Coffee Perking | Fiction

Who pays $50 for a coffee? The slicker of the night creatures, for the right grind.

© jarmoluk

Antonia Lup slunk into a polished, wooden chair that the youngest customers would’ve chewed on at her coffee shop. Carvings in the wood of nearby chairs depicted urban scenes for a strange mix of styles. Each metal table topped with wood inlay held an e-reader, shiny from careful use.

The vampire’s place was clean and professional, but even with the permeating fragrances of roasted coffee, sweet syrups, and the diverse scents of people familiar from her shop, the atmosphere at Quincey Holmwood’s place felt tense, in comparison to her family-friendly shop. Maybe the tension rose from the rumor that lead her to check out her competitor.

Pendant lights spread like drooping vines all the way to walls, smeared in grays, dusky greens, and red paint.

She saw the sign displayed on the menu wall then scanned for the baristas in their crimson aprons. “Holy beans…” Antonia said, “it’s true?”

The sign noted, “Absorption in our servers takes 15 to 45 minutes. Please enjoy the wait for our best full body coffee.” One server by the bar downed a mug of the chosen brew. Her suit-wearing customer stopped chatting long enough to lick thin lips at the arch of her neck.

Another barista was pressed against a streak of red paint on the far wall by a customer in tight t-shirt and jeans. The more casual patron embraced his aproned hips in unprofessional indecency while lapping at the barista’s sinewy throat.

Holmwood’s presence raised her hackles. Antonia growled. “They’re drinking the caffeine… from human blood?”

Quincey showed his fangs. “We go beyond for the coffee experience.”