Entity 164 - "The Barkeep"
rating: +23+x



CONTENT WARNING: The following contains graphic imagery including: HANGING, HOMOPHOBIA, POISONING, IMPLIED SEX. Viewer discretion is advised.

- Hotel Staff




Entity Number: 164

Habitat - The Hotel

Description

barkeep.jpg

WhaT CaN I GeT FoR YoU TodaY?


"Mmmnn…"

The sun hurts my eyes as it shines through the window onto my sleeping eyelids. I sit up in my loose linen clothing, a lord within the kingdom, and stretch.



Tump-tump-tump

I bounce excitedly as I walk through town, picking up an apple at a storefront. The King, my King, would be giving a speech today in front of his estate. My heart skipped as I couldn't help but walk faster.

"Now, now, settle down…"

The large arms on the small creaking wooden platform raise, addressing the gathering of townsfolk. The even larger man behind them speaks once more, his voice booming and important.

"I know, tensions have raised with… well, everyone. Neighboring forces haven't ceased in their gathering of weaponry and supplies, and they seem to be moving closer."

He's sweating, I know he's stressed. I make my way to the front of the crowd and wave.

He notices, shooting me a mischievous look that I know means, "meet me upstairs after."

"But I promise you, all of you, I have things under control. You're all safe under my command…"

Before he finishes speaking, I slip into a door nearby that leads into the castle, but not before someone catches my eye. A guard, standing near the back of the stage, meeting my gaze with a fire behind his eyes. Before I could respond, the door closed behind me, and I made my way upstairs, careful not to be seen.



Tap tap tap tap tap

Huff, huff "I-I think I'm okay, did I lose that maid?"

Huff "A room? A ballroom?"

"The bar's open…"

Tap, tap, tap. Squeeak.

"Barkeep… pour me a glass off the top shelf."

CrrACK, clink, pour…

Behaviours


"I'm worried, Simon."

He rants to me of his troubles as I trace a finger down the middle of his chest. We lay together under the silken covers of a servant's bed.

"I know I've told the populous that I have everything under control, but…"

"…But?"

He grabs my hand with both of his, raising to his lips and kissing it gently.

"I'm flailing, Simon. It's all a lie. And the stress it's putting on me— How could I not? Between tensions rising, my quickly falling reputation, and my meetings with you, I'm being pulled apart at the seams."

"Your meetings with me?"

He looks at me, sorrowful, knowing what he meant is not what he said.

"If I'm causing you more harm then good I suggest we don't have any more meetings, my Lord."

I sit up, pulling on my clothes and walking toward the door. He reaches toward me, words failing to escape his open jaw. Pain rests poisonously in my chest as I slam the wooden door behind me and start to walk down the hall.

"I'd be careful if I were you."

I stop. Someone had seen me leave. I turn, the guard from before stares at me, the same righteous flame behind his dark pupils.

"Whatever could you mean?" I act.

"Someone might suspect that your closeness to our Lord is not simply for the fun you've been having."

"What are you implying?"

"Oh, don't worry yourself. I'm simply suggesting an out if perhaps, I don't know… a rumour, were to spread. About the fun you two are having, alone, in a servant's quarter."

"I—"

"No need to explain yourself to me. I know your kind, and I know how weasely you all are. But you won't be getting out of this one. The people deserve to know how filthy their king really is."

He spits the title at me, I stand in shock.

"You have three days to get as far from here as possible before the people around you bury you in the dirt. Though, I can't say your Lord will have the same opportunity."

Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap.

He walks away, leaving me alone, and cold.



"WhaT CaN I DO FoR YoU TodaY, MY FrienD?"

"Hm… what do you have that would be good for— er, could you just pass me a glass of water?" The goat pointed vaguely at a stack of glass cups, to which the barkeep turned to, grabbing a glass and filling it halfway with water from a tap. His arms cracked and broke with each movement, continuing to bend in and out of shape.

"Great, thank you!" The concierge downed the water quickly, and after a moment or two began gnawing on the glass lightly.

"DO TrY NoT TO EaT ToO ManY OF OuR GlasseS, We'rE RunninG A BiT ShorT AS OF LatE."

"Ah, right— apologies, I'll talk with reception to see if we could outsource some for you." The concierge sits up in its seat, looking at the barkeep. "How has work been for you?"

"QuieT DaY, BesideS YoU OF CoursE. ArmS HavE BeeN QuitE AcheY."

The barkeep then lifts its arms to bring some extra glasses down from the higher shelf. Its arms crack and pop and break in response.

"Ah, unfortunate. Have you ever considered tea or herbs for that? I'm sure there's… a large difference, given your situation, but they could be of use to you. I have a collection I've picked up from guests, if you'd like me to bring them over sometime? In the meantime, you should try taking a break if you can. Maybe pour yourself some of that uh… alcohol-stuff. We'd all understand if you need a break; we all need that sometimes."

