The Stray Sheep. A place that served as a brief respite for the souls of the sheep who gathered there with nowhere to go.
As Vincent sat down in his usual seat, he noticed an unfamiliar file sitting atop the table. A thick stack of word-smothered A4 pages had been stuffed inside a seethrough folder.
"Maybe the last customer forgot it?"
Jonny called to Erika, who stood beside the counter. "Lost and found for you, Erica."
Toby stared with secret envy as Erica made her way over to Jonny, her steps light. Erica, however, took the file from Vincent without noticing it. After taking a glance at the front page, she shook her head, not seeming to have any idea to whom it belonged.
"You're the first customers here today, though."
"Really? It's not ours."
Vincent looked around at his friends one by one. Jonny, Toby, Orlando. They all shook their heads, but Erica shrugged softly.
"It's alright. I'll take it and pass it on to the owner."
Erica took the folder from Vincent, then made her way over to the bartender soon after. That was the end of it for Vincent and the others. They soon forgot the minor event, quickly getting into their friendly chatter.
"How're things with Catherine these days?" Orlando asked instead of a greeting, and as always, Vincent took a gulp of his rum and coke and grumbled.
"Nothing? She doesn't have anything to talk to you about?" said Jonny.
"What d'you mean by somethin' to talk about?" Toby said, sticking his nose in. Oh, nothing, Jonny answered vaguely, evading the question.
Vincent ordered a refill for his empty glass and Erica, with a resigned expression and a sigh, warned him to take it easy.
The Stray Sheep, a place for the lost to gather. Watching the men drinking their fill and taking puffs of cigarettes, Thomas Mutton pored over the folder that was spread open upon the counter. It was a proposal for a game. A programme code was attached, and it was so complete that it seemed like it would be ready for development right away if ordered from a manufacturer.
"Quite interesting, this," he murmured, eyes glinting behind his sunglasses. "I shall set one up in the bar posthaste. I should make some additions to the set-up on the other side, too."
His plan. It seemed like a good gateway to drag people into the nightmare to be culled. This was quite different from the creator's original intention for it, but...
"That is just how life goes. Yes."
He swiftly made a cocktail, holding it out to the empty air.
"A toast to your 'girlfriend'."
The game's title: Rapunzel.