Drinking with Death

📅 Published on August 23, 2021

“Drinking with Death”

Written by N.M. Brown
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 7 minutes

Rating: 8.00/10. From 3 votes.
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She left me. Of course, she did; I’d have left me, too.

I stared woefully with bloodshot eyes at my reflection in my rearview mirror, the cragged cracks of age as plain as the fireball red nose on my face as I drove through the back roads of West Texas. Years of laugh lines taunted me, teasing days of better use. Lord knows I haven’t smiled much recently, let alone laughed. It never hit me before how much older I looked than I actually was. I guess that’s what happens though when you drink two of your three daily meals for the past five years.

It started out just fine; no one enters a marriage with the intention of getting divorced. It’s just something that happens sometimes. I could have blamed it on statistics, saying it’s one of the ‘ways of the World’, but that’s all bullshit. In the end, the demise of my marital bliss was my own doing.

Don’t feel too sorry for me yet though. Even after all that’s happened, the only thing I could think of was to go back to where the trouble all started, where the end began. Unfortunately for me, I had been not so kindly asked not to revisit most of the bars here in town. And sadly, if I had the chance to do it over again… I’d most likely do things the exact same way.

As if by sheer will, a faded sign for a place called the Dry Diablo Saloon suddenly over the cusp of the horizon.

It wasn’t much to look at, but the best ones never are. It doesn’t matter what the place looks like as long as the drinks are priced right. The decor was akin to something out of the old pages of the Wild West.

The barstool wobbled almost violently against the worn seat of my Lucky brand jeans, or maybe it was just my head that spun as I sat and waited on the man working behind the bar. He was a confusing-looking fellow. He stood there decked out from head to toe in western wear. His jeans were so goddamn tight that it made my own balls ache with sympathy. However, the mustache plastered across his top lip looked more suited for someone performing in a barbershop quartet. I didn’t have much time to people-watch as right then, a sudden flash of light beamed through the doorway, shining off of the metal tips of the barkeep’s shoes as he came around the counter. The glint assaulted my vision, forcing me to avert my eyes momentarily.

By the time I turned my head back in his direction, he was only standing there motionless. A look of utter dread and terror was etched into his once cheerful facial features. Two blue orbs widened fearfully at something I couldn’t yet see while his jaw hung slack open, like a waiting bear trap on the forest floor. I re-positioned my exhausted body, hoping to get a better view of what had haunted the man.

In fact, the same effect had seemed to possess the entire bar. Patrons wore white, elongated faces of horror. The only color left was on their overexposed, bulging irises. A cacophony of hushed murmurs soon defeated the silence that had absorbed the saloon. If I wasn’t a more rational man, I’d have said that it looked like they were gazing upon the Devil himself.

However, all that stood before me was an elderly, weather-worn man. The top of his hat and face were just visible over the apex of the bat-wing doors I had just walked through moments before. But it wasn’t until he threw them open with both hands that I had been introduced to the full picture of what everyone else had already been familiar with.

The man was rail-thin, with skin like bone-dry tissue paper. It covered his body like an opaque grocery bag, the stark blue contrast of his veins screaming out from underneath. His eyes were mismatched, mainly due to the fact that one was sunken into his face as if it had been stamped by a license plate press. The eye was consumed by a milky film, and if not for the red hues within, I would have sworn it was one of the worst cataracts I had ever bore witness to. Surely he wasn’t able to see out of that thing, I thought to myself. It scanned the room like a robotic sensor as he took a panoramic look around the inside of the bar, his head turning from side to side with a slow, sweeping glare.

He cocked his hat, lowering it over the offending eye before turning his head in my direction. My face blanched as I realized he must have felt me staring at him. His expression remained grim at first, and I was sure as shit that he was about to give me Hell for ogling him like I’d been doing, blatantly at that. But he didn’t.

Instead, he walked over to me, plopping his ass down in the seat next to mine. I half expected a puff of dust to shoot into the air around us upon impact. “Well,” I cleared my throat gruffly. “Seems unnecessarily mystical and time-consuming to make all that fuss upon arrival only to not say who the hell you are.”

“Barkeep!” His voice was thick and gritty, like bits of concrete sunken into a muddy puddle. “Two shots of whiskey,” His boney elbow jabbed into my ribs jestfully as a wry smile peeled across his ancient face.

I held my hand up in gentle objection as my torso twisted to face more in his direction. “ I appreciate that partner. However, tequila’s my poison tonight. If it’s all the same to you. I don’t imagine you’d revoke an offer to soothe a fella’s spirits just because you don’t agree with his liquor of choice.” I quipped.