"HueH HeH, I'vE HaD EnougH HerbS AnD AlchohoL FoR OnE LifetimE. I'lL BE AlrighT, I ThanK YoU FoR YouR ConcerN, MY FrienD."

"CheerS?" CrAck.

"I see no harm in it. To us, our pasts, and this damn hotel."

"NoW That'S SomethinG TO CheerS TO."

Clink!

Biology


CRASH, a bottle explodes when it hits the wall.

"God! Oh God—"

I pace the room quickly, messing up my hair and drinking heavily. I fall to the floor, the poisonous feeling in my chest has turned to heartache, and the panic fills my chest. My hands wrap my head, one holding an empty bottle.

"What do I do…" I ask the air, to no response.



His reputation will be ruined. He's the most loved king there's ever been, if it is revealed that he'd been fooling around with one of his lords…

Sniffling, I desperately grasped for an idea as to how to save his reputation, when suddenly, a dark twisted thought entered my mind. I stifled a sob and stood, lifting the empty bottle and hoping for even a drop of numbing alcohol to enter my system.

I grabbed out of a desk drawer a small satchel of gold coins.



"I don't know… I feel like I'm losing my mind."

Clink, siiiiiiiip

"I just want to go home."

"Hm…"

"HmM?"

"Barkeep, would you happen to have anything a bit… classier?"

"WelL, I'M SurE I HavE SomE HigheR QualitY DrinkS ON ThE ToP ShelF. They'lL CosT A TaD ExtrA, ThougH."

"Not what I mean."

"OH?"

"Would you happen to have any wine? Red wine."

"…"

"ArE YoU SurE? I AssurE YoU OuR LiquorS ArE OF ThE HighesT QualitY."

"Yeah, yeah. Red wine, if you could."

"AlrighT…" CrraCK. Clink, pooour, tap.

"Hm, fancy bottle, looks ancient. Must be top-shelf. My thanks, barkeep."

"BuT OF CoursE, ThE BesT FoR OuR PatronS."

CRrracK. Tap.

"Oh? A chalice? Odd, but, if you insist heheh." Siiiip

CrraCK, wipe, wipe. "OnlY ThE BesT, MY LorD."

"My Lord?" Cough, coughing, sputtering, choking…

Thud.

Discovery


"One nightshade, please."

"That's quite poisonous, sir. Are you sure?"

"Yes, yes, just give it here."

I take the nightshade, dropping a pouch of too many coins in front of the woman and jogging away quickly. It's raining, and dark. My face covered with a hood to hide my identity as I make my way toward the castle.

I arrive in the courtyard, entering through the same door I had days prior at my last meeting with the King. He would be having a small feast tonight, of course, I was invited.

"Good evening."

A familiar voice spooks me as I race up a flight of stairs. I turn, the guard who had begun all of this peered at me from steps below, walking in the opposite direction.

"G-good evening."

He nods, smirking slyly, but leaves me to my business. I sigh, not having realized I was holding my breath, and continue walking, my legs quivering and weak.



"Simon! Welcome, welcome!"

He welcomes me to the rather noisy dining hall when I enter the room. Not a hint of the emotions exchanged during our last meeting grazed his face when he looked into my eyes.

"Er— hello, my Lord. I apologize for my tardiness, the storm is a rough one."

"No need for apologies, sit! there's still plenty to go around."

I nod, and sit. I have to hold my chair to keep myself from shaking, knowing what I had planned. I jump as a servant passes with a pitcher of wine. He seems to take notice, but doesn't ask any questions rather silently pours me a chalice of red wine.

For a moment, I stare down into the gilded cup. The moment after, I lift the bottom to the sky and drink, drowning what emotions I felt in the glass of scarlet liquid. It took me three more cups full to force myself to move once more.

"E-excuse me for a moment, I need to— to take care of something."

I stood shakily, meandering out of the room and beginning to make my way to the kitchen, where the castle had kept the to-be-used bottles of wine.



Though shakey, my hands crunch the nightshade into the bottle. Hurrying as to not be caught.

Quickly though, I fall to the floor, sobbing. I raise a hand to my face, attempting to cover myself while snot and tears dripped down my cheeks.

"I-I'm so sorry… my love…"

Adressed to my king, that is all I can say, before pushing myself onto my feet and grabbing the bottle. Out of the kitchen I walked, back into the dining hall, bottle in hand. The King, who had seemingly been searching for me with his gaze, meets my eyes.

"Simon! You've returned, brought some extra beverages? Pour me a cup, wont you?"

The irony of the situation was lost on me as I struggled to force myself toward him. Eventually, I stepped forward, nodding and lifting the bottle to the raised chalice in the kings hand.

