Three people walk into a bar . . .
Hotel Roter Turm in Solothurn, Switzerland
Three people walk into a bar, three strangers. The bar was crowded, the air hung heavily with stale remainders of smoke and beer. Robin, Wenzel and Hugo had met on this evening in remembrance of what had passed.
As they opened the door they heard the mumbling and bawdy laughter of the bar customers, loud laughs, giggles formed the background to the stained floors where an empty bottle rolled under a polished wooden table. The polish no longer shined, it was blank and dull with the usage of many years.
The noise in the bar became silence. You could hear a wine cork fall, the three strangers moved towards an empty table in the corner. It was strange, it was as if the table had been waiting for them. No-one spoke, there was no merriment, the bar keeper was staring at the three people that had entered.
Wenzel removed his hat, the feathers sweeping across the surface of the table. Robin and Hugo followed suit. They kept their swords, which made a clanking sound as they seated. Three large draughts of ale appeared at the table and the three men emptied the goblets in one gulp. It was clear that these were three men not foreign to drink. Their goblets were refilled, as if by a ghostly hand.
In the meanwhile the bar customers began to move. One by one they left the bar and the three men were alone. It was Autumn and the mists came swirling from the near bye river. There was a procession of bar visitors treading along the embankment of the river. Some glanced at their watch. It was 15th October, the wrong evening to visit the oldest bar in the town. It had too many bad memories for some, especially for the three men.
In the bar the lights were dimmed, oil lamps had appeared on the wooden tables. A man entered the bar. His dress showed him to be of a wealthy kind, the three men stared at him.
Robin spoke in a low tone to Wenzel and Hugo “It is Vlad, the one I saw with my girl. She fought but he ignored her pleas. Her mind has been wandering since that moment.”
Hugo watched the man “Vlad is a well-known rogue. He takes his money and jewels from the highway robbers that he employs and protects. He had my father killed for the land he possessed. No-one is safe from this man.”
Wenzel spoke “we will rid the town of this vermin. I was once a successful business man. I had the best horses until he stole them from my stables and dared me to retrieve them. My faithful servant tried to stop him, and as thanks this rogue had him killed by his
The three men decided enough was enough, they approached Vlad surrounding him. They drew their swords and before Vlad could protect himself they struck. Three blows, one to the heart, one in the stomach and the third severing his head from the body. The other customers in the inn raised no hand to help Vlad. So was this scum thought of in the town.
The murder had been planned. The other customers removed the floor boards in the corner of the inn and Vlad’s body was buried under the boards.
Many years later, in the twentieth century, construction work was carried out in and around the inn, which had become a bar and restaurant in the meanwhile. It was enlarged and the floorboards were replaced. It was then that a skeleton was discovered. Of course it made headlines in the newspaper, and the general opinion was that it must have been a plague victim, or some other illness from the middle ages.
Since the discovery was made, it was noticed that every year on 15th October, three men entered the bar and sat in the same corner. It seemed they had their own drink. Their clothes resembled a theatre piece from the middle ages, but the swords they carried were real. The first time they appeared, just a few months after the discovery of the skeleton, a fourth headless man was seen rising from the floor. The three strange men that had entered the bar struck him with their swords and all four disappeared through the floor of the restaurant with strange sounds. Since, customers on 15th October left the bar when the three men appeared.