Chapter 7

Two night's down

My parents left some time after 2pm. I was left to my one devices for the moment as Erica served customers. Luke had also taken off. Things to do. He had dropped past to meet my parents and assist their transition, as he called it. I didn’t know whether to feel thankful or slightly creeped out. Luke was taking what felt like an overly curious interest in my life. I guess he was just board.

Taking a spot in what I decided would be my favorite booth, I looked over at Erica, who nodded and brought me over a glass of wine and the paper. Looking at me for what felt like the longest time, she finally spoke.

‘Yep, I certainly did a good job covering up the bruising on that eye. You’re very lucky it’s so dark in here. I might get you some ice though, that eye is still pretty swollen.’

‘Thanks,’ I managed a smile, ‘it’s still pretty tender, but hey I can see out of it so visibility for the win!’

‘You’re a goof!’ Laughed Erica, spinning off back to towards to room to follow up with her customers.

I turned to my wine and took a sip. I then picked up the ice-pack that had appeared on the table and held it to my poor face. What a day. I was about to be interrupted from my self-musing.

‘Do you mind if I sit here? I know there are other tables, but I do love it sit in a booth,’ said a wonderfully, raspy voice. How could I say no to a voice like that.

‘Sure,’ I nodded.

I looked up to see a woman at least 40 years older than myself, with a bit of a Lauren Bacall air about her. Her silver hair was set in a style not really seen since the 1950s. She was dressed in an outrageous purple suit, with her manicured nails a vile, evil shade of green. Her face was perfectly made-up. She looked like a movie star. She placed her bag on the leather bench seat, and slid herself in beside it.

‘I used to come here with my husband,’ she said, but way of explanation.

‘Oh,’ I said.

‘Yes, 30, 40 years ago, it hasn’t changed much. My husband passed away a few years ago. Since then I come here every year on his birthday and have a glass of wine.’

‘Oh,’ I said again, ‘I’m sorry for your loss. Please let me buy you a glass.’

‘That’s very kind,’ she smiled, and so our conversation began. Her name was Rosalie, and we talked on into the evening, when Luke finally returned. He recognized Rosalie immediately, greeting her with a kiss on the cheek and then strolling off towards the bar. I guessed he was working tonight, which meant Erica would finish shortly. I wondered if she would want to watch a move or something?

Promptly at 8, Rosalie stood to leave. She hadn’t expected to be there all day, but she had had a lovely time. Evidently much nicer than the time I was in for later that night.

Erica was too tired to watch a movie. Fair enough considering the hours she worked. So I stayed up by myself in my room watching Nightmare on Elm Street. I have no idea what made me choose that particular horror film. I drifted off to sleep about half way through as the fire in my room began to die out. When I woke, it was not pleasantly. I was secured to the bed. Four limbs to four corners. Floating above me was an absolute horror. I was frozen in terror. Either side of the bed were more. I couldn’t say what they were. Ghosts? Specters? Boogeyman? Or just plain old monsters. And yet as I lay there, drenched in a cold sweat and almost unable to breathe, I noticed something odd about the visions before me. They all had Freddy Krueger’s face. Now either I was having a very bad dream, or there were really three ghosts of Freddy Krueger who had decided to tie me up and hang out in my bedroom. Immediately I relaxed. This had to be La Morte at work. Or at least some of her residents. They would have seen me watching the movie of course. I’m sure they thought they were being scary or hilarious. Or both. But to me it seemed rather pointless.

‘Bravo,’ I said sarcastically, ‘did you really think I wouldn’t recognise one of the most recognisable faces in horror?’

The shapes shimmered uncomfortably for a moment.

‘Now,’ I continued, if you know what’s good for you, untie me and let me get back to sleep. I had better also fine all my faculties intact by the morning.’

The apparitions shuddered more violently this time.

‘I don’t care if you don’t like it. I’ve figured you out, La Morte out, and if you don’t leave me the fuck alone I am going to start hurting all of you. Tomorrow,’ I said calmly. I was now fully awake and fully pissed off.

The apparitions shuddered again and vanished. I wasn’t sure if it was because they believed me or because I wouldn’t be any fun to them if I wasn’t scared. Suddenly my arms and legs were released. Pulling the blankets over me I rolled over onto my side and touched my face. Everything was intact. I slowly felt over the rest of my body. My wrists and ankles were obviously sore. But so was my stomach. I was too exhausted to do anything about it now though. I’d have a look in the morning.