The Diner

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: The Imaginarium
FOR MITCH HASTINGS, AN UNSCHEDULED STOP AT THE DINER WAS MORE THAN HE COULD CHEW!

Submitted: November 23, 2018

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Submitted: November 23, 2018

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First there was a bang, then the car started to pull too the right. Lastly the sickening ‘flap, flap’ sound confirming to Mitch Hastings that he had just experienced a tyre blowout.

The light blue 1954 Buick Skylark limped to the side of the highway and stopped. Mitch thumped the steering wheel in totally frustration.

He was travelling alone along the Will Rogers Highway more popularly known as Route 66 when the incident occurred. Mitch had such high hopes for his mid-life crisis. He had spent the best part of a year restoring the old Buick back to its formal glory, and was looking forward to being out with it on the open road.

Mitch got out of the car and went around to see the shredded white-wall tyre. He gave it another kick. He knew he carried a spare wheel at the same time knowing he was lacking the appropriate wheel irons and jack.

Mitch dug deep into the pocket of his denim pants to retrieve his cell. The signal didn’t even register one bar. He cursed out loud while giving the tyre a further kick.

He looked down at his wrist watch, it had just past midday and the sun overhead in the Arizona desert was at its highest. Even though Peach Springs was only a few miles south, in this sun without protection and water Mitch would soon find himself in serious trouble.

It looked like he'd have no choice but to sit in his car out of the sun and wait for a passing vehicle. Except this part of Route 66 was the historical road which meant that only travellers wanting to visit the old towns would drive through here.

Approximately, half-an-hour had passed when Mitch saw up ahead a building shimmering in the heat haze. He stepped out on to the roadside shielding his eyes from the sun.

Up ahead of him it looked like a diner had appeared from out of nowhere. Mitch didn’t notice it at first when he originally stopped. He thought that might have been due to the brightness of the sun which had now slightly waned.

The diner only looked half a mile away, tops. He knew he could walk that distance without any ill-effects and so locking the car he set off towards the diner.

When he reached the diner, the parking lot was full which told him immediately that the place was popular. A good sign he thought. Another good sign was that one of the vehicles in the parking lot was a tow truck. The name of ‘Bob’s Auto’s’ was proudly emblazoned along the trucks side.

A neon blue and red sign flashed sporadically in the window, announcing that Mitch was about to enter ‘Todd’s Diner’.

The little bell above the door gave a cheerful ring. The diners and the only waitress looked towards the door. Seeing she had a new customer, the tall slim girl behind the counter gave a big smile exposing inside her mouth the pink bubble-gum which she continued to chomp on as she gave Mitch a friendly, “Hi!”

Mitch gave a weary, “Hi!” back and collapsed onto the seat nearest to me.

With Mitch seated, the other diners soon went back to eating leaving the waitress to take Mitch’s order. She was bright and breezy which matched her outfit. A red and white short sleeved dress with a white collar, the hem of which came just above her knees. She also wore a white apron with the name ‘Todd’s Diner’ embroidered diagonally and a pair of red shoes.

“Hi” she said again, this time standing at Mitch’s side with her pen and notepad at the ready. Mitch looked down at the menu already waiting for him. He really only wanting to speak to Bob but he guessed that would only happen once he had ordered something.

“Eh! I guess I’ll have the regular burger and fries with a diet.” Said Mitch at last.

“Sure!” said the waitress and when she finished writing, held out her hand. “I’m Marilyn, and I’ll serving you today.” Then she blew a large bubble before skilfully popping it between her teeth without covering her face. Mitch wasn’t impressed but he did shake her hand out of being courteous. Marilyn beamed another big smile turned on her heels and headed for the kitchen.

Mitch leaned over his table pushing his fingers through his short black hair. After a while, he looked back up taking in more of the surrounding diner. It wasn’t as full as the parking lot was leading him to believe.

A group of six people were all huddled in one corner of the diner eating and talking. All were taking advantage of the air-conditioning unit that blew in their direction. Long plastic stripes of red and white fluttered in the breeze, proving that the air-con was working.

Although, it was clearly not big enough to cool the whole diner. Mitch fanned himself with the stiff plastic encapsulated menu while he waited for Marilyn to return.

It wasn’t long before she was back at his side, this time accompanied by a squadron of flies.
“Here you are sugar.” She said to Mitch placing down on the table his burger and coke. She was slightly embarrassed by her flying entourage so began flicking away the airborne scavengers with her not so clean tea towel.

Mitch tried to ignore the buzzing as he asked Marilyn which one was Bob and would he be able to help him? Marilyn gave him a smile once more and turned to face the group in the corner. “Hey! Bob honey!”

A large man in a filthy dark green boiler suit with matching filthy baseball cap, looked up from the corner.

“Gentleman here, wonders if you could help him?”

“I’ve got a flat out on the highway and I wondered if you could help me change my wheel?” asked Mitch.

Bob flashed a grin, “Sure, let me finish my lunch and I’ll be right with you!”

Marilyn looked back down at Mitch, popped another bubble, gave him a wink and went back to the kitchen. Mitch took a gulp of his coke while fanning his hand across the burger trying to keep the flies away.

If he wasn’t hungry before, the smell of the cooked meat was making him hungry now and the sooner he ate the burger the sooner the flies would leave him in piece. So, Mitch bit down through the soft brown bun and into the tender flesh only to quickly spit it out!

Mitch started making gagging sounds as he proceeded to remove hairs from his mouth. He took off the top of the bun to see that the burger was covered in charred hairs!

“What the…!” He exclaimed. “Miss, hey! Miss!” Mitch shouted towards the kitchen. But, Marilyn obviously couldn’t hear him with all the noise of the food preparation coming out of the kitchen.

Mitch got out of his seat and headed for the kitchen still holding the plate, with the burger, in his hand.

By now, the other six diners were all staring at him, wondering what he was going to do next.

Hearing the commotion in the diner, Marilyn came back out this time her friendly manner was missing. She held out her hand towards the advancing Mitch like a cop stopping traffic, preventing him from going any further.

“No customers are aloud in the kitchen!” she said in a stern voice.

“But this burger is full of hairs, look.” He showed it to Marilyn. “I demand I speak to the chef!” Mitch tried to side-step Marilyn but she stood her ground, blocking him.

Two things happened next that was too fast for poor Mitch to register. Firstly, a hand came from behind him and was placed over his mouth. Wide-eyed, Mitch dropped his plate and it smashed into several pieces on the floor. The contaminated burger rolling under the counter. Secondly, there was the razor-sharp slash to his throat, courtesy of Bob’s knife.

The life of Mitch Hastings soon ebbed away. For him the last images he saw on planet earth were of the chef in the kitchen dissecting a human cadaver and lowering a piece of it down into the mincer.

Like the other misfortunate travellers who came looking for help at Todd’s Diner, Mitch Hastings would soon be taking his final resting place in the stomachs of the six diners.


© Copyright 2019 Markie Bee. All rights reserved.

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