Haunted Restaurant: Part 2 (“I haunt” Series)

Haunted Restaurant: Part 2 (“I haunt” Series)

This tale recounts a genuine ghost hunting night in a restaurant. A photo spree on old streets among once glorious properties blessed by luxurious gardens, ending with a lush supper. The venue—an impressive fin de siècle palazzo revamped high-end restaurant.

As Laura and Lucia wander in the restaurant’s corridors, eerie guests, staff, and a quaint mirror scare their phones’ viewfinders.

. . .

End of Creepy Gran Clock—in Part 1

“Lucia, let’s turn around. The creepy gran clock shows twelve. What if they close restaurant and lock us inside? I wouldn’t spend the night here.”

“That clock’s dead. My actual iPhone says twenty past. Then, do you think they leave the premises without mopping and washing up?”

“They. This word gains horrific dimensions at this hour. In my novel—”

“We’re not in your novel. Calm down, Estera.”

“Estera was you. I depicted myself in Carola.”

“Whatever, ma chère Laura. But don’t we hunt tonight for spookiness absolute? That’s how we started today’s adventure. Your second edition needs genuine spooky pictures.”

“You’re right. I’ll sacrifice my guts’ peace for art.”

. . .

Restaurant chagrin room

A door creaked. When we turned around, an elderly gentleman exited and fleeted off, past the Cozy, and into the dark opposite end. We retraced our steps to inspect that door’s whispers and flavor.

“Giggling. A girl’s,” Lucia said, her ear’s cartilaginous helix glued to the panel’s metaphysical stand-in.

I approached the door’s intimacy barrier. “Yeah, giggling and whimpering—an uncanny combination. In Darxination, a boy’s, or girl’s, mix with silent chagrin. A late reveal, God, I’m spoiling your reading.”

“Shut up.”

“OK, no more untwisting.”

“Laura, I mean—don’t tell me a scene in your novel hides in here.”

“It’s indecent to open this door, anyway. So we’ll never find out.”

“Let me see—”


“—what title to choose for this hotel chapter. Venetian, something. Masquerade.”

“Come, let’s continue our raid.”

“Hey, Hollywood Lows Cliché.”

A hushed-heeled soubrette

I grasped Lucia’s hand and dragged her away.

Once we reached the stairway’s head, our clamped lips blasted. In a chortling cloud, we descended, caring a hoot about restless dishwashers or guests hiding in locked fancy rooms.

Or corpulent magnates smoking cigars atop roofs, naked under night stars and unstained sleek glass.

“We’ll scare the unclean spirit out of everyone here.”

“But where’s everyone, Lucia, cara mia? Have you seen the staff?”

“Tucking kitchen utensils in drawers. Finished mopping and scraping dirt off pans, pots, silverware, and whimsical crockery.”

“The staff’s looks and demeanor are weird. Their uniforms, too stylish, footwear too polished, you noticed?”

“My husband noticed a curvy black dress hugging a waitress last summer. To make up, he bought me a red strapless in the same hug.”

“Start writing, my dear. With your humor and gist, you’ll conquer the Internet.”

“Oh-la-la, I bet. But here flits a hushed-heeled soubrette—black attire, ghostly, how else?”

I raised my tiny android.

The slim figure thrust a mushy, murky-painted pout—pretty fleshy for a ghost’s condition—and glinting devilish pupils at us.

One touch, and the android cheeped. The hostess or dishwasher’s eyes snapped a still of my guilty thrill.

A beyond-restaurant invitation

“You got lost, ladies? In twenty minutes, we close for guests. I’ll show you to the welcoming entryway.”

A young male voice, then the owner himself. Black suit, smoky shirt, splinter necktie, lacquered pointed shoes, and anthracite hair sleeked backwards on top. Smile—sweet, slim, wry.

“Thank you, but we’d like to linger on the premises for a while to admire this absolute opulence. I’m from across seas, you know, and tomorrow quit town. Such refined taste and artistic drive for a hospitality project, oh.”

“Thank you for your far-fetched incantation. Allow me to ask, from which destination?”

“Cosmopolitan. Been many luxurious places throughout the globe, but nothing like this enchanted my voyager’s microscope. Please, will you grant us a half hour?”

“If you leave port in 24, a half hour means a world more—so, granted. Not upstairs, though, where staff’s busy unrolling après-dining routines. Shall I call a night hostess to guide your steps for celerity?”

“No, thanks. My friend is a local fan of the restaurant and finds the trickiest corners blind. She’s a novelist.”

“Oh, enchanté, mesdames. Then I suggest visiting the adjacent gallery, a private collection of refined artifacts of the earth’s quaintest, where she can draw antique inspiration.”

