The Dinner Guests
by Shane MIgliavacca
The Dinner Guests
Orville Trench admired his reflection in the car window. He missed his long black ponytail and beard. His hair was cut short now. He ran a hand over his smooth chin. He’d had that beard so long. Was like cutting off a part of him, but it had been time to change the look. It was time to get a new car too.
Cherry Kowalski. The love of his life, appeared in the reflection. Looking over his shoulder. Her eyes were large, piecing and dark. Dark to match her long, wild black hair that hung to her shoulders. She twirled one of long strands of hair around her index finger. Hanging around her neck was a simple silver necklace, a small plastic baby arm dangled from it.
“You look good.” She said.
“I didn’t ask.”
“Fuck. You.” She laughed loudly.
Orville spun around, grabbing her by the shoulders. His eyes narrowed. “Oh yes. Yes indeed.”
He scanned the parking lot of the convenience store. There were only three cars here. An old pickup truck, a rusting black Camaro and a fairly new SUV. Not much to pick from. Shouldn’t be that many people inside. He looked up at the sign over the door. It read: QUICK SAVE MART. It would be quick all right. He couldn’t wait to get out of East Jesus New York.
Orville touched the cold steel under his leather jacket. A Colt Trooper Mk III. Like the sheriff carried in Walking Tall. The 70’s one. He loved that film. Not that shit remake with the nancy boy wrestler. It hung from a shoulder holster under his jacket.
Just as he expected the door had a little bell that chimed when it opened.
He sized up the store. Orville liked to think of himself as a hunter. The store was typical. Five aisles of various overpriced crap, cold drinks in the back and some not so fresh looking coffee.
The kid behind the counter, couldn’t me older than twenty, didn’t even look up from his cell phone when they entered. He was dressed to the nines in Eminem castoffs. Another white boy wannabe. He’d be easy enough.
Picking through the beer was a bear of a man. Dirty coveralls, baseball cap and a long beard. Had to be the pickup driver. This one could be trouble. He’d be the first.
The last one in the store was a young woman. Mid-twenties. She was contemplating potato chip bags. She wore a sweater and camouflage pajama pants. Two in the afternoon and she’s wearing pajamas. Orville shook his head. Two bad for her, she wasn’t his type.
“Anything look good to you, hon?” He asked Cherry.
The big man came up to the counter, carrying two twelve packs. He set them on the counter. It took a couple seconds before the kid looked up from his phone.
“That all Mr. Scott?” The kid said.
“For now, you know that damned phone gonna turn you into a zombie Jimmy. All you kids just stare at ‘em all the time. Sucking your minds out.”
“Not just kids doing it. Seen plenty of adults too.”
Scott opened his wallet. “Goddamn right about that. The wife is always doing that Facebook shit. Why you think I got these for the weekend?”
The two laugh.
Cherry makes a mock vomiting face to Orville. Orville mouths “Which one?”
Cherry nods towards large Mr. Scott.
“Gonna start off Friday night right.” Scott says.
Cherry slides up next to him. She leans against the counter. Showing Jimmy her cleavage. His eyes go right to it.
“How’s about speeding up all the talky talky?” She says.
“Excuse me young lady.” Scott says. “No need to be fucking rude.”
Orville stands next to the coffee pot watching Cherry do her thing. He pours himself a cup, pouring in a ton of creamer and sugar. Gulping down the cup in one go.
“I just want to make a purchase and go, not listen to your life story.” She notices she’s not even holding anything. Quickly grabbing a handful of Slim Jims. “These delicious treats. Yum Yum.”
Scott shakes his head and turns back to Jimmy. “What do I owe you?”
Orville lets his eye flicker over to the female shopper. She’d got some chips and now stood in front of the soda cooler, oblivious to the fun up front.
Scott pays Jimmy and turns to leave, picking up his beer. But Cherry blocks his way.
“Excuse me miss.”
