Christina Mayer paced the front section of the Pandora Café. It was five to eight; only five minutes before opening time. She released a sigh and ran her fingers through her hair. The goosebumps spread like a rash on her scalp, stretching from her delicately brushed fringe to the confinements of her ponytail. The café had never been opened since the murders of Stacey Hawkins and Frank Watson, and even looking around the café she could still visualise the horrors that happened. But Eric needed to keep the café running in his dead parents' memory. Christina felt obliged to help.
Fortunately Christina was not the only person who wanted to help. Despite being knee-deep in trouble, Justin and Tiffany also volunteered to work their first shift back. Christina's mind turned to Carmen who couldn't make it. Her mother was still touch-and-go in hospital after being stabbed in the back and Carmen couldn't risk her mother dying and not being there when it happened. Christina could understand the sentiment; if only her mother was around today, she would never leave her side. How she missed her mother terribly.
Justin sneezed behind her. He recovered by singing a high note right after, turning the sneeze into a song. Tiffany snorted behind him as she prepared the coffee machine. It was strange that after everything they had been through they tried to be positive. Seven days straight of cursing and crying did them no favours – they were no closer to the truth about the Bellisario family or the whereabouts of missing loved ones. Roberto was still out there too and they had no idea what his problem against them was.
Questions cluttered Christina's head, her mind ablaze with activity, but the public reopening of the café preoccupied her thoughts the most. Were people going to show up? Were they going to ask questions and hound her for answers? Christina hoped for a peaceful shift. Eric promised they could close earlier than usual – before night fall – but Christina still felt that was a little too long still. If nobody showed up then there would be no point in being open. Instead, Christina could continue her search for her little brother. It was a search that had led her nowhere and everywhere, but never to him.
The frustration was maddening. Christina could see it in her reflection when she grabbed her hair a little tighter. The circles under her eyes, under all of their eyes, were far too noticeable. It made her face look skeletal and older. Christina never cared for her weight, she was comfortable in her own skin, but she noticed her frame looked slimmer than a week ago. She hated it. She looked tired and sick.
"You okay there Christina?" Eric asked, placing a hand on her shoulder. Christina didn't have to look back; she could see him in the reflection on the window she had been staring out of for the past fifteen minutes. She didn't flinch even though his touch was unexpected. Instead it provided her warmth, warmth she could feel spreading from her shoulder to her heart. Christina knew she was okay now.
"I just don't know what to expect today," Christina said softly, turning her face slightly to stare into Eric's electric blue eyes. The electricity was evident. Despite wanting that feeling so badly for herself and Eric, she turned away uncomfortably. "It's scary not knowing. Not knowing about a lot of stuff."
Eric slid his hand off Christina's shoulder. "I know how you feel, I don't know what to expect today either. But I have you here, and I have Justin and..." Eric looked at Tiffany as she finished preparing the coffee machine and sat down on the stool behind the counter to read a magazine she snuck in. "Well, let's just say we're not alone right now and we're going to get through today together."
"I do like the sound of that."
"It's the first time we've all been together since... that night... has anybody had anything weird happen at all?" Eric turned to look at everyone as he asked. Tiffany lifted her head to give him her attention as Justin stopped moving some of the chairs.
YOU ARE READING
Ashes of the Innocent (Abyssal Sanctuary #2)Horror
The second book in the award-winning 'Abyssal Sanctuary' series! GOLD Award Winner for Horror Fiction at the 2016 Global eBook Awards! One week has passed since the Bellisario family massacre and the staff of the Pandora Cafe try their best to move...