Yelp Review of that Bar I Went into the Other Night

The atmosphere is astounding, if you’re into that smoky, dusted sunlight creeping in through the windows vibe. Which I totally am. That’s probably the best part of the place, and I know many reviewers like to start with the bad…but that’s not me. A fight broke out which, thankfully, I wasn’t involved in, but I have to put that down as a mark against the owner. All they did was start a betting pool to see who’d win.

Service was quick, if a bit gruff. The glass of tequila slid across the bar like a rocket and hurt my hand when I blocked it, spilling half the drink and getting a couple laughs. I didn’t think people like that could laugh…sharp teeth and lots of hair. Tough guys, you know the type.

The drink was one of the best tequilas I’ve ever had, going down my throat like fire. I almost felt like roaring! A truly wild experience. One thing I do have to mention is the hair I found in the alcohol, but I mean, it’s alcohol in a grungy bar, so…I did look at the bottom of the glass, too, and saw the inside was stained red, as though red wine had been left in it for far too long.

I don’t know if it’s a nightly occurrence (it was a full moon that night), but things tend to get pretty rowdy once the sun sets. They have this drink called “the Sacrifice” which is this thick, red, syrupy thing. The adventurous side of me wanted to take a sip, and once I started, I couldn’t stop. It had a kind of metallic taste to it. When I asked my neighbor at the bar what it was, he just smiled and shook his head. At least, I think he smiled; I don’t think I’ve seen anyone with a thicker beard than that guy.

Things started to get a little fuzzier with each glass of the Sacrifice I drank. The music was somehow dulled, as though I was underwater. My hands became numb, but I have the distinct impression of clawing on something….soft.

I woke up the next morning in the back, and I think it’s really nice of them to let their patrons sleep there. Now…if only they’d let me leave. Four out of five stars.

Page One – Cemetery Demons

This is page one of the first novella I am writing with the express intent of self-publishing it. I’m gearing for around sixty pages, and kind of winging it.

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I wait outside the cemetery, watching the fog curl above the ground. The glow of the moon turns everything silver. The branches of the winter-dead trees hang over me like scepters in the night.

“Come on come on, already,” Frisky says, the little red demon that hides in my coat pocket, his horned head poking out like a turtle. “So hungry!”

“Relax,” I say, pushing him back down into my pocket. I feel his wings flutter and his tail whip back and forth against the side of my stomach. Frisky sometimes reminds me of the lizard I had for a pet, when I was a child. “The dead will rise.”

“You gonna have extra, right? Need food!” For such a little demon, Frisky eats a lot. Dead human flesh is his favorite, but he more often settles for small mammals. Blood stains the inside of my pocket.

“I’ll give you an arm. That’s all.” I don’t like giving Frisky too much. After all, I don’t want him to become addicted, to get that feeling or idea that human flesh is the only thing he must consume.

I start to get nervous and I do my best to ignore the cold sweat that trickles down my spine. The candles are all laid out in the appropriate pattern. The night shadows, the near invisible beasts that lurk on the edge of reality, slowly circle the inside of the pattern, searching for some way to escape. They are vaguely human-shaped, and that similarity reminds me of some nightmare. They lack eyes, but I know they are staring at me, aware that I am their captor.

My watch says it’s been only sixty seconds since I have read the incantation, offering libations of my own blood to the dead. It must soon be time. I quiet Frisky.

“Every Night”

“H-hello,” he muttered, under his breath. Salivation dripped from his lip corners. “I’m h-here for the job application.”

“Hokey dokey,” the innkeeper said. Hands twitched rhythmically before his blood-stained apron. “Sign here, welcome to my inn. It’s called Meat Palace.”

“You serve a lot of meat h-here?” the applicant whispered beneath spit-stained whiskers. “I like to eat meat.”

The innkeeper nodded, kicked back a chair, and begged the man have a seat. “Won’t you tell me about yourself? I do like to hear of people. You know, on the outside.”

“The outside? What do you mean?”

“Well, I haven’t left the Meat Palace in twenty some years.” The innkeeper leaned forward, grinned, and twisted the point of a knife into the wooden table. “I don’t like to leave.”

“Why not? It’s actually quite nice in most places. H-hector’s square is cool place. There’s a statue and a fountain.”

The innkeeper slid his chair back and frowned. He stood and coughed into his bloody, meaty fist. The fist slammed on the table and a shout of, “WANT TO EAT SOME DINNER?!” rang out.

“I like dinner.”

“You’ll have to fetch things for me. Feed my horses, and those of my guests. Your room and board are of course covered by me, and you’ll receive ten silvers a month.”

“Okay.”

The innkeeper sat down and gradually thought over his plans. “The basement will have to be cleaned.” His eyes became dark and bored holes into the rotted wooden table. “Every night.” The blade slipped off its tip and split a line. “Every night.”

Do you believe in ghosts?

I never really know if I do. I guess I want to, but haven’t really seen anything to make me believe them.

I thought of a short story once where ghosts were aliens, and humans were animals in a zoo. I should go back to that…

Anyway, a cool ghost story: I was changing my son’s diaper. Our first son, he was probably a little older than one year around the time this happened. He and I were in my room, where my wife and I slept. I heard the radio come on. The song was a love song.

The task completed, I carried my son back out to the living room and set him down in his playpen. My wife was cooking in the kitchen. We didn’t have a radio. We only played music on the computer, I remembered. So where was that song coming from?

I walked into the kitchen and found my wife cooking some lentils, or some other delicious dish. “Do you hear that?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said. “Where is that coming from? I thought it was you, playing a joke on me.”

“Nope,” I said. Both of us perplexed, we walked to where we thought the source of the noise was, in our pantry.

Now to backtrack a little. We kept the trash in the pantry, which had a door, so that our son would not open the can and explore the trash, as fun for him as that was. An old boombox had sat next to the trashcan for some time, a few months or longer, and I’m not really sure why we never actually took it out along with the rest of the trash. The boombox was broken and would not turn on for the longest time.

My wife and I opened the pantry door and walked in. The boombox played music. The song was a love song. If it had been any song other than a love song (and man do I wish I remembered exactly what song it was) then we probably would have high-tailed it outta there. Instead we listened to the song and marveled at what was happening.

We eventually turned the boombox off. I tried to turn it back on to test it out, and of course it did not turn on. We trashed it soon after.

Weird stuff. Anyone out there have ghost stories to tell?