Friday, October 24, 2008

The Ghost of the Diner

It was the most terrifying thing she had ever seen.

It was a monster--no a person--no a monster. She couldn't tear her eyes away, but couldn't bear to look. It was like watching someone die in a horrific car wreck. You couldn't watch but you had to know, had to see. Bile threatened to spill from her throat and tears of fear streamed down her cheeks.

The black skin bubbled as it approached her, popping and oozing fresh blood and blisters. It's mouth was horribly deformed, twisted into a warped grin. It hobbled towards her, waving a bright red arm in the air, as if all it's skin had fallen off. But the eyes. The eyes terrified her most. For they were not the desperate, haunted look you would expect to see from a creature that had been obviously terribly abused.

They were evil. The bright black eyes focused on her, and she could feel the sick pleasure they held. It liked that she was terrified. It liked that even though she was still screaming, no sound came from her raw throat. It liked that her heart was racing and it felt like she would explode and drop to the floor simultaneously in a single second.

The creature, or man, whatever it was, laughed. The room went dark and Abby shut her eyes. She prayed it would be over quick.

"Is that pumpkin pie?" a small voice to her left inquired. "I do love pumpkin pie."

Abby's eyes flew open and a squeak escaped her. The lights were blazing in the diner. The horrid creature was gone. Standing across from her at the bar was a small boy wearing a blue sailor suit. Chocolate was smeared around his mouth and his blue eyes twinkled.

"May I have a piece, please?" he pleaded, licking his lips. "I would dearly love some pumpkin pie."

All Abby could do was stare at him. "Who are you?" she whispered.

The boy grinned up at her. "My name is Paul, ma'am," he said. "Though I can't tell you my last name. My mother always said not to talk to strangers." He reached toward the pie and Abby recoiled, clutching the plastic spoon to her chest.

"Oh," the Paul said knowingly. "You saw him."

Abby nodded.

"It's ok now," the boy said, patting her hand. His fingers were as cold as ice. "He's gone. You won't see him for awhile. We're all here now."

"We?" she whispered.

"Can't you see us?" Paul asked, his forehead wrinkled. He glanced at her plate and relief crossed his face. "Oh, that's why," he said. "You didn't finish your pie. Go on."

Abby blinked.

"Go on," Paul encouraged her, licking his lips again. "It looks delicious."

The last thing Abby wanted was pie. But she stabbed the last bite and popped it into her mouth anyway. Watching Paul, she swallowed and waited.

In a mere blink it all changed. Oldies blared from the jukebox as waitresses in beehives whisked around the floor. The booths were overflowing with families and young couples danced around the tile floor. There were soldiers in old army uniforms and their sweethearts with red lipstick. An elderly couple dined on meatloaf in the back corner as a mother hosted her daughter's fifth birthday party. The front door jingled and a group of cheerleaders in fitted sweaters and long skirts and saddle shoes swept in on the arm of their varsity boyfriends.

"Oh my God," Abby said, her eyes wide as she took it all in.

"Miss," the boy whined as he wiggled. "My pie?"

"Oh, right." In a daze, she cut a large slice of pie and slid it towards him. She handed him a fork.

"Can I get some milk, too?" Paul asked, beaming at his pie.

"Milk?" Abby repeated dumbly.

"I'll get it honey." A waitress in cat-eyed glasses plopped it down in front of Paul. She narrowed her eyes at Abby. "Are you the new girl?"

Abby nodded. "Well, I'll let you off this once," she said, pursing her lips. "But you can't sit here all night. We're not paying you to eat pie! Table 14 in 15 minutes." With that, she flew into the kitchen.

Abby shook her head and turned to Paul. "What is all this?" she asked. "Why can I see you?"

"It's Halloween," Paul said as if she was dumb. "And it's after midnight."

"Are you all...ghosts?" Abby asked. Paul nodded. He was much too polite to add, "Duh."

"You died so young." Abby felt her chin quiver and tears spring to her eyes.

"No I didn't." Paul calmly took another bite of pie. "Most of us didn't die here, or at this age. This was simply our happiest time. We could have died that night, or at 80 in our beds. It doesn't matter. You haunt where you want to haunt."

