20170301

March 2017 story Bright Lights, Giselle and Paul


Gizelle and Paul are sunspinners in the Sunspinners series. Because of a curse by a demon they become invisible in bright light. They are very careful to only go out at night and to places they know are dimly lit.

B
right Lights

The waiter leaned over the table and said softly, "I'm sorry. We have to empty the restaurant."
Giselle and Paul looked at each other across the table, their expressions matched on their handsome faces, a mix of confusion and fear.
Giselle's eyes went wide. "What does that mean?"
The waiter was young, possibly a college student. "We have to evacuate the building. Please, we don't want anyone to panic. It's a small fire in the kitchen. We need you to leave through the front door."
The waiter moved on, stopping at each table, speaking softly.
Gizelle picked up her wine glass and drank the last sip. "We've finished our dinner but we haven't received our bill."
"We can't leave without paying."
Around them the other diners were standing up, looking around, and slowly gathering coats and purses before exiting into the Seattle night. They all looked confused.
At the front of the restaurant was the bar. As they stood up and looked over the divider to the front bar, fluorescent ceiling lights did their stutter, then flashed on. The  room went from charmingly dim to terrifyingly brilliant.
Gizelle did a sharp intake of breath.
Paul moved as quickly as a magician. In the noise and confusion of the staff calling orders and rushing around, he swung a stiff arm above the table and swept everything, glasses, plates, utensils, onto the seat of the booth. With his free hand he whipped off the tablecloth and tossed it to Gizelle. She covered her head and folded her bare arms beneath the cloth and ran toward the front door.
Without saying a word, Paul emptied another table and covered himself. She didn't stop. She knew he was at her heels. They wound gracefully past people. No one paid any attention until they reached the front door.
"The fire is in the kitchen. You'll be fine. Keep moving." Peering down from the tablecloth coverings, she could see a man's shoes.
Gizelle managed to whisper, "Thank you!" as she scurried past him. Paul did a silent nod of his cloth covered head.
Sirens and whirling lights raced down the street, some stopping in front of the restaurant, others turning the corner and into the alley to the entrance at the back.  The couple kept moving as they pulled off the cloths. The street was nighttime dark.
"We can't walk around with these things," Gizelle said.
Paul took hers from her hands. He leaned into a darkened doorway and dropped both tablecloths.
"That was too close."
Gizelle laughed. "An adventure! We have so few adventures."
Gazing at her, he returned her smile. She reached for his hand and he reached out his arm and pulled her into a hug. "What shall we do now?"
  She whispered, "We could find a dark bar and stop for a drink."
 "Yes, let's. And then we'll call a cab and go home."
"But what about the bill?"
 "I don't know what to do," he said.
"I do. We'll put cash in an envelope and mail it to the restaurant, enough to cover our dinner and tip and the tablecloths."
"Especially the tablecloths," he agreed.
END

Copyright (c) Phoebe Matthews

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                                                                                                               - Phoebe