Premise: You unlock the Diner first thing in the
morning and discover an individual inside who isn't supposed to be there. Who is there and what are they doing?
Talia Pente stood outside the back door of The Otherworld Diner and enjoyed the early morning quiet. This was her favorite time of day: 3 AM. The marathon beer pong tournaments were over with the respective winners and losers crawling home to sleep it off or pay private homage to the great porcelain god and quiet, finally reigned.
She slipped her key into the lock as the last notes of karaoke faded on the cool morning breeze. Indulging in a deep breath, Talia savored this solitary time. She turned the key and stepped into her private sanctuary where nothing more was asked of her than to measure simple ingredients, mix them to specifications and bake them with loving attention. No whining from the spoiled and powerful rich who demanded the opulent and outrageous simply because they could. No, here at the diner the clientele were decidedly common. A good thing since Talia was common, too. She’d been reminded of it enough in her lifetime.
Her co-workers were hard-working and asked few questions when they did chance to see her. Bakery work needed completion long before the first patron pushed open the front door. That suited Talia just fine.
She flipped on the light.
Cabinet doors hung at odd angles like broken limbs, revealing insides of toppled and battered cans. Dry goods bled sugar and cornmeal from gashed plastic bags. Overturned pots, smashed eggs and volcanoes of flour littered the floor like a culinary battlefield. The smell of vanilla—priceless Madagascar vanilla, no less—hung in the air heavier than LA smog setting her stomach churning like a Waring blender on high.
She dropped her purse and ran to save the last drops of precious extract when she caught a flicker of movement in her peripheral vision. On reflex her hand shot out, snagging the end—a tail end.
"Gaaaxxx!!! Too much light!! Meez eyes! Ack! Ack! Ack! I's spitz at youse!" The blinded dragonette snapped and hissed but since Talia had a firm grip on his tail and he was only the size of a ferret, she skipped th whole fear-for-her-life thing. Instead, she gave him a firm shake that sent his jagged teeth chattering.
"Don't even think it, buster. I'll put you down, but I want a damn good explanation for all this, got it?"
He nodded, going limp as she set him on the counter.
“Grim, what in the name of the stars are you doing here? I haven't seen you since...well, in along time."
A loud, snotty sniffle was the dragonette's answer.
The young dragon scrambled into a sitting position and turned his huge, round eyes the color of Bermuda waters to hers.
Talia felt her anger fade. She was just a sucker for dragons. Especially this one. No doubt his owner lost him yet again. But when a small sob broke from her diminutive captive, she wondered.
"Tali, my faultz. Mine!" Grim blubblered.
"What are you talking about?"
"Helpz him, Tali. For me, pleeze?"
The niggle of panic she felt exploded into a firestorm of fear. "Logan?"
"He hurtz, Tali."
"Show me. Now."
Grim took a flying leap off the counter, glided under the pass-thru and out to the booths. Talia followed, not daring to breathe
Talia ( who may be posting a part deux, maybe??)