The Marmoriska by D A Schippers

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SUMMARY: Billy Barter claims he's been bitten by a werewolf. The stranger in the back of the pub agrees with him.

VanderLuin Pub
Countryside, PA USA
October 30th, 1798 CE (Cerebrum 39, 17014) 19:24 Eastern Time (Local Time)

"I don't care what you think, I know what I saw! And we better pray to God above that it leaves." Billy Barter smashed his mug onto the bar top, sloshing beer out onto the dry thirsty wood.
The small twenty by thirty foot watering hole was very dark with only a few lanterns here and there to light the tavern in the darkness of the Pennsylvania fall. The chairs were all hand made from oak. A rich brown and red stain sealed the skin of the wood, except patches on the bar top where the stain had worn clean. A few decorations hung here and there, but they were sparse. The largest ornament in the room was a massive stone fireplace that belched out heat from a crackling fire, incessantly hissing as a lanky malnourished attendant kept tossing moistened logs in. The attendant worriedly glared over at Billy Barter, who looked as though he had been tossed about by a monster.
Billy Barter slugged down a big gulp of his ale, tossing his pony tail back away from his murky white shirt that had not been washed in days. His pants were no better with stains of berries and mud covering them. Billy's hands were covered in scratches along with his partially crimson face, both of which bleed down onto the bar. His neck was covered in blood that ran down lazily to stain his formerly white shirt. In between gulps, and glaring looks, he wiped the blood from his face and brow to keep it from running into his eyes.
The bartender, Al VanderLuin, glared at Billy with cautious contempt. Al had run his tavern for years, always careful of what he believed from those who came in to rouse trouble. Al was as stingy with his trust as he was with his money. Barter had only been allowed ale for a year or so, but he was already well on his way to becoming a regular. Al kept cleaning a mug with a rag in nearly the same state of cleanliness of Billy's clothes. Clean white bar rags cost good money that was put to better use in Al's pockets. Regardless, the shrewd Dutchman counted his coins, and polished his mugs to make them look clean enough for the not-so-wise locals to drink out of. His massive arms and shoulders were only matched by the rolling stomach that protruded nearly enough to mistake as the belly of a woman who had carried her unborn for eight months or more. Al was as much overfed as Tom VanderZee, his lanky attendant tending the fire, was malnourished.
Tom was the skinny sort of man that constantly had the look of death about him. Tom's blonde hair added to his pale white complexion and blue eyes. His cheek bones showed through his skin, giving him a skeletal look. Tom went about his business cleaning tables and stoking the fire; all the while learning the tavern trade to open shop down the road. Tom was not malnourished because he did not have money; he was shrewder than Al and was plotting to steal his business. Everything Al did was observed and recorded in Tom's brain until he could get home and scribe it down.

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