Tales from the Fuel Station (Half Eight)

 

*PART 1 // PART 2 // PART 3 // PART 5 // PART 6 // PART 7*

It’s been about an hour since my final put up.

We haven’t had any clients but, and if the fuel station weren’t an lively crime scene I might need requested one of many different workers to squeegee the big pool of blood into the drains by the cooler.

For these of you out of the loop, you could wish to catch up by studying my earlier posts through the hyperlinks above.

I don’t know what Arnold’s private grooming routine seems like, and I’ve to imagine he spends not less than twenty minutes a day in mustache prep, however even factoring that in, he ought to have made it to the fuel station by now.

I referred to as him a couple of minutes in the past to ensure he hadn’t gone again to mattress, and to ensure I hadn’t imagined the cellphone name within the first place. The dialog went one thing like this:

“Yeah?”

“Hey, Arnold? You in your method?”

“Sit tight, we had just a little emergency.”

“Okay.”

“The highway between city and also you is blocked off.”

“Okay… Which one?”

“All of them. Even the service roads. It should have been a freak storm. I’ve by no means seen something prefer it. All of the roads are lined in bushes. However they aren’t, you realize, fallen. The bushes are rising in the midst of the road. I’ve been looking for a method round all morning, however I’ve given up. I’m about to move by on foot. Simply to be clear, you mentioned you heard from Spencer Middleton final night time? Has he made some other contact?”

“Nicely, really, he’s right here. He got here in and a few stuff occurred; now he’s lifeless.”

“What!? You’re telling me there’s a lifeless physique on the fuel station?”

I already informed him all of this. Man, I actually miss Tom.

“Did you not notice that?”

“I’m sorry,” he answered, “When the cellphone rang earlier I had simply woken up from this lovely bizarre dream of a… darkish god… calling me into his everlasting grace, taking me by the hand and guiding me into blessed oblivion, liberating me from all of the ache and struggling of this mortal jail. Nurturing me like a baby and alluring the world right into a realm of upper existence, permitting me the privilege to commit myself to his wonderful servitude.

“Okay,” I mentioned. “I suppose I’ll see you once you get right here.”

I ended the decision and checked the cost on the cellphone. The battery was sitting near fifty p.c.

“What’s the deal?” requested Benjamin.

“Arnold is on his method right here on foot. However we would have one other drawback.”

“Holy shit, you guys see that?” Carlos requested, declaring the window. I couldn’t fairly make it out from the place I used to be seated behind the counter, and I didn’t really feel like hobbling over a corpse only for a glance.

“What’s it?” I requested.

“There’s a bunch of bare individuals out on the highway strolling this manner.” Carlos answered.

“The hell you say?” mentioned Marlboro, who had all of the sudden taken curiosity. He pressed his face in opposition to the window for a greater look. “These aren’t simply any individuals. I do know them. That’s Marla! And Tyler! And there goes Fred! At the very least, these had been the names I gave them.”

Benjamin crossed to the frozen drink machine, throwing over his shoulder a fast “They associates of yours?”

“Household, really. Nicely, they had been anyway, earlier than they disappeared. However I don’t bear in mind them wanting like that.”

“Like what?” I requested, beginning to get an uneasy feeling.

“Like…” He took a second to seek out the phrases, however all he got here up with was “They give the impression of being humorous.”

They continued strolling nearer to the fuel station. Shut sufficient by now that I might see them. At the very least a dozen individuals, stark bare. The nearer they obtained, the extra particulars I might make out, and the extra I want I couldn’t. Their eyes had been milky and pale, maggots crawling out of infested crevices throughout their our bodies. Their pores and skin soiled and lined in lesions and bruises. Marlboro was actually not fallacious, they regarded humorous.

I’m positive you realize the Hollywood-style Zombie stroll. The shuffle of an undead physique with impaired motor expertise. The scariest a part of these “individuals” approaching the entrance doorways of the fuel station was that they had been strolling a hundred percent completely usually. Only a bunch of decaying nudists out for a stroll.

