Their building, that always had a strange sound to it.
Splendor House was the name recessed in the concrete plague that was part of the keystone brickwork over the entry door. The girls had never even contemplated another name for their cafe. It just seemed to fit the whole lovely old space. They jumped into making it theirs. After some digging about in old directories at the city offices and the library as to the name, they found that Splendor House had in fact, had many other incarnations. At first, as a home to a well to do family in the mid 19th century. Then it had been a mercantile store, a doctor's office, a boarding house and then the man from whom they rented had used the whole building as a warehouse for his import export business.
Megan and Penny felt like it was meant to be. Downtown was on the rise again and they loved the area. Sure it was a little off the beaten track but they were enthusiastic and knew the area having grown up not far from here. They had always loved to cook, entertain and yearned for a way to put their degrees in marketing and interior design to work. A chic, happening cafe seemed to both of them to fit the bill. And so Splendor House Cafe had been born.
When the owner of the building had come to them 10 years ago and asked if they would like to buy the building, the two were thrilled. Especially since he was willing to sell it so far under market value. They had asked him if he wanted any of the things stored in the loft area or in the basement but he had declined saying he really didn't have the time or the inclination to sift through old memories. He had been an importer of goods from all over the world and had lost interest in this building long ago.
So the girls had scoured the basement for any and all valuable items and made enough from the sale of the antique furniture and found treasures to keep them solvent through the next year or so. By then the cafe had hit its stride as one of the downtown hot spots for breakfast and lunch.
They had tried to do dinner dining once a week and called it Date Night at Splendor House, but after months of having to eat the special of the night for days on end, they gave up their idea of dinner at the cafe. It was difficult to get customers for dinner when most went back into the suburbs after work. But the steady morning and noon trade had afforded them a good living and a regular customer base that made Spendor House a intricate part of the downtown scene.
Just as well that the dinner thing hadn't worked out. Neither of the girls really liked the feeling of the old building after dark. They attributed that to being country girls and not savvy in the way of the people that wandered downtown after dark. But the others who worked for them let them know it wasn't outside of the building that was the problem but inside the building. They had even had wait staff quit because they said they saw ghosts on the stairs to the basement and in the kitchen area. Customers remarked about sightings in the hallway outside the bathrooms. One of their favorite cooks had had a so called encounter with a ghost and even needed some medical attention. Megan shared that she thought the cook had been at the cooking sherry and that is how he had gotten injured. Neither of them had ever felt anything during the day and personally brushed it off to urban legends.
But because of the gossip and at the urging of staff and friends, they had invited a Ghost Hunter to come into the building to do an investigation into the paranormal activities. They mostly did that for the publicity although his report was a little unsettling. He said there were several cold spots near the staircase and that he wasn't even going to go any further than the open area in the upstairs because he just didn't feel like he could handle it. The poor man left with a glazed look on his face.
Word of the investigation's findings got them on the haunted tour of the downtown area and increased their business tremendously. So, for the two, it was a win-win situation. Somewhere inside Penny's heart she knew she should have acted upon the Ghost Hunters findings but she also felt incapable of doing so. Many of the girls friends insisted on doing more about the haunting but neither of the girls would.
Besides, after the investigator left, the sightings seemed to subside. The only other comments were made by the owner of the building just to the rear of their property. He asked why they always had the light on all night in the upstairs of the building. He thought maybe they had left it on and wanted to let them know because of the added cost they might incur from forgetting to turn off the light. They had thanked him, check the lights every night before leaving and he still insisted that the lights were on but it was their problem not his.
The most Penny ever did about the "ghost" problems was to buy an evil eye charm at a shop down the street and put it up at the entrance to Splendor House Cafe. She was not committed to all that witchy stuff that some of the others in her Tuesday drumming group ascribed to. She laughed a little when she thought of what they might want to do if she had asked them for help with the ghost situation.