Ten o’clock found Lucas rounding the corner of the block where the art studio stood. He had paced his tiny living room for an hour after he had left Molly off after dinner. He was unable to think of anything else other than “awakening a past love.” It wasn’t signing up for a class he was stressing about. It wasn’t even the other drawings he was interested in. It was just the one. The bar.
The deeper the night fell the more agitated Lucas became with his need to find out more about either one. The drawing or the artist. Something had grabbed hold of his heart and now would not let go. Not to mention that man even knew his name, which only hit him when he was pacing. If nothing else, he needed to ask him how that was possible. He had to admit, it truly was all a bit creepy, but he felt if he didn’t do something about it, he would go insane.
But then he stopped dead in his tracks as he gawked at the place where the art studio should have been. The blood drained completely away from his head and he felt faint because stuff like this didn’t happen. He glanced up at the street name even though he knew he had the right one. The studio had been nestled in between a dry cleaner and a coffee shop, and there they were, one on either side, both dark and quiet this time of night. He even glanced across the street, knowing, of course, it would be equally as crazy if the studio was over there since he knew it was supposed to be here.
Right here…where now stood the bar from the drawing.
Dark brick wall, the big window had disappeared, just the door and those blinking neon signs. But the thing that truly threw him for a loop, really had the blood roaring in his ears and his heart pounding, was that he could read the name of the bar now. It was plain as day.
Lucas’s Last Chance.
“Oh shit,” he whispered into the night air. He should walk away. Hell, he should run just like he did the first time he had seen this place…or…that other one…the Amber Moon one. But he stood spellbound. Mesmerized.
How could this be? Where was the art studio? Where were the man and the drawings?
Would they be inside? Would those wonderful pieces of art be adorning the walls inside this place, this bar that suspiciously had his name? A name even the eerie man knew without being told? Yeah, that’s right, he admitted it. He was disturbing.
This whole thing was disturbing.
He took a step toward the door, his heart tripping like mad. Maybe this was all a dream, a nightmare of sorts. He would open the door and it would be rainbows and flowers and he would fly away to Sugar Mountain on a unicorn with wings.
Not that he dreamed like that or anything.
He took another step.
What the hell was he doing? He really needed to run! Any minute now he would launch into a panic attack and they would have to haul him away to the psych ward at the hospital. Not that he truly didn’t belong there seeing what he was seeing right now, because things like this didn’t happen.
But it was after ten.
He was late.
He was told to not be late.
“Shit,” he whispered again. It just might be a dream but it was still right there, that bar from the drawing. It was there and he was supposed to go inside. He glanced up at the name as if in his few steps it had somehow changed to read Lucas’s Breakdown. But it hadn’t. He listened to the snap and crackle of the neon as it flashed, seemingly the only sound on the street. The quiet was deafening. He glanced back down at the door as he took a couple more steps toward it. No lime green paint. Would it even be open? Would he reach out, turn that knob and it would be locked?
No. It wouldn’t be locked. Why would it? It was a bar and even though he was late, it was only after ten. Bars did not close at ten.
Three more steps. He was almost there now, could almost touch that knob. The shadows being cast by the ever-flashing lights seemed to dance in anticipation, seemed to flash even faster now.
Fuck, I’m going to get murdered, just like Molly said.
Then he thought of something. What if this was one of those candid camera things or one of those “Got Cha” shows?
“So Charlie, what are the odds he goes in?”
“Not high, Bob, not high. He’s never been the brave sort before.”
He would check himself into the psych ward in the morning. Tonight he was going inside.
He reached out, grabbed the knob, and turned.