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Rated: 18+ · Novel · Horror/Scary · #1016079
Weighing their options, Marty & Annette are faced with violence and death.
The Dark One Cometh Chapter 6

Steak Dinner With a Side Order of Mayhem


Marty catches the attention of a waitress passing their table, “Miss can you please wrap our leftovers and give us the check?”

She digs into her smock producing a small booklet, rips out a copy of the bill for their meal, placing it on the table with some mints on top. She reaches over grabbing both of their plates, “I will be right back with your take out bags,” and abruptly turns heading towards the swinging double doors.

Marty cups his hand over his mouth whispering to Annette, “I think she will be glad to see us leave.” He flips the bill over to view the damage, and after looking, he turns it so that Annette can see.

She gasps, widening her eyes, “Thirty four dollars?” “Wow, and that is before the tip.”

He chuckles coyly, “Nah ahh, only seventeen dollars if you take off your half; plus tip of course.”

She throws her rolled up napkin, hitting him in the face, “It didn’t take you long to get back to yourself.”

The waitress appears a short time later, handing them their bagged leftovers. “Have a nice day.”
Marty suspects he does not have enough cash, “Do you take credit cards?”

She points towards the cashier in the middle of the diner, “Just take your bill to her.” She bends closer, “You can tell her the additional amount for the tip, and she can add that to your balance.”

Marty offers her an affirmation nod; he knew a tip hint could not be far off. “Actually I was going to leave your tip in cash here on the table.”

“Oh whichever way you choose will be fine,” her final stab at cordiality as she walks away.

Annette reaches for his hand pulling his attention from the exiting waitress. Honey, please think over what we were discussing earlier." She rushes to speak before he can cut her off. “Your choking may have been the sign you were looking for, it was pretty ironic how you started right as you were speaking of God giving you a clear sign to act. She tugs him close, do you agree?”

Marty rolls his eyes, feeling annoyed, “All right Annette! His voice lowers indicating his agitation. This conversation ends here, I have had enough for one day.” He slides out of the booth. “I need to put this to rest.”

A booming male voice erupts from the front of the diner, “Listen up!” Two masked gunmen, one of medium height and stocky build holding a shotgun, the other tall and slender holds a handgun. They storm in through the entrance of the diner pointing their weapons at the patrons and workers.

Marty turns to Annette who looks very stunned. “What the hell is going on?”

The masked man with the handgun commands, “Everyone, face forward and keep your hands on top of the tables where I can see them and no one gets hurt!” He motions to the other gunman, “You go and round up all the fucking crew from the back, let’s go hustle, hustle, hustle!”

His accomplice burst through the swinging doors, the sounds of people being herded, ordered, rushed against their will fills the air. Every ear listens, and all flinch simultaneously, heaving a gasp of alarm as a single muffled gunshot resonates from behind the doors followed by the double click of his shot gun being re-pumped. Stifled screams and the voice of the thug commanding them out towards the main section of the diner fill the air.

*****


The employees in the kitchen are all busy at some task as the gunman rushes in. His presence does not immediately catch all their attention. A man wearing a stained apron is about to redirect the gunman back to the customer area, but stops, taking notice to the gun and, backs away. The robber moves into the kitchen, and some female workers begin gasping and herding together.

Two young men working at a sink and dish conveyer, are too preoccupied with clowning around, laughing and spraying water at each other, to notice what is happening, even as the robber rushes towards them.

The teen spraying water at his blond coworker notices the masked gun-wielding goon approaching. He freezes, his eyes widen in disbelief, panic washes over him.

The blond dishwasher holds a large knife he is about to load into a basket full of utensils on the conveyor. He looks over his shoulder in the direction his friend is staring. “What’s up?” He is taken by surprise and turns to face the approaching robber.

The masked man believes the knife will be used in an act of bravado meant to ward him off.
He pulls the trigger, the gun recoils as shrapnel from both barrels rip into the young man’s abdomen. The force from the round sends the teen stumbling backwards onto the sink stacked with dishes. The knife flies from his grasp skidding to the foot of his attacker.