There was a loud crash that snapped us out of our probably-rude staring. All of us turned to see that Benjamin had pulled the frozen drink machine to the bottom, and was making an attempt to pull it over Spencer in the direction of the entrance doorways, the sticky syrup concoction spilled out all around the floor, mixing with the congealed blood and coating the ground in a purple, brown, and purple viscous soup. There’s no method we gained’t have an insect drawback after this.

Marlboro and Carlos didn’t must ask what was happening. They immediately knew the plan and started yanking down no matter fixtures weren’t bolted in place and piling them up in a barricade in opposition to the glass doorways.

I might have helped if it weren’t for this damaged leg. Apart from, it seems like they’ve obtained this underneath management.

“You boys suppose you’ll be able to keep alive lengthy sufficient for assist to reach?” Benjamin requested.

“We’ve obtained virtually ninety years expertise staying alive between the three of us,” Carlos joked.

Benjamin directed his subsequent query to me. “You bought any weapons on this place?”

I informed him no. The one factor I’ve is a half-empty canister of gasoline within the provide closet and a few actually arduous jerky, however he was welcome to no matter he might discover. That’s when he began Macgyvering some spears out of chair legs and damaged glass from the drink case.

About ten minutes in the past, the fuel station misplaced energy. Now actually can be a good time to have a large pet glow-in-the-dark butterfly.

Silly raccoons.

It’s been fairly quiet, save for the moist guttural whispering coming from these “individuals” exterior. Benjamin remains to be looking for weapons whereas Carlos finds issues to push in opposition to the entrance door, and (assuming he hasn’t fallen asleep) Marlboro has taken the again door. I used to be feeling fairly ineffective after Benjamin confiscated my crutches, so I figured I might take this chance to sort up the account of what occurred, simply in case Arnold will get right here too late. And within the spirit of preparedness, I ought to say a number of issues to whoever finds this message (or is it “whomever”? I by no means might get that proper.)

First, to the homeowners, I’m sorry in regards to the mess.

Second, to her, I’m sorry we didn’t run into one another one final time.

Third, to whomever retains dumping tar into the ditch exterior of the fuel station, I hate you.

I suppose that’s all I’ve to say. It’s been a bizarre, loopy trip. That is Jack from the fuel station, signing off one final time…

I didn’t die!

Sorry it’s been so lengthy because the final replace, I simply obtained my laptop computer again from the police. I do know you guys are most likely questioning what occurred. Nicely, final week I met a darkish god…

We had been in that fuel station with out energy for hours. It’s chilly this time of 12 months, so we huddled collectively round a plate of scented candles and ate pork rinds and canned beans. Marlboro virtually dozed off a pair occasions earlier than Carlos determined to loot the power drugs behind the counter. He handed them out and all of us took a number of, washing them down with chilly espresso and telling ourselves it was for “alertness,” however all they did for me was create a heartbeat arrhythmia. That positive can be humorous, if these issues lastly broke in right here simply to seek out the 4 of us lifeless from coronary heart assaults.

Nicely, not “humorous.” However, you realize.

Carlos tried to strike up a dialog with Benjamin a few occasions, however the bearded man wasn’t very social.

“You Military?”

“Nah.”

“I knew a man. He was a ranger within the Military. You remind me of him.”

“Alright.”

“These issues on the market, any concept what we’re coping with? You ever see something like that earlier than?”

“Nah.”

“You bought any household?”

“Nah.”

I checked Spencer’s cellphone all through the day, however it wasn’t getting any service anymore. I attempted 911 a number of occasions, however even that wouldn’t undergo. When the battery obtained to 5 p.c, I turned it off. We’d want it later for an emergency name.

Ultimately, the adrenaline and drugs began to put on off and I remembered that my leg was nonetheless therapeutic from a posh fracture and that perhaps I shouldn’t have agreed to return again to work so quickly. I limped again to the entrance desk to seize my meds. Whereas I used to be there, I noticed the still-unopened gift-wrapped bundle on the shelf beneath the register. I made a decision to disregard it and as a substitute grabbed the worker whiskey bottle that was behind it. We informed ourselves it was for our “nerves” however all it did for me was give me a good worse heartbeat arrhythmia.

