For those looking to catch up:
1:6 Hell in a Diner
Mrs. B stared at him as if she wasn’t the ghostly specter of a woman that once was, impatiently tapping her pen on the order pad.
Chad could do nothing but stare back at her blankly.
“Just the coffee then for now?” she asked, weetly.
“Pardon,” started Chad, unsure of what to say, “but aren’t you dead?” Saying the words sent a fresh chill rushing down his spine. He desperately wished the diner hadn’t lost its liquor license years ago.
“Oh, straight to the point then, eh?” Mrs. B brushed herself off as if to look more presentable and sat down opposite him. There was no sound as she did so. An eerie, muffled silence had set over the diner, making it feel like something out of a dream.
Chad continued to stare, unsure of how to process the image before him. Does no one else see the dead woman sitting across from me? He looked around the diner and found that there was no one else there to notice.
“Oh, don’t worry about that,” chimed Mrs. B politely. “We’re sort of in a frozen state right now. They can’t see us, and we can’t see them. I’ll pop you back proper when we’ve finished our talk.”
Chad’s head thrummed with the psychotic beat of his hangover. “Alright then,” he managed, wincing from pain, “but can I at least get a cup of coffee?”
“I think I that can be arranged.” She held out her hand in the direction of the coffee pot and it came zooming over to them.
“Right, if being dead means you get Jedi powers, I’m about to kill myself.”
“Don’t be silly,” she chided, pouring him a cup of the steaming hot liquid. “I’ve only got them on loan for the day. Higher beings decided they might come in handy, and they weren’t sure you’d be so receptive to the idea.”
“Receptive to what?” he blurted. “Dead women coming back to serve me breakfast?”
Mrs. B made an impatient clucking sound with her tongue. “No dearie, with the impending apocalypse and all.”
Chad froze in his chair. No way. There’s no way. “Apocalyp…”
Mrs. B cut him off, growing annoyed and checking the clock. “Yes Chad, now sober up and pay attention.” She pushed the cup of coffee toward him. “You’ll recall your meeting with the horseman last night, correct?”
“Well I was pretty far down the bottle…”
“Jesus Christ, the Devil sure knows how to pick them. Why oh why did it have to be you?” She sighed.
“Hey, I didn’t come here to get berated by the recently deceased for my life choices, poor as they may be.”
“No, you came here to fill your body with enough grease to sop up one of a thousand hangovers that was to be the rest of your life. Sound about right?” She raised an eyebrow.
“Right, well you’ve been given a chance to deviate from that path. How much do you remember of the horseman?”
Chad strained his mind, and saw flashing images of a molten lake of fire, and a pretentious equestrian in a polo shirt. “I remember he looked like a bit of a prick.”
Mrs. B rolled her eyes. “Well of course he was a bit of a prick. Being a herald of the apocalypse isn’t a job for a good Samaritan.”
“Fair point,” admitted Chad, and drank greedily from the coffee he had almost forgotten. The liquid cascaded down his throat and the tension behind his eyes began to ease.
“Now, I’ll explain this to you one time, and one time only.” Mrs. B looked at the clock again, nervously. “I don’t have much time. When the apocalypse comes, the horsemen are required to pick one mortal to pass the knowledge on to. This is supposed to be indicative of fair play between the regions beyond. So, to make it easy on themselves, they picked you, no offense.”
“Some taken,” muttered Chad.
“You’re going to have to show them that was a mistake,” she continued.
At the far end of the diner, Chad noticed a small crack beginning to open on the floor. Just your mind playing tricks on you, he thought. It wouldn’t be the first time a hangover had taken a turn for the hallucinogenic.
“But why…” Chad trailed off. The crack in the floor had continued to grow, and red light was streaming out of it.
Mrs. B turned to look behind her. “Oh shit. It looks like we have less time than I thought.”
The crack ripped open and fire spewed to the top of the diner.
“What in the holy hell is that?” exclaimed Chad, jumping onto the vinyl seat as if the floor were lava.
“Well, it’s Hell of course,” she spat. “They’re coming to take me back dearie.”
A massive, clawed hand reached out of the floor. Chad’s mouth dropped open.
“Ok, listen to me Chad. You need to find Nick Ventner. There’s no time to explain, just do it.”
“Mrs. B!” Chad yelled. “Look out behind you!” His heart thumped wildly in his chest and his senses cleared, forgetting the hangover that had dulled them moments earlier.
A black demon with massive, curling horns jumped out of the hole and onto the quickly crumbling tile floor. It’s eyes glowed red with hellfire and it expelled smoke with each heavy snort it made. “Mrs. B, pleasure to see you,” it grumbled, in a deep British accent. It cocked its head to one side and lunged forward.
“This is going to hurt,” moaned Mrs. B.
With one swift strike, the demon plunged its massive claw through her back, and out the front of her chest, spraying the diner with black, congealed blood.
“Holy shit!” Chad screamed.
“Don’t fuck this up,” whispered Mrs. B, and then fell limp.
“See you soon, Chad,” chuckled the demon, and then with the grace of an Olympic diver, twisted through the air diving back through the hole in the floor.
All at once, sound rushed back into the diner, and people popped up in every booth around him. Chad stood on the vinyl seat, mouth hanging open, clutching a breakfast menu. The blood was gone from his shirt, and there was no sign of the massive hell portal in the tiled floor.
“The usual, Chad?” asked a man standing just by his side.
Chad jumped, and slid into the corner of the booth.
“Jesus man, you alright?” the voice asked.
Chad turned to see George, holding an ordering pad, looking concerned, and expectant. “S-sorry,” Chad stammered.
“Another wild night?” George laughed.
“Yeah,” Chad said. “Something like that.” His stomach rumbled impatiently. “I think I’ll have the eggs benedict…”