He grabs his stomach gawking in horror at the wound in disbelief; there is blood, but no pain. He tries to regain traction and reaches wildly for anything to help him up. He bangs the spray nozzle, which emits a spurt of hot water; steady enough to wet his hair and shirt. The impact of his body has broken several dishes, as he thrashes fragments bite deep gashes in his flesh. He rests grimacing as all the fresh wounds throb. A crimson trickle appears from his nostril streaming around his lips, dripping from his chin. A mixture of blood and water flows into the drain.

He gazes, glassy eyed at his coworker. “Todd, please help me up.” His gurgling voice pleads, as he reaches for help.

The robber moves through the cloud of blue smoke discharged from the gun, charging Todd just as he instinctively moves to aid Larry.

Before Todd could reach Larry the gunman is upon him, shoving so forcefully that he is knocked off balance, stumbling back a few steps.

The robber draws closer to the teen, “Unless you want to end up like your buddy here, he gestures in Larry’s direction, don’t try to be a hero.”

Todd resists, defiantly, feelings of helplessness and rage overcome him. Tears form in his eyes, he is about to charge as the gunman rushes him, pinning the lad by his throat against the wall with the stock of the gun. “Don’t even think of fucking with me boy! You got me?”

Todd struggles to alleviate the pressure of the gun pressing hard on his windpipe, “Yes” is all he can manage.

The gunman smiles revealing a set of rotting teeth, “I figured you would agree.” He releases his stronghold on the boy, shoving him towards his huddled co-workers. “Lets go, move it all of you!”

Larry struggles briefly, wincing as more dishes break beneath his weight. The final seconds of his earthly existence quickly passing.

“Todd?” He labors to look towards the commotion. “Todd, are you there?”

Todd hears his buddy, and looks over, but can’t help.

Larry struggles, reaching a weak hand in their direction.

“Todd? His breathing is labored. Todd? I’m so cold. Everything is getting dark.” His voice weakens to a whisper as the final moments expire. “Please don’t leave me here alone.” His body settles limp onto the dishes, his head leaning sideways, with eyes that become a distant stare, blood continues to stream from his nose as death swoops in to claim him. The sprayer stops discharging water upon his lifeless crumpled body.

The robber shoves Todd into the huddling mass, “Everyone out!”

They begin moving from the kitchen through the doors into the dining area.

*****


The blast sends a wave of panic through every occupant of the diner.

The gunman keeping guard of those in the dining area flinches at the sound of the blast. “Everyone stay right where you are, and remain calm.”

As the kitchen employees file through the entrance, the voice of their captor grows in intensity to those in the main dining area.

Annette is able to see what is going on through the little square windows in the doors at the entrance of the kitchen.

Marty nudges her leg with his foot from under the table, and whispers, “Don’t provoke them.”

Larry’s murderer grabs hold of Todd’s shoulder forcing him to turn, then yanks him close by grabbing a fistful of cloth from his chest. “When we get out there you are going to lie face down and keep your hands and feet spread where I can see them.” His voice rings vehemently, and his lips part displaying those darkly discolored teeth, “You got me, Todd?”

The gunman wants to provoke a confrontation as he presses his face very close to his frightened hostage. His vile hot breath reeks of alcohol; he is so close his words puff the young man’s hair. Wretched smelling spit shower from the goon’s mouth further adding to the degradation of the teenager.

The gunman presses the barrel of the shortened shotgun against the side of a young man’s neck, the freshly discharged weapon sizzles as it touches his perspiring skin. “You know, Todd…I could blow your fucking head off right now.”

Todd winces and squirms to escape the painful burn of the barrel, “Yes I understand.”

The gunman continues, “You don’t want to try to be a hero like your buddy, Larry back there, right?” He presses the barrel harder under Todd’s chin lifting him up a little further off the floor onto the balls of his feet.

Todd’s voice blurts out, sounding frightened and submissive, “No, no, sir you won’t get any trouble from me!”

