“Alright Wilfred, this is it! We have less than fifteen minutes before the grand opening! You arranged all the centerpieces, right?” Quinn asked, buzzing with excitement.

Wilfred just stared at her. She assumed that meant yes.

“Great! Oh, can you believe it, Wilfred? After a long, long year of planning, preparing, and marketing, we are just about to open to our first customers! I may just faint from excitement!” Quinn chattered.

Still, Wilfred just stood and stared. He was such a quiet man, but he had been instrumental in the opening of Café le Café, Quinn’s life-long dream. She didn’t expect Wilfred to understand why she wanted this restaurant so badly, as long as he was supportive. And there was no one more supportive than Wilfred.

“Ok just one last thing, I’ve got to go run and double-check on our chef. You make sure to open those doors at exactly 10 o’clock, m’kay?” Quinn said, walking briskly through the maze of circular tables toward the kitchen door.

What an accomplishment! Quinn thought, looking around her beautiful creation, its glittering—if completely powerless—chandeliers; the wonderfully rusted statue of someone who had been very important before the plague; and the meticulously crafted chairs and tables which Wilfred and she had slaved over. The tattered carpet that previously covered the floor had been such an eyesore, but Quinn had been able to make do with some old boards from the buildings nearby. Her final result, in her own words, was a ’luxurious escape from a wild land.'

In the kitchen, Quinn found her one and only chef Edgar practically hopping around, putting finishing touches on his succulent entrées and delectable appetizers.

“Edgar, you are a true artist! I’m just making sure you don’t need anything before Wilfred opens the doors,” Quinn beamed.

“Nothing more! I require nothing more!” Edgar cried, understandably under a lot of pressure.

“You got it, Eddy! Just give me a shout if you need anything.”

Quinn turned and placed her hand against the battered metal door of the kitchen, and paused. Through the busted window of the kitchen door, she saw a thin man with a bum leg talking aggressively with Wilfred. Wilfred was doing his best to ignore the limping maniac, but the man grabbed Wilfred by the neck.

Quinn busted through the kitchen door, grabbing the shotgun she had hidden behind a counter along the way. She shouted after the man as he used Wilfred as a human shield and made for the door.

“Let Wilfred go! We are about to open this place for business, and I do not want to get blood all over my foyer!” she pleaded as the kidnapper slowly worked his way across the front of Café le Café.

“Hey, lady, I didn’t know this was your place. I just need this crutch,” the villain shouted back, nodding to Wilfred.

What did he mean by that? Quinn panicked.

As badly as Quinn wanted to take the psychopath down right there, she knew she couldn’t risk hitting her dearest companion. The injured kidnapper escaped out the door, forcing Wilfred to help carry him along.

He was getting away quickly now with Wilfred’s forced assistance. Quinn ran out into the street and tripped over the burnt steel barrel the criminal had flung in front of the door.

Just as he was almost out of sight, he shouted back to her, “Go back to your crow and your rotted-out restaraunt, you psycho!”

The cruel man was gone now, but Quinn knew what she had to do. Sprinting back into the kitchen of her café, she found Edgar cowering behind the counters, shrieking nervously.

“Come on, Ed, the grand opening is gonna have to wait. Come hell or high water, we’re gettin’ Wilfred back.”

So Quinn ran off through the desolate streets of an abandoned town — chasing after a metal crutch, a noisy crow perched on her shoulder.

Originally posted in response to a writing prompt on Reddit.