I used to work at a middle of nowhere McDonald’s just outside of Port Richmond, Virginia.
But a few months ago, something terrible happened to one of the staff that for some reason justified erasing the place off the map. Not to say I’m sad to see the place gone.
Now, the thing about fast food is that it attracts two kinds of people. Poor, but intelligent people who are working towards a bigger picture and total losers who have given up hope. I belong to the latter group but Grace, man, she was the queen of the former.
When we both started together about 8 months ago I knew straight away this girl was so far out of my league. She was so cool and down to earth and beautiful. She had this way of just accepting people and finding a way to admire them, no matter the person. It didn’t matter that she was beautiful, educated and better than me in every way. When you’re the standard suburban moms set their kids not to be, you don’t come across that kind of acceptance every day, you know?
After months of working together, yea we got close. Not what you’re thinking.
So, it must have been mid-June or something and we’d both been working the drive through together for a couple of weeks.
When you spend a large portion of your life serving even larger assholes from a tiny window, you get real familiar with the view. From my box you could see the grass hill that separated the drive-thru from the road, said road and beyond that a Walmart parking lot. I spent so much time staring out of that window I even started to recognise the cars that drove by, but after my first few weeks there was one in particular I started to look out for.
I thought it must have been the ex-con jitters, or growing up where I did but I started to get a real bad feeling about this car as the days went by. It was an old Ford truck, one of the 87 f-150 models. Once upon a time it would have been a real beauty, all bright reds with a white stripe down the middle. Now the red body of the truck was rusted beyond recognition and the white stripe was a sickly yellow, like rotting teeth. The windows of the truck were the only things that survived the past 20 years unscathed, as they clearly weren’t standard. The whole truck was so heavily tinted I couldn’t understand how the thing was still on the road. The cops are real eager round here, or maybe that’s just my experience.
Anyway, the first time I see the truck it’s just parked in the lot across the road opposite. Nothing unusual about that, other than the paedophile chic look it was just a car in a lot. Probably.
The next day from my booth overlooking the drive through I see the car again. And again. And again. I saw it maybe thirty, forty times that day. I think it was just driving in circles for some reason. Suffice to say at this point, I’m starting to get real suspicious of this truck.
It was looking quiet that night but the manager was always up my ass if I left my post, so I gave Grace a quick text and asked her to watch the window for me while I went for a piss.
When I came back I asked her about the car and she got damn quiet, said that a couple of minutes after I left she saw the car come down the road and hit the breaks for apparently no reason. She said it stayed there just doing nothing in an empty road, that it felt like whoever was in there was looking at her. I guess it freaked her out when I told her I’d seen it around as well because she went back to work then went home before her shift finished. It was the first time I’d seen her anything less than offensively happy.
The next day Grace didn’t show up, so I covered her drive-thru shift. There was a big queue that evening so instead of looking out for the truck I was real focused on working through the white trash piling up along the drive-thru. So focused, that I didn’t notice the truck when it came to the window.
No one had taken any orders from the driver, so far as I could see it had just driven up out of nowhere.
So the truck stops at my window and when I finally notice it I can’t even fucking breath. My eyes are locked on the tar black window, straining for a sight of the driver but I can’t see shit. I just get this feeling like I’m staring down a barrel of crude oil and it’s something staring right back at me. I don’t know what else to do so I’m just having a staring contest with this window. Then as suddenly as it appeared the car races off, tires screeching it ploughs over the grass across the wrong lane and races off into the night.
I try to tell the manager, but of course he just tells me to get a grip and deal with my shit. What an asshole. The next day Grace came back to work and she seemed back to her old self. I was still reeling from last night and when I told her what had happened we were both pretty spooked. After a quick smoke we both agreed that it was probably just some creep playing a joke on us, but we’d both keep an eye just in case. I saw it only briefly that night. It was driving real slow down the road beyond the hill, its lights were off so I could only see the truck by the lights of the cars behind. Behind it the traffic was building up and you could hear the horns blaring, followed by curses that were cut short as people got close enough to see the windows. Before long the truck raced off again, apparently done for the evening. When time came for my regular nature break Grace was happy to take my spot again. That was the last time I saw her.
I must’ve been gone two minutes at the most, but by the time I had returned to the window Grace was gone and the sound of screeching tires pierced the night. I ran back into the back and called the police, told the manager what I thought had happened and pushed my way into the office to look at the security tapes. The manager was busy hollering about regulations beyond the door, but I didn’t really give a shit. As I turned on the computer and set up the tape I saw what had happened, the cameras had picked up everything. On the screen it played out like a bad horror short. The truck had rolled up out of nowhere as soon as I had gone and with the lights off Grace had seen it too late. She tried her best to get out of there but before she could get out, and I can’t believe I’m fucking saying this, something came bursting out from INSIDE the truck. Two long black arms, so thin and sinewy they seemed more like dead branches than limbs thrust from the darkness where the driver’s window should be and wrapped themselves around Grace’s mouth and torso. To reach that far they must have been 6 feet long at least. It was over in about two seconds, Grace was pulled head first from the drive though into the window that never fucking opened and that was that.
The police closed the whole joint after they took my statement. All of us, management included got let go so fast they actually had to pay us unemployment. We’ve been looking for her ever since. It’s been six months now and it turns out Graces family are incredibly awesome people. One of her uncles has even taken me on as an apprentice mechanic! No more Mc-assholes for me.
It turned out that one of my friend’s dads, Justin was working the case. The guy hates me, but Justin had finally managed to plough him for information. Today after we met up and spoke about it I’m convinced what happened in that booth was even more sinister than I first imagined.
The police haven’t turned up anything, turns out the plate number I gave them for the truck actually belongs to a car on the other side of the country. They never even managed to see the damn thing on any other cameras around the area and they’ve checked them all. It’s like the car picked her up, blasted out of the drive-thru and just vanished. Well, there was one tape they didn’t get to look at more than briefly. According to Justin, his dad told him his whole departments is up in arms because a couple of suits came in and confiscated the original tape maybe two days after the kidnapping. Told the whole force to drop the case and leave it to the feds.
No one believes me, not even Grace’s family. Even the cops that saw the tape are keeping real quiet for some reason. But I’m not crazy. I saw that window, and I know that whatever took Grace from the booth that day wasn’t anything natural.
These days I’m always looking at the road, and even when I’m working in the garage I’ve got an eye out on the horizon. Waiting for a car with tar black windows.