I ogled the hospitality virtuoso. “Inspiration and gallery not in the crude sense, but their most refined—and your urbanest—I get.”

“Inspiration, twofold, I admit, since the building has a built-in system of ventilation.”

Cosmopolitan exchange

Here a smirk, there a titter, mine and Lucia’s, but Mr. Mystery’s lips stayed stiff and bitter in intermissions.

“Still arranging the exhibition, so the gallery’s quasi empty, but enjoy the evocative vibes! When we open, only a close circle of outstanding guests will have unbound access.”

Lucia showed her gapped teeth’s most enchanting pose. “Enchantée aussi, monsieur. Je viens de Quebeque et la prochaine fois j’amènerai Francois, mon opulent epou Québécois. He adores tenues all-black, culinary art, antiques, et surtout, nouveau.”

I broke Lucia’s teaser. “Thank you, sir, for the nighttime granted. It’s thinning to scanty amounts, though, so we’d better go.”

Un moment, excusez moi! Sir, excuse my intrusion, but did we stand the high honor of conversing with an owner?”

Already dizzied, the man gave signs of exhaustion and polite self-exclusion. “Oh, only a flat and car. Shall I call you a taxi?”

En une demi-heure—in half an hour?”

“Yeah. Midnight sharp.”

“Thank you, but no, I drive my rental.”

Obscure camera

The exhibition’s obscure camera, though a lengthy grande dame, sulked, devoid of earlier flaunted exhibits. Oak-paneled walls, massive mausoleums of cabinets, a writing desk mourning on griffin claws, but no precious removables.

Thick emerald curtains blocked starlight’s faintest flicker. But sumptuous mirrors reflected the spent effusion of mock-vintage fixtures. Blasphemy.

“I expected statuettes, jewelry, signed oils,” my friend said.

“Imagine the fiendish fellow inviting us here unguided unless the treasure lay locked till the grand incipit?”

“Thank goodness he didn’t invoke that monkey-lipped ghost to tour us.”

“Got her shut in my phone. It leeks creepers.”

“How about you stopped freaking, Laura, and we outsmarted the nabobs by capturing more than a ghostly mutant haunting the premises?”

“Like what? What traumatizes a smartphone more?”

Lucia took command of the exploration. “Par ici, ma chérie. Look, an arched door. A wine cellar for bigwigs’ palates or, if luck strikes, a treasure vault.”

Restaurant Stygian mirror

We descended to the basement. Decrepit settees and armchairs, threadbare upholstery, haggard gloom—a theater’s backroom. But an ancient mirror dominated the mess in tall splendor.

“A splendid antique, Lucia. Why on earth hide it underground?”

“Don’t know, ma chérie. God, what dark glass—it averts looking.”

“But you stare at it.”

“Who wouldn’t? It’s the creepiest guilty whim.”

The gold-framed, dismal beauty bewitched our gaze and steps.

I got nearer. “A Stygian mirror. Not for public display, God, never.”

Lucia joined me before the glassy emptiness framed. “Restaurant, ha! Renovated above a realm of perdition.”

“Next to the solemn museum in town, the riverside natives’ repository of history.”

“Not next. I recall what my father said—the communists split the old mansion. They housed evolution’s paraphernalia in the main western wing and tucked the sweet shop in the corner that points to orient.”

“Aha, for Turkish braga, lokum, and baklava—inspired arrangement.”

“Sure, to befuddle townspeople. Distract their taste for history, dull their curiosity buds by indulging their innate gluttony.”

Restaurant’s underground connection

“So history and dining museums share the property.”

“Not quite—they split deeds. Townhall politicians took over history while newfangled tycoons, gluttony.”

We stole sagacious mutual glances, sneers ready to lapse into tittering, but the black mirror facing us forbade futile hilarity.

So, in all seriousness, I said, “Wow, they share the basement.”

“Undergrounds communicate. They further extend into ancient Turkish vaults, deeper and wider, to reach the measliest suburbs.”

“In fact, locals talk of resumed diggings under the museum’s occult floors, the cryptic stone pavement of rooms banned to visitors.”

“Wow, Laura, and you said nothing.”

“A nosy traditional journalist wrote in a local, still physical, paper they un-slabbed, then unearthed, a layer of crypts. Recent, compared to history’s antediluvian magnitude and anachronistic trend.”

“Unfair, ma chérie. Alors, I invite you to a historical restaurant—soon turned historic in your writing computer, I bet—and you keep mum about its occult underground.”

“I wrote about Braila’s subterranean mysteries and ghosts in today’s autographed novel. Ghosts of native forefathers and naturalized migrants and conquerors that haunted my introspection.”

