Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Millie's Tavern was the kind of place where both the hopeless and the desperate came to quietly drink themselves into oblivion. The building tilted precariously next to a dusty crossroads.  A dark cloud seemed to hover over the roof, blocking all possibility of sunlight, and the windows were grimy with the dirt of ages.  Loud, heavy music could be heard all all hours, Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" occasionally rattling the windows of houses miles away.

Cadence Jones stepped into the tavern doorway.  A glowing smile on his face, he took in the low hanging cloud of smoke, the lack of good lighting, and the barest scent of sulphur.  Murmurs of conversation floated around him, punctuated by raucous laughter.  The bartender had been spirited directly from the 1880s, with muttonchop sideburns and a prodigious mustache. Above the bartender's head, a large sign sat on the wall. TRY THE SOULBINDER IF YOU DARE!  

Exactly what he was here for.

"I'll have that." Cadence pounded once on the bar to get the bartender's attention and pointed.  All music and conversation stopped, a hunger in the air.  The entire bar was listening; Cadence politely refrained from noticing.  Hands shaking, the bartender began the concoction.  When he was finished, a foul black liquid was placed into a stone cup and placed in front of Cadence.  The mixture resembled hot tar, and smelled of death.

"You must drink the entire SOULBINDER in one swallow," the bartender read the rules from an obscure manual.  "If you can do so, all debts are forgiven, and we are free. Otherwise, your soul is bound to Millie's. We brand you with her mark and you'll be stuck here."  

A warning completely ignored.  Cadence tilted his head back and downed the entire drink.  There was a flash and then the entire bar vanished, leaving Cadence sitting in the dust.

Score one for alcoholic angels, Cadence chuckled.

The prompt is the third definition of the word "BRAND".

Let me introduce you to Millie:
Millie's Tavern, Hampton Beach NH
Millie’s Tavern, Hampton Beach NH
Millie was a character. I just know it. But what an incongruous image for a bar sign, right?
So for this week’s Write at the Merge, our weekly writing prompt and link up — where we give you two points of inspiration, 500 words, and from Sunday to Thursday to write and share your fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, I give you Millie’s Tavern sign, and the first song that popped into my head the night I saw it: (Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Til Brooklyn")


  1. SO entertaining. Seriously. I love the description of the bartender, the build-up to what will happen to Cadence after he's tried the Soulbinder.

    And the ending? I chuckled right along with him.

  2. This was awesomely creative. I love the idea of an alcoholic angel saving the day :)

  3. Ah, a threefer. Some of my teammates have managed to achieve this writing prompt crown of triumph. I haven't yet.

  4. I like! A fun different take on the prompts. I noticed in the first paragraph you repeat the word "all" in this sentence: Loud, heavy music could be heard all all hours

    1. Oops! Sorry about that! Thank you for reading.

  5. I love how the capital letters are pronounced in the name! Made me laugh. A very fun piece.
    Thank you for linking up!

  6. Cadence - great name. And alcoholic angels - why the hell not! Made me smile.

  7. Ha! I love what you did with the prompt.

  8. I think I'm going to have "alcoholic angel" put on a T-shirt. :)

    This was great. You described the setting so vividly, I could see it. A fun read.

  9. Alcoholic angels? I love it! What a great scene. Cadence is a great character. I would love to see more of him.

  10. Ha! Ha! I loved the end. Good job with this scene. I agree with Ivy, "alcoholic angel" on a t-shirt would be perfect.


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!