“No. No. You don’t get to leave until you apologize.” Cherry stomps her foot hard on the floor.
“Just get out of my way crazy bitch.” He tries to push past her.
Angry, Cherry claws him in the face. Cutting red trenches into the left side of his face.
“Bitch!” Scott drops both of his twelve packs to the floor with a crash. He tries to grab the girl who darts away from him.
“Too slow!” She laughs.
Scott lunges at Cherry only to come face to face with Orville’s Colt Trooper. Orville smiles a wicked smile as he pulls the hammer back.
“Hands off my girl.”
He pulls the trigger. Sending Scott’s brains and bits off skull all over the newspaper rack. As Scott falls to the ground, lying on his back Orville fires a couple more shots into the dying man’s chest.
“Shit Ory, he was mine!”
“And you took too long.”
The female shopper screams at the top of her lungs. Standing in shock in the middle of one of the aisles. She turns and runs.
Orville sighs. “Get her.”
Cherry lets out a bloodcurdling scream and races down the aisle as the girl tries to flee towards the back of the store.
Cherry grabs cans from one of the shelves and hurls them at the woman.
“Where you going?”
A can hits one of the glass coolers, cracking it. Another can hits the woman’s leg. She stops, crying in pain, falling against a display of soda cans. Knocking them over in a loud crash. Cherry pelts her with a loaf of bread.
“Give up?” She laughs, pulling the woman up.
Orville watches this laughing. Out of the corner of his eye, Jimmy inches towards his phone. Lying on the back counter.
“Don’t even think about it white chocolate.”
Cherry marches the pajama clad shopper up to the counter. Upon seeing Scott lying on the ground in a pool of blood, she starts to sob.
“Oh god…don’t hurt me.”
Orville looks at the woman. “Don’t worry, nobody’s getting hurt as long as you give us a little ride.”
A glint of metal catches his eye. Too late he sees Jimmy aiming a cheap pistol at him. The nervous boys squeezes the trigger. Trying to fire one handed. His arm shaking, the pistol fires wild. The bullet whizzes past Orville and hits the female shopper in the throat.
Orville and Cherry duck, the woman holding the large bloody hole in her neck, stumbles back and falls on her side in the middle of one of the aisles. Making wet choking sounds as she lies there dying.
Orville takes aim with the Colt and blasts Jimmy who’s shooting wildly. Doing damage to the store, hitting Jimmy between the eyes. The boy slumps dead against a display of Lotto tickets before dropping to the floor behind the counter. Leaving a bloody trail in his wake. Little fucker had a gun behind the counter. Shit. White chocolate didn’t look the type. Orville thinks.
“Damn.” Orville says. “That was something.”
Orville looks over the side of the counter at Jimmy. Sitting slumped against the wall. What brains he had leaking out of the wound above his eyes. Orville shoots him again.
“You get to have all the fun.” Cherry pouts.
He holsters the Colt. “Get some supplies for the road.” Walking over to the body of the woman, he crouches down turning her on her back. She makes a loud plop as her body rolls onto the pool of blood behind her. She stared up at him with lifeless eyes. The dead woman’s face was covered in blood, her once brown hair matted with it. Getting on Orville’s steel-toed boots. Making a squishing noise as he crouched. He rummaged through her pajama pockets. Pulling out a pair of keys. Getting some blood on his hands in the process.
He’s about to stand when a bell dinged as a car pulled up to one of the pumps. He looks back at Cherry filling up a plastic bag with some groceries.
“Get down.” He hisses. “We’ve got company.”
Orville peeked around an endcap of beef-jerky. It was hard to make out the car or the driver since they were on the other side of the gas pumps. But he taught he got a glimpse of long blonde hair.