“Oh, thank you. Can’t wait to read your introspective imagination.”

My pupils dilated in my dry, wowed throat. “This mirror enacts Darxination.”

Lucia extended one graceful arm. “Meet the pith of your novel!”

A glint. Furtive, elusive. Curious, I entered the depths of the mirror, flitted beyond. Reflections caught shapes. Restless, smoky chimeras snaked limbs, gaped mouths, huge, hyperbolic. My writing.

Ghost touch in ancient dark mirror.
Stygian Mirror – by Viviana Ioan

Unidentified flickering oddity

“Laura, stop gazing like that in the freaking mirror.”

“My God, Lucia, I see things. What do you see?”

“Your eyes in the darkness. Now, a flash—your phone.”

I touched the shutter button again. Phone whined, weaker and fainter, as though afraid.

One tiny explosion of bright light exposed a shadow behind. “Lucia, are you still beside me?”

“Still, yes.”

“You haven’t moved?”

“I’m stunned, don’t have the nerve to budge.”

My blood froze. One more delicate touch will divulge the shadow’s spooky identity. I touched. A smiling hag’s umbra. Blood crumbled to dust in my veins, my fingers scraggy, lungs parched.

“Yuck! Something blackened the dusky mirror. My nape’s stuck, Laura. A half-spin, and I drop dead.”

“Won’t touch the damn smart or I’ll pulverize my heart.”

“You care for rhyming in this sepulchral environment?”

A flicker of the stained-glass tomb slab on the restaurant’s ceiling piqued my visual memory. “Sorry girl, my shaken senses crafted the rhyme.”

“Writers’ senses shake crafted nonsense for sure, to scare rational hearts out of us.”

“You have the guts to philosophize, ha? Criticize writers’ ghosts? Better mind the actual ghost behind us.”

“Shut up, Laura. And please, stop manipulating that shutter. You just got the scariest illustration for your haunting novel, Darxination.”

Enveloped in our freaked-out whispering, the smoky surface caved in, attracting me into unbound depths.

Carola waltzed barefoot in my fantasy garden while Marcus led Estera’s timid steps to “Oriental Glow” restaurant in the harbor. Boys and girls shed tears in silken bedsheets, hags and ogres hid in obscure cameras, and Estera…

Estera’s sandaled feet swayed from a vaporous baldachin among stars. I cried with Marcus’ eyes.

Peeping shadow through antique restaurant stained-glass portal.
Peeping shadow through stained-glass portal – by Viviana Ioan

Night or knight

My friend brought me back to the plight underground. “Shall we pluck an ounce of energy and flee free?” she said.

“Best, let’s fathom the actual situation.”

“Got no reasoning left to fathom anything.”

“The apparition. A mirror–camera joint effect, who knows? The clash between antiquity and latest technology gave birth to a mutant chimera in our crossroads era.”

We burst into crazy peals. The crystalline screams resounded gongs against the vault’s chilly walls and frigid realia. What if we stirred the phantasm into action?

An icy breath reached our napes. Then, a reverberated reply. “And you, my night.”

We switched our stiff necks in horror. A rickety settee lay bare of occupant, desolate.

“A mere reflection in the damn mirror, it was. Foolish girls, to let the cocky middle backrest of a decrepit rococo settee scare us!”

“But the voice, Lucia? You heard it too, right?”

“Through my spine’s marrow. But plight-twins, I bet, experience identical vision and sound illusions.”

“With experimental, hands-on, quantum uncertainties since simplicity generates the unfathomable. Tell me, you heard night, as in midnight?”

“What else? The fantasy intended we made its night. Ha ha ha.”

“You see, I heard different: a replica of Estera’s words. My knight, as in shining armor.”

“Cliché. You disappoint me, writer friend.”

“That’s my ingénue’s, Estera’s, mark in the novel, as rhyming is Marcus’ stamp.”


“For Carola, though, it’s knight as in Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights.”

“You love ballet, ma chérie.”

Velvet night over antique restaurant.
Velvet night over antique restaurant – by Viviana Ioan

Velvet night outside restaurant

When our in-sync phones spotlighted midnight, we scurried above, ran the length of the blind exhibition, then exited in the wide vestibule. No glowing-coal eyes awaited us at the promised sharp.

Exhilarated that the restaurant Lucifer ignored us, we slipped through the art nouveau front portal into the velvety harbor night.

About the author

Solar Writer walking on the dark side to bring mind's secrets to light, in romances with a psychological edge. Next Woman blogger showing you how to use the power of SELF to stay young, confident and magnetic.