Night city lights shine onto a busy street packed with cars and footsteps of pedestrians. The cars around are outdated models of the year 1990, music booms from their stereos, mixing in with traffic noises; honking horns, and sirens. East adams street, a fancy area of downtown chicago. A sign on a building nearby reads: Russian Tea Time.
Chopin's spring waltz plays inside the restaurant themed in maroon and cream, dark carpeted floors and chandeliers. Clinging of silverware mingles in with the chatter of happy customers. All of the tables are filled to the max, except for one set for two. A man sits alone at this table. His index finger traces the rim of a glass of red wine. A ringing sound emits from it. Customers around cover their ears and stare; annoyed by the interruption. The man continues on with the action aware of the murmurs and sharp looks. This is Elmore Vernon, a man in his mid twenties, tall, dark haired and eyed, handsome, and dressed in a stylish gray and black suit.
A young, male waiter approaches him, a little scared and hesitant.”Sir, excuse me, sir? There Are complaints about-”
Elmore rubs the glass again, and it rings a sharp echo around the room. The waiter winces. “I bet there is. It is funny, no? Interesting, how one small thing can impact surrounding?” He says in a thick, Russian accent. The ringing ends, and Elmore downs his drink, then points to a wine bottle in the waiter's hand.
“I-I guess so, sir.” The waiter pours the wine. “Is there anything else i can get you?”
Elmore waves him away. “No, that is all, you can leave bottle.” He checks a gold watch on his wrist impatiently.
The waiter places down a bottle of lynmar estate and taps out of sight. Letting out a stressful sigh as he walks away from the odd man. Elmore reaches below the table; his fingers caresses a silver item underneath. In the distance, a little girl watches him curiously. He spots this eavesdropper and gives the child a cold look. One that says: look away or else. This frightens the small girl, and she snaps her neck back to her mother and father, who ignores her as she tugs on their clothes and whispers. He then drums his fingers on the top of the item; strangely smirking to himself. The front door of the restaurant creaks open. He eyes the entrance. The buzzing of the common area now has a soft sound of footsteps. Elmore straightens his posture and nods in the direction of the new-comer. Another man approaches the table and takes a seat.
This is Carter Knox, a man in his early twenties, average height, with appealing dark skin, a low cut fade, and dressed in a casual outfit. “Sorry I’m late, there was a pile-up on lake shore drive, had to take a detour. This is a little too much for a chat, isn't it?” Carter checks out the restaurant as he sits.
Elmore swirls his wine glass around. ”Well, this place is best in city. Russian.” His tone goes proud.
”Yeah...well, it all tastes the same to me.”
“God, are you wrong about that! Something good can never be bad.” He places down the wine glass, outraged and confused. “That is where I can help you, carter. You have no knowledge of finery. Even when it sits before you.”
Carter gets an attitude. “Is this why you called me away from my family? To give me a lesson on finery??”
“Of course not, that is for some other time. No.” Elmore scoots up in his chair. “No, I called you here because I have insight on something you will want to be part of.”
Carter’s expression turns heated, his jaw sets. “I told you, I’m no longer interested! Those days are behind me. Now I’m just-”
Elmore cuts him off. “A man with a great mind. One that has so much to offer but decides to leave it undiscovered.”
“A biology teacher, that's what I was going to say.”
Elmore rolls his eyes and snickers. “What we did together was actual science, you know that is true. What you do now is not real science!” He growls.
”It's enough for me.”
”Never settle for less.” Carter looks away a bit irritated. “Shame.” Elmore ticks his tongue. ”You are aware of your brilliance, yet you refuse to ignite it.” His tone goes low, into a whisper.
”Ignite?” Carter brings his attention back to Elmore, who pulls the item from below the table; a suitcase, and sits it on the table. Snapping it open. Inside is a vial of black liquid. He observes it, his expression blank to the reveal.
“Yes, I could use ignition. My lighter is cracked, but yours never seems to waver at obstacle. That is why I called, my friend. I need help.
Carter leans forward to get a better look at the suitcase, his brown eyes puzzled. ”What is that?”
”Oh, I think you can do better than that, knox. Don't you recognize it? Look closely, closely, it will come to you...any second now.” Elmore’s voice taunts him hypnotically.
Carter eyes light up instantly, flashing with fear, widening in shock, he jumps back, the seat beneath him scrapes the floor hard and falls backwards. His arms knock the table over. The wooden table clashes to the floor; glasses fall from it and shatter, spilling red wine onto the dark carpet. The suitcase slides a few feet away. Elmore stays seated, unphased. As the calm mood around him shifts to hostel; customers jerk up from their seats, some scream, some are hesitant to move. No one talks. The only sound that circulates is the music from the record player, displaying the nice piano song.
“Noo!!” Carter whispers harshly.
“Relax, relax. I have not done anything stupid yet-”
”Yet, what do you mean?!” Carter bellows, glancing around the fine establishment, at rattled customers. “You brought it here, to the public and you say you haven't-”
”Shh, calm down.” The song ends, the record player's needle lifts up from a black disc line. Prick. Elmore keeps cool and places a finger to his lips. Carter stares at him in utter disbelief. Elmore stands and flashes a grin at the shaken crowd. The little girl and her parents head outside quickly, slamming the door behind them. “Don't worry, all is fine.” He laughs. ”My friend had too much drink, that is all. Go about your business, please, excuse his behavior.”
”You're insane.” Carter’s hoarse voice says numbly. His terrified eyes fixate on the suitcase a few feet away, on the floor.
”Am I really insane? No...no, I disagree. I think that title belongs to you.” Elmore swoops down and retrieves the suitcase from the floor and snaps it shut. ”After all...you are the one who invented it.” The silver suitcase swings at his side, catching the surrounding lights in its surface, glowing.
P.S: This story is completed and available on Wattpad.