By ANDREW FLYNN, Storyteller
“Here is your delicious breakfast,” Charles said proudly as he sat the plates of food down on the fine linen tablecloth.
Within a minute, the table was set. Stephanie had her toast and juice, and Levi had his three poached eggs, four slices of bacon, generous helping of hash browns, four slices of rye toast, and breakfast sirloin steak. Stephanie was taken aback by this unexpected feast her brother was about to consume.
“He’ll also have the angioplasty when he’s done,” she quipped to Charles.
Charles’ smile never left his face, but did get just a little bigger at the remark.
“Is there anything I can get you two for now?” he asked.
“I’m pretty sure we’re O.K. for the time being,” replied Stephanie.
Levi was already chomping on bacon without a care in the world, much to the disgust of his sister. Never taking her eyes off her brother, she sipped her orange juice and gently sat the glass down.
“Now that we’ve found each other, I think it’s time to find out where Dad is,” she said.
“Right,” agreed Levi with a mouth half-full of crispy fried pork.
The maître d’ suddenly approached their table with a small, black portfolio and a concerned look on his face.
“And here is your check, I hope you’ve enjoyed your meal with us,” the maître d’ said unevenly.
Levi and Stephanie stared up at him with confusion. They had just begun to eat.
“Oh, we’re just starting to eat here, we don’t need the check yet,” Stephanie affirmed.
The maître d’ leaned over the table more.
“Yes, I see that. But I want you to have this anyways,” he said as he nudged the small portfolio in her direction.
Stephanie and Levi looked at each other, even more puzzled. Levi grabbed the portfolio out of the host’s hands.
“Lemme see what’s so important already!” Levi said with some anger.
The maître d’ still hunched towards them just the slightest bit further. Levi opened up the portfolio, and shot an evil stare back at the host.
“There’s nothing but blank paper in here. What gives, man?” he questioned.
“Sir, I think if you’ll look on the other side, you’ll see something else,” the maître d’ persuaded.
Levi flipped the tiny page up.
“Oh, yeah, there is something on here. So what’s this?”
Stephanie stood up and fiercely yanked the portfolio out of her brother’s hand.
“Dang it, Levi! It says that there’s going to be…it says there there’s going to be…that…there’s going to be a…nuclear attack…a nuclear attack?!”
Levi then swiped the portfolio back into his hands. He carefully read it to himself.
THERE’S A NUKE IN GRANT PARK. IT WILL GO OFF AT NOON REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENS. SAVE YOURSELVES BY GETTING OUT OF CHICAGO NOW.
“What the…what in the hell?” asked a bewildered Levi.
“Sir and madam, all I know is what I was given to bring to you,” the maître d’ admitted.
A strange sound emitted from across the room just then. It was like a champagne cork bring released from a bottle of fine Dom Pérignon. Not more than a second after the pop, the forehead of the maître d’ exploded onto Levi’s breakfast. Blood sprayed absolutely everywhere.
Stephanie fell back into her chair, which then broke a leg from the sudden impact. This brought her face-down to the carpet of the panicked restaurant with a thud.
By now, Levi had brought his hands up in a defensive position. He was covered in the blood of the maître d’. More pops rang out in The Gazebo. Bullets tore into the flesh of unsuspecting patrons, all in very close proximity to the siblings’ table.
Not having the time to assess the situation, Levi jumped to his feet with his arms flailing about in attempt to gain balance. He picked up his sister as best he could, planting his forearms under her armpits to stand her up. Stephanie struggled to regain her footing too, but eventually found herself vertical.
Screams of the unforgettable and horrifying sort filled the carnage of the moment. The shots seemed to come from only one direction, and that sure wasn’t the direction that Levi and Stephanie went. They bolted as fast as their legs would carry them out of the restaurant.
Next Saturday, on Afterwards: Meet the author of the warning.