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Mysterious Salesman From Coffee Shop

a story

By Fathima RaheemaPublished 19 days ago 6 min read
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The bell above the door of "The Grind" chimed a melancholic tune as I entered, seeking refuge from the relentless downpour outside. The air hung heavy with the comforting aroma of roasted beans and cinnamon, a temporary solace from the gnawing loneliness that had become my constant companion.

The cafe was nearly empty, just a couple huddled in a corner booth and a lone barista wiping down the gleaming espresso machine. As I approached the counter, a peculiar figure emerged from the shadows at the back. A tall man, shrouded in a long, threadbare coat that seemed to absorb the dim light, approached with a slow, deliberate gait. His face, hidden in the darkness beneath a wide-brimmed fedora, remained unseen.

"Can I get a double espresso, black?" My voice echoed in the near-empty space.

"Certainly," replied the man, his voice a dry rasp that sent shivers down my spine. He moved with practiced ease behind the counter, his movements hinting at an age-worn familiarity.

While he prepared my drink, a sudden curiosity gnawed at me. He wasn't a regular; I'd never seen him here before. "Busy night?" I ventured, hoping to spark a conversation and break the suffocating silence.

A low, chilling chuckle emerged from beneath the fedora. "Busy isn't quite the word, young man. Some nights, The Grind caters to a more... select clientele."

An unsettling feeling washed over me. His words dripped with a hidden meaning, like cryptic riddles whispered in a forgotten tongue. The espresso machine hissed, spitting forth a stream of dark liquid. The man placed the steaming cup before me, and I noticed his hand – long, skeletal fingers adorned with a single silver ring, an inscription etched into the metal that seemed to writhe and shift under the dim lighting.

"Take a sip," he urged, his voice an unsettling rasp.

Hesitance tightened my throat. Something primal screamed at me to turn and flee, but a morbid fascination held me captive. Taking a tentative sip, I was surprised by the unexpected sweetness, a stark contrast to the bitterness I'd anticipated. A warmth bloomed in my chest, spreading through my limbs, chasing away the lingering chill of the rain.

"Interesting, isn't it?" he commented, his voice laced with a hint of amusement. "This isn't your ordinary espresso. It possesses a certain... quality."

His words hung in the air, heavy with unspoken promises. Suddenly, the cafe seemed to dim, the comforting warmth of the espresso replaced by a creeping sense of dread. The lone barista had vanished, and the couple in the booth sat frozen, their faces contorted in silent screams.

"What is this?" I stammered, fear clogging my throat. My vision seemed to blur at the edges, the world around me warping into horrifying, distorted shapes.

The man leaned closer, his features still veiled in shadow. "This," he rasped, "is a glimpse into the reality most choose to ignore. A peek behind the curtain that separates this world from the one that truly matters."

Terror paralyzed me. I wanted to scream, to run, but my body refused to obey. He chuckled again, the sound a chilling symphony of malice.

"You see," he continued, circling me like a predator stalking its prey, "life isn't what you think it is. There are forces at play, desires lurking just beneath the surface. And sometimes," his voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper, "those desires need a nudge. A catalyst to push the veil aside."

The inscription on his ring seemed to writhe more violently, the metal glowing with an otherworldly light. He held it out towards me, an unspoken invitation shimmering in the air.

"Join me," he whispered, his voice a siren song in the darkness. "Embrace the truth. Let your desires, your darkest secrets, guide you."

The cafe had morphed into a grotesque parody of itself. The walls dripped with a viscous liquid, the floorboards pulsed with a sickening rhythm. Desperate to escape, I lunged for the door. My hand grasped the handle, but it was cold, unyielding.

Just as despair threatened to consume me, a memory flickered in the recesses of my mind – a forgotten prayer learned as a child. Whispering the words, a faint light pulsed within me, warmth battling against the encroaching darkness.

The man stumbled back, a look of surprise flickering across his shadowed face. The inscription on his ring flickered and died, the cafe returning to its former state, albeit still empty and strangely unsettling.

