Ch. 1 Midnight Stranger
“Denver, that table over there looks mighty lonely, don’t you think?” My boss Manny told me as he punched some buttons on the cash register. I rolled my eyes as soon as I gave him my back, and walked to the table.
The diner was busy and loud, catering tonight to an array of people awaiting the much needed weekend; a typical Friday. I walked cheerfully to the table, trying to be as charming as I could and not show the costumers how miserable I felt. Tips depended on mood, so being happy and attentive without being overbearing was always a must. I needed the money, I needed to save up my money so I could get the hell out of this place and head to college.
“Hi, welcome to Big Mikes, I will be your waitress for the night, can I get you drinks?” I looked over to the woman first and quickly scribbled her order and her companion's orders. The menu is basic, hamburgers, salads, chicken dishes, shrimp dishes, but it’s delicious that's for sure. The ambiance is always cheery welcoming too, I'd honestly appreciate it more if I was a costumer and not the one in the 50’s get up. Yes, the diner is 50’s themed, that is why it’s always bustling with people, they love the look.
A couple of my tables left a decent tip, but there is always some who leave no tip at all, and anything is greatly appreciated by me. Even a dollar is good for me, I know how hard it is now a days, money is tight so I'm always grateful for those who give.
“How was it?” Michelle, another waitress, asked me as she counted her tips behind the counter.
“Pretty eh myself. Sometimes though I wonder why I stick around here.” I didn’t like to complain about my money situation around Michelle, compared to her my problems were pitiful. She was older than I and she actually had a family to provide for, who depended on every cent she made. I always let her trash the wages, I'd feel weird if I did that around her.
“You ladies leaving yet?” asked Manny as he cleaned the counter one last time before official closing time.
“Yeah, I’m just gonna get my bag and I’m out.” I replied with a genuine smile. Sure he is a pain most of the time but Manny is the best boss I could ask for. Short, hair, but definitely jolly, Manny was a simple man, but very kind hearted.
“Good, don’t want you out and about at this time of night.” He gave me the same lecture every time I had the late shift, hearing it now irritated me. My age was something I always had thrown in my face so was my sex, and so were other things too.
I went over to the back room to retrieve my bag from my cubby, hung apron on the rack, and let my hair down. I didn't change back to my normal clothes since I always thought that was a waste of time. I said my goodbyes to the waitresses then started on my way back home, which was about fifteen minutes away.
The early spring breeze was both calming and refreshing as I walked home, it was something I embraced, especially after being stuck in a stuffy diner all night. The streets were dim but not completely dark, the street lamps illuminated certain areas to help me find my way. There were times when I prayed for nights like this, when it wasn't too cold nor hot and I was able to take a stroll out. I always found it calming and stress relieving. It helped me think, gave me time to figure things out, but more often, I just asked more questions.
As I rounded the street corner to Andy's Hardware I heard something coming from the alley where the dumpsters were. For a few seconds I debated running for the hills but I never considered myself a coward, unless I was in apparent danger. So far so good. My Keds didn't make much noise as I neared the shifting. I heard a disturbance, kicking of a sort which made me think the possibility of rats or a different critter. There were no street lamps in the alley but at the corner there was a small bulb that hung silently by the Hardware backdoor. This I could use as an advantage against the rat. Why was I even chasing a rat? Who knows, mostly to reassure myself it was a rat. The alley stunk of eggs, spoiled fruits which helped make the moment much more real. The noises grew louder but this time they sounded human and plural.
"Whoever you are get out of there and leave now. I have pepper spray that I don't mind using to make you blind." I called out. I stepped closer until the light from the bulb illuminated the people. "Oh my god! I'm so sorry! I thought...I thought-" The noise came from a couple entangled in each others embrace. I caught the girls eye and she looked like she was thoroughly enjoying it. Her legs were wrapped around the mans torso but, thankfully, that part of them was hidden. "I'm so embarrassed." I said nervously.
I didn't see the mans face but I heard his voice, "Don't worry about it. Now leave."
I stepped back and ushered out a yes. I left briskly out of the alley and practically ran to my house. I was quite disturbed. I didn't really know what to think of it, and honestly I didn't really want to. I was finally on my block and I slowed my pace, it was still a nice night, I didn't want to rush it. I finally saw my house with the lights turned on so I went to the door, I pulled the keys from my bag to open the door.
"Denny!" My little sister called as I came in. It welcomed by the warmth of the heater and the arms of my little sister.