The gunman yells, “Blam! Your dead!”, attempting to further brutalize the teen as he shoves the gun up causing his head to thump against the window.

“Good, Todd, that’s what I want to hear, I had a feeling you would be cooperative.” He smiles arrogantly, enjoying his new found power. He releases Todd, pointing gun towards the rest of the crowd. “That goes for all of you. Once we get you through these doors, you are to find a spot in the open, and lie face down keeping your hands and legs where I can see them.” The gunman positions himself so he can see if he is missing any stragglers, “If any of you fuck around with me, I’ll shoot you dead.”

The gunman motions for his captives to continue, “Now let’s take this nice and easy, no sudden moves, don’t do nothing stupid, and no one gets shot. If everyone cooperates, we will be gone in a little while, and you will never see us again.”

Todd exits swinging doors warily walking backwards with his hands in the air, once on the open floor of the diner he quickly lays down slightly spreading his hands and legs, submissively as commanded. Soon after the rest of the diner’s kitchen crew and wait staff were through the doors, and on the floor like they had been instructed.

The slender gunman that hung back in the main part of the diner rushes his accomplice as he emerges through the swinging doors, “What the fuck went on back there? I heard a shot.”
He looks his partner over noticing he is uninjured. What did you do?”

The stocky gunman with the shotgun points towards Todd. “A young jock kinda like this dick here, pulled a knife on me, and I shot him dead.”

The slender robber with the handgun is visibly upset. “We agreed there would be no bloodshed. We get in quick, get the cash and wallets, and get out. Now you’ve fucked everything up by killing someone. We could get the death sentence for this, you asshole!”

His hefty accomplice turns on him, grabbing him by the front of his jacket, screaming in his face “Shut the fuck up man!” “You knew there was a possibility someone could get killed doing this! We have to keep going according to our plan. Don’t worry about the dead jock! We can still rob the diner, get the purses, wallets, and jewelry, and get out quick. If we stay one step ahead of the law, there’s no problem.” He releases his partner, shoving him backward slightly.

The slender robber holding the handgun shakes his head in disgust, “At least they haven’t seen our faces.” He produces a sack from his coat pocket. “You really fucked up big time man.” He unrolls the sack, then flaps it in the air to open it fully and looks around addressing everyone in the dinger. “Listen carefully everyone, I am going to pass this sack around, I want you to surrender all of your jewelry and wallets and empty your purses into it. And don’t think of holding out because we are going to check each of you.” He points towards his accomplice, “It’s pretty obvious to see, you don’t want to mess with this guy.”

The robber with the shotgun yells, “Who’s in charge of this grease pit?”

An older man lying on the floor speaks up, “I own the restaurant.”

Both robbers approach the owner, heaving him to his knees. The hefty thug presses the barrel to his neck. “Do you want to be a brave man today?”

The owner’s voice cracks sounding desperate, “No, just take what ever it is you want and leave.”

They make him stand. The slender taller robber presses his revolver to the owner’s temple. “Open the register.”

The owner obeys popping the register drawer open then stands back placing his hands in the air. “There you are take it all.”

Both thieves reach greedily into the register pulling the entire cash drawer out and dumping it into the sack. After they pillage the register, the stocky assailant turns on the owner, pressing the shotgun into his belly. “Take me to your safe.”

The owner bluffs, “I don’t have anything else to take. I’m cleaned out.”

Both burglars stare at him, unconvinced. The dream of wrongful wealth gained, their aim.

The stocky criminal points the sawed off barrel in his face. “I’ll blow your fucking head off, pressing the squared barrel into the owner’s flesh.

Not wanting to be totally fleeced the owner tries to bluff, “What’s in the register is all the cash on the premises.”

The slender bandit leans close to the owner, “I think you are holding out on us.”

His hefty cohort shoves the barrel to the owner’s chin. “That’s not a good idea. You better cooperate, or someone’s gonna get hurt!”

The tension in the diner rises as patrons plead with the owner to cooperate. “A woman’s voice sounds over the others, “God dammit Clarence give them what they want before someone else gets hurt or killed.”