"Only the b-best, my Lord."

Glug, glug, glug. Drip-drip.

"To us!" He yelled, raising his glass once more to the entire room this time. Then, he sipped.



A spiny, slimy sea star arm slides across the table, wrapping around and twisting. Something was on his mind. It turned its head around towards the hanging man.

Give me something strong. His tone rang across the table to the Barkeeper.

CracK. Clink. Glug, glug, drip. Clink.

It slurped down the drink with the spiky suctions along it's arm. He hated the taste, foul and bitter but as long as it made the world feel fuzzy— the taste would mean nothing.

I lack inspiration, all the residents are just too damn boring and I know damn well that squid won't spare me the time to get in on one of his projects. It beckoned for more with a slimy appendage.

CrrACK. Clink, as the bottle, rests on the counter.

I use writing as an escape from the monotonous rhythm of life, and yet that too— is beginning to yield the same feeling.

The thing's arm sank into the drink, and for a moment it stopped and thought for a while.

Maybe I should expand my pallete, write new things after a long break. It adjusted the bucket-shaped article atop it's head and raised an alcohol coated arm to the Barkeeper.

I know you don' talk much, but what do you think?

Crack, CRrack, cracking, as the barkeep grabs the glass and brings it in front of himself. He cleans it with a speated squeak.

"I AM NoT A WriteR MyselF, BuT PerhapS YoU CaN GaiN SomethinG FroM YouR StrugglinG. I FinD, ThE BesT PieceS ComE FroM WithiN."

Indeed, It nodded, the bucket slipped a bit. Perhaps I could begin my autobiography— it will be endless, but perhaps the other staff may enjoy it. I'm sure my endeavors in wearing the flesh of others won't be enjoyed by the residents.

"I'M SurE IT WilL TurN OuT WonderfuL, DeaR JanitoR."

Heh, sure it will.


Do's and Don'ts

Do's


Walk away.

You can't stay here.

In a moment he'll be dead, and you'll be the first one they chase.

MOVE DAMMIT.

Coughing, more coughing. Blood trickles down his chin.

"My Lord, are you… Someone help! The King's been poisoned!"



Look away.

Step, step, step.

Look aw "Who could have done this?!"

"Simon brought that bottle, did he not?"

"Simon poured that chalice—!"



"You should have left when you had the chance. Get down."

"Get off of me!"

A struggle, then, CRACK

I screamed out, as my arm was bent out of shape behind me.

CRACK

I can't breathe, my arms, they hurt.

"Take him to the holding cell. He'll be hanged tomorrow."

On the floor in front of me, a wine bottle rolls and spills, hypnotizing me before I lose conciousness.



"I actually lost a buddy of mine a little while ago somewhere in here…"

"That'S UnfortunatE, I DO HopE They'rE AlrighT."

"Yeah, me too… Hey, while you're back there can you just pass the bottle. I've got some drowning to do."

"Don'T WE AlL." CrracK, clink, pour.

"H….. help—" KICK.

"What was that?"

"NoiseY PlacE, I'M SurE IT WaS NothinG."

"Huh, alright. Kind of… sounded like that friend I mentioned."

"IN TimeS OF GrieF WE OfteN ArE RemindeD OF ThosE We'vE LosT."

"I guess you're right. Say, do you have any wine?"

"IndeeD WE DO, ShalL I GraB SomE FoR YoU, MY LorD?"

"Yeah, yeah sure."

"I'M SurE You'lL LovE IT, It'S VerY PopulaR AmonG OuR CustomerS."

Don'ts


"Step up onto the platform, son."

"HANG, YOU SCOUNDREL."

Don't look at them.

"PERISH FOR YOUR CRIMES."

Don't let them see your face.

"MONGREL! I HOPE YOU SUFFER!"

Don't let them see you cry.

"Pray they let you into heaven, son."

Drop.

Choking, struggling. The rope burns my throat and cuts the more I move.

"HelP!"

Finally, I stop breathing, the world goes dark.

…Is that, music?



"Barkeep, pour me another one, please."

CrracK, Glug, glug, glug.

Siiiiiip… Sigh

"You know, sometimes this place is too much for me, I swear. I feel like there's so much to be done and I'm achieving nothing. Does that make sense? And other times it just feels too damn boring around here. Like ohhh, go bring the wanderer to my office, leave them with a false sense of security, and then eat them.

Sliiiiide— Clink.

"Sometimes I wish I picked up a better hobby. Like I 'unno. I'm pretty good at chess, I'd think. Why didn't I become a professional chess player instead? I don't even know how I got 'ere in the first place!"



"YoU KnoW, I Don'T SpeaK MY MinD MucH, BuT PerhapS ItS TimE FoR A ChangE, SiR."

"Hmph… You might be right."


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