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"Ned" By Thomas Stewart

The smell of grease was so thick in the air that not a single soul in the kitchen could claim they were able to breathe properly. Sweat rained from the brows of three of the four unlucky fools who were stuck back there, slammed up in the lunch rush. Hamilton was probably the one getting the worst of it, being also the biggest.


How he could even breathe was something Trevor and Gina were both wondering, constantly giving him a side eye of backhanded admiration. Nothing was more curious, though, than Ned. Tall, lanky, looking like someone had gone and sucked his insides through a silly straw, Ned stood over the grill, flipping each burger both with speed and precision. His movements were as mechanical as they were fluid. The man could’ve reinvented the term “burger-flipper” they all thought.


His eyes were trained on the screaming hot grill. It and the burgers sizzling on its top were his wounded prey as he looked at it with the eyes of a hungry dingo. If there was any sort of moisture coming from the young man’s face, it would’ve only been the saliva from his mouth.


Normally, this would’ve made the other three snicker. “That’s our Ned”, they’d sometimes say. Their oddball, Ned was always the one they couldn’t help but playfully look down upon. He barely ever spoke, and when he would, it was usually to say something like “The orders are clear, sir” or “The floors are most certainly clean in the restrooms”, or “The coolers are sufficiently stocked, Mr Edwin, sir”.


“Yo, Ned, how the heck are you not sweatin’ over there?” asked Hamilton. He didn’t move his eyes from the grill. His brows furrowed, his eyes boring deeper and deeper into the burger patties.


“Yo, Earth to Ned!” shouted Trevor. Ned diverted his eyes from the grill for a second, regarding him with an intent, concentrated stare. “Hey man, you look at ‘em any harder, you’re gonna end up frying them with your laser vision there.”


“Laser vision is a scientific impossibility, Trevor.” Ned replied in his trademarked deadpan voice. Gina snickered at this while Trevor and Hamilton both raised their eyebrows in almost perfect unison. Ned was right back to staring at the burgers.


Trevor shrugged, shaking his head. Yep, just Ned being his weird ass self. Wonder if the guy can see each ingredient, or hell, even each and every bit of muscle tissue in them… Who knows? He turned back to the fryers, pulling up a basket of tater tots.


The next hour passed without a word being exchanged between the four, outside of Gina and Trevor calling back and forth to each other what orders need what and from where. The thickness of the air was unrelenting, too. By the time the hour ended, and the orders were all finally filled, Hamilton was about ready to collapse, with Trevor not far behind him.


Gina was already sitting down in front of the wide open freezer, something Mr. Edwin had gotten onto her and Hamilton both for several times in the past. Whatever, they want the freezer door closed, how about getting the damn air conditioner fixed, right? Ned, on the other hand, was still spry as ever.


He scraped the grill until it looked the way it did at closing time, after decomissioning it for the night. The whole time, too, he kept up that same exact death stare, examining every minute detail of the grill as he ground the scraper into the surface without mercy. Hamilton watched all of this flabbergasted.


“Hey man, take it easy on the grill there, I think I can hear it screamin’ bloody murder.” Ned stopped and looked up at him.


“A grill cannot scream. It has no feelings.” Hamilton scoffed disbelievingly.


“Have you ever heard of a frickin’ joke before?” Ned’s head cocked to the side in a way that looked almost mechanical, or at least a way that should’ve snapped his neck in half.


“A joke?” he asked. Hamilton nodded.


“Yeah, dude, a “joke”. You know, things that’re supposed to make you laugh?” Ned’s eyes looked at the ground for a moment.


“I don’t think he’s heard of one of those before, bro.” chimed Trevor.


“Yeah, think I can see that.” Hamilton remarked, chuckling and walking over to the freezer where Gina sat. Ned dropped the scraper and looked at Hamilton and Gina, his eyes bugging in their sockets.


“The freezer door MUST say closed!” he shouted. Gina and Hamilton’s heads shot over to look at Ned. Their own eyes grew, but not nearly as intense as his.


“Chill man, we’re just cooling off.”


“Mr. Edwin says we HAVE to keep the freezers closed! The meat will spoil if you don’t!” Hamilton’s eyebrows cocked in confusion.


“Man, it’s fine, we do this all the time.” he said. Ned’s alarm wasn’t wavering.


“The procedure clearly states that--”


“Bro, fuck off with that “procedures” crap. Ain’t a single one of us, but you, give a damn about that shit, and look around…” He passed his arm around the kitchen toward the other two. “We still have our jobs.” Ned’s eyes narrowed.


