The moment he was about to set his feet by the entrance, he heard the popular ballad of Robin Hood playing inside with the sweet melody of a violin. He listened, smiled to himself as if for the first time then dismount from his horse. There was a tree nearby the building wall where he first tied the reins of his horse, and then looked around to see if there were any horses, there wasn’t any. Nailed high up the tree was a sign post written in thick black ink—WONDER INN. He didn’t see it all this while he had came along the tree, unhesitatingly, he walked inside.
The magnificent flood of light shined over him, there were lanterns placed on long wooden posts, on each four corners of the hall, bright beaming and leaving the objects shadows sharp and prominent to see. It was moderately crowded with odd strange faces. He saw his way to the counter and walked towards it, no one dared to look at him even though his gaze flashed from side to side.
He was amazed. There were folks he had never imagined to exist; probably they were Halloween totems and masks of the ancient tribes or the masquerade of Naim. He thought in humour to himself.
Oak tables were disorderly loaded with bottles of rum, ale and whiskey. There were huge wooden mugs and huge glasses frothing, bowls of salted nuts and chestnuts—some of which had spilled on the floor. The smell of tobacco almost choked him when he passes over three talkative men who were blowing awkwardly accompanied with three mugs. Most were loud and aggressive as other were thoughtful quiet minding their own thoughts and observing the nature of others.
Games were being played: black jack on this other table and that other one a group of clumsy men playing header and face with coins, darts being shot by the corner side of the wall and the ballad was still playing beautifully. The woman who sang it was beautiful too, spotless white skin, short thick lips and long creamy hair, her body was light and pleasant to the sight. She had the violin on her hands, words softly flowing from her mouth. There was a man by her, who seemed to be humming after her; he had a flute on the other hand, a piece of paper on the other.
The wall was dark and pale from the smoke that lingers all day in and out, the ceiling had thick crisscrossed engravings and round remote circles, that were actually rings. The floor wasn’t pleasant, it was dirty, different types of leaves were littered along, the earth from peoples boots and shoes, few meat bones dropped under the tables. Even though, the atmosphere inside was less contemptible.
By no doubt, to Hornberry, the people looked exactly like most of which his grandfather had told in his old tales. He found it hard to deny that thought since, he precisely believed most of the things the old man has told him. And after all he was certain that what they wear in his region shouldn’t be different to what Naim or any of the regions around wear.
Never mind, he thought, maybe these people were celebrating something to do with the past. In full moon similar activities like this took place in his region, but the thing was it wasn’t full moon yet.
Hornberry paced towards the work counter where a funny bartender was polishing his glass and humming to the song that reached their side without much distortion.
“How much for a glass of rum – old good man?” he asked the weird looking bartender as he sat down on a long stool, hands spread by the counter.
Near him sat a woman of about twenty something patting hands on the counter and whistling also to the song.
The looks of the bartender were strangely amazing, especially his greyish hair.
Hornberry thought it was dyed like those of other punk folks, wait a minute, he thought, who were the folks? That he couldn’t remember, seeing a man with dyed hair, this is weird, they had to be some explanation for this; he hoped to find out and resigned from the subject, hoping to ask latter.
“Five cents, boy!” The bartender answered gently with a sharp twitchy smile.
“A good price for us poor folks, pour some for me”
He watched the grey-haired bar tender pouring the rum in a wooden mug from a green bottle, while he fumbled for his coins in his deep pockets, then immediately reached for the glass, the other hand handing him the coins.
He sipped, and then gulped down a mouthful. He sighed satisfied.
“Where this taste does comes from I’ve no idea, I pray, tell me about this recipe, good old men of Naim!”
Waiting for him to reply, he took another mouthful whilst the grey-haired man wiped his glass with a ragged cloth.
“Know nothing, boy, just a worker…doing jobbing” he said with a strange irrelevant use of language. Looking at the way Hornberry was drinking, he said:
“Well, you seem to be a good drinker, how about a game with my old friend-pal?”
He waited for the nice tasting rum to sink first, and then he faced him,
“I don’t think I have even to try it, for I’m not good at drinking” Hornberry said and thought to ask about the dyed hair, but then he was interrupted.
“Better to try, boy, better to! Five bottles to go with one if you loose, how’s that for a deal?”
The taste was irresistible – again he drank and thought of its greatness; some things are just worth a try for. Surely he would like to carry some of this good stuff and he also thought to bring some to his grandpa on his way back, if he happens to cross along this route of the Wonder Inn.
“Sounds good to me, I’m in. Where is the other contestant?” he asked sounding surprised and followed the bartender eyes.
Behind him over the first table sat three big men. The one, easily recognised, had a large nose, swarthy looking face, he had a brown beard—his look was bold and somehow inhuman.
Hornberry saw him grabbing a mug of beer and gulped it greedily then he said to his mates:
“I honour beer, folks I honour it very much, I and it are very best friends, it gives me all the pleasure I desire. When I long for a woman’s breast to lay upon, I drink. When I’m cold it warms me and when I feel low it takes me high!”
His words collided with two different persons calling after him:
“Nice piece of poet old fellow, nice one, I drink to that.”
“Haigrid, old pal!” the bartender called over the counter.
Haigrid looked at where the wailing voice was coming from. Noticing the caller, he belched and stood.
“Ya-a, Bravoo, do you have a problem with your customer?” he asked smiling. Hornberry chuckled at the sound of that.
“No, pal, just your presence here for your favourite game – beer honour!”
The grey-haired bartender eyes met Hornberry’s, they both chuckled softly.
“Play the drum people, says I, play the drum loud when the elephant walks” Haigrid said laughing.
A pair of yes looked at him fascinated, the ladies chuckled and giggled and some man clapped their hands.
An old man in the corner stood up, stumbling. When he got it, he shouted clapping his hands loudly: