At the Crossroads Prose in Folk Rock Horror | World Anvil

At the Crossroads

The night was sweltering, even for a summer's evening in 1974. Jesse Savage had just finished a particularly brutal show with the Sunshine River Music Fair. The sweat still glistened on his forehead as he made his way out of the makeshift backstage area, his acoustic guitar slung over his shoulder. The crowd had been relentless, demanding encore after encore until his voice had cracked and his fingers were numb.   Jesse's career was on the upswing once again, and the taste of success was sweet, but it came with a bitter aftertaste. The devil's deal he'd unwittingly made had propelled him back into the limelight, but he could feel the shadowy presence of that ominous contract lurking just beyond the stage lights.   After the show, he needed a drink, a respite from the frenetic energy of the crowd. He pushed through the backstage crowd, past the band's equipment, and out into the warm Georgia night. He stumbled upon a dimly lit bar with a flickering neon sign that read "Crossroads Bar." It seemed fitting, given his current predicament.   The bar was nearly empty, save for a few patrons nursing their drinks in silence. The jukebox played a mournful country tune that seemed to match Jesse's mood. He took a seat at the worn wooden bar, his dark sunglasses still concealing his eyes, and signaled the bartender for a whiskey, neat.   As he swirled the amber liquid in his glass, he couldn't help but replay the events of the past few years in his mind. The fame he had once craved so desperately had come rushing back like a tidal wave, but it had brought with it an unsettling feeling of being out of control. He was a puppet on a string, dancing to a tune not of his own making.   A voice broke through his reverie, low and gravelly, like the rumble of distant thunder. "You look like a man with a lot on his mind."   Startled, Jesse turned to his left to see a stranger seated next to him, a figure cloaked in darkness. The stranger's face was obscured by the brim of a wide hat, casting a shadow over his features. Jesse couldn't make out much, but the glint of a devilish smile was unmistakable.   "Yeah, you could say that," Jesse replied cautiously. He'd met his fair share of fans and well-wishers, but this man felt different, otherworldly.   The stranger nodded, as if he understood the weight of Jesse's words. "Fame can be a fickle mistress, can't it?"   Jesse took a sip of his whiskey, his fingers trembling slightly. "You have no idea."   The stranger's smile widened, and he leaned in closer, his voice a conspiratorial whisper. "What if I told you there was a way to make it all easier, to truly revel in your success without the burdens that come with it?"   Jesse's heart quickened. He'd heard enough stories about Faustian bargains to know where this was heading. "Who are you?" he asked, his voice quivering.   The stranger chuckled softly. "Call me a friend, Jesse, a friend who can offer you a deal. A way to reclaim your fame and fortune without the chaos that accompanies it."   Jesse's mind raced. The devil's pact had already brought him success, but it had also brought chaos. Could this stranger offer a different path, a way out of his dark contract? It was a tempting proposition, and Jesse couldn't deny the allure of an easier road to redemption.   Before he could respond, a sudden feeling of foreboding washed over him, like a cold breeze on a hot summer night. He glanced around the dimly lit bar, and for a brief moment, he thought he saw the reflection of flames dancing in the stranger's dark glasses.   The mysterious figure leaned in even closer, his voice now a haunting whisper. "All I ask, Jesse, is a small favor in return. Just a simple task, and your troubles will be a thing of the past."   Jesse Savage was at a crossroads once again, faced with a choice that could alter the course of his destiny. The devil's shadow loomed large, but the stranger's offer glimmered like a distant star in the night sky. The bar was quiet, the jukebox silent, as Jesse pondered his next move.


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