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My Tryst with Caffeine

Of dark nights and darker substances

Image captured by the author.

“What if your purpose is to roam the world in search of your purpose, never to find it?”

A puzzled expression reflects off the steaming triple-shot espresso in front of me. Merely inhaling its fumes could deposit a layer of finely ground coffee beans onto one’s nostrils.

The being sitting on the other side of the glass table is one who is more mystery than man. His beanie hides more than locks of glistening black hair. Beneath its folds lies the mind of a wizard. One whose caffeine-enhanced gaze could bore through the manifestation of fear itself. He didn’t have to stroke a waterfall of a beard to prove himself. His verbal arsenal sufficed.
Consumed by coffee, his new normal is of his design. He forges his own path.
His tussle against life’s tribulations left him with scars no man could see. A Frankenstein of our times. In the trappings of a mortal who had scoured the lands in search of knowledge, only for it to demand his sanity in return.

An over-sized pair of spectacles rest upon his nose like a crown of glass, lending him a gravitas that is only outdone by his voice.


He raises the minuscule cup to his dry lips, partaking of the black fluid. He downs it in one shot.
I look to the bottomless well of ink in front of me. And then I take a sip.

A strange emotion takes shape within my veins. Unlike the ever-shifting pigment of an octopus that conceals, this ink reveals. I heed the siren’s call of irresistible insanity. Goosebumps manifest of their own accord. My fingers tap on the glass table without instruction. A deranged smile tugs at the corner of my lips. It breaks into a wild grin. Amused, the mentor leans back as he lets out a laugh.

“You remind me of a llama at the zoo.”

I check my watch. 4 AM. The night is still young. The cafe? Still open.

The wizard then begins to speak of bygone eras, situations that had broken his spirit. And of how he collected its shards and remade his body whole, stronger than before. Lines blur. We redraw them as we deem fit. Morality is merely the first casualty as we seep further into the siren’s sincere sinphony.

I speak of the trials I had faced, however insignificant. Of the angels and demons who quarrel amidst the dark recesses of my mind. And yet the plague survivor pays heed to the common cold victim’s tale. For just as every fairy tale has a grain of truth in it, every trial holds a lesson. No two mortals pass through the same barrage of torment, but every baptism by fire delivers an epiphany. Truths that empower. Those that temper a man from a dull blade to a sweeping guillotine filled with purpose.

A purpose I am yet to determine. His words sink into me once more.
“Life’s a game. You know how to build those stats. You’ve been idling for far too long.” Just as the Greek goddess of wisdom guided Odysseus’ son with divine words of counsel, so did my mentor train me in the ways of the world.

I am an instrument to the machinations of the world no more. No longer shall I serve invisible masters that grip my throat in conformity.

I am idle no more.
As the sun rises, two men walk out of the cafe. One at peace.
And one ready to embrace his destiny.



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Antony Terence

Antony Terence

0.2M+ views. 5x Top Writer. Warping between games, tech, and fiction. Yes, that includes to-do lists. Words in IGN, Kotaku AU, SUPERJUMP, The Startup, and more.