ _ N BE _ _ RE _ E

What the hell was the answer? Kage thought as a warm sensation gripped him. An image of Elijah shot through his mind. How he looked made Kage think his lover was about to make a poor decision.

“L,” he called. Ding. Ding. Two spaces lit up. NEALL _ _ _ N BE_ _ RE _E

Kage had an idea of what it was, and even though he hated when contestants on his reality’s version of the show bought vowels when they thought they knew the answer, he did it anyway. “I’ll buy an O, please.”


“Neall down before me?” Instantly, white light shot out from his chest and went through the ceiling. Another vision of Elijah, this time surrounded by bright lights, flashed through his head. Was that Las Vegas? A few seconds later, a feeling of horrified terror came over him, then overwhelming sadness. As Ceresa revealed the remaining letters, indicating a correct guess, Kage couldn’t help feeling that he somehow failed. Elijah needed him, and he couldn’t figure out how to help.

Canned applause celebrated his correct guess. Once the puzzle board was reset, Charon announced the category. A Thing. The blank spaces showed: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _’ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

It was Mallory’s turn to go first. He landed on another Lose A Turn. This time his lips pressed together as if he were holding back a few well-deserved curses.

“Aww, too bad,” Charon lamented. “You certainly are unlucky for a leprechaun!”

Terry picked up a dart and tossed it. “May I have an ‘S,’ please?"

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _’S S_ _ _ _ _

There were several more correct letters, and Terry could solve the puzzle correctly. A PARTNER’S SECRET. From the look on the man’s face, it held a special meaning for him.

Time seemed to stretch out indeterminately.

Kage correctly solved another puzzle, although it didn’t make sense. This game was becoming a complex maze, and Kage felt as though he was thoroughly lost.


Each puzzle, well, puzzled him. When he answered Phoenix Rising, he again had a flash of Elijah. This time it was accompanied by a feeling of elation. Whatever happened in Phoenix was successful.

The overhead camera swung along its cable, stopping in front of Charon. “It looks like Kage is on a roll, ladies and gentlemen. Can he keep it up? We’ll find out when we return.”

Stagehands started scurrying about, attending to whatever they did that kept them employed. Charon and Ceresa were surrounded by make-up artists and assistants, freshening them up, so the show could continue.

Kage and the other contestants were offered fresh bottles of water, which he gulped down in one go. The overhead lights emitted a constant heat. Another assistant handed him a towel to wipe the excess sweat.

He still could not fathom why he was here. If this was the afterlife, he had to wonder if it were a convoluted version of Hell. Charon was the Gatekeeper, wasn’t he? Kage wasn’t sure. He vaguely remembered reading something about him in Greek mythology. Or was it Roman? He never could keep those stories straight.

Several minutes later, or days, for all he knew, the annoying tintinnabulation of music washed over them, signaling the end of the break.

“Welcome back! It looks like Kage is in the lead, Terry is in second, while poor Mallory has yet to score. I hope that’s not true for everything,” Charon chuckled and winked at the camera.

“Let’s see if his luck will change. The category is People. Go ahead, Mallory, and toss a dart,” Charon continued.

Mallory launched his dart and– missed the target completely. The leprechaun stomped his feet in frustration. Giggling erupted. Kage rolled his eyes at the invisible audience.

Next up was Terry, who called an incorrect letter. He let out an exasperated sigh.

Kage picked up a dart. He watched it fly and land on a bright, fluorescent yellow space. Ten-thousand-dollars. It was the top prize on the spinning wheel. All those years of target practice honing his assassin skills paid off.

Charon grinned like the Cheshire Cat. “Well, well, well. Go ahead and guess a letter, Kage. Tonight seems to be your lucky night.”

Kage scrutinized the blank spaces: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“A ‘T’ please?”

Ceresa tapped the corresponding spaces. _ _ _ T_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ T_ _

Next, he called an S.

_S_T_ _ _ _ _ _ S _ T _ _

Two more correct letters gave him; _S_T_N _ND _ _ ST _ N

Charon looked at him expectantly.

“I’d like to buy an ‘A,’ please.”

