Here’s the second free write from the Carrot Ranch TUFF competition prompt which is now closed. A fixed 297 words, using the prompt ‘Papa’s Bar’.
Papa’s Bar had been there since forever, trapped between the cemetery and the beginning of Nowhere. No track led into Nowhere. No one entered Nowhere. If anyone approached it, dared by others to step beyond the invisible line, drawn in men’s minds, they stopped, incapable of making another step. All Papa’s clients ignored Nowhere, even those big men with bigger reputations.
The inhospitable lands meant few stayed long in the town, other than to fulfil whatever their contracts said. Those chancers who assumed there must be rich pickings in somewhere so isolated remained for a day or, at most two and then left, chilled by the lack of warmth, of the dread miasma that seemed to drip from the rafters.
Papa O’Rierdon stood on the wooden step outside the door to the bar and dried another glass. He was tired and frustrated. Everything he had tried to encourage people to come, to stay had failed. He lifted his gaze to the shimmering air that seemed to emerge from the ground just beyond the imaginary boundary line, distorting what passed for a view. Even if no one else could hear it, he could: that sharp-toothed cackle. He alone could see the shadowy figure, its crooked finger bent in what passed for an invitation.
Behind him it was as if the town sighed out a final breath; the place was dying and only Papa knew why. Only Papa could stop the inevitable end, the final ignominy.
Dropping the cloth he marched across the line and into Nowhere. Papa’s nemesis, a small green leprechaun stood, hands on hips, grinning.
Papa growled. ‘Can we stood this stupid feud?’
The leprechaun nodded. ‘You ready to play now?’
‘Yes alright.’ Papa leaned forward and tapped the leprechaun on the shoulder. ‘Now you’re it.’