OCtober Day 31: Monica

Hard to tell how long I’ve been gone. Seconds, years, centuries even. Time is endless, and meaningless here. 

I stood at the door of my pride and joy; The Untold Tavern. In a void of nothing, this bar exists for lost souls to come have a drink and chat before returning to their own worlds. Both the exterior and interior shift in appearance, though my favourite is the classic bar of human fantasy realms.

I’ve worked here as long as I could remember. I was not born. One day I just was; Monica, the bartender.

Ah, yes, that is in fact my real name by the way. Whilst travelling, shortening it to ‘M’ seemed like a decent way to hide my identity. It could stand for anything, after all. And thus, when my time was done I could slip away into relative obscurity.

 I’m not sure what I am exactly, nor who created me. I admire myself in the reflection of the window. Like the tavern, my form isn’t necessarily set in stone either. Though, I have one that I’m partial to. The tall, bald, genderless elf like being, with tanned skin and green eyes. Simple, approachable, and adaptable. I can shift it at will when the situation calls for it, but I’m comfortable like this.

Taking in a long sigh, I retrieve the keys from my pocket and open the front door. The bell dings as I enter.

Everything swirls, shifting into place upon my presence. Floorboards manifest underfoot as I step on through. Reality constructs itself once more, leaving the bar for last as it forms when my arm goes to rest upon the countertop. Stroking the smooth polished wood, I find it as clean as I left it. For a moment I plop down on a barstool and simply revel in the peace. 

Oh, are you still waiting for someone else to show up?

Not today. The bar’s closed for now I’m afraid. It’s just me, alone for once.

It’s never usually about me. I don’t understand what my purpose of existence is exactly, but I do now I’ve always gotten a good feeling from talking to people. Listening to their problems, watching them in action, or simply brightening their day with good service. For the longest time, I’d been perfectly content standing behind that bar and catering to the customers.

So, why was I so far from home?

Well, when one spends an eternity at the end of the universe, listening day by day about the endless worlds that exist on the other side of the nothing, one starts to grow curious. I’d never known anything except my humble little tavern. And yet, a gurgling feeling within my being yearned for what was beyond the doors. 

I had dabbled with exploring. After all, I had to source ingredients somehow. Towards the back room behind the kitchen were a few set portals to a variety of worlds. Most of the time I’d quickly pop in, gather what I needed, and popped right back. Glimpses of realities, fleeting dreams that would end the moment I looked away. Though, the details always nagged at the back of my mind.

One day, I couldn’t no longer ignore it.

For the first time in eons, I closed the bar, tore open a rift in space and stepped on through to whatever awaited me.

I have absolutely no regrets about my decision. My journey took me through grand cyberpunk cities, hostile alien planets, supernatural societies and fantastical realms beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Along the way I had the honour of meeting such fascinating people from all walks of life. I wrote about each one in my journal, so as not to forget them.

However, after much travelling this baby bird started to get homesick. I missed the comfort of the oak wood bar, the smell of fruit and the quiet laughter of patrons. 

And thus, I came home to roost.

Moseying on back to the bedroom, I began to put away all the souvenirs I’d acquired. They’d be hiding away in something called a ‘bag of holding’ I’d acquired from one of the magical realms. Essentially, a bag that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Perfect for an interdimensional traveller. Retrieving guns, swords, clothes, magic items, various forms of currency, samples of vampire blood and so on. Some of these were stolen, but others were gifted by the people I met along the way.

Last of all, I carefully laid down my journal to rest on the desk. 

Monica’s Odyssey.

The title, painted on the leather cover. This book is a special one. Just before I left on my journey, it appeared on this very spot. As many words that fill the pages, there’s seemingly always as many blank, awaiting more entries. Though my pilgrimage has now ended, I aspire to keep the journal going with tales from passing patrons. Maybe, in the future, I shall travel again as more worlds are created.

The bell dings.

My first customer in forever. Must have lost track of how much time has passed. That is, if time had any meaning here. Ah well, back to grind for now. Something about that though creates a little smile on my face. Reaching for the apron on the clothes rack, I put it on, check myself in the mirror one more time, and head out to greet whoever I’ve the honour of crossing my path today.

“Hello, my name is Monica. It’s a pleasure to meet you. How may I serve you today?”