Shaking, I stumbled out into the rain, the cool water a welcome shock. The world seemed brighter, more vibrant, the taste ofrain on my tongue a sudden comfort. The memory of the cafe lingered, a nightmare clinging to the edges of consciousness. The warmth from the "espresso" had faded, replaced by a lingering chill that ran bone-deep.

Days turned into weeks, the encounter at "The Grind" a festering wound in my mind. I couldn't shake the feeling of being watched, a constant paranoia gnawing at the edges of my sanity. Sleep became a fleeting dream, haunted by whispers and chilling laughter.

One day, on a whim, I decided to revisit the cafe. The rain had stopped, replaced by a bright, unforgiving sun. As I approached the door, the bell chimed its familiar, mournful tune. But something was different.

The windows were boarded up, a crudely scrawled sign reading "CLOSED" plastered across them. A sense of dread settled over me, heavier than before. I peered through a crack in the wood, catching a glimpse of the interior. Empty. No barista, no booths, just a dusty counter and a single empty cup.

Panic clawed at my throat. Was it all a dream? But the lingering taste of the "espresso," the memory of the chilling presence – it was all too real.

Desperate for answers, I started digging. Days were spent scouring online forums, searching for any mention of the cafe, the salesman, or the ring with the writhing inscription. Nothing. It was as if "The Grind" had never existed.

Dejected, I slumped into a chair at a local library, flipping through a dusty history book. A faded photograph caught my eye - a black and white image of the same building housing "The Grind," but with a different name. The caption below read: "Occult Bookstore – Closed 1927."

A cold sweat prickled my skin. Occult Bookstore. The ring. The whispers of an unseen reality. Suddenly, everything clicked into place. The salesman wasn't a regular vendor, he was a tempter, a dealer of forbidden knowledge, offering glimpses into a world most don't dare to acknowledge.

Driven by a morbid curiosity, I began researching the occult bookstore and its closure. The details were sketchy, shrouded in local legend. Rumors spoke of strange rituals, disappearances, and a malevolent entity said to have taken up residence within the building.

With a newfound determination, I tracked down the owner of the building, a wizened old man with eyes that held the weight of years. He confirmed the rumors, speaking of a dark chapter he tried desperately to forget. He revealed a hidden basement, sealed shut after the last incident, a place where reality supposedly fractured and something horrifying lurked.

Armed with this knowledge, I couldn't let it rest. An unhealthy sense of responsibility gnawed at me. The salesman might be gone, but what about others? What if he set his sights on another naive soul seeking solace in a cup of coffee?

The old building owner, hesitant at first, eventually relented. Together, we pried open the basement entrance, a dank, suffocating air spilling out. Leading the way with a borrowed flashlight, I descended the creaking stairs, each step echoing with a disturbing finality.

The basement was a labyrinth of dusty shelves and crumbling boxes. In the center, a single pentagram was etched into the stone floor, radiating a faint, malevolent hum. The inscription on the ring, I realized with a jolt of horror, perfectly matched the symbol at the center of the pentagram.

As I reached out to touch the pentagram, the air crackled with unseen energy. A cold wind swept through the room, extinguishing the flashlight. Panic surged through me, the darkness amplifying the terror.

Then, a voice slithered into the darkness, a familiar rasp that sent shivers down my spine. "So, you've returned," it chuckled, a sound like fingernails scraping a chalkboard.

There was no escape. I stood frozen, my heart pounding a frantic rhythm against my ribs. A faint glow appeared in the distance, taking the shape of the Salesman. His form seemed more twisted now, more monstrous, bathed in an unnatural light.

"You tasted the truth," he hissed, his voice echoing in the cavernous space. "And now, you must become part of it."

A fierce sense of defiance flared within me. I wouldn't succumb. Remembering the forgotten prayer, I whispered it aloud, the sound filling the darkness. The glowing figure recoiled, a shriek of pain ripping through the air.

Light flooded the basement, blinding. When my vision cleared, the Salesman was gone, the pentagram faint and powerless. The basement seemed less oppressive,

halloween
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About the Creator

Fathima Raheema

As a seasoned writer, your captivating prose has entranced readers worldwide. Your unique style blends vivid imagery with raw emotion, drawing inspiration from your diverse experiences. storytelling,

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