Calista was thrilled about the new information that was given to her by her newfound friends. The following night, she researched some of the locations, and among them found a somewhat high-class karaoke bar that she decided to investigate the very next day. She spruced herself up, gave herself her usual confidence speech, and did the few miles that separated her from this new hot spot.
When she walked in, the light was dim, the music was on-point… and the place was empty. She frowned. I thought this bar was supposed to be hopping? Where is everyone?

It was a Friday night, and Calista knew that most bars in most usual towns would be busy on a Friday night. She walked around and took in the decorations, and observed the few people who were there, but she was dissatisfied.
At one point, between songs, she heard some strange and loud noises coming from outside of the bar. She slowly approached the entrance and looked through the glass doors and gasped. There was a large crowd gathering in the square in front of the bar. That’s where the noise is coming from? Why is everyone out there, and not in here?

Calista froze, wondering what she should do. She promised herself to investigate this hot-spot, the karaoke bar; but if the crowd wasn’t there and was across the street instead, should she follow it? Or should she wait around for more people to hopefully show? It’s only nine o’clock, she realized. There’s still time for karaoke-lovers to arrive, right?
She grabbed a drink and listened to the bartender complain about the slow night, and quickly changed her mind: she needed to be where the fashion was, and tonight, fashion was across the street in the square.

004 - Calista is naturally curious, so she investigates.png
She paid for her drink and left the karaoke bar. When she exited into the square, her face was in awe: there were rose petals scattered all over the ground, soothing, happy music playing and individuals all over seemingly having a good time. Is this some type of festival? Calista felt excitement deep down: festivals always had interesting characters and beautiful examples of fashion, and she had clearly just stepped into something she wouldn’t regret.

The further she walked into the square, the more she started to realize what kind of festival this was: it was a love festival. I wonder what this is all about? She could feel her curiosity eat at her; not only was she wondering what everyone was wearing, but now she really wanted to know what this festival was and why it was taking place now. Did it have some kind of significance? Was it a local tradition? Was it a pure coincidence that she came here tonight to see this display of wonders? Calista had to stop to catch her breath as she marveled at all that was around her.

Calista’s senses soon lead her to a section of the mystery festival where there were souvenirs and food all being sold by mystifying individuals in bright clothing. She looked at the t-shirts, sweatshirts and stuffed animals, which all said “Festival of Love : San Myshuno” and inspired happiness and positivity. She interrogated the vendors and they all claimed that this was a bi-annual occurrence, where locals would come to get their love fortunes told, to drink the tea of the future and to mix and mingle. “Like a single’s bar, but out in the open,” said one of the food vendors. Calista nodded, and asked a few questions about fashion, while jotting down some vague answers on paper. She wasn’t satisfied, but she was too intrigued by the festival to worry about her blog at the moment.

Calista walked around, bewildered, genuinely wondering about the reasons behind the festival and if she was in the area just by pure coincidence, or if it meant something; was she to meet someone special tonight? She hadn’t had much luck in love in her life, always dating men who didn’t understand her job, didn’t support it or worse: who thought they were better than her. Here she was now, in a new city; was there a new man waiting for her? Would she find the time to meet the right guy?
She suddenly heard strange whispers coming from behind a wall, sounding like some kind of incantation. She looked around, curious as to where the voice was coming from; and when she figured it out, she ran. She went past crowds of single people mingling, dancing and drinking; past several fountains of special tea and perfect examples of fashion faux-pas; she didn’t care, she just wanted to know whose voice she heard and what they were saying. Were they calling her to them?

Her feet magically carried her away from the crowds, away from the festival almost, and to the other side of the wall. She was out of breath and her heels weren’t meant for running, but she continued on until finally, a man came into view. Woah, who is this?
The man was wearing a strange outfit; he seemed to be some sort of magician, or maybe a guru, and he looked right at Calista with a smile. “Ah, there you are. I see you heard me. Thank you for coming to find me away from the others,” he spoke softly with a wink. Calista froze as she arrived in front of him.

“You… you were calling me?” she asked, unsure what to think. The man nodded. “Indeed, young lady, I drew you out from everyone else. I know why you’re here. You want to know about your love future, don’t you?” he stated quietly, as Calista’s eyes widened. She wasn’t sure if she was intrigued or afraid at this point, but the man in front of her was clearly insane. “This is a love festival though, right? Isn’t that what everyone is here for?” she questioned, doubting this man’s intentions. He shook his head. “They all think they’re here for love, but they’re all full of lust. Some of them want true love, but they’re not really seeking guidance for it. Others shouldn’t even be here, as they are actually in relationships already… no, Calista, you are legitimately seeking answers that I can give you,” he clarified. Calista could feel her eyes try to bulge out from her head. How did he know my name? “Who are you?” she demanded.

