Three spooky stories that all have a common theme: Coffee.
What I really want right now, is a good cup of coffee.
He was finally on the final leg of his journey, a 30-minute boat ride to a remote island. This fast boat ride in something that looks like it’s just barely able to float, is what has given him the jitters the most – and considering what he’s already been through, that’s saying a lot.
He wasn’t supposed to accept this assignment; the pay is not as better as what he can get in less remote ones, and the last person assigned disappeared without a trace. But he was promised something he couldn’t resist – access to the best coffee his employer has ever tasted. As someone so into coffee, even writing blogs to review the coffee he drinks, this pushed him off the edge. This area of the country is renowned for producing some of the best coffee sought after by the rest of the world. If his notoriously rich employer says this small island has some, then the next three months would be a dream. Off the grid, with good coffee, and a 360 view of the Atlantic Ocean – never mind that he’ll be living in a ramshackle two-bedroom cabin with no one else with him. It has been such a tough year.
His employer wants the cabin renovated and expanded; he’ll be spending the next three and a half months to assess it and the area around it to see how this can be done.
The boat started to ease onto the small dock, and he was finally able to see the cabin in person. His initial thought was that three and a half months were not enough. It was worse than the pictures showed, and the little work the previous person got done was almost nothing.
The guy who brought him here helped him with his bags, even getting the heavier ones up the small hill to the cabin, but he immediately left saying he didn’t want to be stuck at sea in the dark. It was a sensible wish, but the way the guy said it sounded a little more ominous to him; the guy was not telling him something about the island.
He took all his bags to the one usable room, but he didn’t unpack yet. After two days of non-stop travel, all he wanted to do now is to get a cup of that good coffee. He meant to bring his Aeropress, grinder, and a couple bag of beans but in the stress of preparing, rushing and delays, he had forgotten his “coffee bag” somewhere between the airport and the boat ride. He didn’t fret so much – he had the best coffee his employer ever tasted in the cabin. He was also assured everything he needed to make coffee would be provided.
He almost felt like skipping to the kitchen, he was so excited. He quickly scanned the kitchen counter for coffee equipment. He only saw a gas stove, a kettle, and a pan. He didn’t panic, maybe they’re in one of the three overhead cabinets. They were not. Maybe his employer had them frozen to keep them longer. The freezer was full of meat, enough for three months, but no coffee beans.
He was starting to panic, he can’t work (live) without coffee, but then he saw this small cabinet beside the kitchen door. He opened the top drawer; it was full of bags of the most popular instant coffee mix brand – the one that was always too sweet and barely had any actual coffee.
The next two drawers were the same. He collapsed on the floor. Three and a half months of nothing but the instant coffee mix he despised. He might last shorter than the one before him.
All he wanted was a good cup of coffee.
This was the first coffee shop she has ever heard of that required a reservation. It only served black coffee, which they tout as the best and most expensive in the world. The owners, two brothers who are foreigners but have lived in the Philippines for two years now, say they discovered the special and rare coffee themselves and are going the keep the secret “to their graves”. It has been said to be the best coffee several journalists and influencers have ever tasted, and something Filipinos should be proud of since it’s only found in the country. Plus, the coffee was 100% organic.
To add to the already crazy requirement of getting a reservation just for a cup of coffee, she had to wait two months for her 30-minute slot in the shop. She got there on time, actually with five-minutes to spare. The place had a crowd outside of it. She was escorted by someone to a table near a door that said “employees only”.
The shop looked unlike any she has ever seen before. There was no bar. It was just a box with several tables and chairs scattered within the four walls. Aside from the “employees only” door beside her table, there was only one other door at the other side of the room where employees came and went with cups of the sought-after drink.
She observed everybody else in the shop with her. It was definitely a noisy atmosphere, everyone chattering and talking about how special it was they were finally here and enjoying this special coffee. There were several proclamations that this was the best coffee they have ever tasted. Of course, almost everybody was taking pictures of the drink and selfies with the drinks. For sure, posting this would increase anybody’s online clout. It was 535 pesos per cup after all, some would say it’s an investment in yourself.