"Cee what are you doing up hmm?" I picked her up as I gave her a kiss. She was the baby of the house so I always treated her so.
"Logan told me a monster story." She said. I pressed her against my hip and held her by my upper body. "He said that a creature with long claws and big teeth and huge red eyes was comin' for me when I closed my eyes from under my bed."
"Oh he's just playing-"
"But it's not fun."
"You know how boys are."
"They are stupid."
"Yeah well, don't tell my mom that I agree with you, okay?" She nodded followed by a giggle. Her short curly hair bounced away form her face to show her big smile with missing teeth at front. "Where's mom? Dad?"
"Sleeping. Working." she said and shrugged. We walked to her room, small but filled with her stuffed animals. I placed her under the covers, snuggled her blanket close to her, simultaneously I laid next to her. I pressed my head next to hers just so I could have skin to skin contact with her, I needed her for the moment.
"Tell me a story."
"That’s why I'm here." I told her. I began the story typically, with a princess and a once upon a time. There were villains, a family and a prince charming who was naturally good, there was a problem that was eventually solved and in the end, they lived happily ever after. Life was never like that, but for now that’s what she believed. She fell asleep soon thereafter giving me a chance to go to my own room. I slipped out of my uniform to put on a tank top, shorts followed by me going to the bathroom. As I came out after I was done, I saw my mom heading towards me to the bathroom looking drowsy.
“Denver, go get sleep.” She said to me. I nodded and said, “Where’s dad?” I laid my back against the wood of the house giving me some strength.
“He had to go to work for an emergency.”
“He’s a salesman.”
“Something about the product. Honey, don’t worry too much about it, you know that this happens sometimes. Now get.” And that’s what I did, I headed straight to bed and fell asleep.
I quickly sat upright to look at my window next to me, it seemed that there was nothing but I kept having the feeling that I should go out to check. I lifted the covers off of me to look outside, it was still breezy since the small branches were slowly moving but the darkness covered everything.
Spontaneously I decided to go outside. It wasn't abnormal for me to do this but never at three in the morning. I went out through the back door to the backyard to scan the yard. One time when I was younger I also heard a noise, went outside and found a mommy cat with her litter. I fed them for a while until one day the family just left. It was one of the most cutest things I had ever seen but unfortunately short lived.
"Kitty Kitty" I decided to whisper. I went over to some bushes and called out again.
"Unfortunately for you I am not a cat." said a voice from behind. I spun around quickly to face the man. Fortunately for him I am not much of a screamer.
"Who are you?" I asked lowly. I felt my eyes watch in suspicion mixed with fear, felt my stance alert as I saw the person in front me in my backyard. I couldn't really see him in the darkness but I was able to see he had dark hair and was Caucasian.
"Who am I? That's a bit complicated."
"What do you want?"
He looked around with a serious expression and said when he finally made eye contact, "I'm looking for information."
"Information?" I asked and I began stepping back carefully leading back to the door.
"What makes you think I have that information?"
"It's not difficult. In fact, it's quite simple. Your neighbors. Give me their surname."
I looked towards the house of people who I thought he meant, until I finally looked back to him. "Why?"
"I'm not telling you anything." He replied.
"Then why should I tell you?"
He shrugged but said, "I'm looking for someone, I was able to get an adress. I just want to make sure it's them."
"So you decided to show up in the middle of the night to find out? Come back in the day and maybe we'll talk."
"Too busy. Now tell me. No more games little girl." He began moving closer as I got farther away, in a weird dance of animosity.
"Don't patronize me."
"Then tell me." he said. I thought about telling him but if I told him and it ended up being the person he was looking for, what then? He could hurt them. But if I told him and it wasn't, he'd leave and maybe I could run to my room.
"Jackson" I said ashamed. I was selfish and a coward. His face turned into a mean scowl.
"Not them?" I guessed.
"No." he growled.
"Oh." I said relieved letting out a heavy sigh. Thank goodness that the Jacksons did not have to see this man, I'd just hope he would leave soon. "So what now?"
The man eyed me strangely for a few seconds but broke the stare once he saw I didn't squirm.
"Aren't you a curious girl." I didn't reply anything so he continued, "I'll leave now." he said and backed away.
"Wait." I heard myself say and step closer. "What's your name?"
"It was nice to see you again." he said and completely ignored my question.
"Goodbye pepper spray girl." he said and walked away.
*A/N* Hello guys! Okay, just to throw this out there, this has nothing to do with the supernatural or paranormal. Other than that, I just want to say thank you for coming over and checking this out!*