Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

A Haunting

Sarah Lofgren


The coffee shop closed its doors forever on the night before Halloween. The latest victim of the overeager wrecking ball, it was forced to step aside so the march of progress could continue unimpeded. 93 years of operation and 7,807,350 cups of coffee served—a proud legacy on which to end. The old building sighed with tired contentment as the neon OPEN sign switched off for the last time.

But, before the lights went out, a line stretched around the block. A herd of patrons had fortified themselves against the rain with boots and umbrellas, each come to say goodbye and drink a final cup. A few had whiskers painted on their faces or top hats on their heads, pieces of the tomorrow’s costumes dragged out for an early rehearsal.

The staff kept up with the litany of orders, throwing in an extra pinch of cinnamon here or a drop of maple syrup there, because why not? People kept crowding through the wooden doors. Even after they drained their coffees, no one left. They mingled and shouted and traded memories as the floor grew slick with muddy footprints. In the corner, someone pulled out an accordion and began to play a jaunty tune. People kept coming. Somehow the small shop managed to support more bodies than ever before, expanding on the inside, if only for a night.

And if some of those bodies weren’t 100% solid, who could complain? The old man with the handlebar mustache and…