Finally, someone brought her cup over to her. You were only allowed to order one per head, a way for the owners to control the supply, and she saw now that the cups were indeed smaller than the usual coffee mug. As soon as it was placed in front of her, she did her customary whiff of the coffee’s aroma. It smelled like mud.
She took another whiff – definitely grassy mud. She was confused, was this a prank? Did they actually just serve her hot, muddy water? She was so confused that she forgot to take a picture of her cup and post it on her IG. She hesitantly took a quick sip, and almost felt like throwing out. She’s never tasted mud before, but the smell is so strong her mind immediately associated the bad taste to it. This was definitely not coffee.
She remembered that some described the taste as “something they’ve never had before” or “something they just quite place” or simply “complex”. Nobody ever said it tasted like mud or is actually mud.
She raised her hand for someone to come to her, but no one did. After waiting for five minutes without anyone accommodating her, she stood up and stormed to the unmarked door. She burst in and saw it was a short hallway leading to the back of the store, more specifically the backyard. There was a long table full of cups. The cups were placed there by workers wearing gloves. These workers were digging soil from the ground and placing them in the said cups. The workers in the long table wiped the excess dirt from the lip and side of the cups, before pouring hot water on them – 100% organic indeed.
One worker noticed her standing there and screamed. Everybody else stopped working and just stared at her. She was about to say something when a pair of hands grabbed her from behind and started to drag her to an open pit. She mustered the strength to turn around to see who was dragging her to what ominously looked like a grave; it was one of the famous owners.
She barely mustered a feeble scream before she was thrown down the deep pit. As soon as she landed, she felt dirt being thrown top of her. She was being buried alive!
She looked up the pit and saw the other brother staring down at her, a handgun with a silencer in hand. She started to scream but was stopped short when the other brother pulled the trigger.
He still couldn’t believe it, something he has wanted all his life just falls on his lap (figuratively).
He knew his dad had a brother, but he has never seen the man. In fact, his father never seemed too fond of talking about him. His uncle was five years older, and was always getting himself in trouble. He left home when his father was just 12 years old, and they never heard from him again.
Well turns out his long-lost uncle owned a café in another state. They were contacted by a lawyer a week ago, informing them that his uncle had passed away. Strangely, he had donated his estate to charity except for his café – a café which he named his nephew as the successor. His father, although he never said it, was miffed that his brother passed over him and gave his (reportedly) successful café to a nephew he never even met.
So here he was, on a train to where the café was located. He always wanted to own a café, but never was able to raise enough funds to start one. A random spending phase has wrecked his credit score, so he thought his dream would never be fulfilled until his uncle passed over his café to him.
While in the cab to the café, he was already thinking about what to do with his new business. It was popular in the area, not surprising since it was the only café for miles, but he wanted to modernize it. He wanted to change the design to something more modern and minimalistic, and he was going to source better coffee.
He decided to go straight to the café before checking in to his hotel, since it was a walking distance to it anyway, and asked the lawyer to meet him there to hand him the keys.
As soon as he got off the cab, he saw the lawyer standing in front of the café and he waved at him. He only received a nod back. He walked briskly over to the lawyer, extended his hand out for a shake before he got there, but he was just met with a hard stare back from the middle-aged man.
“Follow me” was all he said to him and proceeded to walk inside the café. Although this seemed odd to him, he simply followed the man. He stepped into a darkness and immediately the door closed shut behind him.
“Hello nephew” and a spotlight turned on, trained on a man tied-up in chair in the middle of the café. This man looked familiar to him, but it was still too dark for him to tell.
“Congratulations, you have the chance to own my café. There is one catch though”
“Uncle? I thought you were dead.” That man really looked familiar.
“You have to choose kill your father or watch the café burn down to the ground”.
He was, understandably, stunned. He just stared at his father, clearly drugged or at least how he always looked like when he was a kid – stupid drunk.
“You have something I can use to do it?”
His uncle gave handed him a hammer but eyed his curiously.
“He killed my mom. I always hated him.”
His uncle just nodded and walked away, out of the café. He walked menacingly towards his dad, swinging the hammer with gusto.
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Categories: stories with kape