Just a few extra hours handed. After we killed the primary bottle we opened one other, then Marlboro obtained into the power drinks as a result of we wanted mixers. Sooner or later the previous cultist pulled out his stash and lit a joint and (with out asking, I would add) turned the entire station right into a hotbox. I couldn’t bear in mind if I’d taken my ache meds but, so I went forward and took them.

Because the solar began to set, I had two ideas competing for first place in my thoughts. First, it positive is getting darkish early nowadays. And second, I believe we could be getting just a little too fucked as much as deal with what’s about to occur.

Time grew to become much more illusory than regular as soon as the laptop computer died and we had no method of understanding how lengthy we’d been ready. We began measuring the time in candles. Our snack meals and morale raced one another to depletion.

Sooner or later, Carlos obtained me away from the others to ask what I considered Benjamin. I informed him he was the nicest man that had pointed a gun in my face all week. However Carlos informed me that he had a bizarre feeling about him. I reminded Carlos that he had killed Kieffer a pair occasions and perhaps he ought to get off his excessive horse.

“Hey!” Benjamin yelled at us from throughout the room. “What are you two speaking about?”

“Anime.” I lied. I believe he purchased it.

“Get again over right here. I don’t want any extra lifeless our bodies piling up tonight.”

Benjamin was within the nook, warming his arms over the candle plate. It was the one supply of sunshine within the constructing, and was casting shadows that would perhaps be described as “spooky” if I weren’t in such a critical life-or-death state of affairs. A few of these shadows regarded like faces, smiling, laughing at us idiots. One or two regarded like historic figures. One among them requested me what time it was, and holy crap I used to be tripping!

“You okay, man?” Carlos requested, pulling me again to earth.

“I truthfully don’t know.”

Did you ever work out who positioned that bomb? requested Spencer Middleton in a gurgle.

“What do you imply? I believed you probably did it?”

Not me. Bombs aren’t my model. Who have you learnt that may construct a bomb?

“Hey, the place’s Marlboro?!” I requested.

Benjamin picked up his spear – previously my crutch that he had paracorded his knife to – and requested, “Who the hell is ‘Marlboro?’ Is there another person right here?”

“Marlboro. The opposite worker.” I checked out Carlos, who simply shrugged and mentioned, “I don’t know no Marlboro. What number of of them drugs did you are taking?”

Had I imagined Marlboro this whole time? I attempted to take a seat down on the tarp, however it became me mendacity on my again whereas the room spun. I might really feel the human particles squish beneath the tarp material as I rested my head. How a lot of any of this was actual, anyway?

You’re shedding it, you realize.

“I do know.”

All these years in the past, the primary physician tried to organize me for all times with my situation. There weren’t that many different instances earlier than me, in order that they didn’t know precisely how all the things would play out. However each case had a number of of the identical unwanted effects. In fact there can be weight reduction, fatigue, complications, all the indicators of a traditional bodily sickness early on.

Because the situation developed, there can be extra “fascinating” unwanted effects. Hallucinations, reminiscence loss, the works.

And naturally, I can’t be correctly anesthetized. They tried in different instances to induce medical comas, however that simply messed issues up additional. I’m at all times awake and midway lucid throughout surgical procedure. If you wish to know what that’s like, I’ll inform you the reality. It’s boring.

You realize what? Normally after I harm somebody unhealthy sufficient, they go out from the ache.

They gave me a pair years, tops. I haven’t been protecting observe of time.

Proper then, Marlboro walked into the room, zipping up his fly. Presumably, he had simply come from the lavatory, however who actually is aware of? I pointed at him and yelled, “That man! You see him, proper?! It’s Marlboro!”

Carlos regarded the place I used to be pointing, then again at me. “What, you imply Jerry?”

Oh. That’s proper. He has an actual title.

“I hate it when he calls me Marlboro.”

Benjamin set the improvised spear down and turned his consideration again to the fireplace. “You higher get him underneath management.”

It’s best to open your bundle. Mentioned Spencer.