At the front of the door an urgent electronic beep sound from behind the counter. After a few seconds it beeped again. All the while Orville kept his eyes on the new arrival. They stepped from behind the pump, he was right! It was a girl. About eighteen, maybe twenty. Long blonde hair, longer legs. Wearing a short flowing skirt and a blouse. She was about 5’8. Instantly Orville felt his crotch come alive. Goddamn he wanted to fuck her.
This called for a change of plans. He’d planned on taking the woman in pajamas hostage. Having her drive them somewhere secluded and lie low. But white chocolate got trigger happy and fucked that up. So, he’d settled for just taking her car and some supplies and hightailing it. And now Blondie had dropped into their laps. If he was lucky, she’d be riding it later tonight. After he was done Cherry could have a go, she’d like that. Orville licked his lips at the thought.
From behind the counter another urgent beep as the blonde pressed a button on the pump. Finally giving up, she walked frustrated towards the store.
“Here we go.” Orville whispered.
The blonde pulls the door open, making the bell chime. Stepping into hell.
“Jimmy, you awake in here?” She asks. A second before seeing the blood. “Jimmy?”
“Nope.” Orville stands. The Colt pointed at her. “Jimmy’s on break.”
“Blood.” The girls says, biting her lip. She sees the bodies of the woman and Scott. “Did you…”
“Sure did!” Cherry says, walking towards them carrying an overstuffed bag of groceries. “How sweet! Fresh meat!”
“She’s also going to be our ride out of here, ain’t you?”
The girl looks down at the bodies then up at Orville and Cherry, dumbstruck.
“Right?” Orville says, a bit annoyed. He takes the blonde’s chin with his hand, forcing the girl to nod in agreement. “Right.”
He takes his hand away, leaving bloody finger prints.
“Who are you?” The girl asks, her voice quivering.
“I’m a demon.” Orville answers. “Straight from hell. I eat up little girls like you.”
“You’re gonna kill me.”
“Depends. What’s your name sweetness?”
“Lauren. Lauren Dohler.”
Orville looks Lauren over. “Well Lauren, where were you headed this fine afternoon?”
The girl took a deep breath. “To my parents, for dinner.”
“And where do said parents live?”
“You don’t want to go there, please. I’ll take you anywhere else.”
Orville snaps his fingers. “Where do they live?”
“I don’t want anybody to get hurt.” She offers up.
Orville snaps his fingers again. He speaks in almost a whisper. “Where?”
Defeated, she sighs. “Outside Hillbury. On Old Gorge road.”
“Sounds homey. Just the folks there, sweet pea?”
“Ye-Yes. Only child.”
He grabs her ass. “Great! Let’s mount up!”
“Road trip!” Cherry says, doing a little dance.
Lauren looks down at the dead bodies. She wipes the bloody finger prints off on to the side of her sweaty hand. Leaving a crimson smear on her hand.
“Your just gonna leave them…There, like that?”
Cherry looks down at the bodies. “They’re dead honey. They ain’t got anything to worry about. Now get your ass in gear.”
They filled up the gas tank of Lauren’s Chevrolet Hatchback. Loading up the back with several bags of groceries. Orville had formulated a new plan. They’d go to the parent’s house. Maybe spend a day or two lying low. This massacre would be all over the news. He could take the time to have some fun with Lauren.
Orville looked over the car. “We’re all set. Sweet pea, you know the way, you drive.”
“Shotgun!” Cherry shouts.
“Sorry hon. I got to keep an eye on our driver. You’ll have to ride in backseat.”
“Oh, fuck.” Cherry kicks the car tire. “I never get shotgun.”
Orville slid into the passenger’s side. He glanced at the blonde. She had the blood smeared hand near her mouth. Did she just lick the blood? No, couldn’t be. Just a trick his eyes played on him. She was just wiping off more of the blood from her chin. Wouldn’t be the first time he’d seen things that weren’t there. One night Cherry turned into the devil when they were having sex. Orville nearly strangled her to death when he freaked out. He hadn’t had a freak out since then. This was no time to start seeing things.