“Look man, I’m telling you, you need to get a life outside this place. This ain’t it, trust me.” Ned just stood there for a hot minute, examining Hamilton the same way he had done with the burgers earlier. His body was shaking and his face had started to flush.


“Oh shit,” said Trevor, “Hey man, don’t go exploding on us.” He slowly stepped forward towards Ned, arms outstretched. “Look, just calm down, take a breath in…” he drew a deep breath in for emphasis, “... and release.”


Ned followed neither of these instructions. His eyes wouldn’t leave Hamilton. Hamilton looked around, confused. “Bro, what?”


“Close the door.” Ned demanded through gritted teeth.


“How about you go get bent, Ned.” replied Hamilton in a huff. He then punctuated his statement with a firm middle finger straight to his face. Without another word then, Ned stomped over to the freezer, jerking him up by the collar of his shirt, and hurling him away while shutting the freezer door, all in one motion.


“Ned, what the hell?!” cried Gina. Trevor ran over to Hamilton to help him up.


“You okay?” he asked him. Hamilton didn’t respond, his attention instead focused solely on Ned. A mix of confusion and violent aggression flooded through him.


This motherfucker… Hamilton was eager to get back up on his feet, ready to get his lick in on this pencil-necked spitfuck. Trevor braced his hand against his chest.


“Dude, don’t.” Hamilton gave him the look that said “move or you’ll be the one gettin’ it”. “Come on, man, it ain’t worth it.”


Hamilton’s wild eyes passed for a moment between him and Ned. Ned stared at the both of them with his back braced against the door like whatever was behind it was worth more than all the money on earth combined. Finally, Hamilton broke the silence by getting up and saying “You know what, fuck it, I’m going out into the hall.” and got up to leave.


Trevor and Gina both turned to Ned and asked, “Ned, what the hell’s wrong with you?!” Ned gave no reply to either of them. Trevor walked over to him.


“Hey, I’m talking to you asshole, what’s your deal?” Ned glared right back at him.


“The rules are that the freezer door has to stay locked at all times. You know this as well as he did.”


“Whatever man, that’s no excuse for you to be aggressive like that.” chimed Gina. Ned passed a glare at her before returning back to Trevor.


“The freezer door stays locked!” Trevor shook his head, scoffing.


“You know what, fuck it. I don’t even know why any of us try with you sometimes, Ned.” He turned and walked off, laughing, and said, “Swear to God, sometimes I don’t even think you’re from earth.”


“O-Of course I’m f-from earth.” Ned retorted, stumbling over his own breath. His eyes even darted from one side to the other in a noticeable fashion. Trevor, not having turned around to look at him at all, simply barked a laugh and continued out of the kitchen. Gina just sat in her little corner of the kitchen area, frowning at him.


Ned’s body started shaking, small at first with it gradually building in intensity. Eventually, his entire body vibrated for almost a full 30 seconds at an almost supersonic rate. Gina stood up.


Her arm reached out for a moment before stopping. Is he having a seizure, she wondered. His neck started jerking to the right side before snapping right back up again. His face was blank again, devoid of the menacing glare he’d worn only 20 seconds ago. Like a hardrive which had just been wiped and reset.


Gina took a step backward while Ned, with almost mechanical movement, walked stiffly back to the grill to continue scraping its surface of any and all remote traces of grime or grease, or practically anything that was able to be scraped away-- including the actual grill surface as well. Gina watched with a rapidly growing apprehension while he mercilessly dragged the scraper along like he was practicing skinning an animal alive. Hell, the way he was going at it, she thought, you’d think the grill was somehow responsible for the murder of his favorite pet or something.


With this in mind, Gina slowly stepped back toward her area at the fryers, taking the dropper to check the grease quality. Despite her back being turned, though, there was no way she wasn’t going to keep at least a passing glance every five to ten seconds or so on him. Not about to get caught unaware in the event he snaps again for some reason.


***


“Yo, the fuck was Ned’s deal?” Hamilton asked, opening the ice chest under the drink machine.


“How am I supposed to know?” Trevor asked in reply. Hamilton scoffed before sticking his face inside. The relief was almost instant. “Ahhh, yeah… That’s the spot.” Trevor snickered.


“Feel better, big guy?”


“Damn right. Here, try it.”


Chuckling, Trevor replied, “Yeah, how about I don’t.”