Applause erupted again as Ceresa did her thing.


Kage still had no idea. He tossed another dart. Lose a turn. Damn it.

Luckily for Kage, his opponents didn’t fare well. Everyone had lost count of how many times the unlucky leprechaun hit Lose a Turn. He added another to the tally. There was an audible clicking sound as his sharp, pointy teeth gnashed against each other. Kage shuffled sideways a half step away from the angry little man.

Terry incorrectly guessed L. Rolling his shoulders, he shook off the bad luck.

Kage felt the now-familiar heat simmering in his chest. Inspiration struck, and after a successful toss, he called for the letter H.


“Ashton and Austin?”

Lights flashed, and canned cheers filled the room as Ceresa unveiled the remaining letters. Who the fuck were Ashton and Austin? Kage was starting to wonder if he was losing his mind.

Suddenly, all the sights and sounds disappeared. Although he knew he hadn’t moved from the stage, Kage found himself face to face with two identical wolves. No, wait. Not exactly identical. They were mirror images of one another. The most striking feature, however, was their eyes. Each wolf had one remarkable blue eye and one true green eye.

Movement in the distance caught his attention as two figures waved. Squinting, he tried to make out who they were. Before they could get close enough, dozens of wolves of all colors surrounded him. He tried to yell, but no sound came out.

The two mirror-image wolves tried to make their way through the pack surrounding them, to no avail. They sat on their haunches and let out a mournful howl. Their features shifted, melting into a mixture of wolf and human before disappearing.

The two figures in the distance faded further away as Kage felt himself pulled back from wherever he was.

Blinking rapidly, he was back in the game, mere seconds had passed. Elijah had a mate. Ashton. Kage was sure of it. He was also confident Austin was Tyler’s mate. Somehow, he needed to let them know.

Charon was rambling again. Ceresa resumed her model-like pose at the side of the puzzle board.

Just as Terry was about to launch a dart, a ding, ding sound rang out.

Charon interrupted, “That sounds means we are out of time. I’ll throw the final dart. Whatever amount it lands on, we’ll add five thousand dollars to it. Each of you will call a letter, and you’ll only have three seconds to solve. You may call a vowel, but there’s no money for them. Here we go!”

Charon picked up a gold-tipped dart from the table and launched it at the spinning wheel. It landed smack-dab on Bankrupt.

“Say hello to Lucifer for me!” Charon waved with the tips of his fingers as Mallory disappeared with a shriek as the floor opened beneath him. A loud, collective gasp blasted from the speakers.

What the hell just happened?

“Oh, that’s too bad!” Charon sang out. He didn’t hide his amusement at the recent turn of events. “Little unlucky Mallory the Leprechaun was today’s loser. I hope he survives.”

Survives? Kage thought. Where the fuck did he go?

“The category is Phrase,” Charon announced matter-of-factly as if nothing strange had just happened.

Ceresa flourished her hands, calling attention to the lit-up tiles.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _   _ _ _ _ _

“Terry, call a letter.”

Terry called an L. Nope.

R, S, T, L, N. Everyone knew they were the most commonly used letters. Why mess with a good thing? Kage called R.

R _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Terry went with S.

R _ _ _ _ _ _ _S S _ _ _ _

They each hit the mark with T and N.

R_ _ _ N_ _ _ S S_ _ _ T

It was Kage’s turn again. “Can I have an E?

RE _ EN _ E _ S S_ EET

“REVENGE IS SWEET?” Kage guessed.

‘Revenge is sweet’ became evident when an image of that asshole, Trevor, embedded itself in his mind. The emaciated figure contorted in pain. Fuckhead got what he deserved. For once, Kage was proud of his secondary ability to inflict pain and suffering on someone.

Kage won. According to Charon, he was moving on to the Bonus Round.


“This wouldn’t be much of a competition without a consolation prize for a worthy adversary,” Charon chimed. “Terry, you performed admirably, so you won’t walk away from here empty-handed. For the remainder of your time in Purgatory, you’ll be treated to your favorite–the very first episode of NCIS on DVD! As an added bonus, it will be on a continuous loop!

