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The Tavern

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The door swings open, and he walks in.

“Hello Charles,” he says.

I can tell by the look on his face that he doesn’t want to be here, but I extend my hand, hoping he will shake it.

“I’m surprised to see you,” I whisper.

He cautiously sits on a chair next to my bed and ignores my hand.

“You won’t get sick if you touch me,” I add.

“I have a cold, and I don’t want you to catch it,” he replies.

I laugh painfully, removing the oxygen mask from my face. “I’m dying, and my least concern is the common cold but don’t worry, I’ll be dead soon.”

He crosses his arms.

“And I know why you’re here. I know who you work for,” I add.

He looks toward the door.

“Is he out there, waiting for me?” I ask.

He smirks and says, “It’s not my fault you’re dying. You picked this lifestyle.”

Disappointed, I shake my head. “That’s all you can say. The fault is my lifestyle?”

“But now you will be judged,” he adds.

I smile and reply, “I’m glad you said that.”

“Why?”

“I’ve been having a reoccurring dream.”

“Of what?”

I move to the edge of the bed and whisper, “God.”

He moves back, frightened by the word.

“I was told that God would not take me, but that is not true. God loves everyone,” I add.

He pushes himself off the chair. “You’re wrong, Charles.”

“Wait, I have to tell you something.”

He sits back on the chair. “Okay Charles, what do you have to say?”

“Throughout my life I’ve been told horrible things and as I gradually die in this hospital bed, I’ve dreamt of a spectacular place, a gateway to the afterlife, and after the tenth consecutive agonizing night, the true meaning of my dream has become clear.”

He shakes his head in disbelief.

“In my dream is a tavern, and it is considered a special place—a gateway to happiness and spiritual freedom, but the exact location is unknown as it stands in the middle of nowhere. As you approach the building, you walk through green grass with a captivating scent that makes you feel as though it has been blessed with a fresh mist of rain, and when you reach the front entrance, the true excitement begins. Through the saloon doors stands an exuberant bartender behind the bar dressed in a pure white long-sleeved shirt and shiny red vest, serving all types of delicious drinks. Above him are pendant lights that make some areas in the tavern mildly dark for intimate conversations. As you open the saloon doors, the aroma of cherry cigar and cologne overwhelm your sense of smell. You walk in, and everyone, including the bartender, looks at you as though you’re a famous movie star. The bartender greets you with a smile and a gentle handshake. He is known as a guardian, a celestial being, considered by many the ultimate connoisseur. And the house favorite, which calls for a rare liquor and fresh lime, will leave your taste buds craving for more. At that particular moment you fully appreciate the ambience but as for all the gay men in the tavern, they’re socially inclined, fashionable, and their demeanor, well, what can I say—they are ready to engage you.”

He stands up and interrupts, “Sorry Charles, I don’t have time for this stupidity.” He moves toward the door.

“Wait!” I exclaim.

He stops, turns around and looks at me.

“Now I tell you the true meaning of this place. When I listen closely, I can hear in the most private corner of the tavern a magnificent voice. I feel his presence, the divine one—God is ready to take my pain away and accept me,” I add.

“God doesn’t like your kind,” he whispers.

I smile, sliding my hand gently under my pillow.

“Did you hear me? God doesn’t like you!” he demands.

“You’re wrong.”

The man, standing in his purple shiny suit and pointy devilish ears, takes off his black sunglasses, exposing his dark creepy eyes. But before he has an opportunity to harm me, I pull the revolver from under my pillow and point it at his head.

“What are you going to do with that?” he asks.

“I also had a dream of you, Mr. Gatekeeper. You work for the Devil, chasing souls to keep.” I glance at the door. “And him, outside. You’re not taking my soul.”

The man slightly steps toward my bed, lifting his hands and exposing his long dirty finger nails.

“No!” I shout.

The door suddenly slams open as fire and smoke consume the room. Without any hesitation, I squeeze the trigger. The bullet strikes the man right in his face. His body jerks back and forth while I shoot the last five rounds into his chest.

“Now I am ready,” I say.

To a loud roar, I slowly open my palm, dropping the revolver on the floor and gently leaning back onto my pillow, completely at peace. As flames circle around my bed and the Devil walks into the hospital room, I close my eyes, exhale, and pray the Lord my soul to keep. I’m not scared anymore because soon I will be with God.

 

The End

 

Bio:

Inspired by the short story, The Cask of Amontillado, I started writing fiction about death, horror and suspense. In February 2017, I published my first novel, Walking in the Shadows of Death and the Supernatural. I currently live in Las Vegas, New Mexico which is located in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. When I’m not spending time with my family, I enjoy reading, the outdoors and sports. My website: chubbyvatomedia.com provides a platform for my writing.

 

 

 

 

 

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