[Shorts][Bartender Stories] Dancers for the Dead

TW: Death, Grief

Grieving the loss of a loved one is hard for anyone. Even if I’m just watching and sharing grief, it can get tough.

Mocktails help me get over these times. So I went to visit my favourite bartender. He stood quietly by as I downed two of his concoctions in a row. I didn’t ask if there was alcohol, but something burned its way nicely down my throat, bringing tears to my eyes.

At least that must be the reason for my wet cheeks. I have no good reason to cry. I don’t have enough reasons to grieve.

While I nursed my third almost certainly alcohol free mocktail, my bartender quietly took up a tale.

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[Shorts] I Am The King

He sits and stares out the window. Surveying his domain. Watching his territory. Ensuring the safety of his subjects.

Boredboredboredbored

He yawns and changes position. Scratches his belly. Watching is so boring yet necessary…

Something enters his domain. He just knows it, he can’t explain how, but something that shouldn’t be there is there. He looks around for his servant, but they’re not where they should be. Neither at beck, nor at call.

Huff. I’ll punish them later. For now, it’s time to put things right in my kingdom. He stretches. A little activity is never a bad thing. Quietly, he moves to the door, and exits.

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[Shorts] Coffee and Croissant

706pm. It’s always that time of the day that he appears. However much we try to take note of his arrival, we’ll always end up being distracted just at that moment. We’ve had a ceiling light blow, even though it was a LED bulb. A mug I was clearing from a table suddenly cracked all over but still held its shape – but I could feel it crumbling if I pressed too hard. It took us all 10 minutes of held breaths before the cup reached a garbage bin safely. And then we realised it was already past 706pm, and he was standing at the counter, waiting quietly and patiently for us.

Not even a smirk detected.

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[Short] Seedlings

Awareness dawns for the little seed as it sits in its cocoon. It doesn’t know it’s a seed. It just knows it has life, and it stretches as far as its pod allows. I want to grow, it says and feels and thinks. I want to grow. And so it stretches, and pulls and pushes, and wriggles but nothing happens. Wait, says the cocoon, the skein that wraps tightly around the seed. Wait, and see. 

The seed ignores the skein. It wriggles. It pushes. It is life, and it is full of life. Life can’t wait for a skein’s wisdom.

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[Novel] Wind Elemental (1/2)

The skyship creaked gently as it made its way across the evening sky. Above the clouds, it was as if it was floating in the midst of a white ocean, with only a gentle breeze to accompany its passage. Wooden propellors spun lazily, while a large sail did most of the work pushing the ship along, as the sun blazed in the west, doing its best to heat up the world before it would be hidden for another night. A couple of cloth covered wings creaked as they flapped gently and rhythmically on either side of the ship, keeping it aloft.

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[Short] The Price of Freedom

He was young when he finally tasted freedom. And it was bad. Really bad.

He’d been at an amusement park when it happened. An amusement park is a wonderful place, and when you’re a young boy with lots of energy, it’s a place of mystery and wonder. All those dark alleys and tents that your parents pull you past, instead of letting you in to soak in all the different joys that mystery has to offer. He wanted to taste them, and he knew, just knew, that it would be wonderful and fun. Parents are there for a reason – to take away fun. Therefore, by extension, anything that his parents denied him must be fun.

He never told them that though, for fear of being punished. Parents, you know.

So when the roving amusement park came to town again, and they were queuing for a ride, he waited for them to be distracted with his sister’s incessant questions, and then he ran. He ran.

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