Today’s snippet comes from another book in The Diner: Of Fishes And Wishes! This story is by Melanie Gilbert and the shared world box set releases Oct 23rd! We can’t wait for you to read it!
Going out to dinner tonight had been a treat to myself. Now, I regretted my choice. I should have waited for a different night. One with less people. The girls at work teased me for being antisocial, but they didn’t realize the extent I would go to be antisocial if it were possible. I needed a place to live, food, and utilities. Those wouldn’t pay for themselves. I hadn’t yet found a job where I could work from home. When I did, I’d be home. All the time.
Habit drove my hand to tap the back pocket of my jeans. I froze mid-step as the blood drained from my face and my heart stuttered to a stop.
I patted the pocket again. Still, nothing.
“Don’t panic, Venice. Don’t panic. Just think. Relax and think.”
Why had I brought the coin with me? No one would break into my crappy apartment. I had nothing and it showed by the state of the entire building. No one with anything would live there. I didn’t even want to live there, and I had nothing.
“Go back to The Diner. Check the seat and talk with the staff. Look on the ground for it as you walk back.” Talking out loud kept me from totally losing my mind, something I was two breaths from doing. I’d been so stupid. So stupid.
My heart beat hard in my chest as I walked, my eyes searching the crowded sidewalk in frantic sweeps. I couldn’t see any glimmers off a coin, even human money, but I still kept searching as my breathing grew more ragged. I had to find it. Everything I’d worked for would be over if I didn’t. My freedom would be over.
The Diner appeared faster than I’d thought. Time and space meant nothing while I’d searched for my coin. If it wasn’t in The Diner, I’d need to scour the sidewalk again until I found it. Even if I had to stay out all night, the lack of sleep would be worth it.
A few human heads raised from their meals when I bustled into the human’s diner in a flurry of rushing limbs. The floor remained spotless as I made my way to the hallway where the tapestry was located that led to the supernatural side. I did what I could to glance beneath tables and booths as I passed them, gaining more unneeded attention, but I couldn’t help it. At this point, I was a breath from pulling my hair out in the fetal position on the floor. The humans didn’t know what I’d lost, physically and beyond.
“Aeternum ceno,” my voice squeaked out the password and I shoved the tapestry aside to walk into the supernatural’s side of The Diner. Good thing the magic knew what I’d meant to say because I could barely understand myself.
My eyes immediately darted to the booth where I’d sat on the other side of the room. Some of the tension inside faded at the empty seating. No one sat there and would be weirded out by my request to search the area. However, that had been the least of my concerns on my walk back to this spot.
“How many?” One of the staff approached me. He stood tall, a good six inches taller than my six and a half feet.
“Um, I’m not here to eat.” I scooted past him and he followed. “I left something, I think. Anyway, it’s not in my pocket. Once I find it, I’ll be out of your hair.”
“What did you leave? I can help you look.”
I wanted to say yes to the man. He was hot. Even in my frazzled state I could see that. But I shook my head. If he came across it first, I’d be in so much trouble. “It’s okay. I’ll find it.”
At the table, my hopes fell. Someone had cleared the space. Maybe they hadn’t noticed the coin if it fell in the crack at the back of the seat.
I ran my hand in the crack, cringing the entire time. The effort didn’t come up empty. I did find a few french fries and human coins, but I didn’t find my coin. Tears burned my eyes as I sat in the empty booth, staring at the white laminate covering the wood.
“Are you sure I can’t help you?”
The man now sat in the seat across from me, a grin on his face. I scowled.
“Where is it?” If he didn’t have it, I’d strangle him for laughing at me.
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