Orville watched the trees on both sides of the road. Their branches stretched out towards the sky like skeletal arms. It wasn’t fall yet, but all the trees had lost their leaves.
“What’s with the trees?” He asks out loud to nobody in particular.
Lauren, who was focused on the road answers him. “That’s because of the original Hillbury. There was a chemical spill back in the ‘80’s”
“Shit. Really?” Cherry says, poking her head in from the back seat.
This spooks Lauren, who’s hand slips on the wheel.
“Easy there, girl.” Orville says. He slips his hand to Lauren’s bare leg, running his hand up, under her skirt. “Can’t have you crashing.”
Cherry slaps Orville in the shoulder. “Lay off. Let her tell the story.”
Orville’s hand slips away from Lauren’s leg. She pulls her skirt back down.
“There’s no real story. Just some company, they spilled a bunch of chemicals near the town. Killed all the trees and grass. Poisoned the water. A few people got sick. All the town’s people moved to a new Hillbury.” She points past Orville. “You can see part of the old town there, through the trees there.”
Orville and Cherry turned. As the dead trees flew by, a couple dilapidated could be seen. Weathered and long abandoned. Forgotten to time.
“Your parents live all the way out here?” It’ll be so much easier that way. Away from prying eyes. Orville smiles at this thought. No need to worry about the screaming.
“My parents like it out in the country. Away from the hustle and bustle. They’re a little old fashioned.”
Orville let his eyes wander to the girl’s chest. They were nicely sized. He got hard as thoughts of burying his face in them ran through his mind. “Not you though, huh? You like the tight, cramped modern world.”
“That’s a hell of a commute for daddy!” Cherry piped in.
Cherry knew what he was thinking and it pissed her off, he could tell.
“Dad kinda works from home.”
“Lucky him.” Orville said, he looked at the sky growing dark as the evening crept in.
The car sank into quiet. As Orville turned his thoughts to what had to be done. The parents shouldn’t be too hard to control. Especially since they had the girl. Mr. Colt against her forehead and they’d be cooperative as all fuck. In a day or two the happy family would be dead.
How many had he killed? He really couldn’t remember. Sometimes he got brief flashes of their faces. But he couldn’t put a name or place to them. After a while sweet Lauren would join that chorus of death. Orville knew that when he died they’d be there to sing him off to the afterlife. Would he remember them all then?
Sometimes he dreamed of his victims digging themselves out of the ground. Decayed and crawling after him. Trying to pull him down to hell.
He looked at the girl, seeing her future decayed corpse sitting there. Driving the car.
“Too much quiet!” Cherry barked from the backseat. “Turn some tunes on Ory!”
“Good idea.” He said, something to get his mind off the dead.
He turned on the radio, cycling through the channels. Most of it was static.
The first actual station he got as a religious one. A woman preached. Nearly screaming the words. “Exodus 4:25: ‘You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me.’” The woman’s voice sounded raw. Like her throat was bloody.
“Aww nope.” Cherry interjected from the backseat.
The next station he found was a pop station. Dubstep strained the car speakers.
The next station Kenny G was playing.
Orville switched it again. Black Sabbath’s Paranoid assaulted their eardrums.
“Hell yeah!” Cherry squealed.
It was dark before they got to the house. Lauren drove without the headlights on until Orville said something. She was so nervous she must have forgot to turn them on.
“I can take you anywhere else.” She pleaded. “Please. Just don’t involve my parents.”
“Really, I’m sorry sweetness. But no.”
Even if he somehow took pity on her, it was too late now anyway. On the left side of the road a large house loomed. Just ahead of them. Lights burning quaintly in the windows. This had to be the place. It was the first man-made structure they’d seen in miles. Lauren pulled off the road down a long dirt driveway. Off to the house’s right a large walled in cemetery loomed.
“Whoa, creepy.” Cherry said, pressing her face to the window.
“A graveyard? Your parents live next to that?” Orville asked.
