Hello J.C. Pickens !
I just read "Joe's" and would like to share my thoughts with you. Use what works for you and discard the rest. But whatever you do, KEEP WRITING!!
I think this is the beginning of a very interesting story. It was interesting when the city slicker mentioned Pete's eyes being black - along with everyone else's. What surprised me even more was the fact that Joe, the bartender, didn't seem surprised at all. Maybe you could describe what the bar looks like on the inside - it might help your reader picture the scene as they read. I would love to see where this story goes from here.
Your characters seem reasonable and realistic. I would like to suggestion you describe the characters in a bit more detail. With no physical descriptions to go on, it leaves your readers having to try to imagine what the characters look like. So far, all we know for sure about your characters is that they all seem to have black eyes. But I am wondering, are you talking about the color of the iris' or the area surrounding the eyes, as if they'd been punched in the face? Embellish your characters, but keep it realistic so that your reader can picture them.
The plot thickened toward the middle of the story, and that is great. You left your reader hanging in the balance with no specific answers...yet. I love that in a short story because it makes me want to keep reading to see what happens. I believe that you could continue this story and make a really great chapter to an even bigger story.
I have never really been into reading the sci-fi/fantasy genre - with exception to Harry Potter. However, your story had me interested from the start. I would love to see what happens next. What is the deal with the black eyes? Does Joe have black eyes? Is the city slicker going to end up with black eyes? The possibilities with where this story goes are endless. You have got a really great start here.
These are my thoughts and ideas alone. I hope you found them helpful. Not all of us see writing or any one piece in the same light. Please take what helps you from my comments and ignore the rest.
Thank you for allowing me to read and review your writing. Keep up the good work, and best of luck with all of your writing.