The hooligan with the shotgun grabs him dragging him to the woman who spoke up, “Yeah Clarence,” he sneers, “Give me what I want, or she’s gonna get hurt!”

She flinches pleading, “Oh God, Oh God,” as he rests the shotgun against the back of her head.

Clarence submissively tries to ease the gun from her. “Please stop! I’m sorry! The safe is in my office, you can take it all!” He thumbs over his shoulder. “No one else needs to get hurt. Just follow me and this is over.”

The slender gunman interjects, “I’ll go with him to empty the safe, and you stay out here to finish getting the rest of the valuables from everyone.”

The plump aggressive thug stops, obviously accustomed to taking orders from his partner, “Ok, you go, I’ll keep watch out here.”

The trim villain pokes his revolver into Clarence’s ribs, “Ok Mr. let’s get this over with.” They start making their way to the office when the robber stops him, “Hold up for a second Clarence.” He walks back over to the outspoken woman, Mam, what’s your name?”

“Isabelle.” She whimpers.

Wanting to keep the robbery on track, extends a hand urging the outspoken fifty something woman to stand. “Isabelle, I want you to come with us, to make sure Clarence will continue to cooperate.”

Clarence points with a shaky hand, an inevitable side effect of his advanced age, “My office is down that hall.”

As slender thug passes his cohort he whispers, “Try not to hurt anyone else.”

Clarence leads the way, heading towards the kitchen. The thin burglar has Isabelle by the elbow, and urges her to follow. The owner parts the swinging doors, and the three exit the dining area.

Once through the doors they see Larry’s crumpled corpse; blood still coursing from his nose. Clarence stops.

Isabelle reacts with a hushed, “Oh my God Clarence, Larry’s dead!” Then breathes heavily, as if about to mourn.

A Clarence motions towards Larry’s remains, then reaches back for Isabelle’s hand. “I want you to be fully aware that your quest for easy cash has done more than loot my diner. You’ve robbed this bright, funny, respectable young man of his future.”

Clarence spins around to face his captor, “Why? I have to know why you are doing this. What could be so important? Can a quick fix, or easy cash be worth the price you are going to pay?”

The slender bandit pulls Isabelle close, pointing the revolver to her temple. “Listen up old man. I just want out. So let’s get this over with.”

She whimpers, feeling the cold steel pressed into her skull. “Please, Clarence please. Give him what he wants.”

Clarence backs off. “Whoa, there is no need for anyone else to get hurt. Please, stop pointing the gun her way. I will not give you any more trouble. My office is right over there.” He motions to a door a little way from them, “Follow me.”

Clarence reaches into his pocket and the robber voice booms in panic, “Keep your hands where I can seem them.”

He complies, “The door is locked and I have to get the keys from my pocket.”

The robber is fidgety, and releases Isabelle, “I’ll get them.” He probes the owner’s jacket pocket, pulling out a ring with numerous keys. He hands them to Clarence, “I can’t take any chances.”

Clarence struggles to steady the tremor, then unlocks the office door and flips the light switch and sits at his desk. He sits, and rolls the office chair to the safe, “It takes me a little while to get the combination.”

The robber motions for Isabelle to enter the office, and she sits in a chair close to her husband.

His anxiety grows with each passing second, “Come on old man, pick up the pace!” He commands diverting his attention back and forth from the office to the kitchen entrance. He sees his accomplice through the windows moving around the dining area.

Noise in the office draws his attention; Clarence has the safe open, and is rummaging inside.

“Back off, I’ll take it from here.” He alone will decide the contents to be pilfered.

Clarence submissively vacates one arm from the safe, raising it in the air while bracing himself with the other still inside. He faces his captor, “Here you go.” He sits up withdrawing his other hand revealing a revolver clasped in his fist. He aims, and fires, glancing a round across the robbers masked scalp, peeling back a sizeable flap of flesh and material exposing his skull.

