“I didn’t think I would end up here,” the old man muttered into his glass, “not like this.”
“It doesn’t matter,” a young woman with bright green hair piped up beside him, “eventually everyone comes around here, and usually not how they expected.”
“We've all lost our glory and when all’s said and done this is where we go.” This came from the bartender.
“Ahh, shut it, sonny,” the old man vaguely gestured in his direction, “you don’t know hardship like I do.”
The bartender privately disagreed but said nothing.
“We’ve all known hardship, that’s it innit?” A hunched over lady late in her years added to the conversation.
“I fought in wars!” The green haired girl shouted, “I fought and I fought, and I won and I won until eventually, I lost!”
“You think that’s something!” The old man yelled, matching her volume, “I lost limbs and loved ones! Friends and family! And for what!” He sighs, “for what?”
“For ya to shut yer mouth and quit yappin’!” The old lady shrieked, apparently annoyed with the ruckus, “we come here for some peace and quiet- not to hear you screaming your heads off!”
“Now let’s not get testy,” The bartender warned, quite testily, “we all come from different walks of life and different situations, but let’s not forget the non-conflict rule.” They pointed to a dilapidated sign over the door with a dishcloth bearing hand.
“Your right, yer right, I’m sorry.” The old woman scowled at the sign rather frighteningly, “I lost hold o’ my temper back there didn’t I.”
“I’m sorry too.” The girl added.
“I’m not exactly sorry, but I don’t wanna leave so I’ll shut my mouth.” Grumbled the old man.
“Thank you all,” The bartender resumed cleaning glasses, sighing.
After a few minutes, a bell rang, signifying a new patron of the bar. The bartender looked up and saw a tall fellow in a cloak that swept the floor.
“Would you like anything?” They asked as the man sat down. “Anything to drink?”
“I’ll just have a water,” the new guest said, “I’m traveling and don’t want to be drunk on the job.”
“Completely understandable.” The bartender replied, filling a cup for the mysterious character.
“So where are you from?” The young woman asked the traveler.
“I’m not sure…” he trailed off, “I often end up here though.”
“Really?” Asked The bartender, “I’m always here and I’ve never seen you.”
“How old are you?” The traveler retorted, “twenty-five? Twenty-six?”
“You could say that.”
“Well that makes some sense then doesn’t it?” They said, “I’ve been around for a long, long time; and every time I come here, I’m a bit different.”
“You seem so young,” the old lady crooned, “fancy a little get together later tonight?”
“I think I’ll decline,” He waved her off good naturally, “I’ve no time for silly trivialities.”
“Ahh all’s fine and good dear, I’m too old for any excitement by now,” the old woman slowly stood up and shuffled over to the bar, “don’t wanna miss any of the conversation now, do I?”
“I would think not,” the bartender answered dryly, “all of this ‘exciting’ conversation.”
“Oh shush son… I’m an old lady, anything more than sitting and reading is exciting to me.”
“Hey kid, why’re you travelling?’ The old man questioned, “I’ve never heard of anyone coming here before their time is over.”
“I’ve got a special deal,” he responded, “a deal with someone high up.”
“High up?!” scoffed the old woman, “no one from high up cares about anything that goes on in this crap hole!”
“Well you're obviously wrong, as my situation begs to differ.” Responded the traveler, irritated at her tact.
“Must I once again mention the non-conflict rule?” questioned the bartender, annoyed for a moment at their patrons.
“Oh, yes, I'm sorry.”
“Why don't you tell US a story?” the old woman asked, leaning over the counter. “hardly seems fair, us pouring our hearts out and you sitting there all silent and brooding.”
The bartender was very annoyed with the woman by now, but said nothing, so they wouldn't lose a customer. “Fine,” they said, “I’ll tell you a story.
“Long, long ago, in the sky and stars, rested a monster. A slumbering beast, waiting for the right moment. As this beast rested, the phases of the moon passed, over and over again. The stars shifted and the seasons changed, over and over again.
“The inhabitants of many a world had legends about this beast, some said it was a god, watching over every person and child, keeping them safe. Others said it was a demon, the evillest creature to ever live, and it was waiting for the perfect moment to pounce, to annihilate everything. Still more saw it as just that, a legend, that parents used to scare their children into behaving. None of them will true.
This beast was nothing, everything. It ruled the heavens, unknowing of its power. It had no shape, no form, as if a figment of imagination; but it was there. It rest and rest and rest; ‘til one day, it awoke. It was shocked, worried, out of place; it was scared.
“And so, it lashed out. It was a scared, helpless creature! It didn't know what was happening! It didn't know if anything was safe!” the bartender sighed, seeing the shocked look on their patron’s faces, “it damaged things, it hurt people; but this was an accident, it didn't want to. But the higher-ups didn't care, they locked this beast, a poor helpless beast, far below any mortal realm. It was locked in a prison, constantly tortured, in the pits of hell; the underworld.”
The bartender was pleased to see the surprised faces of their customers, getting to rant at THEM for a change.
“But she asked you for a story about you, your life;” the cloaked fellow insisted, “not some old wives tale.”
“But that’s the point,” the bartender smiled, a bit too widely, “I was telling you about my life.
“You asked me how old I was, ‘twenty-five, twenty-six?’, and I said yes, but I did not detail what I meant. Try twenty-six millennia! I’ve lived longer than civilization itself! AND I WAS TRAPPED! Trapped after a thousand year slumber! I woke! I was scared! And do you see what I was given!? Instead of help or care?! A PRISON SENTENCE! NOW I’M STUCK, LISTENING TO HUMANS WHINE ABOUT INSIGNIFICANT THINGS! I HAVE BEEN IN THIS SHELL, THIS CAGE, LONGER THAN YOU EVER LIVED!” The bartender took a step back, the customers appeared to be in various states of fear or distress, “all you ever do is complain! Complain and complain and complain! About your failed lives! About your fading memories! About stupid, tiny things! And I sit here, pour your drinks! Drinks! Well I've had enough!” they smiled too wide, too large, “I think I’ve had enough of it, don't you say?” the patrons looked on in fear. The creature began to glow, brighter and brighter. The customers shaded their eyes. “I’ve had enough, I say. And I only think it’s fair that I bring the whole place down, with you.”
I cannot say there were any casualties that night, it would be incorrect, for every human at that bar had already died. But I can say, that no one exited the bar that night, and the bar, too, no longer stood.