Whaa ... where ... ?" I stammered as I sat up. The purple haired lady knelt beside me, supporting me with an arm around my back. The coffee and cookie sat on a nearby table.
"You fainted, my dear. Not to worry. That happens fairly often with newcomers," she smiled gently as she helped me to my feet. She steered me to the table with the coffee and cookie on it, then pressed on my shoulders to get me seated. I looked up at her, still feeling a little faint.
"My name ... I didn't tell you my name before, I'm sure of it. I didn't place an order, either. How did you know ... ?
"I make it my business to know who people are and what they need. I'm Karaleen, by the way," she said as she seated herself across from me. Apparently my invitation to join me the last time I was here still applied. She pushed the coffee and cookie toward me.
"Here you are Annabelle. Dig in. You could use some sugar fortification, I think. Tell me about your cheating boyfriend Steve. Do you love him enough to fight for him? He's cheating on you and his girlfriend, so I can't see where he would be worth it. If it were up to me, I'd dump his sorry dead ass - right into the ravine outside town, under six feet of dirt and clay."
I stared at her in disbelief. She was smiling, so I could only assume she was joking when she offered to bury my boyfriend's dead body in the ravine, even though she seemed to be serious.
"You're ... uhhh ... kidding, right? Obviously I have no intention of killing Steve."
"Kidding? Not at all. It would be easy. I could give you something to slip into the vodka he seems to be so very fond of. I could help you make him disappear without a trace. Nobody in his life even knows about you, so the police would be looking at his girlfriend, his jealous brother, his crazy mother, alcoholic father or the business partner that he's embezzling from. The man's a total asshole. The world is better off without him."
I felt kind of faint again. This couldn't be happening. Maybe she was testing me, or maybe she just got her jollies by scaring the hell out of people.
"I want to put an end to our relationship, but not put an end to him. I couldn't possibly kill anybody," I shuddered and looked around me in silence, trying to come up with a discreet way of changing the subject.
"Well then, that's alright. Let me know if you change your mind. Meanwhile, how do you like your cookie today?"
I looked down at my plate, and was surprised that it was empty. I didn't even remember eating the cookie. I looked up and I wasn't in the café anymore. I had somehow been transported ... elsewhere!