The Nine Circles Bar : Scary Stories – Short Horror Story

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My friends are all lightweights. It was barely 3 a.m., but they were all, “It’s late Chelsea,” and “I have work in the morning!”

So, I hit a few more bars solo, but they kept throwing me out. “Too drunk” my ass—I was still standing, wasn’t I? Anyway, I’m hitting the pavement, looking for someplace still open, and I find this basement dive called Nine Circles.

Smelled like a used cigarette and their gin didn’t taste much better. Now, I’ll admit, I got a little loud—and maybe calling the place a shithole wasn’t polite, but it was the truth, OK?

Well, the place got real quiet, and everyone was looking at me. Thought I was in for it, but this swanky fella in a white suit intervened.

“Hey, little lady,” he said, smiling so his pearly whites glowed under the neon. “You talk that tough, customers will want you to prove it. How about you test your mettle in a drinking contest?”

What was I supposed to do? When the choice is getting the shit beat outta me or drinking myself to the floor, I’ll take the latter.

Which I did. My last memory is that white-suited stranger downing a shot and laughing, his black hair curling up like a pair of horns.

Next thing I knew, I was standing at the bar. Not on the right side, either—I was behind it, dressed up in a vest and shirt sleeves. Thought I was dreaming for a moment, but the pounding headache told me otherwise.

“Barkeep!”

It took a moment to realize the angry guy in the football jersey was talking to me, but there wasn’t anyone else behind the bar (I looked).

“This the kind of service you give around here?” he yelled as I struggled with his order. “It’s like you’ve never made a drink before!”

Now, I’ve made plenty of drinks, but I ain’t no bartender. So, his beer had too much foam, and when I topped it off ‘cause he complained, I got beer all over myself.

I was relieved when he finally left, but a woman just took his place.

It went on like that for hours. I was exhausted, my feet hurt, and my head was pounding. Just when I couldn’t take it anymore, I spotted the guy in the white suit.

“Hey!” I yelled. “Hey you!”

He grinned and strode on over. “Good evening! What can I do you for?”

“What do you mean?” I gestured to my new outfit. “What am I doing here? I don’t work here!”

“You do now.” The suit sat at the bar, grinning as he lit a cigar.

“Says who?”

“Says I.” He took a drag and blew smoke in my face. “I own this joint, and after last night, I own you. You aspirated last night. Enjoy your afterlife, Chelsea.”

The neon sign glowed on the endless line of customers, all clamoring for a drink at the Nine Circles.

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