Diner in the Darkness
On a lonely stretch of night by a highway hidden from all natural
diner simply was. All the waitresses there were mad with age. They had
there since it opened, though none of them really knew when that was.
they had seen everything so when a girl in paper thin undershirt wearing
makeshift pajamas covered in ash, burns, and blood ordered a coffee they
didn't even bat an eye.
"Cream? Sugar?"and before she could answer she was
gone. The door to the diner swung open and another waitress, with blue
called outside. "Honey, your coffee is getting cold,"in a
gnarled voice reserved for Wednesday's and cold weather.
The girl scampered back into the diner, trailing blood behind her.
at a different table and another waitress had to bring her her coffee. She
her spoon and balanced it on the surface of the coffee and watched it
wonder. A trick she had seen once, but barely could remember where. She
if the waitresses would mind her getting another booth all bloody.
She studied a man sitting at the end of the dinner. He had a white
and he seemed to be bleeding a little too. Every five minutes a different
waitress ran down to where he sat and gave him a fresh cup of coffee. A
blue glow seemed to emanate from his person, and once when he sneezed the
"What'll be tonight, sugar?"the waitress was
large, with purple hair, and very ornate dark glasses. The girl's
sudden sadness was a sign of her lack of understanding of the menu. She
to study it longer and be more at peace with her inner sanctum. The
understood. She ruffled the girl's hair and foretold of a second
coming. The man at the end of the diner looked up but never turned to look
She continued to study the menu, when the moon caught her eye.
Then a series
of holes, not unlike a snake appeared. Starting from the left end of the
and working a curved path quickly to the right. Loud explosions and
light intermingled with screams and pieces of night. Bullets shattered
and punctured pies and cake specials. Milk and blood hit the floor in
proportions. The man at the end of the diner continued sitting casually
coffee. Gunshots bloomed like roses as the parking lot was lit up a
The front door was kicked in and two men ran in, brandishing
ran in quick and scooped up the semi consciousness girl dragging her into
street. Cold steel pressed against the nape of her neck, her skin cold
she felt lost without her coffee. One more time she had a flash of life in
eyes and saw the colors in her minds eye blend into a picture that
of sleeping and she smiled.
"Hey!"The two terrorists turned around, black shrouds over
their heads, their black and gray army fatigues clinging to the darkness
them into shadowy outlines. "Hey!"The waitress with the
purple hair screamed again. She stood at the threshold of the diner. In a
of screaming that was not appreciated at all, bullets like lasers sliced
diner and the woman into a sick puzzle with no solution. The men turned
attention back to the girl, draped over the ground when they heard it
"Hey!"They turned and this time they saw the man in the
white robe. He had a bright red wound on his left shoulder and he was
the diner over his head. In a comical expression that could only be
well timed, he threw it straight and it arced slightly. It shattered the
man knocking him clear across the highway. He skidded far before he came
stop. The diner landed standing up on one side, length wise, but at an!
oblong angle casting a shadow over the girl and the man. They looked up at
it as it fell towards them.
The girl mouthed a silent ‘o' as the man yelled once again,
firing his machine gun up into the diner as it fell creating a perfect
of holes that shattered every window, that wasn't already shattered.
The diner still fell on him, crushing his body like a grape. The girl
tucked small and round, fit neatly into a window that had been shot out.
She giggled quietly as the diner was lifted once again. She
watched the man
in the robe carry it back and set it back on its foundation. Bodies
as he walked.
Later on the police would find the diner lopsided. A little frayed
like the girl, but pretty much operational. Most interesting though would
trail of blood the girl left as she skipped down the highway alone. At
appeared that she was swaying badly from the long arcs and loops in her
punctuation marks of bloods were she fell and rolled around a little. A
miles down there appeared to be serious back tracking and almost a
effort in the way she doubled back on her path. The police psychologist
suggested that she had no real direction, and was attracted to something
were not privy to or aware of. A few more miles later in her path appeared
actual words, fifty feet long that could only be understood from the
a helicopter. Hello, they read. Followed by a big smiley face and the
Careful - Stars above.
The Silent Pool: A Memory
She remembered being under glass. Separate, hidden, hiding,
falling…aaaaaah. You felt like that. Eating the colored pills like
they were the marshmallows in kid's cereals. Wary of questions and
comfortable chairs she destroyed some memories; things she knew were
She came, she went. She came and went, daring to be in two places
at once. A
trick she wasn't that good at. The future held up like plaster of
Paris in her mind, and she could see it sculpted like a rounded snake,
Chinese dragon, looping around, but not chasing it's tail. Little legs
and fires everywhere.
