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It was a long time ago. A young couple, Tom and Mary, were walking through the woods after watching the film, ‘Ghost of Valentine.’
It was very late at night and sliver moonlight shimmered through the thick canopy above the couple’s heads.
“That was a strange film,” Mary said holding Tom’s right hand tightly, sweat starting to form in their hands.
“Strange film? Why do you say that, honey?” Tom asked. He kept his voice soft, not wanting to make Mary more nervous then she already was.
“It was a love story and then a horror. The… the… ending was sad and I didn’t like it…” Mary whispered a slight tremble in her voice.
“It’s only a film, love. It’s supposed to show you that there’s always something looking after you” Tom held her hand firmly, because he could feel her grip slipping away.
“I understand Tom, I really do. Never mind, let’s have something to eat I’m hungry” Mary said trying to change the subject.
“Ok, let’s go to the Walk-in. It’s next to the river by the road side at the end of the forest.” Tom piped up with a smile on his face glad that the subject had changed.
They carried on walking through the dense forest, using the lights from Moonlight, to see where they were going. It wasn’t long before they arrived at the Walk-in; it was almost empty with only a few people inside talking and enjoying their meals or snacks.
They sat down at the far end of the restaurant near the window and each one picked out a menu from a rack style cutlery service in the middle of the table. They looked at their menus in silence, deciding what to order.
Soon a young female waitress, wearing a pink and white apron walked over and stood by the table chewing on her bubble-gum. Tom looked at her and smiled awkwardly, before he started to say what they wanted. The waitress’ obvious bad manners and her seemingly careless attitude annoyed Tom.
“Two Cheese Burgers and Two Large Black Coffees, please “Tom said looking directly at her before he put the menu back.
“Right,” she continued to chew her bubble gum, “Two Cheese Burgers and Two Large Black Coffees. Anything else, nope, good!” The waitress’ tone was blunt and bored. She popped her bubble-gum in front of them before she walked off.
“WOW! How rude she is!” Mary exclaimed looking at Tom and shaking her head.
“I know! I know hun. WOW! I was too embarrassed to say anything…” Tom replied, feeling slightly guilty for not saying anything or complaining.
“Next time say something!” Mary’s voice was firm; she was determined that the waitress shouldn’t get away with it next time.
They both sat and talked for a while, forgetting what had happened with the waitress, wrapped up in their love for each other. Suddenly they realised that thirty minutes had gone by and their order had still not arrived. Tom looked around the Walk-in to see if anybody was coming with their order. When all of a sudden, the same waitress came rushing up to them and put a piece of paper on the table, before rushing back into the kitchen.
Tom and Mary looked at each other. They were confused. What had just happened! Mary looked down at the piece of paper on the table; it was turned facing down, but she could see the deep marks of the pressed writing on the back.
“What is going on Tom?” Mary asked even more confused, but intrigued by the piece of paper at the same time.
“What does the piece of paper say, Mary?” Tom whispered, alarmed as he stared down at the piece of paper on their table.
“I don’t know Tom, I can’t tell by the writing from here.” Mary replied. Her heart started to beat faster in her chest.
Mary’s hand trembled as she slowly picking it up from the table. She looked at Tom first, before looking down at her hand with the piece of paper held between her slender fingers. She slowly turned the paper over. Her eyes opened wide in shock at what she read.
“Let’s go NOW!” Mary shouted at Tom. He nodded and they both rose up from the table and rushed out through the walk-in doors.
They had barely walked a few yards forward when a cop car stopped at the side of the drive. The couple looked at the copper, who was in his late 40’s, going thin on top, slightly overweight with a thick black beard. He’d stepped out of the car, with his flash light and turned it on as he walked towards the young couple smiling.
“Evening! What are you two doing here, so late in the evening?” The officer said looking directly at them.
“Well I’m glad that you’ve turned up, because we were going to phone you?” Mary said relaxing slightly, now that the police officer was here.
“Oh! And why, were you going to phone the police?” The Officer asked with a frown on his face, looking very puzzled.
“Well you see. We’ve just been given this piece of paper, officer,” Mary said handing it over to him.
“Well let’s all, have a look at it then, shall we?” The Officer said taking it from Mary’s hand.
He rapidly read it, the words on the paper said, “Run! Get help!”
“Well you’d better stay here and I’ll go and see what is going on.” The Officer said firmly and started to walk past them.
As Tom and Mary turned to look at the Officer, he vanished in front of their eyes. All that remained was a swirl of smoke in the air where he’d been standing.
Tom and Mary looked puzzled at what had just happened. They both turned and saw that the Walk-in was on fire. They watched it burn down, in what seemed like just 30 seconds, before everything went black again.
Mary looked at Tom, and Tom looked back at her, both wondered what the hell just happened. As they stood there another cop car pulled over. This time Mary went over towards Tom hugging him tightly, her mind working overtime, wondering if this copper was real or not. Tom wanted to say something, but his mind also was working overtime. No words were spoken as the couple stood frozen in time.
The Officer in his early 30’s, stepped out of his car and walked towards the burnt down Walk-in. He looked at the half burnt piece of paper in his hands on which was written, ‘get help.’ He lit up a cigarette and took a drag from it before blowing circles of smoke rings in the air. He put his hand on the door-frame of the Walk-in and with a grim smile on his face he said, “Have a great, 20th wedding anniversary, Mum, Dad! Mary and Tom Taylor. I miss you. In my mind you’ve always been together ever since I could remember .And I believe you still are.”
The young officer smiled, tears glistening in his eyes as he said a silent prayer in the very spot where his parents had reportedly died when the Walk-in was blown into pieces by the crazy chef.
He took out the old newspaper cutting that he’d carried in his pocket for the last twenty years and read the report for perhaps the hundredth time. “Mary and Tom Taylor had left the restaurant to get help when they were blown up barely a few yards from the Walk-in restaurant. A young waitress had tried to warn them, but it was too late and she too was burnt in the fire.”
As they say, love always lasts even after death in the shadows.
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