Café Chocolaté

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Chapter VII

Chapter VII – Ginger Thomas

Ginger stood beside Eddie, arms akimbo while she glared at Mary Dill and her would-be comforters. Would-be, as Mary didn’t seem to pay attention to a single word either of them said.

Renee should stop wasting her time. She probably ought to be resting. Probably at home. She’s huge.

For no visible reason beyond that of hysterics, Mary let out a shriek loud above her mumbling wails. Ginger clenched her fists.

She needs a good punch in that oversized nose.

She looked at Eddie, but he didn’t seem to care about Mary Dill at all. He kept casting surreptitious glances toward the dead man in the corner. Once or twice, he yanked at the spikes of his carrot hair as he glanced.

Poor stupid fellow. He can only pay attention to one thing at a time. It’s not his fault.

Renee pressed a hand against her lower back and sighed wearily. The man on the other side of Mary saw her and moved a chair for Renee to sit down.

Fabian Smith. I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him, but at least he’s smart enough to see the woman needs to sit down.

She looked back at Mary and ground her teeth, before clenching her fists again.

Renee sighed once more and rubbed her rounded stomach. After a moment or two, she looked up at Fabian. “I wonder when we’ll get out of here?”

Mary seemed to catch on. “Get out of here? Didn’t you see them pushing on the door?” She spoke in a rough and strangled voice with an undertone of wailing.

Eddie finally seemed to take notice of something besides the dead man. “So, what? Stuck doors get unstuck.”

“Not always!” Mary wrung her hands.

“Of course they do!” Ginger nearly lost all patience. “Whatever is the matter with you?”

“Doors get stuck and buried. No one can unbury them – and they never open again!” Mary’s voice grew louder.

“Look at the door!” Ginger stamped her foot and pointed to the etched glass window. “Does the door look dark enough to be completely buried?”

“There’s no bright sunshine coming through!” Mary’s voice grew closer to a full wail.

“It’s raining!” Ginger stamped her foot again. “Of course the light is gray! Does it look black to you?”

“We’re all going to die!” Mary threw back her head and arms, raising her voice to a clear wail. “We’ve already begun!” She gestured wildly to the man in the corner. “He’s gone already! Who’s next?”

Ginger leapt across the space between them. “You will be next, if I have any say about it!”

She pushed Mary to the ground before she felt arms grab her and begin dragging her back. Mary couldn’t have wailed and screamed more if Ginger literally stuck a knife in her, instead of grabbing at her neck with her hands. Ginger fought back the men pulling her, but Fabian and Timothy worked together, proving much stronger. She had no hope of winning.

“She tried – She tried to kill me!” Mary clung to Eddie’s arm so hard that he could barely pull her to her feet.

“Kill you?” Ginger lunged forward again, but the men wouldn’t let her get far. “The most you got was a bit of a knock on the head! And not enough to give you any sense, apparently!”

“I’ll have you fired!” Mary’s voice reached an ear-splitting screech. “Your job will be gone! You’ll be out of work!”

“Two minutes ago, you said that we would die before we got out of here – so what? They’ll be firing my corpse because of a message you sent by ghostly telepathy?”

Mary still clung to Eddie with a foolishly quivering lip. Ginger wanted to slap the quiver off of her face, but Fabian and Timothy still stood nearby. They would stop me, no doubt.

She contented herself with laughing instead, taking note that her laugh echoed through the café.

Mary started to wail.


Ginger’s laugh died in her throat as she turned toward the speaker; a tall man with dark hair and blue eyes standing across the room, near another man seated beside a little girl. Adrian Terrence. The author. I don’t know who his relative is.

The little girl shrank against the other man, clinging to a rag of a stuffed animal. The man beside her stared, slack jawed, at Adrian.

Adrian Terrence spoke again, but his voice softened. “What purpose do you suppose you’ll accomplish by squabbling? As far as I can see, you’re not improving anything whatsoever and you’re terrifying the child!”

“She’s terrified? I’m terrified!” Mary held a hand to her throat.

“She looks like she’s about nine-years-old.” Eddie looked down on Mary with a quirked eyebrow.

“And you’re pushing fifty!” Ginger had expected the look of shock following her jab, and smiled gleefully.

“Why, I’m not-”

“Please!” Adrian raised his voice again along with one hand. “This is not helpful!”

Nothing is helpful!” Mary sobbed loudly into Eddie’s sleeve, while he stood stiff as a board.

From behind Ginger, Timothy coughed. She wondered if he wanted to laugh at the woman’s absurdities. I wish I wanted to laugh. Instead I still want to knock her down.

“We haven’t assessed our situation or even decided what could be helpful.” Adrian gave Mary a pointed look that she seemed to feel, as she raised her head. “If we consider for a very little time, whether fighting within ourselves would be helpful – we would all reach the same conclusion fairly swiftly.”

No one answered, but Mary didn’t wail either.

“Now, then.” Adrian clasped his hands behind his back. “Why don’t we all find a seat and take a breath.”

“The electricity is out.” Eddie pulled his arm away from Mary. “I’m sure the coffee is still warm though; those things stay hot forever. And we should have iced tea and hot water for hot chocolate.” He looked at Ginger.

She nodded. “I’ll take down orders. You go see how warm things are. We have food too, if anyone needs it.”

Mary opened her mouth, but looked at Adrian and thought better of it. She pursed her lips, then turned to Ginger. “I want coffee. Iced. Perfectly sweetened. A dash of cream.” She turned before Ginger could answer, fumbling her way toward a chair.

Dash of cream. I’ll dash you.

Adrian’s shoulders dropped and she saw him sink back into his booth. The man across from him spoke just as Ginger turned around to Timothy.

Timothy stood watching Anna from a distance and Ginger ground her teeth. She swallowed her annoyance and smiled. “Do you want anything to drink? Eat? Anything?”

Timothy turned toward her. Did he wince?

“No, thanks. I’m good.”

She nodded and turned away just in time to see a worried look cross Adrian’s face. He shook his head in protest.

Fabian waved her over to make an order. Ginger nodded with a last glance toward Adrian.

What was that about?

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