Gina fell to her knees on the gravel and sobbed. The two-story red-brick building she’d heard so much about was finally in front of her. She’d spent weeks looking for it; but, it was the kind of magical place that sometimes didn’t want to be found. She had the address and spent her days walking around the block hoping to catch sight of the red neon sign that read: Donna Chang’s.
“I made it, Sonya. Freedom…,” Gina sighed as she collected herself and wiped her tears away.
“All you have to do is walk through the door,” Sonya told her about Donna Chang’s when they first met. “The hard part is finding the door.” The pair of women became fast friends. They used the daylight hours to search for Donna’s. As horrible as things got when the sun went down; daytime was still relatively normal.
“Why haven’t you left yet?” Gina asked Sonya that first night; she was answered with laughter.
“Because I can’t find it,” Sonya replied and kept giggling. “I’m gone as soon as I do.”
“How do you know it’s real?” was Gina’s followup. Sonya shrugged.
“I’ve seen it,” Sonya replied. “I saw it once. Almost went inside too, but I forgot something in my car. When I turned around, it was gone again.”
Gina suddenly remembered Sonya’s words and hopped to her feet. She needed to get inside before it disappeared again. She rushed to the door and stepped in. A small tin bell over the door dinged as she walked in. Despite the glass windows on the door, the inside of the restaurant was much darker, and the restaurant was full of patrons.
Dozens of heads turned to face her, and Gina’s blood ran cold. Every single person sitting at a table, with eyes on her, was a vampire. She turned and looked out through the door. She could see the sunlight clearly on the other side, but no sunbeam entered the restaurant.
Gina suddenly realized she had her back to a room full of vampires and whirled around. They definitely noticed she wasn’t one of them, they all had glowing red eyes now. The same glowing red eyes that took Sonya away. A short, ancient woman wearing a gold dress under a dirty apron walked out of a swinging door and approached Gina.
“Sorry, we’re closed. Private function,” the woman smiled at Gina.
“W..what?” Gina asked, she nearly broke down then and there. She couldn’t leave, she might never find it again.
“I came in through the door…,” Gina said with an almost pleading tone. “I came through the door.. I’m free..,” she said.
“Free?” The wrinkled woman tilted her head. “From what?” she asked. Gina couldn’t help but laugh in her face.
“From what? From THEM!” she shouted and gestured at the full dining room at the same time. “All humans are to them are lovers, pets, or food. We’re slave to their whims!”
“And?” the old woman asked. That question forced Gina to her knees again; she was ready to give up. It was supposed to be as easy as walking in through the door. Sonya had given Gina hope again, then she went and got herself killed before she found out how useless that hope was. It was the only friend Gina allowed herself to make while growing up in the vampire hellscape. It was useless to make friends that could disappear at any time. Sonya proved that.
Here in a restaurant full of vampires, Gina was done. She’d lost the one friend she ever made, and her life up until that point had been a series of tragedies. She had nothing left to live for.
“And…,” Gina sobbed. “I give up. I’m done with life.. with everything. I don’t want to be here anymore,” she said.
“Oh, okay,” the old woman replied with a subtle smile. She reached down, grabbed Gina’s hand, and pulled her up with surprising strength.
“It’s okay. You not here to eat. Come to the back; tell me where you want to go instead of here,” The old woman, Donna Chang, replied.