Today I sat in one of my usual cafes, staring into my coffee cup waiting for the story idea to magically pop into my head. I recently published a short story on Kindle and realised that my blog is always getting neglected which isn’t fair on my followers! You’re all loyal and supportive and you deserve free little stories, so I vow to be more productive on here. Of course, that could mean me rambling on about random nothings because I’m having another dry month and forgetting the whole point of this blog… Oh yes, I was going to post a story wasn’t I! Fortunately, staring into my coffee did make a story pop into my head today (I should probably not count on it to happen again though):
It wasn’t like we needed a coffee shop anyway. It wasn’t like the town was in high demand for another beige building with round tables and long-handled spoons. It’s not like hot drinks were a privilege around us. We didn’t ask for it.
It just appeared. Practically overnight. One day it was an empty building, the next; a new coffee shop. And people flocked to it as if it had some kind of magnetism. Even if you didn’t go there yourself, you couldn’t ignore it – it was all over the radio, pasted on bus stops and on the buses themselves. People were talking about it constantly. At first it was just annoying, but then it became unbearable. Every conversation was about this coffee shop.
“Where should we meet? Let’s meet at that new coffee shop.”
“Have you been to that new coffee shop yet?”
“You know, I just can’t get enough of their coffee. You know, at that new coffee shop.”
I thought after some time it would die down, that the hype would fizzle into nothing. This didn’t happen, and people started using its name. ‘Desire’. To me, a name of a coffee shop was ‘The Coffee Pot’, ‘Brown Sugar’ would have probably been pretty cool but ‘Desire’? It didn’t sound right to me. In fact, it sounded sinister. Especially after the first death.
I heard it on the radio about six weeks ago, (I think, seems like years ago now); a man had killed his wife for not letting him get a coffee from ‘Desire’. At the time I thought it must be a freak occurance, despite my own opinion of the place. Of course, ‘Desire’ was left as it was and suffered no loss. It should have been closed even all the way back then. How could we have been so stupid? How could we have not seen what was so wrong?
In the same week, two more deaths were broadcast, under the same bizarre circumstances. Instead of being investigated, the place became a cult phenomenon. Now people from further afield were visiting to find out what was so exceptional about the coffee. They wanted to know how people could be so obsessed, so driven.
Because the cafe was so popular and the coffee so sought after, they started hiring security – two burly men in bullet-proof vests stood at the front doors. The town was swarming with tourists and more ‘Desire’ ‘s started popping up to cater for the hundreds of new customers. The old humble cafes bowed out of the competition and their buildings became duplicates of the cult coffee shop.
This craziness just kept going. ‘Desire’ was everywhere – not only on high streets and people’s tongues, but every company or local event was sponsored by them. Before long, it seemed that everybody was going there like it was a necessity. Some companies were shutting early to get their fix of coffee.
I decided to go myself. My own stupid curiosity… I should have just ignored it – but how could I? How could I have not seen for myself what the fuss was about? Now look at me – a quivering wreck sat here with blood of my hands.
I first stepped foot in there after a couple of weeks of reported murders and the place was crammed with people. I should have known there was something dark from that first visit. I should have turned around and left the town right then. The customers in there were almost rabid – eyes wide, flashing from coffee machines to cups, licking their lips over drinks served to the customer before them. One man threw a ten pound note at the guy behind the counter and left with his coffee, never even looked at the guy, never even waited for his change. Just softly walked away, weary not to spill a drip.
The staff had been running around to quickly serve the customers before me but, as I approached the counter, the staff stopped and smiled excitedly.
“A… white coffee please.”
Smiling wider, the guy replied: “I can see you’re new here.”
“How do you know that?” Stupid question really, now I think back to it.
“Most people have black coffee.”
It was true – not one person had ordered anything different.
“Not a fan of black coffee.” I replied coolly.
“White coffee coming up. We always give our new customers an extra large cup the first time they visit – for the same price as a regular.”
I didn’t argue with that. I didn’t have to drink it all anyway. I naively thought I wasn’t that taken with coffee anyway, and wouldn’t be converted after one cup, no matter how big.
I remember the warmth of the deep cup in my hand and the snug leathery embrace of the armchair I chose to sit in. Or did they choose it? It doesn’t matter now. It was the coffee that did this to me. I can’t even remember the taste of it. That’s how it grips you – a tender comforting feeling. A reassurance, the feeling of intense joy and a whisper of a taste on the lips that makes you want more. I can’t remember physically drinking it, all I knew is the cup was empty and I wanted more. I wanted to feel that again. I drank two cups of black coffee before I ran out of cash.
That’s how the chaos started. Like I’d been the last person to convert. It’s been a month since that day. I can’t stop. We all can’t stop. The craving is too strong and the withdrawal is impossible – I’ve tried. People are killing one another so they get first in line. There are hoards breaking through the security. Two shops are destroyed and there are people dead in the street and nobody will even look up from their cups. I killed someone today because they pushed in front of me in the queue. I beat his face into a pulp. I killed someone. I’m not me anymore. I can’t stop thinking about the coffee. I’ve locked myself in my house but the withdrawal is unbearable. I don’t know if I can live anymore.
If anybody reads this, if it’s not too late – don’t drink the coffee. Stop this before it takes over more towns. I pray that it’s not too late. Please, somebody help. Save us from ourselves.