"Oh." Abby leaned forward. "What was"--

"That?" Paul took a sip of his milk. "That's Mr. Jackson. He's the original owner."

"Why is he"-- Abby shuddered.

"That's a sad tale," Paul said, taking another bite of pie. "Mr. Jackson's wife died after he built the diner. He was so distraught, he became a miserable man who spent all his time working. He was rude and stingy. Worse than Ebeneezer Scrooge. Some believed he was evil, others just thought he was misunderstood.

"One day, a new waitress started working here named Jessica. She had thick auburn hair and sparkling green eyes. Mr. Jackson fell hard, even though she was young enough to be his daughter. He asked her out constantly, which is illegal now days. But Jessica always said no. She was always very kind to him, but she made it clear she wanted nothing to do with him romantically. It made Mr. Jackson so angry he took to drinking.

"One night, Jessica was working late when Mr. Jackson burst in the kitchen. He demanded she have some pie and coffee with her. Jessica said no, that she had a date. Mr. Jackson roared and rushed toward her, and Jessica screamed and jumped away. He fell into the deep fryer, where he was killed instantly."

Abby stared at him open mouthed as he kept munching on his pie.

"From that day on, he's haunted the diner, trapping all the souls who choose to be here," Paul said. "We can only get out after Halloween at midnight. Until someone has some pie and coffee with him and pretends she's Jessica, we can never be free."

His eyes brightened and he set down his fork. "Hey," he said, leaning forward. "You can help us. You look kinda like she did. We could cover your hair and you could play Jessica."

Her eyes widened. Abby opened her mouth to respond....

To be continued...

**Tomorrow, a new Miss Pickles! Also, Halloween week starts Monday!


Lorraine E said...

I love your stories, can't wait to read more!

april said...

I love this! Can't wait until the next part!

Mary Ann said...

I just don't do well with suspense! Hurry and tell what happens next!

Prudy said...

Wait a second...this isn't Halloween week already? This is certainly spooky enough. What will happen? Don't make us wait too long.

Katherine Aucoin said...

You certainly know how to keep your readers on the edge of their seats Duckie! I don't know if I can handle Halloween week.

Cynthia's Blog said...

Okay. I am off of fries for a while... good diet approach. What is going to happen next!? Aggh!

jenjen said...

Ohhh -- I love a scary story! I can't wait to see what's next. Sccccaarrryyy!

Marjie said...

Yeah! A reasonable explanation! Can't wait for the continuation with Abby/Jessica.

alexandra's kitchen said...

yesssssss. love it. Poor Mr. Jackson. His story breaks my heart (not the misfortunate ending in the deep fryer, but losing his wife.) can't wait to read what happens next!

oh, and those buns look incredible.

Maria said...

Can't wait to see what happens!

Rosie said...

Oh yes now waiting for the next instalment :)

Rosie x

Pam said...

Creepy but good. Can't wait to see what happens next. Love your stories!

Bunny said...

Duckie you have us all on the edge of our seats!! This is a good one for halloween week!!!

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

{{{Shiver}}} Tell me more, tell me more!

Mom said...

Where the heck did this come from? I haven't seen you write scary stuff since you and Erin scared yourselfs silly in the living room. I see you haven't lost your touch for the spooky tales.

Veronica said...

Oh good...I'm hooked now. I'll be waiting for more!

noble pig said...

That is the scariest sounding creature I have ever heard of! Now I'm scared.

Marie said...

Ohh, this is so good Duckie. I can't wait to see what happens next! Stephen King move over!!! There's a new kid in town and she's hot, Hot, HOT!!!

Corinne said...

No wonder he was so evil and scary looking... a swim in a deep fryer would do just that.
Can't wait to hear the rest!

Candy said...

Go on, go on!!!!

The W.O.W. factor said...

...and yet another story in the making? I've never read so many 'books' at one time! I always read one from start to finish..(if I like it) you've got my mind "twirling" in all sorts of directions!

freefun0616 said...