THE MIDNIGHT CAFE

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Chapter 4

Richard leaned forward, his way of inquiring for more. Though his wheels weren’t turning yet, the story barely began.

“To be a hang out spot open from eleven to two AM,” Kimmy continued, “it opened nine years ago with a huge all day grand opening. Music pumping, people of all ages having a grand time. At the stroke of nine the air inside got heavy, taking everyone’s breath away in the suddenness. The lights went out, panic does not ensue right away, instead as if in a trance the customers just looked about. A few tense seconds of stillness is broken when plates, glasses and silverware take to the air on their own. Smashing into walls, the floor and even people, the customers who were able to break the trance and move, became the prime targets for the dinnerware. Food splattered everywhere and soda and juice mixed with blood on the floor. When the windows began to rattle in their frames and the door opened and closed at a rapid pace, this broke the stunned trance over the once who weren’t already bothered by the flying dinnerware. Everyone clambered to get out the doors as they continued to swing on their own.

“Starting low and seeming to come from all around, was a throat scream that got louder and louder. It had the same echo quality as someone yelling down a long cement tunnel. The customers were still crowding the doors when the scream intensified to the point they scream themselves. Covering their ears did no good in blocking out the scream. A strong wave of energy, coming from the kitchen, sending everything that was loose toward the front and pushing everyone through the door. Glass showered everyone outside as people, who are just as scared and confused, trying to help the ones who just come out of the café. Bleeding and covering their ears all wearing the same look of terror.

“A scared female voice was heard over the chaos, when the voice became panicked others joined in.

“‘Sally! Mike! Where are you?’ The voice called from the chaos, the voice belonged to a young waitress. The cops were alerted at that point and pushed the crowd to the other side of the street.

“It wasn’t till after midnight, when the air normalized and the hairs on the neck and arms no longer stood on end. Did the investigation start and no trace of the kids were ever found.”

Richard allowed time for the story to sink in before saying anything.

“That is a well enough story, but where it lacks is the fact the kids, most likely teenagers, set it up as a prank.” Richard sat back.

Kimmy looked at him in complete astonishment.

Richard raised an eyebrow in concern and wonder.

“Did you seriously just say that?” Kimmy raised her voice, losing all her warmth.

“What?” Richard studied Kimmy’s flushed face and wide-eye glare, “it is true.”

Kimmy kept her glare for a few more minutes to really drive it home for Richard, “Yes, you aren’t dealing with fiction here.”

Questions started to rise in his mind, but he must choose them carefully, most importantly that he had to pay attention to the tone and the wording of the question.

“So the bodies were never found?”

“No.” Kimmy’s voice was calm.

Richard continued aware that he was tip-toeing around a live-wire, “Has it happened again?”

“No, the sign on the front door keeps it from happening.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t just a prank?” His voice is innocent and for the fact she never answered that question.

“No, they wouldn’t do that.”

“How can you be sure?” Following the line of questioning as if in an interrogation chapter of a crime novel, not meaning to.

“They were my friends!” Kimmy hugged herself with glaring wet eyes, “Yeah, we were fifteen, sixteen. But not the rotten kind.” The words were sharp, and Richard felt them deep.

There was a pause, for both to calm down and consider one another’s thoughts and opinions. No matter how unthoughtful or strong they may be.

Richard then in a quiet voice, “How do you know that it won’t happen again?”

“The risk is too great.” She answered quickly.

“So no one has been here past nine o’clock since opening night?” Richard inquired quietly.

Kimmy nodded slowly hoping that her feeling was wrong.

Richard knew that Kimmy knew what was on his mind, so he came out with it, “Allow me to test the theory.”

“No,” Kimmy’s anger was forgotten, replaced by concern. She put a hand on Richard’s hand, he saw a slight tremble in her hand before it covered his.

For Richard the touch was a very nice and long awaited sensation to be felt for sure, but he remained persistent, “Please, Kimmy.” His voice held the right amount of strength and pleaded he felt it needed.

Kimmy was ready to fight, “What you are asking is suicide.”

“It will be welcomed, I assure you.” His voice held no disregard, “it might have faded away with time.”

Kimmy did not hear the last part, for she was too distraught by the first, “You have a death wish?”

“Yes and no,” Richard didn’t think of wanting to test a theory, a death wish. He was not looking for death, but if it came he’d allow it.

Kimmy withdrew her hand from his, shaking her head, “I meant to act as a spark for fiction. Not a nonfiction story.”

“It is not my fault I read the story wrong. You opened the door.” Richard points at her.

“No, you are not going to be here at nine, birthday or not, writer or not. Your life is worth more.” Kimmy protested.

Richard stood up abruptly, legal pad in hand and he fumbled with his wallet. Eyes wide and stinging with tears, throwing money on the table he said tears leaking out, “It is not just my birthday today. My unborn child would have been five today.” with the final torturing thing finally out he turned and left the café.



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