Today’s piece follows directly on from day 2-1.
Anyway, I’m getting side-tracked. Empire Bowl is the creepiest place in During. You see, it burnt to the ground almost twenty years ago. My boss, Hugo, and I locked the place up one night and went home and the next morning I heard on the local radio station that it had burned down overnight.
And here it was, twenty years later in During. Looking not like it had burned down that night, but instead like it had simply sat abandoned for two decades. Like it had been the home to wild animals and looted by the occasional passer-by.
That’s enough for it to creep me out. Even without the ghost that looks exactly like Hugo and goes through his normal routines endlessly. He ignores most who enter the alley, though if you stand where the counter used to be, you can get him to go through the process of selling you a few games. He’ll even hand you shoes. If you’re lucky, instead of a few grunts you might get a short sentence or two.
He doesn’t ignore me. We have repeats of old conversations. It doesn’t matter whether I stand silent or say something, he just yammers away like a recording. It scares the crap out of me.
But Empire Bowl has a safe. And I know the combination. It’s the only place I’ve got to store things that won’t be looted in this hellish world we live in. And so, every few weeks, I get a stark reminder of my teenage years. That’d be bad enough if it wasn’t also a reminder of everything we lost when time ended.