Then the soft drifting of music came back again and she was on a
shore, adrift, she would say lost if she knew what that was.
"How do you feel?"Panic ensues, veins tighten and the
blood must hurry along, running faster, speeding for a heart, small,
Past imperfect like the tense, tension building, the room hot, hotter,
Filled with books and silence and paper. Paper, paper everywhere and
there to read. An unauthorized autobiography in yellow pads, in metal
in files, and in trash cans.
She took a deep breath and found a swirl of words, answers, fantasies,
misconceptions about life. They were floating in a pool, a placid lake,
crystalline and clear. She approached the shore to put her hand and scoop
some words. She reached for the word, "dead"and piranhas
jumped for her hand. She drew back in terror astounded. She edged back to
shore and looked in again and she saw them. Mean little frowns covered in
swimming around her words. She couldn't even get close to the ones she
wanted and dared not seek the ones she liked. Then she saw a pointed
the water, and more teeth snap in her face. She ran and a crocodile chased
around the shore quicker than she thought it could. She was forced to run
and it quickly gave up chase. Winded she sat away from the shore.
She needed something from that lake, dammit. Then she saw it. In the
word had been spilled out. She cautiously crept up to collect it. Then she
it, drinking at the other end of the lake. A brown bodied gazelle, its
massive tangle above its long head. It's eyes black and soothing.
It's legs parted, in a triangle, sipping at the waters carefully, eyes
pointed into the deep blue danger. She stuttered an ‘aw'
when the waves where once again parted again and the crocodile emerged and
clenched the gazelle's horns in it's jaws and dragged it
turning beneath the waves.
She cried out but her scream feel into the lake bringing to the surface
which skitted and hydroplaned easily across the surface of the water and
the little gapping holes of the lower case a's that fell from her
She ran back and looked to her collected word. 'Fine' was
all it said.
The horse speed down the highway at a ridiculous clip. It rounded
corners like a mad car, muscles traveling in a continuous sinew, as the
the road became a religion, the stars overhead a beacon, the horizon a
and the night was love itself. She passed cars and outran a police cruiser
that darkened stretch of midnight as they ran into oblivion.
The girl in the make shift pajamas bent her head back and felt the
brisk and unyielding, slide across her skin, a passionate embrace, the
stroked her hair, and calmed her nerves.
Eventually the highway gave way to an ocean, blue and lonely,
the memory of touch. She looked down at it and the horse aware of her
turned and jumped the guardrail. It slid down a rock bank and continued
it's dead run on the sand. The complexity of its motion was lost in
the simplicity of the ocean. The simple back and forth of the sea waves
the girl saw. Then as if on queue again, the moon burst forth from the
and the ocean swell reached up and caught the horse's hooves. The
horse snorted in defiance and ran on.
The angry moon surged forward and the ocean erupted in agony. It
the horse spilling cold water, and reaching for the girl. The horse would
turned back to the highway, but the highway was gone, left behind. Only a
wall, 60 feet high remained.
The horse unafraid turned blacker than it already was and ran on
gallop. The girl wrapped both her arms around the horse's neck and
held fast. Then an ocean wave, like a tsunami, blocked out the sky, and
kill them. It slammed the horse and rider completely. The water was cold
unfriendly and the girl was almost knocked off the horse.
The girl didn't like the ocean. She was never allowed to swim. She
didn't want to start now. She feared the consequence and the moon and
the cold. She passed a mermaid combing her hair on a rock and looked back
time to see an ocean wave pull her back in and saw her angry to have her
She wished she could have followed the mermaid but even she knew
Then she heard singing, beautiful and distant, and there they were.
covering the coral a quarter of mile offshore. The horse confused turned
plunged into the water and the girl held on aghast. Once when she was
she heard lies, but they never sounded as sweet as the voices trailing in
air around her. They followed a high C and watched it turn into an F and
back to an E, and the great throng sung in unison until the horse,
it's head and rider out of the water, made it into the center of the
choir of harpies. Then they all hit a different key with stunning accuracy
control. Their breasts and throats in constant swell as they're voices
permeated the sea.
