work in progress: caedon’s ghost bar

by Shannon

This is from something I’m working on now. It’s sort of a ‘shared universe’ for a bunch of standalone ghost/supernatural themed stories, with a bunch of characters who are unrealistically interconnected with one another.

I really wanted to illustrate this with an atmospheric black and white photo of a smoky neighborhood bar gone to seed. Do you know how hard that is to find!? Seriously, a billion hipsters in the world and I can’t find the most hipster photograph ever. That should be up there with decaying buildings and abandoned doors on litter-strewn city blocks and people in chucks.

He woke up to harsh light and cold air. Someone had left the fan on, or maybe he did. He was in boxers, and had kicked most of the blankets to the ground. It took a moment or two, but after sitting still and blinking away the last tendrils of sleep, he was shockingly and uncharacteristically awake. He scratched at his scalp idly; his hair was standing everywhere and in desperate need of shampoo, but it was too early to even think about doing.

He snatched some sweatpants off the floor, and a tee shirt, and stumbled out of his room and downstairs. Allison was at the table, dressed in old jeans and a big wool cardigan that had probably belonged to their father. She had a big mug in front of her, and was splashing a saturated Lipton teabag in and out of the cup. She looked up when he entered. “God, finally,” she said.

“What? It’s early. I didn’t even sleep in today.”

She rolled her eyes. “New girlfriend? Whatever, I don’t wanna know. The guys called like, six times.”

There was at least a mug and a half left of coffee in the pot. Caedon claimed it and then grabbed a banana off the counter and sat down at the table with her. He took a big bite of it, and then talked around it. “Where’s mom and dad?”

Allie rolled her eyes again, making a face, and looked away. “Um, at work, duh.”

Caedon had been halfway into a sip of coffee. He frowned into the mug and then pulled away from it. “On a Sunday?”

Allison’s eyes narrowed. “On a Tuesday. Where were you?”

“Playing a gig. You’re fucking with me.”

“Without your band?” Allie pressed, disbelief heavy and cold. She pulled out the teabag and chucked it across the kitchen. It missed the trash can by a foot and landed on the counter with a dull ‘splat.’

“It was just covers in a shitty bar. And if it’s Tuesday, why are you at home?”

“It’s a snow day. What kind of secret gig lasts two days?” She took a long, deliberate sip of tea. “Must have been some bender.”

Caedon snorted, and cupped his mug in two cold hands. Over his shoulder, out the window, fat, brilliantly white snowflakes were falling. “Yeah, must have been.”