“You sure? Feels even better than the freezer.” He pulled his head back out and joked, “And unlike the freezer, neither the boss man or butt head in there are gonna “demand” that we keep it closed at all times, right?” He chuckled at his own wit. Trevor seemed less amused.


“What?”


“I don’t know, man, I mean…” he shrugged before continuing with, “He’s just never acted out like this before. Kinda freaks me out to be honest.” Hamilton snorted.


“You’re kidding, right? Bro, that guy’s a nut. Grade A, 100% certified nutball who never had any screws to begin with to ever come loose.”


“Yeah, yeah, I know, just…” he sighed and added, “I don’t know, I just think this’s an all new extreme for him, I mean, sure, he’s always been a stickler for the rules and all.”


“Oh yeah, a Grade A kiss-ass, too, thanks for reminding me.” Hamilton interjected.


“Yeah, but come on, dude, you have to admit, this is extreme. He’s never gotten violent before, at least I don’t think.” Hamilton removed his head one last time from the ice chest, taking a fresh breath, and closing the hatch back.


“Bro, I wasn’t gonna say anything cause I didn’t think much of it…” he shrugged and added in a semi awkward tone, “I was kinda high when I saw it.”


“Spit it out, what’re you talking about?”


“Well, I think I saw Ned the other night outside his house, kneeling in his front yard, dead ass in the middle of the night, with a couple of dead animals.” Trevor’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped like a stone. Hamilton nodded.


“Look, like I said, I ain’t tryin’ to start any kind of shit show here, but that’s what I’m pretty sure I saw.”


“What kind of animals? Were any of them alive, I mean, cause if you’re telling me what I think you are, then I think we need to call the police ASAP.”


“For the third time, dude, I don’t know that’s what I was actually seeing. I was stoned that night, like really soaring.” Trevor looked back toward the kitchen.


“I’d say, from now on, just keep your head on a constant swivel with that one around, okay?”


“Yeah…” Trevor muttered under his breath.


“He say anything, by the way?” Hamilton asked.


“What do you mean?”


“I don’t know, like, he say anything else weird after I left?”


“I don’t know, I mean, I told him I think he sometimes acts like he ain’t even from Earth and he said “Of course I am”, or something like that.” Hamilton chuckled.


“Like I said, on a swivel.” he said, patting him on the back while pushing past him to head back toward the kitchen. Trevor just stood there, examining the cups like he saw a gaggle of spiders crawling all over them. In the back of his mind, he heard Ned’s voice echoing “The freezer door stays locked!”


Why is he so stuck up his own ass about that rule?


Ned may’ve been a poindexter, but not one to come to fisticuffs about it. Any other rule and he was just the type to remind you that you were indeed breaking the rule. The freezer door, though, was something he’d always be quick to jump down your throat about. That’d sent him into a tailspin before, but nothing like this…


Keep you head on a swivel, just like Hamilton said…


***


Hamilton entered the kitchen, taking care to do so from the side opposite where he knew Ned would be. He knew one good look at that scrawny punk and it’d be everything he could do not to go and snap him like a twig in the middle of winter. He walked over to his area at the counter and was about to start prepping for the next rush when he chanced a glance over toward the freezer.


He looked back at the counter, only to do a double take when he realized that Gina wasn’t there anymore. He wouldn’t have thought anything of it, except for the fact that not only was her phone left behind, something she normally wouldn’t have been caught dead without, but the freezer door was actually cracked a bit. Curious beyond the point of return now; born more out of a growing concern than anything else, Hamilton made his way over to the freezer again.


“Gina,” he called out, “Yo, Gina, you in there?” No answer. He got to the door and looked down, where he found one of Gina’s shoes keeping the door propped open. Frowning, he bent down for a closer look when the sound of a growling dog caught his attention from the inside of the freezer. At once, his joints locked up.


“Gina, you okay in there?” The growling was his only response. It only got louder and louder. The more he listened, the more he realized it didn’t much sound like a dog either; more like a deranged hyena or a rabid dingo or coyote. Hesitantly, he put one foot forward inside of the freezer.


“Hey, you looking for something in here?” He took another step forward, entering the freezer fully. “Come on, Gina, this ain’t funny.”


The growls were coming from the very back of the freezer. His pace quickened in accordance with his now hammering heartbeat. “Gina, what’re you doing, hon?”


The closer he came to the back of the freezer, the more he could hear the squelching noises that were accompanying the snarls. His mind was awash with images of a bunch of wolves bunched together, all ripping apart a sheep while it was barely even able to kick its legs anymore. Then, suddenly, an even weirder sound rings out in the room, something mechanical.