“Dad’s the caretaker.” Lauren said, as the pulled up to the house. “When the town moved, the cemetery stayed. They still bury the people from the new town here.”
They got out of the car. Damn it felt good to stand.
Orville looked up at the house. It looked old, but in pretty good condition. Daddy probably had a lot of time on his hands to keep the place nice.
“Won’t mom and dad be surprised.” Cherry said, doing a little skip.
“Lead the way princess.” Orville reached into his jacket. He pulled out an old switchblade. There’s was a flash of metal. He held the blade to Lauren’s side. “Don’t think of being a hero. This old girl is Sally. Killed my first dog with her. She’ll gut you all the same. Understand.”
“Good. Let’s meet the folks.”
Lauren pushed open the door. Orville right behind her. The house looked homey, he thought. Would be a shame to make a mess of it.
“Mom! Dad! I’m here!”
Orville could hear a TV playing in one of the rooms. The smell of something good cooking hung in the air.
The middle-aged couple stepped out of one of the rooms. Their looks of joy turned to questioning looks.
“Honey…who are these people?” The mother asked.
The father looked at Orville, the recognition visible on his face.
“Look who’s come to dinner daddy dear.” Orville said. “Behave.” He flashed the Colt in its holster.
“Oh god.” Mom said. “What do you want?”
“Some grub would be cool.”
“They’re the ones on the news. Serial killers.” The dad said.
“Has our little rest stop made a splash already?” Orville said, putting his arm around Lauren. He could see the father’s face light up with anger and then helplessness. This thrilled Orville to no end. “Why don’t we mosey into the dining room and eat.”
Mom and Dad led the way as Orville walked with Lauren. Cherry followed behind them. The dinner table was set for three.
“What are we having mom?” Orville asked.
“Roast. Bu-But it’s still in the oven.” She answered. Looking nervously at her husband. “I should get it.”
“Cherry, why don’t you help mom get the food.” Orville winked at the mother. “I’ll entertain pops.”
Cherry frowned. “Come on you old bat.” She took the woman roughly by the arm. “Where’s the kitchen?” They left.
Orville pulled Lauren tight to him. He took a whiff of her hair and skin.
“Your daughter smells great daddy. Ever have a piece?”
He could see the hate burning in the man’s eyes. Orville half wanted him to try something. He ran his hand roughly over Lauren’s chest.
“Bet she tastes great.”
As he had hoped this was too much for Dad. Orville pushed Lauren out of the way. She collided with a small stand and fell to the hard wood floor. The father charged Orville, swinging at him with a big fist.
Orville sidestepped the swing and grabbed the man by the throat. Slamming him down hard against the table.
The mother appeared in the doorway.
“Get her the fuck back in the kitchen Cherry!” He ordered. “Keep her there from shit’s sake!”
Cherry did as she was told, pulling the woman back to the kitchen.
Orville took out Sally. He sliced a large gash across the man’s right cheek.
He took a quick glance at Lauren. The girl kneeled, looking a little stunned.
“Hey princess, where’s the basement?”
Lauren stood. A little shaky on her feet. “Please, don’t hurt them. Just go.”
“Not gonna happen. Basement now! Or daddy loses an eye.”
Lauren led them to the basement door. Orville dragging the dad along. The switchblade hovering near the man’s eye.
After a little coaxing the terrified girl opened the door.
“What are you going to do?” Lauren pleaded.
Orville dragged her dad over to the stairs. He had Lauren leave the light off. All Orville could see was some old wood stairs descending into darkness. It would be more fun that way.
“Can you fly daddy?”
Orville took the man by the collar and threw him down the stairs. Lauren screamed. As her dad was swallowed up by the darkness, Orville thought he heard the sound of bones breaking.
He looked at Lauren, tears streaming down her cheeks. “It’s possible he survived that. Maybe.”
She sobbed. “Why?”