“Hey wait a sec, aren’t you purported to be lifeless?”

Nicely, aren’t you purported to be lifeless? he mentioned again.

Touche, Spencer.

“Who’re you speaking to?” requested Carlos.

“Spencer,” I answered.

“Nicely cease that. It’s freaking us out.”

Two candles burned from begin to end earlier than Benjamin determined that assist wasn’t on the way in which and our greatest likelihood of survival was to struggle it out with the issues exterior.

I disagreed, however Benjamin knowledgeable me in his personal well mannered method that it wasn’t up for vote.

He peeled again the layers of the barricade simply sufficient to get a view of the surface. As soon as we knew what we had been coping with, we might give you a greater recreation plan. Solely, he couldn’t really get an excellent look as a result of one thing was blocking the view. One thing simply on the opposite facet of the glass doorways.

Benjamin yanked the remainder of the barricade down and took a number of steps again to marvel at it.

“Nicely, you don’t see that day-after-day,” mentioned Jerry.

Nope, I can’t do it. I’m sorry. His title is Marlboro.

We had been trapped there, contained in the fuel station. On the opposite facet of the doorways, a community of bushes had grown collectively, twisted into knots, and pressed in opposition to the glass. They had been so densely pressed right into a single wall of tree trunks that not even gentle might get by. For all we knew, it might have been daytime exterior.

“We’ve to get out of right here,” mentioned Benjamin.

We checked the again door, however it was the identical factor. I typically puzzled how lengthy an individual might survive contained in the fuel station with none new provides coming in. I had run the situation in my head 1,000,000 occasions. On boring nights, what else is there to do? I had run the thought experiment for numerous totally different contexts. How lengthy might I survive if the fuel station had been transported again in time? To a different planet? If there have been a zombie apocalypse? And so forth.

What I had deduced was that, underneath perfect circumstances, I might stay off of the provides readily available for 4 years if I might discover a supply of water. Six weeks if not.

These weren’t perfect circumstances.

We had already smashed up, weaponized, or eaten virtually all of our provides. If we had been trapped right here, it wouldn’t take lengthy for us to go all Donner occasion on one another.

Whereas I used to be pondering this within the hallway by the cooler, we heard the sound of glass shattering from the principle room. Benjamin raised his spear and led the way in which again.

The wall of bushes was nonetheless there on the opposite facet of the doorways. Our mess was nonetheless there. All the pieces was as we left it with one exception. The tarp was pulled again, and Spencer’s physique was gone. A collection of footprints coagulated within the blood main from the place he ought to have been to the shattered glass of the entrance door. Like he had simply gotten up, walked over, and was absorbed into the bushes.

“I would like you boys to suppose actual arduous,” Benjamin mentioned. “Is there some other method out of this place?”

“Nicely,” Marlboro began. I shot him a glance and shook my head, however I suppose he couldn’t see it within the dim candlelight. Or perhaps he was simply too dense to know. “There’s that gap.”

“Gap? What gap?”

“The outlet within the secret room again right here previous the cooler.”

“Secret? Room?”

“Yeah, proper over right here.”

Marlboro pointed on the clean area on the wall the place the door was. The homeowners had determined that the neatest factor they may do once they discovered in regards to the secret room was take away the door, construct a good-old common wall, and neglect all about it, however that solely works if everybody agrees to neglect all about it, Marlboro!

“You’re telling me there’s a secret room behind there? And a gap in that room that we will perhaps match inside and escape? Why didn’t you boys inform me this earlier?”

He didn’t anticipate a solution. Benjamin went straight to the wall and began smashing it to items together with his spear after which, after he obtained it down just a little, his naked arms. After a minute, the wall was as soon as once more a door.

Whereas Benjamin lit and positioned a number of candles across the large gap within the ground, I grabbed Carlos and pulled him apart.

“Hey,” I mentioned, “I ought to inform you one thing. I opened that bundle. The one which regarded like a gift.”

“Yeah?” He mentioned.

“Yeah.” I mentioned.