The man chuckled. “I am the guru. I have many names. I organize this event, but no one actually gets to meet me unless I deem them worthy to. You are worthy, Calista. You require my guidance,” he claimed. Calista gulped. “What makes me so special? How do you even know my name?” she wondered, feeling uncomfortable. The guru smiled. “There is an aura about you… something magical,” he began. Calista gulped again. “You do believe in magic, don’t you? It is a very prominent thing here, in this lovely and messed up town. Believe in it, and great things will happen,” he finished. Calista had no idea what to say. Magic? She had never believed in anything out of the ordinary. She only believed in fashion. “What will happen?”she asked, unable to stop herself from voicing her thoughts out loud.

The guru scratched his chin and looked at Calista in deep thought. “You will find love here, Calista. This magical town will give you your heart back. You won’t be judged as you were before, and love here won’t be as difficult to find. In fact, I believe it will find you,” he replied in a mysterious tone. Calista smiled, feeling a strange happiness come over her. Even if the guru was a flake – he could have figured out her name from her blog, after all – hearing something so nice and positive was enough to put her in a good mood. “Yes, love is waiting for you, closer than you think or expect. Be prepared, as it will hit you out of nowhere,” he continued. Calista smirked more.

The guru cleared his throat. “Ah, but unfortunately, there is a catch,” he commenced. Calista’s smile immediately disappeared. Of course there is, there’s always a catch with me. She sighed and nodded, waiting for the guru to continue. He closed his eyes and bowed his head. “You will find love not once, but twice. Yes, you’ll say that is a good thing; it is not. You’ll fall in love twice, and for that you’ll suffer twice as badly. The love you will experience will be turbulent, savage and difficult. You will not escape unscathed from these two experiences, and many hard choices will come your way,” he added with a frown.

Calista felt her knees buckle beneath her, but she kept her balance. Her heart shattered into pieces although her future hadn’t even started yet. More heartbreak? She knew she didn’t deserve this. “Why are you telling me this?” she begged, as the guru reopened his eyes and shook his head. “Calista, you must be warned: your arrival in this town is dangerous. I am receiving this information as I look into your eyes, and I didn’t know this much from across the wall. It comes down to this: you will find love, and you will suffer immensely. You will make the wrong choices most of the time, for unknown reasons, you will make others suffer, and in the end, you’ll pay the ultimate price,” he forewarned, his eyes filling with tears. Calista gulped. Death? Am I going to die for love? And this time, the guru truly scared Calista to the deepest part of her core, as he read into her mind. “No Calista, not death. Life. You will live a very long time, and you’ll be doomed to watch what you’ve done and likely repeat your mistakes forever. You’ll be successful in business, but your heart will never mend, although you’ll live… eternally,” he finished. Calista shook her head violently. “No. You’re insane,” she shouted.

Calista took off. She ran, far away from the guru and the festival. She ran around San Myshuno, unsure of where she was going and where to hide: the guru was a nut job, and she never wanted to see him again. She tried to laugh it all off – “live eternally”, ha! – but the more she thought of his words, the more creeped out she felt. Her feet started hurting, and she ended up back inside the karaoke bar where she initially intended to spend the evening investigating. And she refused to let any outside noises intrigue her this time.

She went straight to the bar – happy to see that a different bartender was working – and ordered the strongest drink that she could. “That festival is nuts,” she sighed, and the bartender nodded. “Oh I hate it out there. Those people… they go into all sorts of crazy transes. I sure hope you didn’t drink the fountain tea,” he said, and Calista felt relief knowing that she never even got close to the poisoned tea.

She downed her first drink, and then asked for a glass of dark, red wine. She enjoyed a nice conversation with the bartender – avoiding her encounter with the guru – and asked him some fashion questions. He pointed out a few people sitting in corners of the bar, and Calista sweetly went over to them to make friends. She interrogated, took a few pictures and names, and returned to the bar to order another glass of wine and write down a few notes. All in all, aside from her horrifying side adventure at the festival, she ended up gathering some good information to start a new article on her blog.

As she was joking with the bartender about one of the couples leaving the bar, an odd and intriguing older gentleman entered and ordered a strange drink. “We are closing soon, sir, just giving you a head’s up,” said the bartender as he poured the strange concoction for the man. Calista turned her head slightly and caught a glimpse of him. He was tall and slender, with pale skin and a weird vibe about him. She was a bit tipsy, but she returned to her initial position and hoped that the man wouldn’t address her. Unfortunately, he sat next to her and sniffed the air. “You, my dear, have a very interesting aura about you,” he began in a deep tone. Calista’s eyebrows rose, and she instantly felt sober. Another weirdo talking about my aura? No thank you, she thought. She stood up, walked to the other side of the bar where she excused herself and paid the bartender.

Calista was done with this bar, and with this particular area of San Myshuno – for now.
I guess there was a reason this place was a secret, she realized. She wondered if all of the other locations on her napkin from last night would turn out to be awkward hunting grounds for guru’s and weirdos, or if it was just this spot. Maybe that festival attracts weirdos. Maybe the guru put a curse on me. Maybe I’m already cursed? Calista contributed her fears and doubts to her alcohol infused brain and decided to call it a night. She went home and quickly slipped into bed, hoping to never see the guru or the strange, pale man again.