Friends in need

I was cleaning some glasses, as I waited for my usual clients to come in.
I already put the “Reserved for the night” sign out in the window, so no random individuals will enter the bar.
I am the owner/bartender of this establishment, and I’ve been doing it for 2 decades now.
I have a family, with 2 little kids, twins at that, but I spend my nights here, instead of being home.
Albeit, I do open the bar at 5 PM so my days are mostly spent with my family, still sometimes I wonder why I do this…
But then, I hear the door opening, and just smile.
Looking at the first two individuals who entered, I take some blood out from the refrigerator, and throw it to them.
“That will do for starters, no?”
I say, with a chuckle.
The two laughed, and sit down at their table.
Soon, more and more individuals came in.
Some needed honey, some needed pure alcohol, some just wanted some timber and some wanted just someone to talk to.
Each individual was quirkier than the last, and more and more extraordinary.
After all, none of these clients of mine were human.
Why do I say that?
Because, they aren’t.
The first two fellas are vampires.
Afterwards there were a few werewolves, dryads, fairies, succubi, a shape-shifter, a witch and a druid.
The druid is really old, he usually comes just to hang out.
Not that he looks old, he looks even younger than me, but that’s not the point.
How do I know this? Am I hallucinating?
These would be totally understandable questions.
Well, I saw their true forms, I saw them casting spells, controlling the weather, controlling me or others, so I am pretty sure they aren’t humans, and they are real.
How did I meet them?
Would be another good question.
Well, I’ve met most of them and many more here in the bar, but it all started on a cold winter night.
I’ve just finished for the day, and it was like 10 PM and I was taking out the trash, preparing to close,  this was roughly 12 years ago.
When I went outside, there was a man, naked out at the bins.
I had to help him… it was freezing.
I took him inside, covered him in some blankets, brewed tea, and prepared clothes for him.
Thankfully, before I tried my hand at dressing him up while he was out for the count, he woke up.
He gulped down the hot tea, and to my amazement he didn’t burn himself.
Afterwards, I brought some snacks to him, as I didn’t have proper food around here.
He wolfed down three bowls, before he was satisfied.
“Thanks, that was heavenly.”
He said, in a rather hoarse voice.
“What happened man? Are you okay?
Should I call for an ambulance?”
I asked.
“No, I am okay, and I need no clothes.”
He said, as he wobbled towards the door.
“Man, are you mental, get back, you will freez…”
I wanted to say, but as he opened the door, and the cold breeze came in, the blanket around him fell and he disappeared.
Well, not disappeared, but transformed into an owl.
“I will be back.
I am not the one to owe favors.”
He said, before flying away.
I struggled to believe what I saw, but in the end, I just shrugged it off.
Thought it was the stress building up or something, but reality proved me wrong.
As the next day, just before closing time, the man I saved appeared once more, this time fully clothed, alongside with another individual.
“I’ve came to repay my debt…with an opportunity.”
The man said, as I welcomed them in.
“What do you want to drink?”
I asked.
“Beer will do for me.”
The man said.
“Honey for me.”
The other individual said.
It was a young looking man, with green hair and a pale skin.
I just nodded, thankfully I had honey because I liked tea, and I served tea as well. (yeah, tea in a bar, weird I know)
We sat down at a table, and drank.
I made myself a strong black tea, I needed it.
“So, what opportunity are you offering me?”
I asked, hoping nothing shady will come knocking on my door.
“I am a warlock.
Amongst other things I can shapeshift into animals whose blood I’ve studied and integrated with.
This man is my best-friend, a druid.”
The man I saved said some incredible things.
I wanted to roll my eyes…but his friend just grew a rose out of the table we were sitting at, so I shut up.
“We would like a partnership.
There are many individuals like us, who can’t really expose themselves to…the light.
Thus we end up really anti-social, lonely.
So a meeting place would be…appreciated, especially one with drinks.”
The druid said, in a sweet as honey voice.
“So, you want to meet up here?”
I asked.
“Yes. You aren’t afraid of us, you are still not 100% believing what you hear and see, but still, you are quite open minded.
And frankly, you are a human, so we could learn a thing or two about interacting with your kind.”
The warlock said.
“You don’t need to worry, we will compensate you.”
The druid said, as he reshaped the table once more.
I stood in silence for a bit.
“What the hell, let’s give it a try.
Some rules first: 1) you shall be welcome at 10 PM
2)I shall open my bar at 5 PM and until 10 PM, only humans can come, afterwards it’s your domain.
3) No extra-compensation is needed, but I might increase the price of beverages for you.
Do you agree?”
I said.
The two of them nodded, and started slowly sending their friends here.
It’s been more than a decade since then, and I’ve became a father, my children are also growing up, yet my customers all remained the same.
Not even a change.
They are lively, they discuss impossibly ridiculous things, but they always try to include me in their conversations as well.
I tend to consider them friends as well, not simple customers.
Albeit, the warlock is usually researching things, so he rarely visits us.
As I just served the 2nd round of blood to the vampires and the shapeshifter my phone rang.
A blood package slipped from my hand…
I stood frozen.
The phone call was from my wife, someone kidnapped my children…
“What happened, owner?”
One of the vampires asked.
Not that they didn’t hear it, but they didn’t want to be rude.
“My children disappeared from school…
Someone saw them with a tall man, with a grey hoodie…
They were kidnapped…”
I said, sighing.
Not even a second later, my bar was completely empty.
They all ran out, or just simply disappeared.
I absentmindedly cleaned the mess, put the chairs on the tables, and went to close the door.
I wanted to go home as soon as possible, to my wife, before going to search for my children.
As I soullessly dragged my body behind the counter to get the keys, the door opened.
Two cheerful voices shouted.
The twins…the twins were here!
I ran up to them, and hugged them both.
My little girls…they were safe.
Behind them, the witch and one of the vampires smiled.
“Nobody touches one of ours…”
“Nobody touches one of our coven…”
The two said.
“Thank you.
Invite the others back, today, the rounds are on me!”
I said happily.
The witch went to her table, but the vampire just sniggered.
“You think it was one man only?
There is an organization behind this…event…
And it needs to get a message from us…”
The vampire, snorted.
I just chuckled wryly, while calling my wife to get the kids.
I had to stay a bit more…
After all, seemingly, my extraordinary customers and I, are closer than I thought…
It’s like the saying: “Friends in need, friends indeed.”.

Published by omnithenerva

Wannabe fiction writer. In love with mythology, and fantasy themes.

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