I’m undecided at what level I’d lastly cracked and opened it, however I had been carrying across the content material of the field in my pocket for not less than one candle. Identical to the final bundle, there was a notice with this one. It learn:

“I didn’t anticipate you to make use of my letter as a part of the story, however thanks lol. I didn’t thoughts you utilizing it , that was very neat! I appreciated it. I used to be very shocked. Thanks. I loved your tales and I knew it will be actually nice from the start. That’s why I wrote what I did. I used to be shocked, however in a great way, that you simply used my letter lol. Thanks. I’m honored, actually honored.”

Beneath that letter was a small handgun. I knew sufficient about pistols from enjoying video video games to know the best way to verify the clip and positive sufficient, it was loaded.

I confirmed the gun to Carlos, who mentioned “That’s a Ruger 380!”

“Is that good?”

“Nicely it’s a gun, so it’ll most likely have extra stopping energy than a chair leg. Why didn’t you give it to him?” Carlos gestured at our fearless chief.

“I don’t know or belief him.”

“Good level.”

“Right here,” I mentioned attempting handy it over, “I’m not a gun man.”

“No method man. You retain it. I obtained each legs, you want it greater than me.”

Benjamin yelled to us from the key room, “Ya’ll prepared or what? Time to see what’s down right here.” Then he jumped in.

I’ll have uncared for to say that it was a ten foot drop to the cave ground under. I additionally could have taken just a little pleasure within the sound of him crash touchdown and the ache moan that adopted. For the remainder of us, we rolled up a tarp and put some knots into it like a poorman’s rope ladder, and I’ve to offer credit score to tarps. These issues are extremely helpful.

We had spent hours above floor in a room with a lifeless physique, unrefrigerated meals, and Benjamin’s physique odor. We had been all consuming canned beans and I believe anyone most likely threw up within the rubbish can. My level is that this: we had been all smelling fairly unhealthy, to the purpose the place I used to be doubting that I nonetheless had a way of odor. However as soon as we went into that gap, I knew for a undeniable fact that I had. The odor down there made our fuel station funk look like cologne. The very worst putrid odors from the storm drains across the station had been nothing in comparison with this. Is it attainable for a odor to be heavy? As a result of that’s one of the best phrase I can consider for it. Not thick. Simply, heavy.

Carlos and Marlboro took turns barfing. Once they had been achieved, Benjamin handed out the torches he had created from gasoline soaked rags and chair legs. I don’t know what that man’s deal is however he positive is artful.

The cave was a straight tunnel beginning underneath the fuel station and heading away from city. It was loads tall sufficient for all of us to face comfortably, and there was a slight incline, taking us downhill as we walked additional into the outlet.

“What the hell is that this?” Benjamin requested after about twenty toes. He waved his torch on the wall and I noticed that anyone had spray-painted a message on the cave wall in purple. It mentioned in shaky handwriting: “Rita the Raccoon Ate the Caccoon!”

I mentioned it a number of occasions in my head and was pissed off at simply how shut it got here to rhyming however didn’t. The handwriting was eerily acquainted, particularly that capital “R,” however I couldn’t bear in mind why.

There was one other garden gnome on the bottom beneath it.

We continued additional into the cave, Benjamin method forward of us, me mentioning the tail, hobbling alongside one of the best I might with only a single crutch. The deeper we went, the narrower the cave, the stronger the odor. Nothing about being down right here away from the fuel station felt like an enchancment from our earlier state of affairs. However it wasn’t till we made it to the tree that I actually determined that we had tousled.

I don’t know the way lengthy we had been strolling down there. Possibly a half-mile or so. Crutch-miles really feel quite a bit longer than regular miles. However we finally came across an unlimited black tree taking on the width of the cave. It regarded like a kind of thousand 12 months previous sequoias, sufficiently big to place a two-lane highway by.

“Ho. Lee. She. It.” enunciated Benjamin. I used to be the final to see what everybody else was wide-eyed and gawking at. The tree, along with being monumental, had some traits that you simply wouldn’t anticipate a tree to have. Particularly, human physique elements. Just a few legs and arms poking out at random spots. And proper at eye stage, a human face.

