The Café at the End of Time by Robert Edymann Jr

“Are you going to eat that?” 

“Take it.” 

I pushed the plate away. 


I nodded. 

He grinned. “If you still want it…” 

“Just eat it,” I said. 

Adi grabbed the barely touched burger and began to devour it like he hadn’t eaten for days, let alone just finished his own. I sat back and closed my eyes. It was a bad idea. The sounds of the café swirled and distorted in the horrible red darkness. I felt dizzy, had to open them quickly and sit up straight. 

“Are you ok?” Adi asked, looking at me curiously, a strand of soggy lettuce hanging from his mouth. 

“Hunky dory,” I said. 

He gave me a thumbs up. 

I vomited heavily in the toilet. Far more than a small bite of burger and two French fries should be able to produce. After a couple of deceptive pauses and a final nasty dry heave, I sat on the floor, sweating and fighting back tears. I stayed there for a while, not moving, just staring at my hands, the fingers bent like claws, turning them slowly as if I’d never seen them before. I heard 

the door open and somebody came in, so I pulled my feet in close so they couldn’t be seen, rested my chin on my knees, and stayed that way, huddled on the floor, feeling unaccountably safe. 

When I did finally stand up, I had no idea how long had passed. I imagined that outside Adi had got bored and left. All of the customers had left. The café had long since shut down and been left to slowly decay, like everything else in that sad corner of the city. I stepped slowly across the tiled floor, my legs like jelly, wondering what I’d find when I opened the door. 

Published in Issue #23

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