Cheryel knew something was wrong from the moment she walked in. It was too quiet, for one thing. The Otherworld Diner was known throughout the seven major dimensions for its fun-loving employees and its boisterous clientele. Nobody would ever accuse the place of being a quiet place to spend an afternoon.
And yet this afternoon was quiet—and wrong.
She considered backing out the door, but the Diner had offered her employment and a safe haven when she needed it. She couldn’t leave her friends there to deal with whatever was going on. Besides, maybe it really was just a quiet afternoon. After all, it was bound to happen someday—
“Hey, you there!”
And then, sometimes things were exactly the way they seemed.
The man was huge, had hands the size of small children, and was the color of a ripe pumpkin. In fact, his head could give a jack-o-lantern a run for its money. Oval head. Huge black eyes. Almost toothless mouth the shape of a small Volkswagen beetle—and it apparently didn’t close, even when he was talking.
He took a step toward Cheryel, causing her to back up a couple of steps. “Would you like to try some pie?” she asked, trying to sound calm. “It’s homemade.”
She slid into the bench seat next to her co-worker Maggie and leaned her arms on the table. “What’s going on?” she whispered.
Jody, who was sitting on the across the booth, was the person who answered. “He came in here, told the customers to leave, and then told us to sit down and be quiet.”
“He didn’t make demands? Like for money or food?” Cheryel asked.
“No,” Jody answered.
“I think he’s having some sort of alien migraine,” Maggie said.
“I don’t think he’s an alien,” Jody said, as she eyed the massive creature.
“Oh, he’s definitely an alien.” Cheryel said. “He’s from Celery Prime, just left of Alpha Centauri.”
“You just made that up,” Maggie giggled.
“No, she’s exactly right,” the massive creature said, as he leaned toward them and glared into Cheryel’s face. “And that answers my question.”
“What question was that?” Cheryel asked.
“Who stole my spaceship.” He leaned even closer, and Cheryel could smell the sticky sweet odor of the Celerians breath. “It was you.”
She sighed, there was just no good way to handle this mess. “You’re right. I did.”
There was a gasp from her coworkers as the Celerian took hold of her arm and dragged her out of the booth. “You have many things to answer for, human.”
“That’s where you’re wrong.” She said.
“Wrong? I don’t think so. You just admitted you stole my ship.”
“Yes, but I’m not human.”
The earlier gasp was nothing to the sound that came from her coworkers now. Cheryel stood with her gaze locked on that of the behemoth and allowed the smile to lighten the expression on her face. Now the fun would begin.
To be continued...