So it’s been an obscenely long time since I’ve posted something worth reading. Now anyone who knows any creative types knows that we all need the admiration of others to feed our fragile egos, that or their suffering we’re flexible that way. So in that respect I’m posting a little side project I’ve been working on. I hope you all enjoy it and I look forward to your comments. All criticisms accepted, so go nuts.
I was sitting in a coffee shop when she finally approached. Don’t ask me which or where, after so long they all look the same. I’d chosen a seat at the back, my chair against the wall, the only door directly in my line of sight.
The coffee shop itself was near empty, only a few people at scattered about the room. Each absorbed in whatever was scrolling down the screen of their phones. It really was the definition of irony, all this technology to bring us closer together and yet they all sat as far from each other as they could.
But then was I much better? The only reason I was here was for the coffee. Funny how appetites leave can you as the years pass, but addiction only grows stronger.
The door opened bringing with it a gust of air. Then she walked in, her dark hair a mess from the wind outside. She went to the counter and ordered whatever excessively sized coffee it was that she drank, pulling her purse out from a battered satchel. From the corner of my eye I watched her survey the room, not for an empty seat there were plenty of those, but for me.
She’d been following me for a while now; wherever I’d gone she appeared. Always in the same coat, always carrying her beaten bag over her shoulder. She would enter whatever establishment I’d chosen, buy a drink and pick a seat across the room from me. Then she’d drink her drink, stand up glance back over at me and leave. I’d toyed with approaching her myself, but in truth I wasn’t that curious. Eventually she would either give up, come over, or as mortals often did, die.
It seems today she had finally made her decision.
”Is this seat taken?” she asked coming to stand at my table.
“If it was don’t you think someone would already be sitting there?” I didn’t even bother looking up from my coffee.
“You could be waiting for someone.”
“You and I both know that’s not true.”
She dropped her bag to the floor beside the table and sat down across from me.
“Who are you?” she asked leaning forwards, her brown eyes begging from behind her glasses.
I finished my coffee and got up.
“Please, don’t leave.” Again the pleading stare.
“Give me one good reason I should stay.”
“You…you don’t remember me?”
What was it with women, always thinking they were something special, something to remember. “No.” I turned to leave.
“I’ll buy you another coffee!” She said, clinging to my arm, “please, I just want some answers.”
That’s the funny thing about addiction.
I sat back down, she got up went back over to the counter and came back with a large heavy cup, foam spilling over the sides.
“Extra-large cappuccino with a double shot of expresso, no sugar.” She recited as she placed it in front of me.
“Observant aren’t we.”
“Not really, I just asked for another of what you ordered already.”
“I take it you expect to be here for a while?”
“what makes you say that?”
“You didn’t order it to go.”
She looked down at the table, “I guess.”
“Well then, ask your questions.”
She reached for her bag and began pulling out tattered pages, spreading them out over the table. Some were newspaper clippings yellowing from age, others were printouts from the internet.
“Who are you?” she asked again. “What are you?”
“Who do you think I am?”
“Well you’re old, and I mean very old.” She sifted through some of the papers, placing several pictures in front of me. “This one’s from five years ago,” she pointed to one of them, “and this one from fifty years ago, and these are even older, yet you’re in each of them. And you haven’t changed in any.”
“And what makes you think they’re me? They could be my ancestors.”
“Well yes I thought about that, but then I noticed they all have the same scar, the one above your left eye.”
“So you’ve assumed they’re all me?”
“Well who else could they be?”
I sat back, taking a sip of my coffee. She’d done her research, looked for evidence and come to the only conclusion.
“My turn to ask you a question.” I said, enjoying the slight flash of panic across her face.
“But…but you haven’t answered mine yet!”
“Do I really need to? You must have come to some sort of conclusion.”
“Well…yes…but, I mean…it’s not possible.”
“Why do you care?”
She froze, looking down at the table again and sifted through her papers once more. Pulling out one of the more tattered newspaper clippings and silently passing it to me. It had been folded so many times the ink was becoming illegible, its edges soft and fragile at the creases. Across the top the headline read, HORROR AT SUBBURAN HOME. The fading picture showed a cluster of emergency vehicles grouped outside a normal house. Police and paramedics were clustered around five large black bags stretched out across the lawn. The picture below showed a young girl with the same brown eyes smiling between to adults. And beneath the caption read, Melissa Jones, eight, sole survivor of home massacre. Culprit still at large.
The article itself speculated about how someone had apparently broken in to the family home and murdered both parents and three others in the dead of night, how the young girl had managed to survive by hiding inside the washing machine. And how it had only been discovered when a local paper boy had come to deliver the morning paper.
“They were wrong weren’t they, the police I mean.” Melissa said. “The culprits were already dead; they were lying next to my parents.”
“You know they were, you killed them. You saved me.”