“Hey,” mentioned Marlboro, “I do know that man. It’s Patrick.” He touched Patrick’s face and it peeled off and plopped to the bottom like a moist Halloween masks.

“I don’t suppose he’s going to make it,” Benjamin mentioned as he pulled one thing out of his jacket pocket and caught it to the tree.

“What’s that?” I requested.

Surprisingly, it was Marlboro who answered. “That appears like C4 plastic explosives to me.”

Benjamin chuckled, “Wow, you win the prize for that one, Rain Man. Yeah, it’s the final of my explosives. I’ve been attempting to kill this factor one piece at a time for the final week, however it simply retains rising again. I’ve to kill the foundation system, blow it up and kill the mind so the remainder of the community will die.”

“That was you that put that bomb within the fuel station,” I mentioned.

“Yeah, effectively, again then I believed the constructing was the epicenter of this complete factor.”

“Hey,” interrupted Carlos, “Jack was nonetheless within the constructing once you planted that.”

“I do know.”

“Um, guys?” Marlboro tried to get their consideration, however it wasn’t working.

“You knew? He would have died if that factor went off.”

“Guys?”

“Look assholes, that is battle. And in battle, there are at all times casualties. You possibly can’t make peanut butter with out smashing a number of nuts.”

“Hey, guys!”

“What?!” screamed Benjamin. “I’m just a little busy.”

Marlboro pointed again the way in which we got here. All of us turned to see Spencer standing in the midst of the trail, a depraved smile on his face.

“Hello. Miss me?”

Carlos screamed at me, “Jack! The gun!”

I pulled the weapon out of my pocket and chucked it as arduous as I might. It smacked Spencer proper within the face and he fell over. I used to be very proud for the 2 seconds it took me to understand what I had achieved fallacious.

What got here subsequent virtually occurred too shortly for me to grasp. One thing burst out of the wall subsequent to us. An unlimited object, the scale of a automotive and largely hand-shaped. It wrapped its large fingers across the different three and pulled them into the wall. After which, I used to be falling. The earth had opened up under me and I used to be sliding by a darkish tunnel. No, I used to be being pulled. Extra like swallowed, actually. It went for some time, filth filling my nostril and ears and mouth after which no matter it was spat me out right into a pitch black room onto a rocky moist piece of floor. I landed on my unhealthy leg and possibly broke it once more.

Nicely, I believed, not less than this time I managed to hit Spencer. So far as final moments on earth go, this one was a slight enchancment over final week.

The room I used to be in was cool, not chilly. And cavernous. I might hear my breath echoing off the partitions. I might additionally hear one thing else respiration. Unexpectedly I grew to become conscious of one other presence down there. An entity within the room with me. It’s arduous to elucidate, in the identical method I bear in mind it being arduous to elucidate a dream proper after you get up. It’s one thing it’s important to expertise to know, however the feeling was one thing like being plugged right into a shared consciousness with one other intelligence that was placing ideas immediately into my head.

In fact, it might need simply been all of the medication.

“Welcome to my residence,” got here a loud voice from someplace within the pitch black room. “I’m sorry it’s taken this lengthy for us to satisfy face-to-face.”

“I can’t see something.”

“Yeah, what a part of ‘Darkish God’ don’t you perceive?”

Oh shit. I’m within the throne room of a darkish god, and he appears like an web troll. I suppose that is smart. Would possibly as effectively get this over with.

“Do you suppose you might perhaps activate some lights so I can really see who I’m speaking to?”

He set free a really human sounding sigh and exclaimed, “Fiiine.”

Out of nowhere, the complete room became an intense, livid vibrant white. All I might see was pure gentle. I lined my eyes, however even then I might see the bones of my arms by my eyelids. Even with the meds, that shit harm.

“Too vibrant! Too vibrant!” I yelled, “Break up the distinction!”

“Wow,” responded the voice, “I didn’t notice that you simply had been going to be such an enormous child.”

After which, simply as all of the sudden, the brightness relented. After a second, my pupils adjusted and I might see what I had been speaking to.