Is… Is that the meat grinder? He wondered, quickening his pace to a small speed run to the back of the room. What the hell’s she need the meat grinder fo--


His feet stopped, rooting themselves where they stood. His left eye had wandered unconsciously toward the left hand side of the room, where it was now frozen on a scene straight out of one of the SAW movies.


On the floor, stomach and chest flayed wide open, was Gina. Her face stared back at Hamilton in an expression of perpetual fear that mirrored his own. Hamilton retched, using every bit of strength to hold the bile inside his mouth when it was revealed to him that her lower half was missing outright and that a foot or two of her severed large intesting strung out of her stomach like a squishy pink rope. It lead almost a half a foot from her body before ending just in front of the corner leading into the meat grinding room.


Hamilton’s knees started wobbling under him. What the hell was this, he thought. What was he supposed to do? How in the hell was he supposed to handle this, what was he supposed to do?


Call the cops, obviously, but what was he supposed to tell them? “Yeah, officer, I heard a dog growling here in the freezer and went looking for my coworker here after I left to go get a drink with this weird guy…”


Like lightning to a fencepost, the thought struck him hard. Ned! Of course, this had him written all over it!


But that’s ridiculous, right? Ned wasn’t no kind of killer. Then again, he wasn’t a fighter either…


Until just a couple minutes ago…


His eyes doubled in size. He knew it, he knew it was only a matter of time before he pulled something like this! No wonder he wanted the damn freezer door shut so bad.


Before he could finally force his legs out of entropy, he heard sounds of dragging, yet no less lumbering and heavy footsteps coming around the corner. Deep, guttural snarls bellowed out from around the corner. Hamilton’s foot almost hopped itself backwards. And again then he watched this gnarled, bony, neon green hand grip the edge of the wall.


Presenting itself first was the beast’s jaws, which seemed to protrude from its face about a good five or six inches from the face as a whole, with two prominent, thin, and needly tusks jutting from its mandible. The beast took another step forward, thus exposing its green, slippery face and globulous eyes which had this strange reflective quality to them.


By this time, Hamilton had fully turned to face the horror in front of him, only to see his own frightened stare facing him right back when the creature’s eye darted up towards him. Then the creature turned the rest of its head and faced him completely, revealing its pointed, pseudo-reptilian head and body which looked so painfully thin that it didn’t look like his head should’ve been able to hold itself up on it.


For a good ten seconds, the world froze with the two just standing there, examining each other. The creature lurched forward, bearing all of its weight down on its front foot. Hamilton leaned back, unable to even move his foot backwards. His jaw hung open, but neither breath nor sound could pass in or out.


The creature’s breath was heavy, hitting Hamilton square in the chest like a brick. Hamilton’s eyes started passing frantically all about the room. There had to be a way out.


His eye caught the storage room for all the vegetables and some of the sauces. He could make it, but only if he took off. And take off he did.


In less than the time it took to blink, Hamilton started booking for the room. Now, this guy had never exercised a day in his life, not in any meaningful way, but from how quick he was moving right then, you’d swear he was training for a triathalon. Regardless, of course, it wasn’t much for the creature to keep at his heels the entire time.


He didn’t look back to see if it was still on his heels, though. His eyes stayed forward, trained on the door. The door seemed so far away, stretching on and on, further and further away. His lungs started to sting. His body couldn’t handle this much exertion at once.


Still, though, a little bit of pain now beat the hell out of being this thing’s main course later.


He managed to make it to the door, swinging it closed right as the creature was about to lunge for him in one single motion. Hamilton braced his back against the door and kept it there for a full minute while attempting to catch his breath. Leaning his ear to the door, he tried to listen, anticipating an ear-splitting howl, followed by a series of slams against the door. Neither came, though.


Instead, the only sounds from behind the door were the creature’s breaths, which almost echoed off of it. With each breath, Hamilton’s heart hammered harder and harder against his ribs. His chest even began to hurt because of it.


Please, PLEASE go away…


Suddenly, the breathing stopped. He pressed his ear to the door again, only to hear silence from the other side. Of course, that didn’t mean it was necessarily gone.


Catching his breath, Hamilton backed away from the door with slow, soft steps. Once he reached the middle of the room, he stopped and surveyed the room. There weren’t any exits or anything, and trying to go out through the front door was obviously out of the question, so Hamilton looked around the room for a place he could sit and perhaps wait out the beast.


