View Full Version : Cold Nights (PG-13) [Creative Writing]

2006-10-16, 01:38 PM
FYI: This story contains some adult material [PG-13 I think].

Chapter 1

The door of the diner slid open, the customary bell chiming at the sound of another customer. Katie Ryse pushed the door closed behind her, and then stood there, allowing some of the water to drip on the welcome mat. A small stand had been set up close to the door; it read “Please Seat Yourself”. Shivering from the lingering cold, she slid into a booth seat that allowed her to look out the window at the miserable conditions. If the meteorologists could be trusted, which was always debatable, the snow would continue to fall down for another couple of hours.

“Hi honey. Are you ready to order or do you need a minute?” The waitress was an older woman, probably in her late forties. She wore a pair of brown-rimmed glasses atop her mop of frizzy hair, a faded yellow uniform with orange hems, and a black apron around her waist. A small silver tag pinned to the woman’s left breast named her Dolly. Katie grabbed a greased-stained menu that was leaning against the wall. “I’ll take the breakfast special. Can I have some onions added into my potatoes?”

The waitress nodded as she furiously scribbled upon her small pad of paper. “What to drink?” Katie wiped her mouth with her left hand. “Just coffee.” The waitress pulled a small stack of napkins from her apron and dropped them upon the table. “I’ll send Julio over with your coffee. The food will take about ten minutes.” “Thank you.”

Katie watched the waitress as she made her way back towards the kitchens. She couldn’t imagine having to be a waitress at that age. Having to wear the uniform alone must be quite embarrassing. Pulling off her leather jacket and setting it beside her, she took notice of her own clothes. Blue denim jeans, damp but clean, and a thick pink fuzzy sweater, it paid to dress warmly in Buffalo.

Checking her watch, the digital display read “8:47 PM”. If she hadn’t received the phone call tonight she would be at home curled up on her couch watching Sex and the City with her dog Tom. When she had picked up the receiver and put it to her ear, the voice said “I’ve got the story that’s going to vault you to the top.” Her boss, Jake Wilton, was always sending her on these bogus stories of ghosts, witches, or UFOs. The stories never panned out, though working for The Unnatural World magazine Katie came to expect that.

Finally warming up, she removed the knitted cap from her head and set it next to her jacket. The young foreign boy set a steaming cup of coffee at the edge of the table, and gently slid it closer to her. “Thank you.” “De nada.” He was cute, the kind of guy she probably would have been dreamy eyed for ten years ago. Tall, dark, and handsome, the quintessential perfect man as pop culture spoke to. Katie smiled to herself as she reached for a packet of Nutrasweet and a creamer.

Jake’s phone call had been both a blessing and a curse. If she didn’t land a decent story sooner or later, she’d be out of a job. No one had come out and said that to her directly, but it was pretty easy to read the body language of her co-workers. As the newest staff member, her job was in constant jeopardy. The bills were stacking up on her old stereo, many of them past due.

The coffee was awful, it must have been the sitting in the pot for a couple of hours, but she was thankful for the warmth. The other customers in the diner were mostly keeping to themselves. An older couple each read their own newspaper, never even looking at one another. The booth two spots in front of hers was occupied by four young girls chatting with one another. Every now and then one of them would glance towards Katie, and then turn back and giggle.

Dolly walked by towards the other girls, saying, “Yours is almost up,” as she passed. Katie overheard the girls, each ordering a smaller portion of food than the last. It was funny how girls in this day and age were so conscious of their looks. Katie supposed it had always been like that, but it seemed more common these days. Katie herself wasn’t what men would call ravishing, but she liked to think she had a certain beauty. She was taller than most women, almost 5’8, and weighed 150 lbs. Her shoulder-length hair was dirty blonde, combed straight. One of her boyfriend’s in high school had said her blue eyes looked like two brilliant sapphires.

Dolly finished up with the girls and then walked back towards the kitchens. The cook could be seen for an instant as he set a plate upon the counter, tapped the bell, and then vanished behind the wall. Dolly grabbed the plate and the ticket under it. She moved towards Katie’s table and set the plate down. “I forgot to ask you what kind of toast, I hope white is okay?” Katie smiled. “Yeah, that’s fine. Thank you very much.” “Anything else I can get you hon?” “No, I’m all set for now, thanks.” Dolly smiled as she turned back towards the register and proceeded to wipe down the counters.

The food was surprisingly good considering how bad the coffee was. The bacon was crisp, the slice of ham soft and tender, and the eggs sunny-side up just as she liked them. The onions gave the shredded potatoes an extra flavor, something Katie had adapted from her mother years ago. As she broached one of the eggs with a wedge of toast, the doorbell chimed and a gust of cold air swept through.