“Behold!” it exclaimed, “and tremble earlier than the darkish god!”

He (if it was a “he,” I’m simply going off of the sound of his voice) was in regards to the measurement of an elephant, swollen and spherical with a tanned yellow disguise. One of the best animal I might consider to match him to can be an unlimited tick, with six rows of stubby arms on both facet, six rows of sagging breasts, and a human-sized head on the highest. The top contained a considerably human face and no neck. The physique linked to the earth on the widest level of its abdomen, prefer it was half buried. And, to prime the entire thing off, he had a purple mohawk.

He smiled at me.

“Eh? What do you suppose?”

“About what?”

“My hair! Isn’t it wonderful?” He regarded up at his mohawk.

“I suppose.”

“You guess? Do you might have any concept how a lot effort I put into doing my hair like this? You realize what, it’s positive. I shouldn’t have wasted my time attempting to impress you. That’s on me.”

“Okay,” I mentioned, making an attempt to push myself to my toes solely to do not forget that my leg was fairly damaged. I used to be immobilized, underground, excessive, and with none weapons. There actually was no likelihood of escape. “In case you’re going to kill me, do you thoughts simply getting it over with?”

“What’s it with you individuals? SO UNTRUSTING. So prejudiced. Why is it that ANYTIME you see one thing you don’t perceive, you suppose it’s kill-or-be-killed? I’m not the monster right here. You’re. I can see into your soul. I’ve seen your sins. Do not forget that time once you had been fifteen and also you keyed the principal’s automotive?”

“No.”

“Actually? Possibly that wasn’t you. People all look quite a bit alike.”

“Why am I right here? Why did you drag me underground?”

“As a result of, Jack, I can’t discover some other method of speaking to you, and I wished to inform you to cease killing my youngsters! You’ve burned up so many people, and what did we ever do to you, huh?”

“The Kieffer vegetation?”

“Yeah, simply backups as a result of that fool is so clumsy. They’re innocent although. I’ve been attempting to place some individuals in workplace so I can get just a little political affect on this terrible city.”

“To take over the world?” I requested, although I used to be beginning to see the place this dialog was going.

“No! I wish to strain the town council to chop again on logging. I’m attempting to save lots of the world. However you and your terrible associates hold killing us and attempting to blow me up.”

“However Spencer, he beat the shit out of me. That man is terrible, and he’s following your orders!”

“Nicely excuse me for considering that individuals have the potential to be rehabilitated! I employed Spencer as a result of I wanted somebody to guard Kieffer. And I gave him very particular orders to not kill anybody, which he agreed to.”

“However you’ve killed tons of individuals! The cultists! Their complete compound!”

“Yeah, really no. I hate to be the one to say this, however these guys killed themselves. Yeah, it was a extremely unhappy mass suicide. However if you happen to listened to them, I believe it was fairly apparent. You guys ought to have seen it coming from a mile away. I imply, consequentialism blended with an ethical obligation to finish struggling?”

He waved one among his six arms in a jerk-off movement earlier than persevering with, “I didn’t wish to let all these completely good fully-formed grownup our bodies go to waste. Do you even know the way arduous it’s to make a kind of from scratch? It’s not simple.”

“However you despatched these issues after us on the fuel station.”

“Once more with the self-centered hero complicated. It was by no means about you. I despatched my youngsters to deliver Spencer’s physique again right here. I hoped I might get him residence in time to rebuild him with none everlasting mind injury. I believe subsequent time you see him, you must apologize for what occurred. I swear, ever since Romero made zombies cool, individuals see a lifeless man come again to life and immediately they get this urge to kill, kill, kill. What ever occurred to calling this a miracle? No person freaked out when Jesus got here again.”

“Are you saying that Jesus was like these Mathmetists? Only a reanimated corpse?”

“Is that this actually what you wish to discuss, Jack?”

“However doesn’t ‘darkish god’ imply, like, evil?”

He sighed.

“The final time I used to be awake, darkish god had a totally totally different connotation. However you’ll be able to’t use my branding as your excuse for burning up Kieffer. You ask me, you deserved the ass-whooping you bought.”