In reaction the robber squeezes off several rounds. A single shot rips into Clarence’s eye socket and exits the back of his head showering blood and skull fragments onto the wall.

Isabelle recoils, and screams hysterically.

The robber turned murderer staggers, clutching his gaping wound, as blood gushes down into the eyeholes of his mask.

Isabelle heaves herself onto her husbands limp body, and pulls him tight, “No, Clarence, it can’t end this way! You’re my better half. We’re in it together to the end.”

She shakes him as if to rouse him and reverse his demise. “Clarence.” Her voice firm, yet pleading, “Clarence, get up god dammit!” His weight slumps lifelessly and she wails in grief.

She pries the revolver from his fist, hell bent on avenging her slain husband. “Die you low life piece of shit!” Taking aim, she launches a single shot at him.

The round comes so close he hears it wiz by his ear, and it ricochets several times around the office.
The thief staggers, firing his weapon without thought. His bullet punches through her throat into Clarence’s chest. Her blood showers the wall, uniting with Clarence’s blood and skull fragments.

She convulses violently on his lap, the chair shifts, and she slumps lifeless to the floor. A crimson tide swell beneath them.

Blood coursing from the wound stings his eyes, he snatches a red bandanna from the desk, applying pressure to stem the flow. His vision narrows, from the sharp pain. “Fuck that hurts!”

He is startled by his masked image reflecting from a mirror on the wall. He moves the bandanna, and is nauseous at the sizeable flap of scalp clinging to the blood soaked hankie. The wound requires medical attention, but that is not an option for a fugitive.

He applies pressure again, a seething wave of agony results. His pulse audibly pounds, stomach churning, he kneels to the onslaught of losing consciousness.

Commotion from the dining area brings the reality that gunshots always increase tension. Hearing his partner’s angry tone to quell the turmoil hastens him to stand.

He talks to distract from the pain. “Pull yourself together man! “ Steadying himself, he gazes in horror at the motionless couple. Regret overpowers him. “None of this should have happened. I was on a roll winning big in Vegas.

The armed robber with no intent to kill, can’t believe he is responsible for the murder of two innocent people.

Vegas’ promise of easy money, and a heavy handed loan-shark looking to collect more than his shiny new roadster, sum up the reason for hitching a ride with the rotten toothed partner, and subsequent crime spree. Up until this heist, they had been able to keep their shared promise of non-violence.

His mind races to think of a way out. There is no way to get away with this crime. The diner is packed with witnesses, littered with bodies, and he has killed the lion share of the victims.

“Oh shit!”, his voice hysterical, “We will get the chair.”

He rushes the safe rolling Clarence out of the way, into Isabelle’s bloodied corpse.

He rummages the contents removing a bank bag filled with banded assortments of currency, checks, and rolled coins. “See Clarence it would have been much easier to give me this.” Waving the open bag at the deceased.

He rifles the contents of the safe for more valuables, finding zilch; he stands, glancing around the office. He sees nothing worth taking, and walks out the door without looking back.

As the latch clicks, he leans back on the door frame contemplating their next move. “All the witnesses have to die.”

Their lack of ammunition and cold-blooded instinct to gun down the occupants, rule out a two-man firing squad.

He paces nervously, for a short time, producing no solution. Time is running out, so he heads towards the main dining area, unable to put this unexpected crime spree behind him.

*****


After Clarence, Isabelle and the slender gunman are no longer in sight. The rotten-toothed accomplice starts barking orders. “Todd, take this sack and collect all the wallets, and have the women dump their purses too. Everyone else, just sit quietly, cooperate, and we will be gone fast.”

Todd’s response is speedy, making his way to all the patrons and crew. An eerie hush presides over the crowd as they obey his command. After the gunshots resound from the kitchen the atmosphere in the diner quickly changes from stifled calm to subdued hysteria.

Everyone’s heart races, Marty and Annette remain in the booth they shared for their meal, facing each other, she verbalizes what every person fears, “They’re going to kill us.”

Marty places a finger to his lips, “Shh, don’t attract attention.”

