Cherry turned off the TV and leaned backwards. She did not feel like sleeping nor did she want to go out. The many years she had spent on Earth bored her and she lacked excitement.
"Should I just go and pull a prank on someone?" she wondered. It was a favorite hobby of hers to use her powers to pinch passerbys. It delighted her to see them lose their wits and think that they are being haunted by ghosts. At times, when she found a favorite prey, she would 'haunt' that person for months before getting tired of him or her.
"I'll just make myself a cup of tea and prank on anyone passing by on the pavement," she decided with a grin.
She headed into the kitchen and began to prepare a cup of milk tea. Once it boiled, she poured it in a cup and took a spoon to add in ten spoons of sugar. She loved anything sweet and since she cannot die, Cherry goes all out with her love for dessert and sugar. It did not even affect her thin frame. No matter how much she ate, she never gained weight. She suspected it was part of the curse as well. Seemed more like a gift than a curse in her opinion.
"Should have thought thoroughly when you put that curse on me, Shaman Yi," she commented. As she was about to enter the living room, a gush of wind flew in through the window. Several papers were strewn across the floor. Cherry kept the cup aside and began to pick them up. She was about to put them away when one particular paper caught her attention.
It was a portrait of hers. There was no name signed and she had no idea who drew it. But she remembered that day very well…
She walked into a cafe during the daytime. Under the curse, she looked like an old woman at that time. As soon as she walked in, the other customers stared at her shabby clothes and outward appearance. The cashier up front scrunched her nose and looked down upon her.
"One Espresso," Cherry had ordered.
"Please wait a while, Ahjumma," the cashier sneered. Cherry felt a nerve in her head twitch. She did not mind being called an 'ahjumma' but the attitude irked her. People like that cashier disgusted her.
I will teach you a lesson young gal, she decided. Finally, the cashier handed her the coffee. Even though Espresso was not her favorite beverage, Cherry wanted something strong. She had a very bad day since one of her listed 500 persons decided not to take the opportunity to change her fate. The girl was a pure soul who was badly torture by her in-laws. But even in her death, she decided to face death rather than a peaceful life.
Cherry sighed and headed towards a table. She tore open numerous packets of sugar and poured it all in the coffee. While she was drinking her coffee, the cashier from earlier approached her.
"Excuse me, Ahjumma?"
Cherry looked up and tried to hide her irritation. The expression on the girl's face made her feel like throwing the hot coffee on her face. She cursed the shaman for the silly punishment he gave her. I hope he burns in hell, she fumed.
Cherry was about to tell the girl to buzz off when the cashier held out a tissue paper.
"A customer left this for you," she said rudely. Cherry frowned and took the paper.
"Who left this?" she asked.
"I don't know," the girl replied. "He was wearing a mask and sunglasses. He just handed this to me and left."
The cashier then walked away, leaving Cherry with that paper. As soon as she opened it, Cherry's hands froze.
It was a portrait of hers. That too in her real form. Someone drew it meticulously, and there was no doubt about it. It was her.
Who drew this? She recalled the shaman's words as he was dying.
"Only the man who will see your true face even during the day, will be able to change your fate…"
"Impossible…" she muttered. She had waited 500 years for that man to turn up. She did not even know what he would look like nor his identity. At times, she even wondered if it was some kind of cruel joke.
But seeing this...she was convinced that it was no joke! He must have finally arrived! He was the key in breaking this curse. She must find him.
Cherry quickly got up and glanced around. There was no man in a mask and sunglasses.
Damn it he left! She fumed. The guy could have at least made himself visible. Why did he choose to give her this drawing and leave? Was he playing some sort of joke on her?
"I must find him," she whispered. The people who were at the cafe, looked in disgust at the old woman in front of them. She was murmuring some crazy things, scaring them. The cashier was about to tell the old woman to leave but before she could do so, the woman left on her own.
As soon as Cherry exited the cafe, she dialed a number. The person picked up on the third ring.
"SD!" Cherry exclaimed without saying hello. "You need to find someone for me."
"Hello to you too," a lazy voice came from the other end.
"You have to find someone!" Cherry repeated. "It's urgent."
There was a pause. "Who is it?" he finally asked.
"I don't know," she admitted. "But he was at Starry Night Cafe just a few moments ago. In the same location I am at right now."
"What does he look like?"
"I don't know."
"I'll need more information, Cherry," SD said warily.
"Don't kid around!" she snapped. "I know you can find anyone in the world even without a name and appearance."
"That I can…" he said. "Alright. I'll try to find him but I'll charge you double."
Cherry agreed and hung up. I must find him, she thought.
And a few days later, she almost found him again. This time, it was at night. She had entered the same cafe again, in the hopes that someday the man will show up there.
The reaction to her entry was different that time. Even though the cafe was almost empty, she still attracted gazes of admiration from the onlookers. She walked up to the counter and placed her order.
"A chocolate pastry, a strawberry cake, a cheesecake, a blueberry cake, coffee cake and a mango cake," she ordered. "Stat!"
The cashier looked at her in awe. She took the money and in a few minutes, brought a tray of desserts. Cherry grinned and took the dessert tray, ready to hog it all down. She beamed at the cakes and began to take a bite out of all of them, smacking her lips in delight.
Little did she know that someone was observing her every move. He noticed how she took off the cherries from her dessert when she bit off of them. She failed to see his tiny smile as he noted the cream stuck to her chin.
"This world sure has some amazing food," Cherry commented as she took a bite off the chocolate cake. Her mood was off since SD could not track down the artist of that portrait. That useless idiot, she cursed him. His full form was Sadistic Doctor and he was not an actual doctor. The guy dealt with information and was very adept at finding data on people. It was impossible to hide anything from him.
But even he could not track down the mysterious artist. The guy was wearing completely ordinary clothes and his face was totally covered. SD could not even see his ID on a credit card since he used cash to pay.
Cherry looked up to see the cashier standing there.
"Ma'am, this is for you," she said. She held out a small tray of more dessert.
"I didn't order anything," Cherry frowned.
"That man over there ordered it for you," the cashier said, pointing behind her but there was no one. She kept the tray on the table and left.
Cherry drooled over the dessert tray. Whoever did this was a saint! She thought excitedly.
There was a note on the tray. She picked it up and opened it. It was another sketch of hers, happily eating cakes with a tiny splash of cream on her chin. Embarrassed, Cherry quickly wiped her chin to see that there really was cream stuck there. Whoever drew it was very talented. There was also a note written on it.
"To the Lady in Red,
I wish that someday, I can muster up the courage to talk to you. It feels as if we are not fated to meet. If a day comes when I can defy fate and meet you, would you like to have a cup of coffee with me? If yes, then come back here on 15th July 2022, exactly two years from now. Till then, goodbye.
Cherry read and reread the note. Mr. J…
Was this the man who will change her fate? Who knows?
She quietly finished her dessert and exited the cafe. Once outside, she looked up at the sky. It was a clear night as the stars twinkled above her. Her face was expressionless as she thought of the impending events which will happen after two years.
"Two years, huh?" she wondered. "Let's see, Mr. J."
She turned on her heels and snapped her fingers to disapparate from there.
In the present, Cherry picked up the papers and put them back. She glanced at the date on her clock.
14th July 2022.
One more day to go, Mr. J, she thought.
The man who *saw* her. How will he change her fate? And will they meet again? What will happen when they come face to face?
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