THERE'S SOMETHING AMISS ABOUT THIS PLACE

I was in a “DINER” – it was like an Ed Hopper painting.

I’m English and we call them a cafeteria. But this has one of those truck-stop American vibes that you see in the movies (hell, I’d never even been to America) and everybody has trans-Atlantic accents. I hear the mumbled chat.

The bikers were piling in, the waitresses chewed gum, the truckers wore those targeted T-Shirts that said how badass they are.

I thought I was just turning off an A-Road from London and here I am in a diner in what felt like the middle of nowhere. The interior was lit with blinding artificial light and the outside was wrapped up in a fierce darkness.

‘What can I get you ‘hun?’ The waitress said.

There I was pulling into a local eatery in my BMW and now I’m in one of those Twin Peak diners.

There’s something amiss about this place.

‘Do you have a menu?’ I ask.

She slaps one down on the table. She leans close into me. I feel the heat from her breath warm my entire body.

Why am I so cold?

‘Where am I?” I ask.

‘What do you mean?’ The waitress says.

‘What is this place?’ I ask.

‘Truck stop.’ The waitress says.

What was the last thing I remember before pulling in here?

I was tired. I was really really tired. I hadn’t slept all night. I worked an eighteen-hour shift and had to get back home first thing in the morning and see my wife. I was so tired in fact that I just had to pull over and get a cup of coffee...

Why can’t I remember anything else?

‘There’s something amiss about this place.’ I said.

‘And why would that be ‘hun?’ The waitress says, ‘you gonna order or waste my time?’

I look up at the waitress and the folds of her skin were peeled back revealing a fleshy black mesh of skin, bone and gore. The opening folds of her head spray me with flecks of blood.

The menu falls onto my lap….

PURGATORY DINING.

‘Finish up here and I’ll get you your meeting with Peter… C’mon hurry up.’ The waitress said.

A heavyset biker stands at the exit greeting patrons through the door. He was like a bouncer at a nightclub. He had a clipboard in his hands – marking his sheet with a pencil.

‘Is that Peter?’ I ask.

The waitress nods.

It all came back to me now. I was in my car and the fatigue was suffocating – I was fighting it off. My foot somehow stayed on the accelerator as my eyes fell… slowly… slowly… to sleep.

My eyes opened and I saw the carnage and chaos sprayed out across the road before they dimmed shut again. The last words I heard:

“HE’S DOA BOYS…”

‘Do you think I’ll get in.’ I ask her pleadingly.

‘Well, that depends on you don’t it.’ She says.



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