Spirits

The neon sign off the side of the road glimmers like an oasis in the wasteland of darkness Jack has been driving through.

“Spirits.”

The lights are low inside the bar, and the tables mostly empty. “What’ll you have?” the bartender asks as Jack settles onto a stool.

“Something strong.”

A nod. She turns around, grabs a bottle off the shelf, unstoppers it with a practiced hand and sets the bottle on the bar in front of him. No glass appears, and the bartender shuffles away without another word. Ah well, he doesn’t intend to go home tonight anyway. He reaches for the bottle.

“Duuuuuuust . . .” The woman’s voice is parched, broken, and a little spiteful.

“Who . . . ?” And then he sees the misty, ethereal glow inside the bottle.

“I loved a man who loved men,” the voice continued. “I got him to marry me for the sake of his career and thought we could be happy. Resentment. Anger. Infidelity. Fire. Dust. I burned it all down. All we built – dust. My bones – dust. You too and all you love shall be dust.”

The spirit’s words burn going down. Jack feels dizzy, feels sick, feels a cold numbness seeping into his bones.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox

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