Eddie turned the coaster over and over in his hand. Tapping it against the worn wooden bar before flipping it over and tapping some more. He finished the last sip of Jack, and chased it with a sip of beer.
He looked at himself through the dusty bottles in the mirror behind the bar, the only liquor that saw any action here was on the rail. He chuckled at the ridiculous sweater he was wearing. The symbiote had slowly tired of Christmas. It’d been at least two weeks since Eddie woke up to the symbiote hanging tomcat testicles and a burger wrapper to the ceiling and demanding a kiss beneath the mistletoe. He couldn’t quite get rid of the holiday sweaters though.
Every time he left the house with the symbiote as a black hoody by the time he’d catch himself in the first window the reflection was wearing something green and red. Eddie tipped his bottle back and looked in the mirror again, that stupid sweater. Today the symbiote had settled on five triceratops hauling a sleigh with a tyrannosaurus astronaut. He chuckled, close enough he guessed.
“Hey there buckaroo, can I grab you another round?” asked the bartender as he hung a pink cherub above the bar with masking tape. Eddie glanced up and answered with a snaggle toothed grin, “sure thing.”
“That’s some crazy sweater,” the bartender said as he put down another bottle of beer and poured a shot into Eddies glass. “Buddy you don’t know the half of it,” Eddie smiled.
The bartender taped one end of a sting of hearts to a shelf, “You could have done real well around Christmas with that crazy look,” he said as he strung it out and taped the other end up.
Eddie swung his head to the side and looked down the bar. There were a few errant babies with bows and a large paper heart with the words “True Love” on the walls. Below the heart a tired looking guy was struggling to keep his head up, Eddie could catch a whiff of vomit through the symbiotes nose. He looked back to the bartender with an amused grin, “Valentines Day real big business for you?” “We usually get some solos trying to drink the evening away, a little reminder pushes their tabs up,” the bartender whinked.
“Heh,” Eddie chuckled and put a coaster on top of his glass of Jack, “I’ll be right back.” He slid out of his stool and walked back to the bathroom.
Eddie finished rinsing his hands and turned off the tap. He looked up into the mirror and saw an inky black snake coil up from his shoulder. “What'sss Valentinesss Edsss?” the symbiote asked, “Do we get heartsss? I give Edsss lotss of heartsss. Do you want more heartsss now?”
“NO, NO,” shouted Eddie. “Not that kind of hearts, people give each other chocolate filled hearts on Valentines day, not real hearts, understand,” Eddie pleaded.
“Why do they give each other chocolate hearts Edsss?” asked the symbiote tilting it’s head quizzically sideways, “does it protect them from the flying boysss?”
“They give each other chocolate because they love each other, and the flying angels help them fall in love.” Eddie answered, waiting for any sign of understanding from it’s eyes. The symbiote nodded and shrunk back into it’s sweater.
He hung his head and squeezed the bridge of his nose, that was a close one. He couldn’t handle the symbiote when it got excited about something. He pushed himself up from the sink and walked to the door.
Eddie slid back onto his bar stool and flipped the coaster off the top of his glass. He gulped back the Jack and felt it burn as it went down.
The bartender was wiping off a bottle of chocolate liqueur and stared at Eddies sweater, “is that the same sweater you were wearing before?” he asked, staring blankly into the fabric.
Eddie looked at himself in the mirror. The symbiote had changed into a red and white sweater. There were two velociraptors with wings and bows, the arrows skewered human hearts dripping blood.
The bartender leaned in closer, “are those hearts dripping?” he asked dreamily. He stared at the lifelike stitched hearts and watched blood dripping off them and down the weave of the sweater.
The bartenders body slammed against the shelves and mirror behind him, a black tendril piercing his chest. His body fell to the floor, one black tendril holding his heart, another holding the bottle of chocolate liqueur.
“Oh shit!” Eddie shouted as he pushed himself back from the bar. A beating heart slammed into his head, tipping him back off his stool and flat onto his back.
“I Love Edsss!” the symbiote shouted as it slammed the heart into Eddies mouth. Eddie was dazed and tried to defend himself but the heart kept on coming and coming, slamming his head into the ground again and again.
“I Love EDSSS!” the symbiote screamed as it stabbed the liqueur into the heart’s aorta. Eddie, blinded by blood and gasping for breath felt the heart slam into his mouth. He choked as the sickly sweet and salty liquid squirted down his throat.
He felt the inky blackness slide over his face. He felt his teeth grow sharp and long, and his jaw wide. He felt his/it’s mouth bite through the heart and start chewing the warm meat. He felt his/it’s tongue slither through the heart’s chambers, tasting the chocolaty blood.
Eddie could see only stars, fading stars as he starts to loose consciousness. He felt his/it’s jaws gape wide and swallow the rest of the bartender’s heart. As Eddie faded to black he felt his/it’s mouth move, he heard himself say “Eddie lovesss you too.”