The wounded robber emerges without Clarence or Isabelle, still applying pressure to his wound. He tosses the contents of the safe to his partner. “Did you get everyone’s valuables?”

The shotgun-wielding bandit catches the bank bag, and stuffs it into the sack, thrusting it in the air. “It’s all here. Yo man, what happened back there? I heard gunshots.”

The bloody scalp wound he is nursing leaves no doubt something terrible went down. “The old man was hiding a gun in the safe, and caught me off guard. “ He passes his accomplice, and heads towards the entrance of the diner.

His accomplice is not satisfied, “Where did he shoot you?” "Are you hurt bad?” “Hey man, where you goin?”

Not wanting to discuss his part in the demise of Clarence and Isabelle, he snaps, “Just wait right here, I’ll be right back, I’ve got a plan to get out of this.”

The subordinate criminal turns his attention back to guarding the patrons, for he knows they had been in some pretty sticky situations in the past, and each time his partner concocted a strategy to keep them liberated.

The slender robber retrieves a box from the trunk of their getaway car, soaks a rag with chloroform, conceals it in his pocket, and returns to the diner.

In the time it took to walk from the office to the main dining area, he formulated a plan, and set that plan in motion by snapping the gas line with a mallet meant for softening meat, snatched from a shelf close to where Larry’s body had fallen.

To his surprise, the line snapped from the main valve with ease on the first whack.

In the lightning fast formulation of the escape plan, he decides his partner’s life will be sacrificed. He hopes that when the investigators discover Larry’s body they will reach the conclusion that the line must have been snapped during a physical altercation, and not even the robber, killed along with all the other patrons in the main dining area, was aware of the leak.

He quells any feelings of guilt by reasoning that Clarence and Isabelle’s murders compel this new plan of action. If he is going to escape this situation and live the remainder of his day’s crime free, working a menial job; all the evidence of his participation in this robbery has to be buried within the rubble of the diner. Including any damning testimony from his cohort.

He spills the box onto the table of a vacant booth, revealing many pairs of handcuffs, and a length of chain. “Ok listen up people we are going to cuff all of you together, so we can have plenty of time to make our escape. If you all will be so kind as to line up, and sit with your backs to the counter.”

The slim bandit motions for his partner to move. Acting on the nonverbal cue his pudgy cohort gathers some of the cuffs, passing them to the captives.

The slender bandit steps to where Marty and Annette are seated, and sets the restraints on the table between them.

Marty seizes the restraints happy the ordeal is ending. He figures she is on the same wavelength, as he fits one to his wrist. He offers the shackled wrist her way, but she pulls away gazing down and rubbing her belly. He nudges her under the table with his foot, and jingles the cuffs closer, but she disregards his gesture to comply. He leans in whispering, “Why are you waiting? Come on before we attract their attention.” She offers no response.

He reaches further, talking low. “Come on Annette give me your hand.”

The heavy bandit notices they remain seated and charges, yelling, “What’s the fucking hold up with you two?”

Marty raises his hands submissively in the air, not wanting to provoke any violence. “Please, just give us a minute, my wife is pregnant, and upset, but we will be along.”

The slender bandit’s attention is divided between instructing the captives gathered at the counter, and his partner’s booming voice. He orders a kneeling woman, to restrain her arm to the footrest, then to the wrist of a patron kneeling beside her. He keeps an eye on the patrons as he converges on his partner.

The chunky robber backs up a little, for it seems what Marty said makes a difference to him. “Get it in gear folks, we don’t have all day.”

Annette remains in the same position, head bowed, eyes closed. “I am not doing what you say. I know who you are, Scott Fitzgerald; Fitzy for short. And I know what’s been planned for us.”

The robber is visibly stunned, as his jaw drops.

Marty is flabbergasted, and reacts in anger standing and slamming his hands on the table. “What the fuck! Are you suicidal now?” Without thinking, he starts towards the bandit, waving his hands in frustration with some hope of talking their way out of this.

