The bar reeked of stale beer and despair, the air thick enough to chew. John downed another shot of whiskey, the burn barely registering against the fire in his gut. A month. A month since Sarah had vanished, leaving behind a cryptic note and a hollow where his heart used to be.
He slammed the crumpled newspaper on the bar, the headline mocking him with its promise of solace. His gaze landed on the ad tucked in the corner, a beacon in the darkness. “Exquisite escape,” it read. “Discretion assured.” Sarah’s words echoed in his mind, her voice a phantom whisper. “Finding myself.”
The warehouse was a labyrinth of shadows, the only light filtering through dusty windows. John navigated the maze, his fists clenched tight. He found her cloaked in darkness, a figure of allure and danger. In the dim light, she was a stranger yet strangely familiar, her scent a ghost of forgotten mornings.
He lunged, anger boiling over like a pot of water left on the stove too long. His palm met her shoulder, the impact soft but shocking. A gasp. The veil fell away, revealing the truth in the yellow light that streamed through a broken window.
Sarah’s eyes, once pools of love and laughter, were now filled with fear and tears. Her pleas washed over him like waves against a cliff face, leaving him unmoved.
“This is what you were,” he muttered, the words like shards of ice. “This is what you are. This is what you will be.”
He turned and walked away, the echoes of her sobs fading into the night. The warehouse, a tomb for his buried love. He stepped into the cold, harsh night, his heart a barren landscape, the only memory of Sarah the bitter taste of betrayal in his mouth. Slut.