“However…” I searched my thoughts for any proof that the darkish god was the monster I knew him to be. However the one factor I might give you was a tragic icy-cold realization. “We’re the monsters?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Good. That’s a begin.”

“So that is it? You’re the explanation for all of the bizarre stuff happening out right here on the fuel station?”

He laughed once more and wiggled his head, which I took for his model of shaking “no.”

“Nope. I’ll be trustworthy with you, I’ve no clue what half of this stuff are. Your fuel station is bizarre, and even I have no idea why. The hand vegetation and Kieffers had been me. The odor, I’ll fess up. That’s me too. However all that different stuff, man, it offers me the heeby jeebies. You realize that bizarre glowing worm-bug factor? That was fairly bizarre, huh?”

“So… What will we do now?”

“Now, I ship you and your pals again residence, and also you give up killing me. That’s my deal. Can we comply with that?”

“Um, yeah, I believe so.”

“Good.”

“Ought to we shake on it or-”

At that second an unlimited hand burst out of the wall and wrapped its fingers tightly round me. The following factor I knew, I used to be coughing up filth, down on all fours on the street exterior of the fuel station.

It was morning.

“Oh good,” mentioned Benjamin, “You made it out too.”

I regarded over and noticed the opposite three standing there, lined in black filth. I used to be again the place it began. The bushes had been all gone, leaving no signal that they had been ever even there within the first place. The fuel station was a wreck, the entrance doorways had been smashed out and the raccoons had been excitedly operating a loot prepare for no matter edibles they may carry from the entrance to their nest behind again.

“What occurred, man?” requested Carlos.

“I’m not likely positive,” I answered, digging the clumps of filth out of my nostril and ears.

“Nicely, you’re fortunate. Your mates made me wait a couple of minutes to offer you an opportunity to get out.”

I checked out my arms, they had been practically black from all of the layers of filth coating them.

“Anticipate what?” I requested.

“For this,” Benjamin answered as he pressed the button on his distant detonator.

Someplace deep within the woods got here an explosion that rocked the earth and despatched birds flying into the sky. Carlos’s automotive alarm went off and the pavement cracked. A black cloud slowly began to fill the skyline and I felt one thing inside my thoughts scream and die.

“Whelp,” mentioned Benjamin. “My work right here is completed. In case you don’t thoughts, I’m going to get misplaced earlier than the police present up.” Then he walked off into the forest, hopefully by no means to be seen once more.

And that’s what occurred. In case you can imagine it, I’m again on the fuel station, working once more. Arnold is on private go away from the police power and I didn’t care to ask for particulars, so now we have a brand new deputy babysitting us. I’ll inform you all about her one other time, perhaps. The police investigated the incident, and in the end concluded that we had been victims of hysteria introduced on by a fuel leak, and as soon as once more, there was nothing supernatural to be reported.

I don’t know if that is the tip for the darkish god, however I do know that I haven’t felt any compulsions to proceed digging ever since Benjamin blew up that underground tree.

Issues are settling again into our model of regular. I nonetheless work method an excessive amount of. I’m nonetheless protecting a journal. And bizarre issues nonetheless occur on the shitty fuel station on the fringe of city. Actually, simply yesterday, individuals began reporting that that they had seen one thing within the woods that regarded like an unlimited raccoon with bat wings, stealing small animals earlier than flying off into the forest. They even mentioned this winged raccoon monster glows at the hours of darkness.

Marlboro simply got here as much as me and requested, “You realize there’s a man within the toilet dressed like a cowboy?”

I assured him that I didn’t know that.

This can be the final replace for some time. It’s going to be a whole lot of work placing this place again collectively, and I’ve obtained a complete new crew of part-timers to coach, so, till subsequent time…

CREDIT: Jack Townsend

Click on HERE to pre-order Jack Townsend’s newest e book, Tales from the Fuel Station: Quantity One, a group of each previous and new tales revolving round everybody’s favourite fuel station clerk

Tales from the Gas Station: Volume One

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