The pudgy thief reacts to Marty’s advance with viscous thrust of the shotgun barrel across his forehead, opening a sizable bloody gash. Marty crashes backwards onto the padded booth, dazed from the force of the blow. The thief rushes in, raising the barrel in the air about to unfurl a fierce beating for Marty’s insubordination. Marty’s eyes roll, he convulses, then goes limp.

Annette screams out, “Put that gun down you moron!” She remains head down eyes closed.

The pudgy bandit halts with a stunned jerk.

His partner rushes over and grabs the gun, easing him back from Marty. “What the fuck are you doing man?”

The stocky bandit does not answer as he looks at Annette in a bewilderment.

His slender partner snaps his fingers by his ears, “Dude, what the hell is wrong with you?”

The stocky crook shudders back to reality, pointing to Annette. “This bitch knows who I am.”

The slender gunman slaps him lightly on the back of the head. “You have a mask on dumbass! She can’t know you.” He diverts his partner’s gaze from Annette, placing more handcuffs in his hand. “Just go make sure the rest of them are cuffed to the footrest, I’ll handle her.” The lean outlaw veers his cohort towards the other occupants, with a shove. His rotten-toothed partner staggers towards the kneeling, wide-eyed captives.

The slim bandit offers a pair of cuffs to her, “Young lady, if you will be so kind as to take these, and come with me, this horrible event is almost behind us.” He gently places his hand on Annette’s shoulder, and jolts like he is grabbing a live current. He struggles to pry his hand from her shoulder, stepping back a few paces.

She looks at him responding firmly, “I’m not moving. We both know you don’t plan to let anyone, except you, out of this diner alive.”

The pulse he felt, and her defiant response caught him off guard. “Excuse me?”

She moves further into the booth, and snarls, “Listen to me Billy Baret, you murdering piece of shit, I’m not moving. I know what you’ve done to Clarence and Isabelle. And the gas line in the kitchen.”

Hearing his name clearly announced, the blood drains from his face. The revelation of his murderous intentions infuriates him. There is no way his stroke of genius will be ruined by this intuitive bitch. He looks over his shoulder, to rile his cohort. “Hey Fitzy, you were right this bitch isn’t being cooperative.”

The stodgy bandit directs his attention from restraining the other occupants. “Is she fucking with you too?”.

Billy, the slim bandit flinches internally for verbalizing his partners’ name. “Just keep up what you’re doing.” He leans in very close, his eyes flash with anger. “Listen bitch, I can turn that animal on you in a heartbeat. Just go with the fucking flow, and this will be over. What do you say, can we work together?”

Annette wedges her plump belly between the seat and the table sliding closer to the floor. “I’m not going to be charcoal. Fuck off, low life!”

The slim bandit grabs her wrist twisting hard. “Listen up bitch, put the fucking cuffs on or else!”

She winces from the painful twist of her wrist, but snaps back defiantly “Or what, weasel? I’m not afraid of you.” She glares at him, then spits in his face.

The once docile robber, glances a vicious punch to her temple, whipping her head to the side.

Her belly heaves, as the presence inside her reacts, not moving her head from the position his fist forced it to, she remains defiant. “Are you gonna shoot me; coward? Like you gunned down Clarence and Isabelle in cold blood?”

Billy bolts up, furious, yanking violently on her wrist to extract her from the bench. “You bitch, I’m done being nice!”

She slides his way, but digs in and pulls back, and loses his grip on her wrist. She sits up, and he is back on her. She fights, landing several blows to his face, and scalp, pounding hard on his fresh, thumping wound.

Her barrage of fists fends him back in a display of obvious agony, as he winces and a fresh crimson trickle appears in the eyehole of his mask. She slides against the wall then onto the floor beneath the table.

The injured bandit stomps several times, and yells, “Ah, fuck!” As he stares at the fresh blood smeared on his gloves, it is clear he is enraged. But backs up another step, “Get a grip, man, don’t lose it.” He knows giving into the impulse to show aggression towards this pregnant woman will arouse rebellion from the other patrons.