The girl aware of danger, aware of harpies, aware of lies, aware
stupidity, wasn't surprised to see the ocean rise and the coral turn
into a row of jagged teeth, the harpies being nothing more than the hair
Finally the horse remembered somewhere important it had to be
tried to turn around and paddle back to shore. However, the undertow was
great and the creatures mouth to wide. It drank away the ocean in horrible
and chugs. Slowly the horse was pulled under water and the girl was left
surface alone. She began to slowly disappear into the water and was forced
grab onto one of the harpies. The harpy she held onto bent down and began
sing to her softly and she started to fall asleep. As each of her fingers
slipped away she was drawn into a maelstrom of water and music, then she
hands on her hips and lots of water in her throat. She saw the sky again
felt the ocean pass away. The music turned to screaming, shrill and
The sea rose six feet and projected a thousand sea urchins into the sky.
poisonous spike came down hard clinging to the sand or the rocks or the
the girl lay coughing under.
Out in the sea she saw the mouth close as it thrashed around and then
harpies disappear beneath the waves, she wondered where the moon was, and
she saw a face directly in front of hers. She felt a hand against her
and saw the mermaid smile. Her eyes drifted towards her chest and she was
on the shore awhile caught in a blushing stare with a topless mermaid.
Seemingly safe and sound at last the ocean broke again once more
harpies reemerged. They were singing something dramatic that was arranged
well. The mermaid not used to being in perpetual danger panicked. The girl
the make shift pajamas recognized something that sounded somewhat like,
‘The Carmina Burana' but more evil. The mouth emerged again
and since it was unable to suck the escapee under water it just bite down
against the shore and swallowed a piece of the beach. It continued
it's mayhem on the sand and every time it's great head
lowered the harpies would reach out and try grab the girl or the mermaid
so they had to fight them off in turn to keep from being dragged back into
sea. "Girl…"One of the harpies said as she was
lowered. "You may as well go quietly."Another one would
continue when they were lowered again. "You're going to die
anyway."Again, another one!
would speak. "Like lemmings
you all come to us."Each time they were lowered the harpies reach was
higher and closer and the girl had to back up along the beach and pull the
mermaid with her to keep them from being pulled away.
"Have you ever seen lemmings?"the girl asked the
harpies as they were being lifted away again.
Another answered, "Yes."
"Really?"The girl perked up.
There was cackling among the harpies that had an odd resonant
there were so many of them and they were being lifted up and down and back
forth in a swinging arc of sound. They all cleared their throats in unison
the duo found themselves pressed against the rock wall while the harpies
to sing a continuous note that grew in sound and intensity that was
by the hammering of the great coral mouth eating the beach. The note rose
the night sky as the beach disappeared around them quickly to the tempo of
Then another noise was heard. An unnatural inaudible whisper, that
far and made the harpies smile and exchange looks with each other, their
beaming with pride. The mermaid became even more afraid and said something
that only sounded like clicking and dolphin noises. The girl in the
pajamas pulled the mermaid towards her and made similar noises and clicked
times for good measure. The mermaid calmed down unsure of what just
Then the inaudible whisper became a wave of sound, soft, and
feet up on the cliff top millions of lemmings poured from the top of the
like sand falling in an hour glass. They covered the sand and the sea and
harpies. The ugly coral mouth dropped four hundred and seventy two hours
of sand as it mouthed a silent ‘o' that ended up being
filled to the brim with lemmings. The harpies surprised at their
proximity to the rodents went spastic and screamed like girls when girls
attacked by a sea of rodents. The rock mouth tried to spit out the
there were too many. The creature retreated back into the water and the
"Suicide is never pretty."The girl in the make shift
pajama's said as she got up. Then she repeated it again so the mermaid
could understand. The mermaid laughed, still confused, and unsure of where
strange girl learned how to speak mermaid.
The girl dragged her away from the stream of lemmings and onto a
part of the
shore that was still intact. They chatted for awhile sharing experiences
watching the stars in the sky and the lemmings run into the sea.
"Never trust the ocean,"the mermaid told the girl.
"It's not as innocent as it looks.”
"Just like lemmings, harpies, and topless mermaids?"
The mermaid smiled, "And girls in makeshift pajama's
The girl blushed.
The girl in the black makeshift pajamas was dreaming again. She
she was on the edge of a cliff and the sky was turning colors as if the
just set. First to yellow, then red, then crimson, then purple, then black
followed by rain. It wasn't rain though. It was night. It was more
liquid night. As the night fell words came falling out of the sky with it.
