A bad night and bad choices change lives (still in draft mode)
|I've been around the block a couple times. Most of the time I don't think I was paying any attention, not like last night. |
It started out normal enough. I was at the Third Street bar with Amy just like every Friday night. We enjoy having few drinks and mingling with some of the other regulars. Last night though, Amy had a few too many and I spent most of the evening trying to get her to keep her shirt on. Of course, the guys were having fun with it.
The Third Street bar is a small place on the beach. It was always dark in there with little wooden tables big enough for two and mason jar candles on each one. The tables lined the side wall and there was just enough room to walk between them and the bar. The walls were made from heavy dark wood. The ceiling was made of the same kind of wood with beams extending down. The beams had little flags hanging from them. Each flag had a different symbol on them. Some of the symbols I recognized as different football teams. Neon signs hung from the ceiling behind the bar announcing the different kinds of beer you could get. There were only two old wooden bar stools, one at each end of the bar.
Normally it was quiet with just the sound of glasses tapping and murmurs from the other tables. But tonight Amy was determined that drinking was going to make her feel better. She had just lost her job at the mini mart and had no idea what she was going to do now about a job.
She was drinking two to every one I drank and soon became very vocal. She was intent on letting every guy in the bar know how lousy men were. It wasn't long before some of the guys started arguing with her. She seemed to love that. Then things took a turn for the worse.
Amy bet all the guys in there that they couldn't take their eyes off her if she took her shirt off. Men starting hollering "take it off - take it off". That's when the bartender tried to step in and calm things down. All of a sudden a beer bottle broke on his head and beer poured down the sides of his head soon followed by blood. Sammy fell to the floor knocking over one of the tables. Everyone ignored him too intent on getting Amy to make good on her bet.
I grabbed Amy by the arm asking her to stop and pleading with her to leave the bar with me. She shrugged me off and started towards the bar. Of course I followed but I was cut off by a big guy in a blue shirt with the sleeves cut off.
He grabbed Amy and pulled at her shirt yelling something about helping her. Another large muscular guy came between me and Amy. He was wearing the same blue cut-off shirt with a strange logo on the front.
"You wanted to leave? Go ahead she can stay." He pushed me towards the door. I was no match for him. How could a skinny girl fight off the likes of these guys. I backed off and he came closer. Before I knew it I was outside.
I wasn't going to just leave Amy in there. I quickly dug in my pocket for my cell. It wasn't there. Then I remembered I had left it in Amy's car. That's when I realized how dark it was. There were no lights on anywhere. Even the diner across the street was dark. I went around the side of the building, trying to find the parking lot. It was pitch black out. With my hands out in front of me I inched my way through the dark.
After a few minutes I was near what should have been the back of the lot. I fumbled through the dark until I found the gate that leads out to the beach but I still couldn't see well enough to see the cars. Then suddenly there was a bright light coming from the beach. At first, I ignored the source of the light and quickly scanned the lot for Amy's car. I was only four cars away. I ran to Amy's car and tried the doors. It was locked.
I was going to have to go back in the bar and get Amy. Looking back at the bar I felt uneasy. There were no lights on. It looked abandoned. The lights from the beach were getting brighter and I was thankful for that. I went for the back door of the bar. When I opened the door I was shocked to see that there didn't seem to be anyone in there. It was quiet- too quiet. It smelled like old wood and beer. I moved slowly through the back entryway. Peaked around the corner and noticed that the candles on the tables were still burning.
Sammy the bartender was gone! Everyone was gone, including Amy! I walked through the bar to the front door. I saw no one, no one inside or outside. I was feeling spooked and worried about Amy. I couldn't imagine what might have happened to her. I didn't want to imagine what might have happened. I had to find her.
Thanks to the ever increasing lights from the beach, I could make out the diner across the street a little better. I decided to go over there and see if anyone saw anything. With a closer look at the diner I could see that it looked abandoned too. I couldn't believe this was possible. It's Friday night, the place should be teeming with people.
The only sounds I heard were my knees knocking. Cautiously, I walked across the street. The closer I got the shakier I felt. Then I saw that the parking lot was full. I started to feel a little better. Moving towards the front door I could have heard a pin drop if my heart hadn't been beating so loud. The door was open. I took a deep breath, wiped some perspiration off my forehead and went in. It was dark. I waited by the door for awhile thinking my eyes would adjust to the dark. They didn't. I called out hoping for an answer. Nothing. I stood there in the dark in disbelief.
I was starting to feel very ill. As I left the diner, all I could think about was Amy. This can't be happening! I was so distraught I didn't see the car almost hit me as I walked into the street.
The car swerved and screeched to a stop. Someone yelled to me from the car. "Hey Jen, what are you doing I nearly hit you!" It was Sean. I was startled and relieved at the same time.
Sean had become one of my best friends over the last few years. We worked together on some rather unusual cases. He is taller than most. His blonde hair curled gently around his round face, showing off his blue eyes. "Get in". He said as the passenger door swung open.
"I see the lights are out down here too." He commented.
"It's not just the lights. People have disappeared!"
"What are you talking about? People don't just disappear.
"Trust me, they disappeared." I proceeded to tell him all that had happened. He looked at me like I was out of my mind. "I need to find Amy. I need to find out what happened here."
"Yeah, lets drive around and see if we can find anyone." Sean said, blankly starring into the darkness.
"You know now that I think about it, I'm wondering if that light coming from the beach had anything to do with it. Lets park over at the bar and walk down the beach."