Tonight hasn’t been so bad. I mean, you had good days and bad days, right? Sundays were usually quiet around here, but Small Town wasn’t so bad.
The regulars were kind and generous with their tips, and even my boss Robbie wasn’t so bad. He was a little on the lazy side and stared a little too long at my backside, but he always paid on time and always allowed me to take any leftover food home with me after a shift.
All in all, my job was…tolerable.
I looked up at the old round clock hanging up on the wall and sighed in contempt.
Only half an hour to go.
I stared at the last customer of the night and prayed silently that he was close to finishing his meal. I grabbed the coffee pot, walked with a forced smile and approached the customer.
“More coffee, sir?” I pleaded with my eyes in the hope that he would say no.
“No thank you, my dear.” He said as he stood from the table.
I hid my smile and contained my joy.
I could go home early.
I helped the customer put on his coat and grabbed his umbrella from underneath the table. He handed me a ten-pound note and walked out the door without another word. I stashed the money in the till and turned off the lights in the diner.
I headed towards the back of the diner where the kitchen was; it was only myself and Terry left. He was looking at the schedule that hung up on the office wall with a look of dread on his face. Terry sighed loudly when he looked at the dates he was working. Terry had worked at the diner for over thirty years and not once had he had a day off. He was the only good chef around Small Town and without him…well, let’s just say I wouldn’t have a job as a waitress.
Terry’s hair was starting to grey, but he sure as hell could cook the most delicious food I ever had the pleasure of tasting. I particularly loved his steak.
“Hey Terry, the last customer just left. Do you want me to lock up the diner for you?” I asked.
Terry waved at me but didn’t look away from the schedule. “I’ll lock up the front but could you do me a favour before you leave, dear?”
Before I could respond to say anything, Terry gathered six plastic bags full of trash, and dropped them at my feet.
“You want me to take these out to the dumpster?” I asked as I gathered all six bags, three in each hand, and looked up at Terry with a raised brow.
“Please, I would really appreciate it.” He grabbed his jacket, waved, and left me alone.
I stared at the swinging door dumbfounded and shook my head.
I was all alone.
With the bags still in my hands, I left through the back and walked towards the dumpster. I scoffed when I immediately got drenched by the rain.
Great. Thanks, Terry. Thanks a bunch.
I pushed open the top of the dumpster, and grabbed the first two bags to throw in when from the darkness behind me, I heard the faint unmistakable sound of growling. I froze, wondering if that was just my imagination playing tricks on me. Terrified, I clutched the bags close and turned around, holding the bags as one would a sword, ready to strike out.
I turned slowly, and as I opened my eyes, I saw the source of the growling, as standing not two metres away from me was the largest wolf I had ever seen.
I whimpered in fright, and slowly started to retreat backwards, dropping my makeshift weapon as I went. I felt my back touch the dumpster, and realised there was nowhere for me to go. Shaking with fear, I closed my eyes, praying the wolf didn’t see me as a threat or worse, a meal.
“Please don’t hurt me.” I whispered repeatedly to myself.
I opened my eyes and wished that I hadn’t.
Its eyes will haunt me for as long as I live. The eyes were blood red, filled with pure hatred towards me.
A dull shade of grey covered its whole body with big chunks of its fur missing, like it had been ripped off. The wolf had scars everywhere on its body.
How had it managed to survive this long?
I did the only thing I could think of. I knelt down on the wet ground with my head bowed down in the hope it was a sign of submission. The wolf howled into the night and lunged at me. I screamed as it tackled me but soon ran into the bushes and out of sight. I looked in the direction the wolf had run and started laughing hysterically.
What the fuck....?
I shook my head and picked myself off the floor; my uniform was completely ruined. I checked myself over, and that was when I noticed on my right shoulder that my clothing had been torn apart.
Why does my shoulder hurt so much?
It looked as though something had taken a chunk out of my shirt.
“Ouch!” I winced, and as I touched my shoulder, I saw red liquid coating the skin on my hand.
Blood! Did it bite me!?
I looked around, trying to figure out whether that really happened.
Shaken, I chucked the last few bags into the dumpster, grabbed my bag, locked up and headed home.
As I walked home in the dark, the rain no longer pouring, I looked up into the night sky, and noticed the full moon.
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