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4. Midnight Cafe

3. Hallway

2. Threshold

1. The Drafting Board

Urbex: Midnight Cafe

avatar on 2024-07-09 00:07:46
Episode last modified by Perri on 2024-07-10 17:26:58

125 hits, 18 views, 3 upvotes.

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In a haze, and fearful of what I may find on the other side, I turned the handle, and stumbled out of the bathroom and into the next room. I found myself in the incandescent interior of an old breakfast cafe. brown tiles, and well worn booths. I recognized it immediately. It was the same one Tallulah and I stopped at on our way into town. But how did I get back here?

"Oh, hey there hun." A skinny old woman behind the bar called out. "I didn't see you come in."

It didn't feel real to tumble through the edge of reality, only to find myself back in a familiar place, with a friendly face. The place greeted me all the same, looking bright, clean, and decorated in the colors of brown, and lighter brown, that was common in these parts three decades ago.

"You alright, sweetheart? You wanna sit down?"

I blinked and shook my head gently. "Yeah, sure." I responded automatically. My voice came out soft and wispy, far softer than it ever had before. "No... wait..." I continued, still shocked and detached. "I, uh, don't have any money."

The older woman turned her gaze sideways at me, assessing me for a few serious moments. Deep wrinkles spoke of her age, yet her twinkling eyes and spry posture belied them. "Well, that's alright, I can get you a cup of coffee if you need."

"Sure, that'd be good." I agreed, then cleared my throat trying uselessly to return it to its usual tenor.

I slid into the nearest booth, and gazed forward blankly. Mentally I was resolved to figure things out, but instead sat there staring forward until the waitress slid the coffee in front of me, breaking my stupor. I thanked her, and held the cup, warming my hands, but couldn't shake the last few moments from my mind. I'd fallen... towards the wall, and landed on it like it was a floor, then as soon as the door shut, I woke up in some bathroom... changed? The events played through my mind again and again, but the answer didn't match the math. It was like a song that gets stuck in your head until you remember how it ends, but you just can't remember so it keeps playing.

I took a sip of the coffee and the bitter bite helped me escape the labyrinth my mind was trying to navigate. My pale face flushed, and I started to think again.

I needed to get in touch with Talli. She's probably freaking out about me going missing. It's a good thing that I'm not too far from where I disappeared. Even if I'm changed, it could have been worse if I were dropped off in the middle of nowhere. I looked down at my small hands, chipped black nail polish on my fingers. The nail polish, I could live with. I went through a phase when I was younger, but my fingers were so short and soft. dammit. How would I explain this?

It didn't matter. I shook my head, then tossed the dark orange tipped locks that fell in my face back.

"Hey there." I called out, voice more confident.

The waitress, and a cook sitting by the grill that I'd overlook both turned my way. "Do you have a phone?" I asked.

A moment later, I had an old beige corded phone in my hands. Disregarding the complicated question of how I would explain my situation, I started punching out Tallulah's number. The phone rang, and I found myself fidgeting and biting my lip. An anxious behavior that suddenly seemed compulsive.

"Hello" A deep staticky male voice answered.

"Oh Uh..." My heart beat leapt. "Sorry, who is this?"

"Who are you? You called me." he snapped back.

"My bad, wrong number." I hung up the phone quickly, feeling far more bashful than ever before.

Cursing myself, I tried punching in her number again, this time making sure I didn't make any mistakes. With one arm around my middle, I waited with trepidation until...

"Hello" The same annoyed male voice sounded out.

Confused, I stammered out, "Wait... Is Tallulah there?"

"Who?"

"Tali? I'm trying to reach Tali." I pleaded.

"Look girl, I don't know who that is, but it's late, you shouldn't be bothering people."

Before I could continue, the phone on the other line slammed shut. I started, and was left with the electric buzz of an open line.

I double checked my memory, but confirmed that I really had called Tali's cell. Why did it go to the wrong person, and how does a cell number even dial into an old landline? I felt the creeping fog of uncertainty swell up around me, but shook my head, and pushed through, returning to the booth and the coffee. Taking another bitter sip, I tried to think of a backup plan. I didn't really know that many numbers. I knew my dads number, but I wasn't about to call him like this. I started to curse my reliance on cell phone contact lists. I really didn't know who to call. It'd be great if I could reach out to Brace. He knew what was going on, sort of, but I couldn't remember his number.

"Sweetie," I looked up to find the older waitress by my booth, topping off my coffee. She put a hand on her hips, and asked directly. "Are you in trouble? Do you need some place to go?"

I couldn't help but smile at her warm hearted offer. "Ah, sort of but it's fine." Maybe I shouldn't have dismissed her first question out of hand, but it was her second question that got me thinking. Do I need a place to go? Hell, I'm not one to do nothing. For fucks sake, My hobby is to trespass into places I shouldn't be. Why am I letting myself get so frozen? I'm in a new body... SO WHAT? So what. That doesn't change who I am, and I'm a man... A MAN of action, I'm not going to sit here on my ass doing nothing.

"Actually," I piped, "I know exactly where I need to go."

The waitress nodded, "Alright, as long as you're sure. Where's your car? Do you need a ride?"

"I... walked." I lied. "I don't have far to go." That second statement wasn't a lie. The downtown district was only about a mile and a half or so from the cafe. If I couldn't call Tallulah, I'd just find her in person. I briefly considered accepting the ride, but struggled to find an excuse for why I'd want to be dropped off in an unsafe hollowed out downtown district in the middle of the night. I could hoof it. I thanked the lady for the coffee, and departed the cafe with the ring of the door chime.




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