Work was a nice temporary escape from whatever was happening to Hali. Though it was slow for a Thursday, Anthony was being his usual hilarious self. He had always been a fantastic storyteller, often telling her about the shenanigans he had gotten into. The latest was about a friend he had to stop from trying to streak through the University’s Field Hockey field the night before.
“So why was he trying to run through the field naked?” Hali giggled.
“He was dared at the party we had been at,” Anthony explained, “And apparently he gets unbelievably cocky when drunk.”
Hali had to stifle a loud laugh as to not bother the customers. Anthony chuckled as he watched her reaction. He was an entertainer at heart and loved to get certain reactions out of people. Their eyes met for a moment, and Hali got butterflies when she saw his beautiful blue eyes look at her. School came first, she reminded herself, but that didn’t stop the fact she liked her coworker. Hali always tried to put her best foot forward around him and she wanted to ask him out, but she had way too much going on in her life right now, and promised herself that she would wait for love until after school. Which always seemed like the right decision.
Cleaning was a good idea! To Hali, grabbing a clean cloth was the best option. She rinsed it and wiped the counter down while talking to Anthony, “He didn’t remember a thing this morning either,” he explained, “He didn’t believe me.”
“I wouldn’t either,” Hali confessed, “It’s an embarrassing thing to do.”
“Yeah, but then again this is the same friend who last semester decided trying to start vaping to be cool—.”
Hali cut him off, laughing, “And was hitting on those tough biker gals while vaping with cotton candy flavour! Right?”
Anthony couldn’t help but chuckle, “Yep! That’s the dumbass.” Hali almost snorted. That was one of her favourite stories from Anthony and he brought it up once every few weeks since it happened. “The dude is like a best friend to me but damn, does he like to get himself into these situations.”
“But he’s like a brother to you and you are always there for him,” Hali added, now moving to the sandwich bar, wiping it down.
Anthony’s face softened, and agreed fondly, “Since elementary.”
Hali rinsed out the cloth again and put it by the coffee pots. She glanced at the clock and then to Anthony, “Alright, its 9PM. We should start our closing duties: Break down the sandwich bar and wrap it all up, sweep, and… well, you know.”
Anthony smiled kindly, “I know.”
He walked past her, but turned his body at the last second and brushed his arm against hers, flashing her a sweet grin. She tried to hide the shiver that went down her spine. ‘Oh lordy does he make this difficult, he’s such a sweet flirt.’
He did the cleaning for the sandwich bar and the surrounding area; including pulling out the bar to sweep and mop under it. Hali cleaned off the empty tables and took the dishes to the dishwasher in the back. She then snaked the coffee machine with the spring tool, jerking it through the water delivery tube. Hali pulled it in and out for about thirty seconds before she let the machine run through the coffee pots, catching the water, and letting it rinse itself. They added the coffee pots to the dishwasher along with various other tools used in the cafe area. Once the last customer was gone and it hit ten o’clock, Hali locked the door and drew down the blinds.
Anthony had gathered the garbage while Hali swept the cafe; afterwards, she wiped down the last of the tables and chairs. Hali was exhausted, but they were nearing the end of their closing duties. Anthony brought the garbage out back as Hali finished the deposit, placing it into the safe. She finally locked up the office, placing the key in its secret little hiding place.
“Do you want me to take the garbage out?” Anthony asked.
She shook her head. “No, that’s okay. Go catch your ride.”
“Okay, until next time,” he waved. He left through the back door. It closed behind him, and Hali was alone in the kitchen. She placed her hands on her hips and looked down at the garbage bags. She knew that Conan said to leave them, but she felt like it was her responsibility. Besides, Anthony had left just now and she didn’t hear a scream or any struggle. Hali didn’t have any negative feelings and felt confident. She gathered two of the bags and moved towards the door; pressing down the door bar with her hip, and pushed the door open.
She pulled the bags out, freed one hand, and used it to lift the garbage can lid. While reaching for the first bag, she sensed something to her right and spun to try and catch the movement. Even through the darkness, she could see the outline of a large dog. Though now that she was standing this close, she realized that it was no dog... but rather, a large wolf.
Hali felt nothing, but she still dropped the garbage bag, staring at the wolf in horror. Before she could react, the wolf growled and launched itself towards her like a torpedo.