The newcomer was a handsome man, his brown hair short and spiked, and a smile upon his face. He wore a leather jacket very similar to Katie’s, only larger and black where hers was a dark brown. His eyes rested upon Katie for a long moment, his smile growing as her eyes met his. He whispered “Hi” as he removed his jacket and took a seat at the counter.

Dolly left her cleaning rag next to the register as she moved up to him. “Hello darling. What can I get for you?” His voice made him sound older than he looked. “I’ll have a cup of coffee and a bagel.” Katie returned her attention to her meal, finishing off the potatoes and the last slice of ham. One strip of bacon and two wedges of toast remained, but she was too full to finish them. She slid the plate away from her and wiped her hands with a few of the napkins.

She sipped at the coffee again, remembering its awful taste all over. The girls at the other booth looked as if they were getting ready to leave. One of them joked with her friends and then moved off towards the bathroom. Katie’s watch read just after nine now, it was only going to get colder so she might as well get to it. She grabbed her jacket and threw it on, tugging the cap on as well.

As she moved towards the register she noticed the handsome man was missing, his coffee and bagel sat at his seat untouched. Katie leaned over the register, trying to peer into the kitchen area. “Just one moment hon, I spilled some tomato sauce and I need to wipe it up.” Katie sighed to herself. “Ok, I’m going to wash up then right quick, I’ll be right back.” She heard Dolly mumbling something about people putting things where they don’t belong as she slipped into the restroom.

The restroom was cleaner than she would have guessed. She glanced at a mirror, giving herself a once over. Her face looked strained, her eyes tired, she didn’t look her 28 years. A slight gasp came from one of the stalls behind her, to which Katie turned and raised an eyebrow. A faint slurping sound was coming from within the stall, barely audible. “Are you okay?” Katie took a couple of steps closer to the stall, rapping her knuckles upon the door. “Hello? Is everything alright with you?”

The lock of the stall released, the door opened slightly as the young girl slipped through the opening. Her face was pale, her hair in disarray, and the top two buttons of her blouse were undone. “I’m fine.” The girl moved towards the mirrors, quickly buttoning up her blouse. Katie watched the girl, and through the mirror saw a pair of black shoes in the same stall the girl had come from.

Katie shook her head is disgust. The handsome man missing from his seat made sense now, girls these days were such sluts. She must have been no older than sixteen, and he had to have been in his thirties. Moving closer to the young girl, she put both arms on the girl’s shoulders, spinning her around. “You need to be more careful with yourself.” The girl seemed in another world, as if she wasn’t paying any attention. Katie removed her hands from the girl, and said “Whatever” to her before proceeding towards the door.

Back at the register Dolly had finished cleaning up her tomato sauce snafoo. “I’m sorry about that hon, your total is $7.68.” Katie dug in her pocket and pulled out a ten. Handing it to the waitress, she said, “Keep the change.” Dolly smiled and thanked her. Walking towards the door that led outside, Katie braced herself for the cold.

“There you are. Took you forever.” The young girl had emerged from the restroom and rejoined her friends. Katie wondered how long the man would wait before sliding out of the restroom himself. She stared at the restroom door for only a moment more before opening the door and going out into the cold.

Even after having braced for it, the cold hit her like a truck. Having moved from Michigan only a few years back, Katie was used to winters. At least, she thought she knew what a cold winter was, but the winters here seemed even colder. She put her hands inside her pockets, trying to shield them from the frigid wind, and proceeded to her car. Her 1998 black Chrysler Lebaron sat cold and dark in its parking spot. She inserted the key, unlocked the door, and plopped down into the seat, pulling the door closed behind her.

Katie started the car up and turned the heat on full blast, pumping the gas every now and then in an attempt to heat the car up faster. Jake had said she should arrive at the cemetery just before 10 PM. The car’s clock read 9:20 PM, plenty of time, as the cemetery was only 10 minutes from the diner. Katie let her head come to rest upon the headrest, closing her eyes.

The screaming awoke her from her nap. As her eyes flashed open she spied 9:45 on the clock. Glancing through the condensation that stuck to the windows she saw three of the girls from the diner all huddled in a group. She turned the engine off, yanked out the key, and jumped out of her car. She began running towards the girls, almost slipping on patches of ice three times before she neared them. “What is it? What’s the matter?” The three girls were kneeling down, the fourth lying in the snow; a vacant expression on her face.

The door of the diner popped open, and Dolly’s aged face poked out. “Is the girl drunk or something?” The other girls were too nervous to speak. Katie kneeled down, trying to check for the downed girl’s pulse. “Call 911.”

(copyright M.H.)

Comments/suggestions/input desired. Thanks in advance.