A young woman stood at a table, small pad and pen in her hand as she waited for the young couple before her to finish their order. She was doing her best to be patient, the teenagers obviously a little stumped - and perhaps more than a little high. The girl, with blonde hair that was obviously bleached and blue highlights, popped her gum while she stared down at her menu. Her boyfriend, who reeked of what could only be marijuana, had set his menu down and shrugged. He finally decided on french fries for a side, and changed how he wanted his burger cooked. The waitress nodded, scratching out part of what she had written before. While she finished writing, the girl finally ordered the same, handing over her menu with another pop of her gum.
"Thanks, Casey," the boy lazily said, sliding his menu to the edge of the table.
"Anytime, guys. It'll be right up." The waitress grabbed both menus with a polite smile, then turned and headed off to pass the orders to the cook. Those teens were regulars, always showing up around the same time almost every night. The mixed scents of weed, sex, and alcohol often trailed after them, but it wasn't Casey's place to judge. They were fairly nice and never caused a problem, and that was all that mattered. That's how she felt about most of the regulars.
Twenty-one year-old Casey Corvin had worked at that small diner for close to four years. It had been her first real job, and one that she had desperately needed. Having come from a home full of abuse, drugs, and addiction, it was hard for her to climb her way out of it. She had never hit rock bottom with drugs, thank goodness, but she probably would have if it wasn't for this job. While it took quite some time to get used to, she found that having a pleasant attitude and patience was the way to go. Not only did that get her decent tips, but she also became quite popular with the customers. They knew her quite well, chatting with her and enjoying her presence.
The diner was on the outskirts of town, but was well-known amongst the residents. Many people passed through each day, even at night when most twenty-four hour restaurants were deadly quiet. With all the people who ate there, it meant that Casey wasn't just popular there, but in town. She couldn't go one place without someone saying hi to her, or wanting to strike up a conversation with her. It was nice, compared to how her life was before, when she was pretty much a nobody.
Yet, every so often, there was a problem customer. Someone who didn't care for Casey at all.
"Hey! Get your ass over her, girl!" A middle-aged man called her from the other side of the diner, a very displeased look on his face. A younger guy sat across from him, perhaps his son, who also did not look happy.
Casey took in a quick breath, put on her best smile, and hurried over there. "Yes, is there a problem, sir?"
"Can't you see?" He pointed a finger down at his food - a steak, roll, and mashed potatoes. He caught Casey's confused look, and loudly sighed. "My steak hasn't been cooked right." He glanced up at his son, who had pushed his own food away, though said nothing about that.
"I'm sorry, sir. But you haven't even cut into it, yet. How do you know?" She reached down to take it, lightly picking up the plate. She knew she should have just nodded and taken it back, but his words truly confused her. The steak looked fine!
"I know how my steak should be, girl! I wanted medium-rare, not rare!" He jabbed another finger at the food, growing more agitated.
Casey chose to end the confrontation there. Many of the other customers were staring, and a few looked ready to pounce on the guy in her defense. Taking the plate, she turned and headed for the kitchen. On the way there, one of her co-workers offered to deal with the guy, but she refused. Instead, she dealt with it as well as she could, giving him a new plate with fresh food. He only insulted her more, but at least he shut up and ate.
When it came time to give them the bill, she found herself with another problem.
"What the hell is this? I ain't paying for this crap!" The man crossed his arms, shoving the piece of paper off the table without even looking at it.
"Sir, you ate the food. You need to pay." Casey picked it up, holding it on the table with her fingers.
This time, his son spoke up. "The food was complete shit, and so was your so-called service! You heard my dad, we're not paying!"
It took several minutes, and the appearance of her manager, to force the two to cough up the cash. Of course, there was no tip. And the son knocked over the plates, shattering them, before she could pick them up. They were 86'd, with the son giving her a nasty look before he vanished out the door.
Encounters like that was nothing new, but Casey was glad to know that she had back up. The rest of the night carried on with no more problems. She clocked out, shrugged on her jacket, and was out the door. Her car was parked around the back, where she normally parked. It was very late, the only true light she had being the full moon. Normally, it didn't bother her, though tonight she was pretty unnerved. Something didn't feel right. Pulling out her keys, she hurried to the rundown car, and was just about to unlock the door when she heard footsteps behind her.
She prayed that it was only a co-worker, but the sound of a gun being cocked shattered that weak hope. She knew that sound anywhere, being very knowledgeable in guns out of sheer interest, as well as hand-to-hand for self defense. There was a gun under the passenger seat of her car, though she knew she didn't have time to grab it. And the guy had a gun...Hand-to-hand was useless. She turned around, facing the person only to see that it was the middle-aged jerk's son from earlier. He pointed a gun right at her, not speaking a word as he aimed and fired.
The first bullet only grazed her upper arm, but the second hit home right below her heart. He squeezed the trigger again and again, the last bullet hitting her stomach before the click of an empty chamber hit her ears. None of them were kill shots, but she was losing blood fast. Her vision blurred, and she couldn't remember hitting the concrete. Her attacker was long gone. How much time had passed? Seconds...Minutes? She thought she heard someone shouting, the ringing in her ears shrouding any other sound.
Someone touched her, another shook her shoulder, and someone else pressed down on one of her wounds in an attempt to stop the bleeding. It was too late. She knew it was too late.
Her head tilted to the side, and her eyes drifted open just enough to see another blurred figure stepping close to her.