Orville licked his lips. “You don’t want mom to get the treatment do ya?”
“Good. You’ll do what I say then?”
“Here’s what I want.”
He knew she’d still have a room her. The kid moves out, but the folks always keep a room. Stuffed animals sat on the bed, silent judgment on their furry faces. Orville turned on the radio on the girl’s dresser. Stevie B’s Postman song was on. Not sexy, but Orville didn’t want to wait anymore. He pushed the stuffed animals of the bed. Before lounging on it. The old bed-springs creaked in protest.
“Okay sweet pea, showtime. Strip.”
Cherry watched the mom, trying to prepare dinner like all hell hadn’t just broke lose in the other room a few minutes ago. She had to hand it to the old bat, she could keep it under control. The woman sliced some of the roast to serve. Cherry held a large kitchen knife in her hand. Plus, she had the snub-nosed pistol in case the old woman had guts.
It had grown quite out there now. What could be going on? Cherry thought.
Before she investigated that, she had to try some of that meat. It smelled so damn good. Cherry stabbed a big slice of it with her big knife. Taking a large bite out of the tasty meat. Its juices dribbled down her chin.
“So good mommy.” She said. “I think I just came in my panties.”
The woman didn’t answer. She just cut off another slice to replace the one Cherry took.
“Beef or pork?” Cherry asked. “I can’t nail the taste.”
The woman put down the carving knife. Cleaning off her hands on a towel. “Pork.”
“It’s damn good mom.”
“Why do you do it? Hurt people.”
Cherry thought for a moment. “Because.” She said. “It’s something to do.”
Lauren was in her bra and panties now. Nervously trying to emulate a sexy dance. Orville watched. It was time. He couldn’t wait any longer.
She walked towards him. Her face pale white. Orville was a little bit disappointed in her choice of plain pink panties and bra. He’d hope they’d be something a little more exciting or at least funny.
Lauren sits down next to him. Her body shaking
“Undo my pants.”
Cherry was getting a little nervous. Where was Ory? She didn’t hear anything out in the dining room. Maybe Orville was getting rid of the dad. She watched as the mom washed the carving knife.
“When can we go out there?” She asked. “The food will get cold?”
“Just hold your horses. Don’t you have any other food to get ready?”
It was weird. The whole time they were in the kitchen she didn’t see the woman prepare anything else. No vegetables, no potatoes, no stuffing, nothing. Did they only eat the roast?
The meat had made her thirsty. Cherry walked over to the fridge. She could go for something cold. It was too much to hope these guys had beer.
She pulled open the fridge door. Sitting there on a large plate was a severed human arm. A large chunk cut from it. Cherry suddenly felt very weak.
Behind her came noises no human ear should ever hear. The sounds of flesh and bone stretching, moving.
She spun around, fumbling for the snub nose. The woman looked different now. Her skin grayish. Her eyes black. Long teeth protruded from her mouth. Her hands had become claws.
“We can’t eat just any flesh.” She growled.
“It has to be dead first.” The father said standing in the door. He was a little bloodied, but look very much like his wife did.
Orville had his pants and shirt off now. Thrown haphazardly to the floor. The only thing between him and Lauren was his boxers and her underwear. He felt like a boy on Christmas morning. He told Lauren to pull down his boxers. They fell to the floor.
“Here.” He takes her head lowering it toward his excited penis. He leaned his head back looking up at the ceiling. The girl was pretty good at this.
There was a gunshot somewhere down stairs, followed by Cherry screaming in horror.
“What the fuck?”
But it was already too late. In the next instant, pain sliced through him. He felt something warm splash his chest.
He was almost to terrified to look down. He crotch was covered in warm red blood. The small stump where his penis had been was busy pumping more out.
As he started to slip into shock he looked at Lauren, whose body was undergoing a horrible change. She spat blood from her mouth along with his severed penis.
“I told you to leave us alone.”
Orville could hear the chorus.
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