Then he looked up and had an idea. Above him, about three feet or so from where he was standing, the ventilation shaft for the freezer cooler was wide open. It’d been that way, he knew, ever since the place had been redone two years back, back before Ned even started working there, to allow for more cool air to circulate without the fan hindering it whenever it got jammed(which back then was quite often). It was wide and round, too, possibly enough to even fit his big ass through.


Only one way to find out…


He pulled out a few boxes to the middle of the room under the vent and carefully started playing mountain climber on top of them, taking care not to bear too much weight on any single box so as to not flatten it. To his surprise, he actually managed to make it up into the vent, straining to pull himself inside of it. Once he’d managed to wedge himself inside the ventilation shaft, which proved just big enough to fit his body with an inch of extra wiggle room, he immediately got to work moving his way through.


The way he figured, he could snake his way through the vents, eventually find another one, one that’d lead back out into the kitchen again or maybe the dining room. There, he’d immediately snatch up the nearest phone, regardless of if it was his or even some random stranger’s, and panic dial 911. How he’d explain any of this or if they’d believe him, or even where this supposed vent was, he had absolutely no clue. Those were questions for later. First thing’s first: find the damn vent.


He made his way through for about the first two or three feet with no problems whatsoever. Getting to about the fourth or fifth, however, was where he began to have issues, constantly needing to stop and catch his breath after only about three or four inches. Of course, it didn’t help that, despite being the freezer vent, the air in there was thicker and somehow even hotter in a way than what was in the kitchen, nor the fact that, by this point forward, it felt like the vents were getting smaller, more compact.


About ten minutes later, he finally managed to make it to the end of the vent, where he’s met with a two-way intersection. Now while most probably would take a moment and try to evaluate which direction to go in next, Hamilton had neither time nor patience for that. No, he wanted the hell out of that vent and out of that restaurant for that matter.


Taking only a very quick second to glance in each direction, he chose right and started down that path. Ironically, he’d almost instantly regret this choice, though, as this one proved to be somehow even stuffier than the previous. Sweat formed in bullets across his forehead.


Come on, why can’t there be any air coming through…


He stopped then. He frowned. Up until that moment, he hadn’t noticed, but that he thought of it now, there hadn’t been even so much as a chilly sort of breeze to pass through the vents. Not even when he was first climbing inside did he feel anything.


The hell? What happened to the freezer unit?


He was about to try and think back to when he was in the kitchen to see if maybe he’d remembered feeling any air coming through there when he heard a set of strange gurgling noises coming from further up ahead. Ahead, at the other end of the vent, he saw only the cooler unit.


Taking a moment to shuffle in his pocket, Hamilton wrenches out his phone and clicks on his light. The beam is pitiful, but enough to see nothing ahead of him. Nothing alive anyways.


What is ahead, however, is nonetheless startling, with blood spattered across the walls and ceiling and a severed pair of legs laying discarded in the middle. Mixed in with all of this was a neon green sort of film that coated everything across the far end of the vent. Hamilton’s hammering heart froze.


What in the fu--


A scratching sound coming from behind him startled him. He snapped his head as far behind himself as he could manage-- that is to say not very much. Nothing met him there and the sound itself was just as much nonexistent now. His sweat dripped out of the ends of his sleeves.


For a moment, he remained motionless. He didn’t want to go any further, yet, balls deep in the vents as he was, where it was already next to impossible to breathe anyway, he knew he couldn’t just camp where he was for the night. He started trying to inch himself backwards toward the other end where he came from when he heard the scratching again.

He stopped again and this time, the sound persitsts. Closer and closer behind him, the scratching comes. His arms redirect then to pulling himself forward toward the unit.


The scratching noise picks up in speed. His arms struggled to pull himself forward. His arms strained with the pressure. His fingers burned, his fingernails threatening to rip from their tips. The scratching was right at his heels. He could even swear at a point that something brushed against his heels.


He wanted to look back to see what it was, but knew that would only waste time at this point, time that he’d need if he were going to pull off the miracle of getting out of this alive. The scratching resonated off the walls all around him.


To his credit, Hamilton actually managed to make it to the point where the green slimy film began before his ankle was snagged from behind. He jerked and jerked with all of his strength, but whatever had him, had the grip of a steel vice. Hamilton dug his aching nails into the metal then as he was slowly pulled backwards. Hamilton, for as big and tough as he liked to present himself at all times, couldn’t keep himself from screeching like the prissiest scream queen in a movie from the 60’s.


