Chapter 2

Written by: Anna Zhigareva

Powell watched as droplets began to batter the window. He leaned against the cold glass, blowing warm coffee breath over the clean surface. Steam gathered and dissipated almost as quickly. Droplets on the outside, steam on the inside. And the two shall never meet. If this was a war of two worlds, the droplets would triumph over the fleeting presence of one’s breath. Water always won. It could suck all the air out of you if it happened that you were drowning… But Powell had gotten distracted by his metaphor. Meanwhile, the clock on the far wall had ticked away another twenty minutes of their time. Their time indeed. Who knew how long they had…


The rain intensified, bruising and battling against the metallic roof of the café. The urban-style establishment lived in an adjacent building to an abandoned distillery on the corner of the street, little trialled by locals and tourists alike. Built in blood-red brick and accompanied by the unpleasant smell of rotting pipes from its undesirable but silent neighbour, it was a place people would frequently pass without a backwards glance. A place that, if you chanced to walk in on a rainy day, would enamour you right away by its laid-back atmosphere and gland-triggering coffee. But for that to happen, one needed to enter. And people didn’t always like entering the unknown, did they?


A tingling sensation grew within Powell as he crooked his head ever so subtly to once again survey the customers. There was the burly man, still struggling with his Continental Slice; Miss Pamela, her black fringe jiggling symmetrically as she laughed at something Miss Day had said, passing her a steaming mug of hot chocolate for the customer sat just right of them; a twig-legged child of about seven hungrily lapping up his milkshake as his father swerved around the laughing Pamela to place a crumpled $5 note in Miss Day’s hand. He held on a little too long, and it seemed as though a knowing look passed between the two, unnoticed by all but Powell. 


Oblivious, going about their daily lives, their daily struggles – Powell smirked at the man and his now abandoned, half-devoured, half-destroyed Continental Slice. Their misdeeds. Powell tried to see if he could bore holes in the retreating jacket as father and child exited the establishment. That’s two fewer than he would have liked, but he did prefer not to involve children. That was nasty business. Children. Children crying. And then the sirens would come. The fire, it would be whisked away, but the children would continue to cry. The adults would sacrifice their sanity and pride for their little beings. No matter what, children always brought chaos in such situations, and a downright mess like this, Powell could not have. He prided himself on avoiding a mess at all costs. It was a clean job he liked. Swift and clean.


Today would be a clean day. Everything had been set up to be just so.


Anna, you had me completely sucked in after the first sentence.What powerful, engaging description and you captured the ambience of the coffee shop perfectly then added a tiny shake of menace at the end. Good luck next writer. What a great chapter to follow. Well done!
Anna you are a wonderful writer - your desciptive style, draws me right into the zone. Fantastic work