The clock blinked dimly 12:00.
Your eyes focus on it as you reach for the knob to the radio of your 2014 Passat. You have been meaning to change the time for a while now but have not yet mustered up the moment to do during your busy schedule.
The road repetitious of bushes and trees and the occasion 18-wheeler that you do your best to avoid fearing to get into a deadly accident. You are not sure how your station changed from today’s hits to a static white noise AM station. You leaned over and glimpsed at the dim orange station to see that the station was changed from 101.5 to 22.2. there is a twenty-two point two? Your thoughts ran through your cloudy mind.
Distracted, you felt yourself drift off to the left.
A horn screeched though the car, your ear ached, your heart jumped in your chest, as you swerve out of incoming traffic. You clench onto your hard leather steering wheel as if clinging for life. The car screeching for about a second but with your 20 years of expertise driving you were able to become steady and back into your lane.
Your stomach growled, it could have been from fright or from hunger, you chose to think it was from hunger and thought that you need to get something to eat, you blamed your hunger for your unwise decision to be distracted.
You passed a few familiar fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s back when you were driving through civilization but now you fear that there will not be any more stops. Then there it was Clarice diner, the sign grayed out from oxidation. You have watched many crime documentaries that started off with small towns and cafes but seeing there are about ten cars parked, it should be safe.
You pulled over to the right and parked next to a white pickup minivan the back windows crowded and plastered with faded stickers. Your eyesight has been bad, you are unable to make out the stickers you really need to go back to the ophthalmologist, no time, you thought.
Walking into the café, the scent of oil defiles your nose, the scent familiar, more like the oil they are frying with were left overnight mixed in with maple syrup. The amalgamation of smells made you even hungrier as your stomach growled again this time you could feel it radiate to your back. It might be gas you thought as you walked and sat at the empty booth that sat right behind the entrance of the café.
The booth screamed tradition sixties café and the wear and tear of it looked as if it were about the same year it was built. These booths did not age very well as the red leather was peeling exposed the light gray foam underneath, oil stains decorated the back, mostly like from children. You scanned the café to see that there were only two women wearing pink dresses and white aprons, walking around taking orders from the rest of the customers scattered throughout the café. You eagerly tapped your fingers against the glass table with the menu underneath. You already knew what you wanted.
Her raspy voice startled you.
“I’m so sorry, still haven’t been ok since that covid thing” she smiled at you, you glimpsed up at her and smiled back to see her heavily painted kohl eye lids now smudged. You half wanted to give her makeup tips, but you do not want to impose, that is what she likes to look like as if she painted her eye lids with a paint brush.
“A small black coffee with a chicken sandwich no mayo and a cup of water please.” You watched her write it down so fast it felt like seconds as her yellow number 2 pencil scribbled across her small spiral notebook.
“Okie dokie, coming right up.”
You watch her walked away, her turn with elegance, you half expected her to trip but she did not. You fumble in your pocket and felt the soft silicone ridge of your phone case and grabbed it with your thumb and pointed finger careful to not drop it as you know that iPhones are easy to shatter.
You press your thumb against the cold phone face and watched it blink then opened to a generic picture of a pasture, you stared at the little icons unsure on what to click, to play a game as you wait?
Then your phone shake in your hand and a picture of a light tanned guy appears as the name Marcus in bright white stared right back.
“Here you go.” The woman is back her hair fixed up slightly she places the food before you and you smell the old oil from the fried chicken sandwich course throughout your nose, she then places your coffee in front of you and then a bottle of water. You were amazed by how she balanced all in her hands.
You felt the phone again.
“You ain’t gonna answer that?” she asked, you looked again and there he was, Marcus smiling back at you. You have a feeling in the pit of your stomach, you feel as if you should answer but the smell of the food was tempting, just one quick bite.
The taste overwhelms you with elatedness, the taste of the blackened chicken patty covered in black pepper and salt coated your tongue, with the tartiness of the mayo, the cold wet lettuce and tomato, the combination of the food felt great as you swallowed.
“Thank you.” You smiled at her, but you dropped your smile to see that she was no longer smiling back, more like a scowl was across her face. You become uneasy, your stomach growls a bit as you feel every bit of your pores ooze a light drip of sweat, your chest aches. Your hold on the sandwich releases as you grip to the side of the table. You looked up to call for help not sure if you are having a heart attack but as you attempt to yell, your voice chocked at the back of your throat. You eagerly look around to find that the people around you were gone.
But you are now concentrating on yourself.
The lady walks over to the door before you and turn the lock as you saw her scanned the area before her. The sound of pigs squealing and a cow mooing came into focus before you, echo in chaos, your arms started to hurt as from the pores proceeded something from out of them, tingling all over your skin as you fell to the ground, your mouth elongated and harden before your eyes you reach up to realize that your hand cannot reach, panic sets in as you do not want to accept dying, your eyes hot with tears as it trickled down your checks, you are unable to wipe it away.
You do not accept this, you need to get to Marcus, he will be missing you.
You feel as your bones cracked, tangled, and bent, each limb of yours contorted. You expected pain but felt nothing. You can now see your hand and that they were now wings. Your face hot, nose melted into your mouth, you put the puzzle together to find that your face, now had a beak.
You saw the wait staff wrestle the other animals into cages and on leashes. The same woman that waited on you was now coming over with a small cage you were closer to the ground, she looked a lot bigger and more rustled than before. You heard your phone on the table vibrate a few times, you knew it was Marcus, you cried out with every strength you had left as she headed over to you,