He walks over crouches at the booth, reaching towards Annette talking with his most soothing voice. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. Take my hand, everything will be just fine.”

She draws her legs close, and yells out to the rest of the patrons, “He’s a lying piece of shit, he plans to kill everyone.”

Billy, the slender bandit snaps into a rage, violence is more than just a possibility as he snatches her ankle, heaving back with all the power of an infuriated man.

Her petite frame offers little resistance to power his infuriated might, and she slides towards vulnerability. She wraps her arms around the table post and kicks at him, slowing her extrication.

Billy pulls harder, overpowering her as she slips from the protection of the booth. Once he stops pulling her into the open, Annette tries to scamper free, but he lands a single viscous kick to her ribs, with an audible thud, knocking the wind from her lungs.

As she lay gasping, she panics realizing the possible consequence of her resistance. Her belly morphs, and heaves enough that her aggressor notices.

He closes in stooping, as a few drops of blood spill onto her cheek. He clasps both hands onto her long brown hair, and yanks her close. “You’re gonna be sorry bitch!”

Annette rips his mask off, revealing his identity to the entire diner. The thrust peels the scalp wound in a grotesque display towards the ceiling.

His rage diminishes the agony, and he heaves hard on her hair, forcing her to sit, then into an awkward rise to stand upright. “Oh, don’t think you’re getting away that easy!”

Her protruding belly does not allow her to stand as quickly as he yanks at her locks, and they shred in clumps in his clenched fist as he snaps upright, and she slumps onto the floor.

He removes the tangles from his fingers and retrieves a switch blade from his pocket, "I'm gonna slice up that pretty face of yours!" He is about to lunge, but lurches forward as a blast erupts from his chest, spraying Annette, and the floor with blood and tissue. Billy looks down, clutching the wound as a crimson river flows over his hand. He staggers amidst the screams of the horrified patrons, and collapses, dead weight towards Annette.

She reacts by raising her knees to deflect the full on crash of his body. This unintentionally spares both herself, and her unborn child injury as his lifeless corpse plunges.

She abruptly shoves his limp corpse aside with ease, still wheezing for breath, not fully recovered from his kick, and now faces Fitzy looming mere feet from her. After a moment, she realizes it was he who fired the fatal shot that killed Billy.

Fitzy stands frozen, staring at his betrayed partner with a hypnotic gaze, the shotgun held against his plump belly. He repositions the weapon taking aim at Annette.

She thrusts her arms up to cover her face in reaction to the next round, and screams out, “No, please.” Her belly morphs and heaves violently.

After noticeable silence, she opens her eyes as Fitzy steps forward snatching the gun from his betrayed partner. “Don’t forsake me, mother.” His voice resounds in a loud, harsh whisper.

Annette scrambles to avoid the blast, but instead of firing at her, he drops the shotgun, and presses the barrel of the revolver to his chin, blasting a sizable hole through the top of his skull, with an echoing crack. His body crumples awkwardly to the floor as the other patrons react in horror.

Annette remains frozen in place for a moment, shocked and sickened by the gruesome display. Fitzy’s last phrase echoes in her head, as she rises, and covers her ears. She stumbles towards the entrance; a wave of confusion descends upon her as she pushes through the doors.

A man calls frantically from the background, as she leaves the diner and stumbles to their car “Lady where are you going?”

She looks back on the commotion in the diner, then opens the driver’s door, slumps in the seat, races the engine and squeals from the lot. She barely notices the army of police and ambulance sirens whizzing by as she struggles to see through the tears steaming from her eyes. She narrowly avoids running off the road as the car launches over the same railroad tracks they crossed earlier. Sparks shoot from the auto’s undercarriage as gravity overpowers the shocks, grinding the steel against the asphalt.

She cringes, hearing, and feeling the blast, and looks briefly in the rear-view mirror at the flash, and smoke billowing in the air from the road behind her. She tromps the gas pedal to the floor, and the engine races, increasing her speed away from the nightmarish scene still blazing in her memory.
© Copyright 2005 Xavier Kobel (jimmg at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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