She doesn’t like coffee much. She never did. Ever since she had tried a cup of black coffee without sugar on a whim during one of her earliest forays to a coffee shop, the charm of coffee has been lost to her. And over the years nothing has happened to make her change her mind. Until... until what? She was not a fan of this not remembering.

But the fact remained that coffee has now become her preferred beverage. Not strange perhaps after hundreds of coffee shops and thousands of coffees. And then of course, like her peers which would include any modern woman, educated, urban, and chic, she is not alone in preferring coffee to tea and smokes the occasional cigarette, even drinks, sometimes socially when custom dictates, sometimes sipping the wine for relaxation. Oddly enough, she seemed to have a feeling that her visit to the coffee shops must not be inferred as a weakness towards the beverage, hot or cold, milk or no milk, sugar or no sugar, cream or no cream. Simply put, a coffee shop was the place where she felt most at home. She couldn’t be certain anymore, but she feels pretty sure that’s how it used to be.

All this fleetingly passed through her mind as she sat, a little blankly, at her single table of the cafe and kept brooding. She tried to gather her thoughts with an effort. Too much straying. She needed to steady her thoughts, ignore the headaches and focus on remembering how and why she was where she was. And what was the meaning of her present predicament, or whatever it was, and the how’s and why’s of it? Even her primal instincts prodded her with no clue to help reconstruct what had happened, why she couldn’t remember things up to the last few days, and why whatever little she remembered was so sketchy in her mind that she had now to rely on her hunches and clues and signs to figure out everything.

Time passed on as she sat in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window without actually registering anything and trying to remember things more clearly. She was in a bad soup alright, what with a knife lying beside her, spattered with someone’s blood (it’s definitely not red paint or ketchup, she had tried to smell it and then scrape at it with her long fingernails, finally licking it a little, and come to the unavoidable conclusion that it was blood). The blood-stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf.

He stopped typing just once more to read through this latest chapter he had written. He was progressing very well, he thought. The grammar and sentence construction were still a little off. He could do the proofing later. He might even ask her to do it. After all, if a hack like him could write as well as this, she could take some pointers from him if she wanted to succeed as a writer ever. He would not even gloat, he promised himself. Anyway, now that he had established a good flow to the story, he needed to carry on with it, without interruption.