Friday, September 25, 2020

Fiction Fridays: Shadows 1

Shadows: Part 1 of ...

The start of something I've been puzzling at for a while, trying to figure out.

***Don't miss out! Click read more to read the whole story***

Unwrapping the third layer of scarves, I leave the mask on as I smile at the barista with my eyes. He nods his head, gives the obligatory “Long time.” We both know why. He’s wearing his own mask, a paper surgical one. I’ve been avoiding anyplace for months, but there’s only so long a person can self-isolate before they begin to crack, starting talking to shadows in the living room.

When the shadows started whispering back, I decided it was time. 

“Turkish, please.” I pull a cookie from the glass jar—chocolate on chocolate. At least if the coffee doesn’t wake me up, I’ll be going to the hospital in a diabetic’s coma instead of home to the whispering shadows.
I wave my payment card over the terminal, throwing on a generous tip as I point to a long table where I’ll be sitting as I wait for the pot to brew. Long, solid table; Something real. I settle back into the unforgiving wooden back, not yet taking off my mask. Not until the barista brings over the small pot, steam wafting from the top with an espresso cup sitting next to it.

I unwrap the cookie, setting it down on the plate next to the coffee, and finally take off my mask. It’s damp, fogged-up from the dead of winter like my glasses. It goes into the dirty bag in my purse, I’ll pull out a clean one when I leave.

Reach out, hold the handle of the pot. The warmth radiates up my arm as I tip it, pouring the smallest bit into the cup. I let the cup sit long enough that when I pick it up, I can cradle it in both hands, feeling the warmth brings me back to a semblance of life.

I take the first sip, letting the hot coffee dance on my tongue, black as night, sweet as sin. It’s not a cliche if it’s the best way to describe the taste. And laced like jet fuel. The soft edges of the world start to come back into focus, the art on the walls.

And the person sitting across from me. Frowning. “You’ve been very rude, I’d like you to know.”

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