Thunder cracked through the midnight sky. For a brief moment, the entire world flashed electric white as the lightening ripped a hole along the darkness. I stopped wiping the sticky table top with the worn cloth for a moment and listened. At the monstrous crack as if the night were splitting.
Jim rolled the mop bucket and mop along the floor to the back. He’d just finished the floor, it’s sleek wetness on par with the glistening street outside. “Better hurry on home, B. Hell of a storm outside.”
If only he knew, I thought as I went back to wiping residue of the bars roaring business tonight. More people than usual had poured in, especially being as it was only Tuesday. But then again, the rain had given me a helping hand, pushing people off of the streets and onto my seats.
“You get going. I’ll finish up here.” I yelled out at the swinging doors.
“Yeah. I’m almost done here anyway,” I yelled back. “Get going, Jim.” No sooner had I said this, Jim came out from the kitchen having already done away with his bartender aprons, and having donned his mustered yellow puff jacket. “You sure you don’t want me to wait for you?”
“Goodnight,” I smiled. Eager as hell for him to walk out. The sooner he did the better, for him anyway. There was no way I wanted him in the bar when the meeting was to go down. Jim was a pretty boy, and I hated seeing pretty boys destroyed.
“Alright then, I’ll see ya!” He waved, pulled up the hood to cover his head and walked out into the downpour.
I sighed. Finally! I switched the radio to the jazz station, poured myself a bourbon, pulled a stool down from the bar and sat down, glad to get off my feet. I liked it like this. When the bar was quiet, dark, and fairly clean. I stretched and rolled my neck and heard a few cracks. There was a tense muscle somewhere in my hairline I hadn’t been able to pull yet. It had been several days and now I was frankly pissed off. I drowned the bourbon, and poured myself another round before I finally heard the much anticipated door bell ding.
“Took you long enough!” I grumbled, taking a straight shot from the bottle. I leaned over the counter, pulled another glass, poured a shift one, and slid it along to my side, waiting.
The footfalls were heavy on the wooden floor. I waited till he was close, then, with a flip of my hand, a stool dropped beside me, and he sat. “Playing humans again?”
The grin lopsided half my face. I nodded and drained my drink before I finally turned to him. He hadn’t changed at all. The same bulk, shapeless, featureless. I could barely make out his eyes in the darkness. Another thunder cracked and lightening flashed, and in the brief seconds I saw the old scars on his face. Four long and deep gashes spanning the entire length of his face, from one corner of his hair line to the bottom of his jaw on the other side.
“Bloody werewolves!” I raised my bottle of bourbon to his barely touched glass and poured myself another drink.
“You saved my life.”
I nodded. “That I did, and it cost me a leg,” I said, knocking at the wooden excuse for a leg. Sometimes, I still felt a sensation, as if I could still curl my left toes. It hurt to think about them. I soured at the memory and drained the glass again, finally able to feel the familiar warm burn. “What do you want, Shade?”
“You’re gonna need this,” he pushed his glass over to me. “We’ve found him.”
I stared long and hard at my friend. If you could call him that. I’d known Shade, or Shadey, for as long as I had been alive, and I’d been alive a hell of a long time. 250 years to be exact. I wasn’t exactly your regular barkeeper, if God’s honest truth be told. In fact, I shouldn’t even be swearing by God, being the wretched thing I was. But by God, in all those years, I knew as much about Shade as any other Nighty did. Which was next to nothing. All I knew was, if it came down to saving my life and risking his own, their was no one else I’d trust for this. He’d saved my life more times than I could count. But then again, I’d returned the favor just as many times.
“You in?” He asked.
I looked once around my beautiful bar. The thing that had kept me sane over the last 100 years, and now that it was time to leave, I did feel a bit of nostalgia. I downed the drink he’d passed as one for the road, got off the stool and put it back up on the bar upside down. “I’ll get my jacket.”
It was time to stop playing humans. The time had come for me to be what I was meant to be, a terror in the night. By the time I’d walked back out, Shade was gone. Typical.
There was a note left under my empty glass and I reached for it. ‘Meet you at the old haunt, 10am sharp.’
I rolled my neck again and pulled myself to my full height. Which was a lot more than I’d been playing as a five foot four inch, 50 year old bar hag by the name of Bell. I took a moment, waiting for the number to finish on the radio. Then turned everything off and walked out the door, locking it up for who knew how long this time.
I walked out into the dark wet streets, and took a deep breath as the rain touched my face. I always did find peace in the rain. In chaos. In bleak moments. There was always peace. After all, it was all sun shine and rainbows after the storm, right?
I walked away, away from Bell’s bar. Now I was Grim. And it was time to reap my reward.
(Prompt Piece: ‘I find peace in the rain’. I saw this in one of the post on Pinterest, and couldn’t reaist! I’m doing my best to get back into spontaneous writing once more and don’t know how I’m going. Lol)