Diner in the Darkness

On a lonely stretch of night by a highway hidden from all natural laws, a diner simply was. All the waitresses there were mad with age. They had worked there since it opened, though none of them really knew when that was. Naturally, 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 hair, 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. She sat at a different table and another waitress had to bring her her coffee. She took her spoon and balanced it on the surface of the coffee and watched it float in wonder. A trick she had seen once, but barely could remember where. She wondered 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 robe on, 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 soft blue glow seemed to emanate from his person, and once when he sneezed the entire dinner shook.
"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 needed to study it longer and be more at peace with her inner sanctum. The waitress 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 back.

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 dinner and working a curved path quickly to the right. Loud explosions and flashes of light intermingled with screams and pieces of night. Bullets shattered glasses and punctured pies and cake specials. Milk and blood hit the floor in equal proportions. The man at the end of the diner continued sitting casually over his coffee. Gunshots bloomed like roses as the parking lot was lit up a thousand times over.
The front door was kicked in and two men ran in, brandishing firearms. They ran in quick and scooped up the semi consciousness girl dragging her into the street. Cold steel pressed against the nape of her neck, her skin cold again, she felt lost without her coffee. One more time she had a flash of life in her eyes and saw the colors in her minds eye blend into a picture that reminded her 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 turning them into shadowy outlines. "Hey!"The waitress with the purple hair screamed again. She stood at the threshold of the diner. In a frenzy of screaming that was not appreciated at all, bullets like lasers sliced the diner and the woman into a sick puzzle with no solution. The men turned their attention back to the girl, draped over the ground when they heard it again. "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 holding the diner over his head. In a comical expression that could only be considered well timed, he threw it straight and it arced slightly. It shattered the first man knocking him clear across the highway. He skidded far before he came to a 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 beeline 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 however, 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 falling out as he walked.
Later on the police would find the diner lopsided. A little frayed and torn, like the girl, but pretty much operational. Most interesting though would be the trail of blood the girl left as she skipped down the highway alone. At first it appeared that she was swaying badly from the long arcs and loops in her path, punctuation marks of bloods were she fell and rolled around a little. A few miles down there appeared to be serious back tracking and almost a consciousness 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 they 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 vantage of a helicopter. Hello, they read. Followed by a big smiley face and the words: Careful - Stars above.

The Silent Pool: A Memory

She remembered being under glass. Separate, hidden, hiding, sliding, 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 better left behind.
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, like a 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 distant 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, imperfect. Past imperfect like the tense, tension building, the room hot, hotter, hottest. Filled with books and silence and paper. Paper, paper everywhere and nothing there to read. An unauthorized autobiography in yellow pads, in metal drawers, in files, and in trash cans.
She took a deep breath and found a swirl of words, answers, fantasies, and 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 up some words. She reached for the word, "dead"and piranhas jumped for her hand. She drew back in terror astounded. She edged back to the shore and looked in again and she saw them. Mean little frowns covered in teeth, 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 snout, cut the water, and more teeth snap in her face. She ran and a crocodile chased her around the shore quicker than she thought it could. She was forced to run away 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 attack a word had been spilled out. She cautiously crept up to collect it. Then she saw it, drinking at the other end of the lake. A brown bodied gazelle, its horns a 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 snakes which skitted and hydroplaned easily across the surface of the water and through the little gapping holes of the lower case a's that fell from her lips. She ran back and looked to her collected word. 'Fine' was all it said.