“Let me go! Help!” he screamed, despite knowing good and damn well no one was going to hear him. “Help me!”


The nails of his pinkie and his middle finger both ripped out, escalating Hamilton’s screams in pitch. Finally, he was jerked so hard he came up off the ground and came soaring through the air. His back slammed hard against the wall. His vision exploded into a cloud again when his head bounced off the wall as well.


In spite of this, what little he could see was unmistakable. In front of him stood a tall, lanky looking green figure. Coming from it was another series of scratches with a hint of growling mixed in with it. His muscles tensed, wanting so badly to spring up again and make another break for it. Due to his daze, though, as well as his girth in such a cramped spot, he couldn’t.


The gangly green figure shambled forward. Hamilton squirmed. Sweat now gushed from every shaking pore of his body. The creature’s growling turned into a sort of gurgling noise that made Hamiton’s stomach turn over on itself.


H-How did it follow me so quickly?! He thought when he heard more of the same noises now coming from behind the figure in front of him. Hamilton’s eyes grew, seeing more lanky green figures join in behind the one in front. His heart now stopped.


They had him now. There was no running. No hiding.


There was no escaping his fate now.


Sounds of screaming, both of pain and terror as well as those of bloodlust, echoed all throughout the vents. The only other sound one might hear amidst it all, at least until the screaming finally died away, would’ve been the sickening squelches of flash being mercilessly rended and the snapping of bones. This lasted for only a mere minute and a half before the sounds of the vents died away completely.


From that point on then, the only sound audible was that of the barely functioning, muffled cooler unit, blowing softly throughout the vents.


***


Trevor walked back into the kitchen, a large diet Pepsi in his hand. The kitchen was empty. “Yo, Gina, Ham, what the hell? You guys do know the dinner rush is about to start, right?”


No answer came to him. He scanned the kitchen breifly before walking over to the fryers. “Gina, come on, I need your help here. Remember, we gotta clean out the fryers today.” Nothing.


He walks over to the grill next and calls out, “Hamilton? Yo, come on!”


Silence.


Where the hell could they’ve gone?


Almost having read this thought of his, Trevor panic-snapped his head over his shoulder to see Ned, saying, “Mr. Edwin just gave the both of them the rest of tonight off. I will be happy to help .”


Trevor, catching his breath, said to him, “Okay, whatever, look, did Hamilton ever apologize to you, or you to him?” Ned just shook his head. Trevor sighed.


“Okay well, look, if you manage to see him, do me a favor and apologize.” For a second, the two just stared at each other. Neither one can say that they promised it.


“Alright, whatever man.” he said, walking back toward his station at the fryers. “I’m gonna help though to get you outa here. Ned nodded before turning back to his own station at the grill, resuming his merciless scraping. Before he could look at his station, however, he noticed something on Ned’s arm. He squinted, leaning in for a closer look.


He went wide-eyed at what he saw. “N-Ned, is that blood?” Ned dropped the scraper and turned back around to face him, looking both puzzled and alarmed.


“What are you talking about?” he asked.


“On your arm. Is that blood?” Ned looked down at his arms to see that Trevor was right, there were stains covering his arms.


“It is.” he replied simply.


“Dude, you cut yourself or something?” Ned shook his head. Trevor’s eyebrows raised further at him.


“If you must know, it’s from trying to bleed out all the chicken so that we wouldn’t have to tomorrow night.” Ned then turned and went back to scraping the grill, which by now had an almost mirror like sheen to it, able to act as a mirror to his stone cold, emotionless face.


Fuckin’ weirdo, man. Trevor thought to himself while finishing up the prepwork for the burger bar and condiments. At some point, Trevor noticed there weren’t anymore mozzarella slices and turned toward the freezer door. He was about to make his way over to it when, out of nowhere, Ned’s arm blocks his path.


“Hey, look man, I’m just looking to grab some stuff from the freezer.”


“What is it?”


“Just some mozzarella slices, man.”


“I’ll grab them. You stay out here, okay?” Trevor stammered, wanting to protest, but something about Ned’s face told him to maybe think again about trying to challenge him on this. Throwing up his hands, Trevor turned around while Ned walked stiff-legged into the freezer.


The door closed behind him and Trevor stole a glance back, shaking his head. What the hell’s the deal with him and that damn freezer door? He turns back and shuffles around, setting up the rest of the condiments when he hears strange growls coming from the other end of the door. He turned and listened close, hearing nothing now.


The hell?


He let his head fall into his palms and shook his head again.


That’s just Ned alright…



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