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Thursday, February 15, 2018

TBD: Chapter I

It was a night like any other, yet there was a difference. A full moon lit up the otherwise dark alleys branching away from Fifth Avenue. Two men in thick, black jackets were crossing the intersection at S Aiken street, their footsteps disrupting the night silence. One of the men had a distinctively rugged beard.


The sound of the revolver clicking startled the slower of the two men! Were they not alone? He spun around as quickly as his body would allow. For a split second, he thought he saw the silhouette of a tall woman.

Then there was darkness.


Where am I?

It had been over five minutes since he had woken up. Why had it taken him this long to ask this question? He was cold. Very cold. The warmth emanating from the single yellow incandescent streetlight was a welcome relief. He inched towards it, cautiously taking in the view.

Although his surroundings looked oddly familiar, he wasn't sure where he had seen that abandoned building before. Just as that thought crossed his mind, he realized why he couldn't place his surroundings. The building wasn't abandoned, at least, not when he had been there last week.

This was Squirrel Hill.

Although, not quite. He had just been inside Crazy Mocha a week ago, ordering a Chai Latte. Yet, here it stood before him, abandoned, and on the verge of collapsing.

Where was he?

A gust of cold wind blew from the direction of Forbes Avenue, accompanied by a low growl that sent a shiver down his spine. He hurried into Crazy Mocha, closing what was left of the door behind him. The door creaked shut.

It was pitch dark inside. As his pupils adjusted to the level of light inside the room, an overwhelmingly strong musty smell hit him. All he wanted was to run away from the place, but the thought of going back out onto the abandoned street made him stand his ground.

He could finally see enough of the room. It looked like no one had visited the place in months. The broken tables and chairs were covered in dust. There were no fresh coffee stains anywhere. The chalkboard used to list the specials was empty. There was no sign of life.

Where was he?

Something stirring in the shadows caught his attention. He reached for the phone in his pocket, hoping to use it as a flashlight. As he reached into his pocket, he realized that he couldn’t feel the familiar weight of his phone and his wallet. Did they not follow him to this odd new place?

There was more movement in the dark behind the coffee counter. He squinted, peering into the dark to identify the source of the disturbance. Whatever was making the noise was moving fast. Were those a pair of eyes?

A loud thud caused him to freeze. That thing had knocked over a table. Silence followed. Within a few seconds, something — someone — whimpered, then began to cry. The voice sounded like it belonged to a little girl. What was a little girl doing in a place like this? Would she be able to tell him what was going on?

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