I thrashed violently, struggling to disentangle myself from the wet webs sticking my body to the chair. That's when I noticed there was a pig sitting at the table next to ours. It had a fork, and it was eating itself.
The pig smiled at me and said, "Try the pork Bob, it's delicious!"
My name isn't Bob, and even stricken with abject terror, I recognized the futility of arguing with a demonic pig.
All the revulsion, the abominations, and the sheer impossibility of the night suddenly stuck in my guts, swelling upward, into my chest, welling up in my throat until I couldn't take it any longer and starting vomiting violently. A geyser of white milk shot out of my mouth, cascading to the floor and pooling up around my feet.
Zeb looked at me and said, "Huh, maybe you're lactose intolerant."
I fell forward, caught in midair by the few strands of webbing that still held me. For a moment I hovered there, exhausted, looking down at half-digested sprinkles and gummy bears floating in the sea of bile and milk I had just produced.
Then the webs gave way and I crashed to the floor, making a splash as I landed. The shock knocked me back to my senses. The full weight of the danger dawned on me. Panic struck. I flailed around, fighting to get my footing.
Zeb saw me struggle and stood up. "Hold on there fella, I'm coming."
He reached out with one of his big meaty hands as he drew closer. As he leaned in, the maggot in his torso spasmed with anticipation.
I'm not sure if I meant to kick Zeb, but I did. My foot struck his knee, making a squishy splat noise as it landed. He stumbled backwards from the blow, slipping on the liquid coating the floor. As he toppled onto his back, Zeb let out a sharp squeal. The fall must've taken the wind out of him, because he didn't move. The worm that was his stomach did though, its fat little limbs grasping at the air helplessly.
Finally my strength came back, my sense of reality returned. I felt better all of a sudden, and managed to hoist myself off the floor. I didn't bother to even look at Zeb, I just turned and ran to the front door as fast as I could.
The vaguely humanoid pile of spinach that Stacy had turned into shouted from behind me, "The milkshakes are on the house!"
I shot through the door, and felt the cleansing night air on my skin. I ran straight to my car, got in, and drove off. Everything was a blur. I couldn't think, couldn't make sense of anything. Terror slowly gave way to relief, tinged with a lingering unease. Revolting thoughts tugged at the corners of my mind. Fortunately I managed to keep them from seeping back in, mostly.
A full day had gone by before I remembered Denise. I left her there. Didn't even give second thought to saving her. I doubt there was much I could have done anyhow. Still, poor Denise. Oh well. I've been surprised at how little leaving her behind has bothered me. Time moves on, and so do people I guess.
I do get nightmares, occasionally. Now and then a disembodied sense of sickness creeps over me. For the most part though, I've gotten on with my life. I can't say for certain how real any of this was. I mean, Richard and Denise were real, and they are missing. But I know I wasn't in my right mind that night. Something happened though. A year later I finally mustered the courage to drive by the place. Nothing was there. No restaurant, no parking lot, no indication there was ever even a building there. Richard never mentioned the name of his friend who recommended the diner, so that's a dead end. Not that I'm eager to find it. But who knows? Maybe you will. If you do, take my advice; don't try the milkshake.