The girl in the black make shift pajamas woke up to loud ringing
flashing red light. It bothered her more than anything. She heard
sounded like a struggle and then gunfire and lots and lots of screaming.
she sat up and looked she saw the door to the cell was open and the guy
in there with her was gone.
She crept slowly to the door and looked out only to find the two
dead. One face down, the other face up. Both shot. Their guns had been
There was a constant flashing light and then she saw a video
camera in the
corner of the room. It was looking the other way so she ran to avoid it.
for a door as it opened and another guard entered. She was knocked
the door and landed an, "oof."She bounced on her butt
across the floor.
The guard entered the room, "Hey!"he said confused. The
camera in the corner slowly panned back over, passing over the girl on the
it focused on the guard. It zoomed in and then a warning warming noise of
machine getting ready to do something nasty was heard. They both turned to
at the camera and then in a flash of light a red hot laser flashed,
guards face off and exiting through the back of his head. As he fell his
was split in half by the continuous beam of light.
The girl scrambled on all fours and ran out the door. The camera
panned across the room again. She made her way down the hallway and could
screaming. She could hear stomping through a wooden door with a frosted
window covering. She walked up to get a closer listen and saw the outline
hand, covered in blood slapping against the glass. She heard a garbled
if the man was drowning in his own blood and she ran quickly down the
As she reached the intersection in the hallway the door was blown
splintered against the wall. She saw something, a person, sparsely dressed
barefoot, exit the room and run down the hall the opposite way.
She stood in the intersection of the hallway trying to get a
when she saw a team of men running from the far end of an intersecting
They were coming towards her and she could see the walls turning and
places. She saw men fall and blood splatter although they were to far away
see what was exactly happening.
As she stared harder she saw, the hallway was transforming itself
valley of spikes. A giant lacerating spike would eject from the floor, or
cileing, or the wall and slice off someone's hand, or pin a
mercenary's foot to the ground, or rip someone's ear or
cheek off. She saw a spike enter one of the man's foot, saw him hunch
over, and saw a second spike come from a bottom section of the hallway
pierce his jugular. He sat crippled and bleeding from the wound in his
while his friends ran away. Then a volley of a dozen spikes, each one as
a dime, and longer than Eliot exploded down from the ceiling, at all kinds
impossible angles, tearing through him like a voodoo doll.
Great circular saws began to elevate themselves from the ground
running men in half. Then all of a sudden more thin spikes would
oblong angles the length of the hallway as the men ran. Some were nicked,
got off with stab wounds, others were left pined in running positions,
in their own red blood like puppets on a sick boys shelf.
The girl having seen enough ran down the other hallway. She kept
straight and she saw a video camera and rolled beneath its gaze. She kept
running when the hallway opened up and she saw the heads of tiny
spikes appear out of the wall as if they just melted out of the metal.
She screamed as she ran. The hallway ripping after her in a frenzy
surgical steel. It was like a great stiff octopus jabbing its tentacles at
She screamed and fell as the ceiling spikes came down landing between her
and next to her neck. She cut herself getting up and extricating herself
the metal tangle that never stopped moving. She crawled down the hallway
circular saws emerged overhead coming down from the cileings and out from
walls. She would have been seriously hurt if she had been standing up.
She screamed as she lay on the ground. Overhead she heard the
buzzing of the
rotating saws and then she heard a scream. "Hey!"She looked
up and saw the guy from the cell, Richards. He tossed the rope down the
and she grabbed it. He pulled the rope down the length of the hallway and
held on screaming as the hallway came at her from all sides. He pulled her
quickly across the floor and the walls and the ceiling opened up around
ejecting spikes like cobras, like needles, like bullets.
She reached the end with tiny nicks and some bad cuts.
"You should go back to the cell and stay there. This place is
going to kill us all. I was afraid of this. Come on."She followed
behind him. As he spoke more mercenaries appeared in front of them. He
into a room and pulled the girl in behind him.
"They're running from something,"The girl who
knew danger said. They turned to see a giant mechanized scorpion. It
like a spider, moving it's legs in bizarre pattern of unison, and
swinging its metal stinger above it's head.
Richardson pointed his gun and unloaded. Wave after wave of bullet
against the creature's frame. He managed to shoot out one of its eyes.
It started to duck, bowing all its legs and pulling back. Before it was
destroyed it ran back down the hallway and around the corner from whence