Short Story: Open Door
No matter what time of the day he knocks on that oak door, someone always comes to welcome him in.
Sometimes he knocks because he needs it, other times it’s a test to see if they really mean it when they say he can visit ‘anytime’. They had yet to let him down, not once in three years.
So when he overhears a plan to attack the cafe, he drops everything to rush over. The attackers are there before he is, and he cuts through them to plant himself in front of the cafe.
He warns them, once. They ignore him, once.
By the time he’s done with them, they’ll never ignore him again.
Those who can walk escape, those with friends get carried away, those with neither remain slumped where they are. But those people aren’t important to him. The people in the cafe are.
This is the part where the eyes that see him change, when warm smiles turn to cold shoulders and open doors close in his face. It is an unfortunate pattern he has learnt to accept, not that it gets any easier when it happens. Better to walk away before they shut him out.
He turns away.
“Stop right there.”
He turns back. The matriarch of the cafe family stands by the open door.
“Have you had lunch?”
“No. Not yet.”
“Come in,” she says and walk in. The door remains open behind her.
He follows her in.