Lemming Song

The horse speed down the highway at a ridiculous clip. It rounded curves and corners like a mad car, muscles traveling in a continuous sinew, as the sway of the road became a religion, the stars overhead a beacon, the horizon a passion, and the night was love itself. She passed cars and outran a police cruiser on that darkened stretch of midnight as they ran into oblivion.
The girl in the make shift pajamas bent her head back and felt the air, brisk and unyielding, slide across her skin, a passionate embrace, the wind stroked her hair, and calmed her nerves.
Eventually the highway gave way to an ocean, blue and lonely, longing for the memory of touch. She looked down at it and the horse aware of her thoughts 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 was all the girl saw. Then as if on queue again, the moon burst forth from the clouds, 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 lunged for the horse spilling cold water, and reaching for the girl. The horse would have turned back to the highway, but the highway was gone, left behind. Only a rock wall, 60 feet high remained.
The horse unafraid turned blacker than it already was and ran on at full 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 tried to kill them. It slammed the horse and rider completely. The water was cold and 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 in time to see an ocean wave pull her back in and saw her angry to have her hair wet again.
She wished she could have followed the mermaid but even she knew better. Then she heard singing, beautiful and distant, and there they were. Harpies covering the coral a quarter of mile offshore. The horse confused turned and plunged into the water and the girl held on aghast. Once when she was younger she heard lies, but they never sounded as sweet as the voices trailing in the air around her. They followed a high C and watched it turn into an F and fall back to an E, and the great throng sung in unison until the horse, swimming with 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 and 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 of 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 of a fiercer animal.
Finally the horse remembered somewhere important it had to be suddenly and tried to turn around and paddle back to shore. However, the undertow was too great and the creatures mouth to wide. It drank away the ocean in horrible gulps and chugs. Slowly the horse was pulled under water and the girl was left on the surface alone. She began to slowly disappear into the water and was forced to grab onto one of the harpies. The harpy she held onto bent down and began to 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 felt hands on her hips and lots of water in her throat. She saw the sky again and felt the ocean pass away. The music turned to screaming, shrill and inhumane. The sea rose six feet and projected a thousand sea urchins into the sky. Each poisonous spike came down hard clinging to the sand or the rocks or the trees the girl lay coughing under.
Out in the sea she saw the mouth close as it thrashed around and then the harpies disappear beneath the waves, she wondered where the moon was, and then she saw a face directly in front of hers. She felt a hand against her forehead and saw the mermaid smile. Her eyes drifted towards her chest and she was lost 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 and the harpies reemerged. They were singing something dramatic that was arranged very well. The mermaid not used to being in perpetual danger panicked. The girl in 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 hard 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 or both so they had to fight them off in turn to keep from being dragged back into the 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 quality since there were so many of them and they were being lifted up and down and back and forth in a swinging arc of sound. They all cleared their throats in unison and the duo found themselves pressed against the rock wall while the harpies started to sing a continuous note that grew in sound and intensity that was punctuated by the hammering of the great coral mouth eating the beach. The note rose into the night sky as the beach disappeared around them quickly to the tempo of the song.
Then another noise was heard. An unnatural inaudible whisper, that ranged far and made the harpies smile and exchange looks with each other, their faces beaming with pride. The mermaid became even more afraid and said something cute that only sounded like clicking and dolphin noises. The girl in the makeshift pajamas pulled the mermaid towards her and made similar noises and clicked a few times for good measure. The mermaid calmed down unsure of what just happened.
Then the inaudible whisper became a wave of sound, soft, and squeaky. Sixty feet up on the cliff top millions of lemmings poured from the top of the cliff like sand falling in an hour glass. They covered the sand and the sea and the harpies. The ugly coral mouth dropped four hundred and seventy two hours worth of sand as it mouthed a silent ‘o' that ended up being filled to the brim with lemmings. The harpies surprised at their ultra-close proximity to the rodents went spastic and screamed like girls when girls are attacked by a sea of rodents. The rock mouth tried to spit out the lemmings, but there were too many. The creature retreated back into the water and the lemmings followed relentlessly.
"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 this 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 and 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 too.”
The girl blushed.

The Hallway

The girl in the black makeshift pajamas was dreaming again. She dreamed that she was on the edge of a cliff and the sky was turning colors as if the sun had 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 and a flashing red light. It bothered her more than anything. She heard something that sounded like a struggle and then gunfire and lots and lots of screaming. When she sat up and looked she saw the door to the cell was open and the guy that was in there with her was gone.
She crept slowly to the door and looked out only to find the two guards dead. One face down, the other face up. Both shot. Their guns had been taken.
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. She ran for a door as it opened and another guard entered. She was knocked backwards by 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 floor it focused on the guard. It zoomed in and then a warning warming noise of a machine getting ready to do something nasty was heard. They both turned to look at the camera and then in a flash of light a red hot laser flashed, melting the guards face off and exiting through the back of his head. As he fell his face was split in half by the continuous beam of light.
The girl scrambled on all fours and ran out the door. The camera now silent panned across the room again. She made her way down the hallway and could hear screaming. She could hear stomping through a wooden door with a frosted glass window covering. She walked up to get a closer listen and saw the outline of a hand, covered in blood slapping against the glass. She heard a garbled scream as if the man was drowning in his own blood and she ran quickly down the hallway.
As she reached the intersection in the hallway the door was blown out and splintered against the wall. She saw something, a person, sparsely dressed and barefoot, exit the room and run down the hall the opposite way.
She stood in the intersection of the hallway trying to get a better look when she saw a team of men running from the far end of an intersecting hallway. They were coming towards her and she could see the walls turning and opening in places. She saw men fall and blood splatter although they were to far away to see what was exactly happening.
As she stared harder she saw, the hallway was transforming itself into a valley of spikes. A giant lacerating spike would eject from the floor, or the 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 wall and pierce his jugular. He sat crippled and bleeding from the wound in his throat while his friends ran away. Then a volley of a dozen spikes, each one as wide as a dime, and longer than Eliot exploded down from the ceiling, at all kinds of impossible angles, tearing through him like a voodoo doll.
Great circular saws began to elevate themselves from the ground and tear running men in half. Then all of a sudden more thin spikes would crisscross at oblong angles the length of the hallway as the men ran. Some were nicked, some got off with stab wounds, others were left pined in running positions, soaking in their own red blood like puppets on a sick boys shelf.
The girl having seen enough ran down the other hallway. She kept running 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 protruding 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 of surgical steel. It was like a great stiff octopus jabbing its tentacles at her. She screamed and fell as the ceiling spikes came down landing between her legs and next to her neck. She cut herself getting up and extricating herself from the metal tangle that never stopped moving. She crawled down the hallway and circular saws emerged overhead coming down from the cileings and out from the 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 hallway and she grabbed it. He pulled the rope down the length of the hallway and she 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 her, 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 ducked 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 crawled 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 exploding 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 it came.