The small motorbike pulled into the lot behind the building. The engine rumbled softly as it came to a halt along the rows of abandoned cars. Twisting the key in the ignition, the driver looked at the back entrance, the alley falling dark as the headlamp shut off. The snow before him was untouched.

In the sidecar, the passenger followed the driver’s gaze.

“What is this place?” the passenger asked, and was met with silence from the driver.

The driver lifted himself off of the bike, putting the key in his pocket as he moved towards the door.

“Come on,” he said, continuing forward, “Let’s go inside before we freeze to death.”

The passenger pulled himself out of the sidecar and walked to the back of the bike, where he pulled off a rolled-up tarp from their gear. He placed it on top of the bike, protecting it from the snow that was starting to fall. Looking back towards the doorway, he saw through the broken glass that his partner was already inside.

The passenger jogged towards the entrance and noticed that some of the lights were on. He opened the door and stepped inside.

It was warm.

The yellow light surrounded him, and he started taking off his heavy, cold gear. Walking inside, he looked around him. The walls were wood-paneled, decorated with pictures of local sports teams and newspaper clippings. The photos had faded, and the clippings had rotted, making them difficult to read.

On opposite sides of the yellow-tiled hallway were a small room, filled with the sound of a whirring generator, and a large kitchen. The passenger entered the kitchen and saw a large machine, probably used to mix some sort of dough, and multiple ovens. Passing in between these large appliances, he noticed multiple large bags of sugar, salt, and flour, all of which were rotting.

From the doorway, the passenger heard the driver yell something.

“Sorry,” the passenger yelled back, “Can you say that again?”

The driver stuck his head around the corner.

“Do you want coffee?” In his hand was a coffee pot, full of brown liquid and steaming from the top. The passenger looked at the pot and nodded. The driver smiled and went back around the corner.

The passenger followed him, and was greeted with a dining area, with booths on the right side, and a glass display case on the left. Behind the display case counter were more display cases against the wall, two refrigerators for drinks, and the driver, who was pouring coffee into two Styrofoam cups.

“Sit down,” the driver said, motioning to a row of stools lining the small bar next to the display cases.

The passenger sat down, and the driver placed a cup of coffee in front of him, the steam rising up and covering his face in a warm mask of water droplets. The passenger inhaled the smell of the drink in front of him. It was real coffee, not the instant coffee they had been living on for the past few years since the world went to hell. He took a sip, the piping hot, bitter liquid filling his insides with warmth and comfort.

“What is this place?” the passenger asked the driver, who was standing behind the bar still, gently holding the Styrofoam cup with two hands. The driver took a sip and then spoke up.

“It’s…” he started, looking past the passenger, out of the windows behind the booths, “It was a donut shop. I used to come here all the time with my friends when I was younger.”

The passenger sipped his coffee once more, then stared into the blackness of the cup. The driver took a sip as well, then spoke up again.

“But that was a long time ago. Those times are far behind us.”


They sat there, drinking their coffee, the driver looking off into space and the passenger looking into his cup. There were no words shared between them. The only sounds were the generator and the coffee maker, slowly making more coffee.

Grabbing the pot, the driver filled his cup another time.

“Do you want more?”

The passenger nodded, and the driver filled his cup as well. Putting the pot back on the coffee maker, the driver picked his cup back up, holding it with two hands in order to get the full effect of its heat.

“Hey,” the driver spoke up, motioning to the windows, “the sun is rising.”

Turning around, the passenger looked out the window and into the brightening horizon.

“Oh. It is.”

They sat there in silence, sipping the coffee as it filled them with warmth and lifted their spirits. The soft yellow glow of the lights wrapped them in a feeling of familiarity as their reflections in the window were slowly overtaken by the rising sun.

The driver looked out the window and couldn’t help but feel sad.

The sun shone through the window, the deep orange rays bathing the inside of the shop with light.

A single tear rolled down the driver’s cheek as his heart filled with a bittersweet feeling.

It was a feeling of home.