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Scream Fest By Forest Walker

Scream Fest

2

The Last Customer

12

1

Shane’s shoulders slumped as she let out a long, defeated sigh. Once again, she had fallen short by a mere hundred on her daily target. The customers were scarce in their small eatery, and in reality, her earnings were barely enough to pay for her sole companion at work. 


It was a struggle to keep the business afloat, and sometimes she felt ashamed that she hadn’t given her colleague a raise in the three years they had been serving together.


As if on cue, he spoke up, “I’ll go ahead, Ma’am. Sorry, there’s an emergency at home.”


Shane waved at him warmly, “Don’t worry about me, I’m fine.” 


But deep down, she knew she wasn’t. She was barely making ends meet, and the thought of closing the eatery and losing the only source of livelihood she had left sent a chill down her spine.


She watched as her colleague walked out the door, and for a brief moment, she let her guard down. 


Her mind wandered back to the days when the eatery was thriving, when she had a steady stream of customers who couldn’t get enough of her delectable dishes. But now, it seemed like those days were nothing but a distant memory.


Shane was ready to call it a night, as evidenced by the way she was already tidying up her small eatery. 


She had placed the cash she earned for the day in her wallet and left a few coins for the cashier, a routine that had become second nature to her. 


She began stacking the chairs on the tables, a task that had grown all too familiar. Just as she was about to flick off the dim light on the right side of her establishment, a doorbell rang out, signaling that someone had entered.


“We’re already closed,” Shane said in a firm voice, turning around to face the unexpected guest. 


A man stood before her, dressed in formal attire that looked expensive and polished. He exuded an air of sophistication and professionalism, with a sharp nose and reddish-brown complexion that suggested he was of European descent. He looked to be in his mid to late twenties and could have easily passed for a young actor or model.


“It won’t take much, I promise. Just give me whatever you have, please,” he said with a smile.


Shane’s tired eyes met the young man’s, who stood before her with a smile that could melt glaciers. His presence was magnetic, a force that Shane found impossible to resist. 


She found herself nodding in agreement, despite knowing that she should refuse. Her business was already closed, and she needed to go home. But something in the man’s charm made her stay.


“I’ll get you whatever I have,” she said softly.


As the man sat down, Shane noticed that his shoulders were tense and his neck was stiff. He looked like someone who had been carrying the weight of the world on his back. 


Despite the late hour, she decided to open her eatery for a few more hours. She could use the time to clean up while the man ate. It was her fault for sending her worker home early.


Shane kept an eye on the man as she walked to the kitchen. There was something otherworldly about him, something that reminded her of the angels from her favorite novels. 


As Shane continued to arrange the young man’s meal, she couldn’t help but feel flustered by his piercing gaze. It was as if he could see right through her, and the thought sent shivers down her spine. She quickly turned away, pretending to be busy with something else.


But it was no use. The young man had caught her in the act, and when she looked back at him, he was smiling at her with a twinkle in his eye. It was a smile that could make even the most stoic of people melt, and Shane was no exception.


Suddenly, she felt a rush of heat spreading across her face, turning her cheeks a deep shade of crimson. She tried to hide her embarrassment by turning away, but the young man’s gaze was too intense. It was as if he could read her every thought and feeling.


Shane reheated the cold melon soup, lemon garlic fish, and butter biscuit she had prepared earlier, carefully placing them on a tray. As she did, she couldn’t help but feel a strange pull towards the young man sitting at the table.


“It’s his fault for being so damn charming,” she muttered to herself, shaking her head as if to clear her thoughts.


But as she approached him, something changed. It was as if his presence was drawing her in, like a moth to a flame. 


Shane’s soul felt like it was separating from her body, leaving her disoriented and dizzy. The young man’s charisma was unlike anything she had ever experienced before.


“I tried my best, I hope you’ll like it,” Shane said to the customer.


The man flashed a charming smile that made Shane’s heart skip a beat. “I’m sure I will,” he replied, his eyes meeting hers.  Shane was about to leave when the man spoke again. “If you’re not busy, is it too much to ask for you to join me? It’s quite lonely eating alone.”


Shane hesitated for a moment, but the man’s charisma was too irresistible. “I can do that.” Without a second thought, she accepted the invitation and sat down across from him. As she looked into his deep, captivating eyes, she couldn’t help but wonder why a man like him was still out so late. “Why haven’t you gone home yet?” she asked, trying to keep the conversation flowing.


As he picked at the fish bones, the young man seemed lost in thought, as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Shane couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sympathy for him.


“You must be a workaholic,” Shane remarked, hoping to start a conversation. “Your girlfriend might get angry at you for not spending enough time with her.”


The man laughed, a carefree sound that seemed to fill the entire room. “Because my job is so demanding? No woman would endure me,” he said with a chuckle.


Shane found herself captivated by his charm and wit. “With your good looks...” she trailed off, realizing too late what she had said. She blushed and looked away, feeling foolish for being so forward.


As Shane sat there, a dimly lit corner of her restaurant became the backdrop for an unlikely conversation. 


Cutlery clinked and clattered, echoing in the stillness. It was a rare moment for Shane, who found herself engaging with a customer without any ulterior motives to promote her establishment.


The young man continued with what he was doing, seemingly uninterested in the flattery Shane had offered earlier. “Thank you, but I’m more than just my appearance,” he stated firmly.


Despite his nonchalant demeanor, Shane couldn’t help but feel drawn to him. It was as if he had a gravitational pull that was hard to resist. She wondered if it was his piercing blue eyes or his devilishly handsome smile that caused this inexplicable feeling. Whatever it was, she found herself wanting to know more about him.


“Thank you for the sumptuous meal,” he said while wiping his lips.


“Oh, thank you too. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed talking to someone at work. Maybe that’s what’s missing in my business. I may have lost the sense of excitement,” thought Shane. She vowed to be more present with her customers, to connect with them on a deeper level.


The man leaned back in his chair and looked at his watch. “Just a minute left.”


Shane’s heart sank. She didn’t want the conversation to end, didn’t want him to leave.


“Wait, are you going to be late for your appointment? Oh no, I’m sorry, maybe I talked too much.”


As the man began to clear the dishes from the table, Shane couldn’t help but notice his impeccable manners. It was a rare sight in the bustling city, where most people were too preoccupied with their own lives to take notice of the little things. But this man, with his chiseled features and impeccable dress, seemed to be cut from a different cloth.


“Don’t stress about it. I came too early. Thankfully you’re here to keep me entertained,” he said with a charming smile, his eyes meeting Shane’s for a fleeting moment.


For a moment, Shane was caught off guard. She had never been one to be taken in by a man’s good looks, but there was something about this man that made her feel uneasy yet captivated at the same time.


“I should be the one doing that. Just do your work so you can go home,” Shane said, trying to keep her cool.


Just as Shane was about to take the plate from the man, a deafening crash filled the air, followed by the sound of shattering glass and screeching metal. A large container truck had lost control and crashed into the restaurant, its massive weight crushing everything in its path.


Shane’s world was suddenly engulfed in chaos. The force of the impact sent rocks and debris flying, and she felt something strike her eyes, causing sharp pain and blinding her momentarily. She was thrown like a rag doll, her body hurtling through the air before colliding with the bar counter, her back hitting it with a sickening crack.


As Shane’s world faded to black, she heard a voice that cut through the chaos around her. 


“Well, this is perfect timing,” said the man, his voice carrying an eerie calmness that sent shivers down her spine. “You’re the last soul I have to collect. I can finally rest.”

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