The stranger growled with a disappointed shake of his head in response. I swear to Christ I heard spurs rattle every time his head moved. “I pick the drinks, you knock ’em back, else draw against my hand and forfeit. Wouldn’t be the first time I shot a man before we got started,”

“Who the hell do you think you are?” my patience was exhausted at this point, and though I didn’t have much of a home to go back to so to speak, I certainly had better things to do than this. However, nothing could prepare me for the speech that was about to unfold.

His lips curled back as the words came forth. I swear every face inside that bar turned a shade of pale as he spoke. “My name is Creller Steele and according to my death certificate I left this world six years ago. I had something of what you’d call an alcohol problem, still do maybe…” As if on cue, the bartender placed two shot glasses full of amber-colored courage down in front of us ceremoniously. “Well, it was in that vein that I decided to break into a liquor warehouse. No one was supposed to be there… and definitely not get hurt. Of course, that didn’t stop me from pullin’ the trigger though. That poor bastard was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he continued. “They tied me to the table there and poked me full of tubes, lethal injection they called it. Yet, here I am,  cursed to float between planes until someone takes my place.”  He raised his arms skyward and performed a slight twirl for show. Each and every face lost all pallor and color as his fingers pointed their way.

“And if I lose?” I pondered playfully. I hadn’t drunk enough to be in the state of mind to give his words much merit.

Creller snickered disdainfully, glancing down at his hip before answering my retort. “They win a bullet to the head and chest. But I must forewarn you, I’ve been to saloons all over these lands, and each and every evening I challenge a new lost soul. I haven’t lost yet.”

“That hardly seems like a fair bargain,” I countered, shoving the shot glass in his direction. “I’m a devil for the drink, like any tortured soul. But you gotta be a fool, sir, to think I’d accept a bet that’s already lost before it commences. I mean, what are you gonna do? Drink yourself to death? The ship has sailed on that it seems, friend. Now please, let me get back to my drink and go about your way.”

He tossed his head back, his lips pulling tight over his piss-yellow teeth and jaw as he let out a long, dry laugh. “It’s way too late for that, son.” he cackled, gesturing to the empty shot glass that sat before me. “Ain’t no man that I can’t beat, be him live or dead. You and me, all you can drink till midnight. Barhop, set us up please friend. I want whiskey, tequila, vodka, rum and gin.”

Creller Steele tipped his hat as a dry, wicked laugh rasped through his boney lips.

I looked around for someone, anyone who could help me free myself from this deranged man and his deal. “I’m afraid I’m the only one that can help you out here friend,” Creller said, as if reading my mind.  The barhop nodded slowly in affirmation and I knew that I was screwed. I would have no choice but to match him drink for drink, no matter if I choked.

We drank until the afternoon began bleeding over into the evening, with me matching him drink for drink, swig for swig, ounce for ounce.

Soon enough, it was six minutes to midnight, meaning the boney hand of death was fast approaching. In a swift flash of certainty, I knew what had to be done. And what’s more, I knew I had to do it while I still had the faculties to do it right, make it real subtle… seamless-like.  I made sure to grip the shots between two fingers, making sure to dip both into the whiskey swirling in the glass. “To life,” I roared as I raised my glass, giving him no choice but to do the same.

I threw the whiskey down my throat, trying my best to ignore the burn that radiated through my nasal cavity and lungs. Determination won out in the end as my poker face prevailed. Though I knew if I subjected myself to much more of this, I wouldn’t live to tell the tale.

The ghoul sat before me poured the warm liquid into a bone dry throat, and I imagined him suffering from a thirst that would never quench. However, I had something that he surely didn’t have.

As the very thought had brought the action, Creller’s eyes bulged as he swallowed the fateful shot. His rickety body reeled back, as if hit with a tsunami of punches and kicks. His breath rasped and wheezed as he struggled to keep breathing the air that he had no right to inhale anymore. “You?!” He bellowed, and at the time I couldn’t tell if it was a question, revelation or accusation. It ultimately didn’t matter though, the end result would always be the same.

“That’s right,” I replied cooly. “Me. And do you know who I am, mister? I’m the husband of a preacher’s daughter, one who gave me his physical blessing in the form of a handshake,” I continued as his body fell limp against the bar. “ I, sir, am a man whose union is protected by God and his disciples, in Heaven and on Earth..”

And it was true. My wife had left me; Hell I’d have left me too. But she was still my wife. And sometimes, when it seems like a man’s got nothing left to hold onto, the vows he made hold truer than ever.

Creller’s body finished its descent to the floor, turning into nothing more than a pile of bones and dust upon impact. His femurs fell into the shape of a cross, how fucking poignant. They say that the adult body has 260 bones in total. But I swear that day, if I would have taken the time to count, I would have noted 666.

Rating: 8.00/10. From 3 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by N.M. Brown
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: N.M. Brown


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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