It looked like Terry wanted to smile. The detective’s cheeks twitched as he glanced at the open pit Mallory fell into. “I’ll take it,” he said, relief flooding his face.

“Good,” Charon replied, “because you’ll be watching it on repeat to your heart’s… Well, soul’s content. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find Mark Harmon, so you’ll have to make do with Gary Busey as Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Ta-ta!”

With a snap of Charon’s fingers, Terry vanished in a cloud of gray smoke.

Kage snorted. Well, that must be the standard for Purgatory. Not bad. Not good, either. Picturing Gary Busey as Gibbs was interesting. What do we got? Kage thought with an internal snicker. A dead Marine with a side of crazy. He couldn’t decide whether Terry would be disturbed or not. It could be worse. Terry could be stuck with William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher as Gibbs. A dead, drunk Marine with a side of crazy family.

Charon pulled him out of his twisted thoughts, and beckoned him over. Kage went and stood on the mark the host indicated. A new spinning wheel was rolled out, with the show’s name emblazoned on it—one letter assigned to each slot.

Ceresa moved into position as Charon declared, “The final category is a Phrase.

_ _ _   _ _ _ _ _   _ _   _ _ _ _ _

“We’ll give you R, S, T, L, N, and E. You’ll give me three more consonants and a vowel– You’ll have ten seconds to solve. If you succeed, you’ll be allowed to continue as Elijah’s Guardian. Fail? He’s on his own,” Charon said with an evil glint in his eyes.

Guardian? What the hell did he mean by Guardian? Goddamn his Boss. Kage knew the Fae had withheld information, but this was too much. Without a doubt, his former Boss should have been much more forthcoming with keeping him in the loop. If he ever got the chance, Kage would haunt his Fae ass until the end of time.

Kage had no time to contemplate. Ceresa moved to tap the letter on the board, revealing:

LET T_ ERE _E L_ _ _ T

Was this a joke? Kage called his additional letters, “I’ll take an H, G, B, and I.”

More dings indicated success. Ceresa tapped the corresponding tiles.


“Let there be light,” he read.

Thunderous applause sounded, and Charon looked smug. “Congratulations! Let’s see what you’ve won.”

With an exaggerated flourish, Charon tore the seal on the envelope he was holding. His eyes went wide, overacting at its finest. “One hundred thousand dollars!”

More applause boomed as confetti rained down, and the lights flashed worse than a seventies disco club. Overkill, if you asked Kage.

When the racket faded, Kage asked Charon, “What is a dead man supposed to do with the money?”

Charon shook his head as though dealing with a child. He smirked at the camera before answering, “Kage, as part of your prize, you get to decide who, in the realm of the living, shall benefit from your good fortune.”

Kage was gob-smacked. His total haul appeared on the screen. One-hundred-sixty-eight-thousand, seven-hundred, and fifty dollars. “What’s the other part?”

Charon chuckled. “You may continue as Elijah’s Guardian. Cassiel was surprised when he realized the connection. By then, it was too late, and you were already dead. The Fae Prince underestimated his father’s cunning in creating the Guardians. Even though the originals are long gone, their energy still exists. Occasionally, it manifests itself again within a living being. You hit the Guardian lottery.”

“What exactly is a Guardian, and why Elijah?”

“You don’t know?” Charon asked in a high-pitched voice, truly surprised. “Guardians were created long ago to protect the Fae king and those he held dear. Their purpose evolved over time, and now they are mostly obsolete, with the exception of offering protection to those still important to the realm. As far as it being Elijah? I don’t have an answer. If I had to guess, I would think the shapeshifter has an important role to play in what is happening in your world. He is part of a group that must protect the Veil. It is now your job to help him.”


“Guide him. Use the energy you left behind to help him and his friends find the right path. Lead the way, Kage.”

The set started to fade. Charon and Ceresa shimmered.

“Wait!” Kage cried. “What about the light? What does it mean?”

Charon turned. “Just remember, Kage. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel.”

There you go. A final dose of Kage in all his intellectual glory.

So what do you think so far?

Copyright © 2022 kbois, astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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