As an entrance to a new restaurant it was certainly different. The silent opening of these automatic clear-glass doors onto dimmed lighting was almost magical. The ambience was perfect. Instantly, I felt comfortable and within seconds I was at home in a place I had never visited before. That moment was so sudden I was pleasantly shocked. We passed under an arch draped with a webbed fabric that hung with no sign of any obvious method of attachment. That was clever. I mentally made a note of that as I cast my expert eye over the surroundings. Many of the tables had been set out in groups of eight and the fibre optic stalks in a vase at the head of one of the tables were arranged into a group of eight. They moved very slightly and very slowly. The subtlety of the display made the number of stalks so obvious that I had no need to count them and somehow the ball at the top end of each stalk threw an eerie blue light across that whole table, but nowhere else.
The Deceitful Spider in itself was a curious name and the restaurant theme was now quite obvious. My party and I were shown to our table by a waiter dressed almost entirely in black. Shirt, tie, jacket and trousers, but with the brightest red shoes I'd ever seen. The table was situated in a corner as I had requested so I had a good view around the odd-shaped room. The immediate surroundings were shadowy, but not gloomy and I could see clearly through the shadows, though there was no glare from my own table. Like the suspended drapes at the entrance, this was also very clever and I planned to mention this in my critical review.
The food menu had been arranged into groups of eight selections none of which I recognised. This promised to be a challenging first-time visit for me.
We had finished an unusual starter followed by a main meat dish accompanied by odd-looking vegetables, but was all perfectly complemented by a very dark red wine. An absolutely enchanting, yet quite viscous liquid. We were just about to begin our dessert course when the disturbance started. Almost straight away the head waiter appeared and was intently listening to the verbal abuse that now filled the restaurant. The altercation erupted into an almost violent one-sided argument as the seated man suddenly pushed his chair backwards into another customer's seat and stood up. The rest of the group had become quite vocal in their support. It looked as though the offensive diner was making a scene for nothing more than a show. The waiter stayed very calm and did not move. He said nothing. No other diner in the busy restaurant seemed impressed by any of it, though many were clearly unnerved by the display.
A figure dressed in conventional chef's garb seemed to materialise. The tall hat to dissipate head heat was not quite vertical and chequered trousers with a white apron smeared in fresh blood completed the uniform. That it was a man was not obvious. There was something very strange about his manner. In his right hand he carried a massive cleaver and he swiftly approached the noisy diner. Simply touching the shoulder of the complainant with his left hand brought instant silence. He grimaced as if in great pain the moment before he almost fell back into his seat in silence. A silence that pervaded the entire restaurant. The subdued individual was almost lifted and pulled without any apparent force towards the kitchen. As they neared that area the chef removed his hand from the client's shoulder and he seemed to recover, turned and bolted in the direction of the main entrance. As he rushed by us the look of fear on his ashen face was clear to be seen. It was frightening.
The curtain drapes hanging from the arched doorway had already begun to close and by the time he had reached them they were a solid wall. The fabric was quite impenetrable. The CCTV screen mounted inside near the entrance showed customers outside the restaurant being met with a closed door. Someone tried to open it, but it was apparently locked. Even the clear glass had become opaque. The fugitive was held fast against the hardened drapes inside as the chef approached. The look turned to real terror as the man was escorted back out towards the kitchen.
I never saw him again.
I gazed down on the delicate sugar lace covering my dessert. The once-noisy, but now silent, group of diners were in shock. One of their number was missing.
The delightful meal had definitely taken on more than a drizzle of peculiarity and menace.
© Louis Brothnias v.1.2 (2012)