Jeffery flipped on the light at the bottom of the stairs so he could see the cellar and wine bottles around him. Once his eyes adjusted to the murky yellow light, he headed down aisle after aisle full of nothing but bottles of red wine. He headed to the back of the cellar where they kept the more rare and special red wine. He knew what to get for Steve and once he got to the locked gate; he pulled the golden key off the hook by the gate. The key slid into the lock with ease, but Jeffery had to jiggle it a bit until he could turn the key in the lock, unlocking it.
The gate creaked as he swung it open and walked inside. He flicked on another light, humming a bit as he looked around the smaller room. He let out a low whistle when he saw they were low on the special red wine. “I’ll have to let Steve know he needs to order some more,” Jeffery said as he looked over the bottles they still had.
He heard some rustling behind him and turned to see Sheri and Steve standing behind him. “Steve, just the guy I needed to talk to.” Jeffery plucked one bottle and held onto it as he made his way over to Steve and Sheri. “Here is the wine you asked for, but it looks like you need to order some more soon.”
Steve took the bottle from Jeffery and looked past his employee to the dwindling bottles of the special red wine. “Well, it looks like we need to get more. Sheri, will you ready everything before you leave for the day, please?” He turned his unnervingly stony gaze to Jeffery. “And I think you should take Jeffery with you. Show him how we get our wines.”
Jeffery looked shocked for a moment. He had always wanted to help in the ordering of the wines for the restaurant ever since he had started working there. He wanted to convince Sheri to let him order some delicious white wines, since Steve never told him why he never ordered white wines. With a sly smile and a coaxing finger, Sheri motioned for Jeffery to follow her to the back wall of the gated area. He followed her, wondering if there was a desk and computer hidden somewhere behind the last row, but all he saw was the stone wall.
“Sheri?” Jeffery touched the wall, but all he felt was the cold, slick stones. “Is this some sort of joke? The computer to order wines from isn’t here.”
“Who said anything about ordering the wines from a computer?” Sheri asked as she pushed the on a dark gray stone, the only different colored stone. A low grinding sound could be heard, and the wall moved in, then slid open.
“Another secret room?” Jeffery stepped into the dark room. The buzzing sound was louder in the room. So loud that he had to cover his ears. But not before he heard the low groan from something… or someone further in the room.
Sheri reached past Jeffery and flipped a switch. Lights flickered on until Jeffery can see the room. To his horror, there were people tied down to rows of hospital beds with IVs in their arms. Except these IVs were draining the people of their blood. Jeffery stumbled into the room further since Sheri had pushed him from behind.
A giant mosquito turned away after it unhooked a lifeless body when it heard movement at the door behind it. “Sheri, why is Jeffery here?”
Sheri cracked her neck before she shed her human skin, letting it fall away from her black hairy body. “We need more AB negative blood and well, Jeffery here is AB negative.”
The mosquito made an excited clicking sound before it walked closer to Jeffery while its enormous eyes stared at him. “Perfect! We just finished draining one other with AB negative a month ago but we can always use with some more.”
Jeffery tried to speak, but he was speechless from everything that he saw and heard. He felt a strange hairy thing on his shoulder and he jumped. He spun on his heel to see Sheri, or the mosquito named Sheri, standing behind him. He let out a blood-curdling scream as Sheri closed in on him, forcing him to walk backwards further into the room. He waved his hands at the mosquito, hoping that the feeble attempt would work to keep it away from him, but it does nothing.
Behind Sheri, the door closed and blocked the only way for him to escape. His eyes opened wide in fear as he saw there was no other way to escape the giant monsters. The two mosquitoes cornered him and he let out another scream, the horrendous buzzing sound drowning out the scream.
Two Weeks Later
Sheri pinned on her live black rose to her pressed gray jacket as she waited for the new sommelier to join her. She messed with her hair a little to make sure that it was slicked back in her bun, then grinned when a young woman walked into the back of the restaurant.
“Emily?” Sheri asked as she walked towards the young woman.
“Yes, I’m Emily. And you must be Sheri. It’s nice to meet you,” Emily said as she held her hand out to her new colleague. Emily looked around the empty restaurant with a huge grin on her face. “I was so surprised when I got the call saying that you were hiring and that you had chosen me. It’s so hard to get a job here at The Black Rose that I almost gave up hope. I am truly honored to be here.”
Sheri shook her hand before she pulled out a black rose from her pocket and pinned it to Emily’s navy blue jacket. “We are glad to have you working here, too, Emily.”
Emily beamed as she followed Sheri into the kitchen. Sheri introduced Emily to the kitchen staff, then showed Emily where to go for the wine. Once down in the cellar, Emily looked around as she took in all the bottles of wine.
She scrunched her eyebrows together when she noticed something was off about the cellar. “Sheri, why aren’t there any white wines?”
“Our customers prefer only to drink red wines, so we only produce red wines,” Sheri said as she unlocked the gate to show Emily the most expensive and rarest red wines.
Emily walked inside and plucked the nearest bottle off the shelf and examined it. She gently placed it back where it belonged and picked up another, again returning it to the shelf after she had read the label. “Only two weeks old.”
“Yes, some of our guests like the taste of newer red wines, while others enjoy those that have sat on our shelves for a few years.” Sheri smiled at Emily and motioned for the young woman to follow her back upstairs, since the doors would open for dinner soon.
Emily glanced back when she heard a strange noise, like some sort of buzzing. She shrugged her shoulders and head back up the stairs with Sheri. She flipped off the lights after she exited the cellar and closed the door, plunging the cellar into pitch black darkness.