The Ghost of Jack
Copyright © Tom Raimbault 2016
Copyright © Tom Raimbault 2016
All rights reserved! No part of this book may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, without permission from the author!
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This work is 100% fiction. All scenes and events within these pages have been an invention of the author's imagination, and to his knowledge never occurred in reality. Any resemblance to the reader's own experiences is purely coincidental. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
It’s late at night, and you are driving a dark and desolate highway through some rural area. You have a few more hours of travel until you reach the destination. You’re not tired, but do have a ravenous hunger. That’s when you realize you haven’t eaten anything since those two, measly pieces of toast from the hotel’s breakfast buffet. So mindless; you’ve traveled all morning, afternoon and night without something to eat.
But don’t worry; there’s an old town less than a mile ahead named Jack’s-town. But how strange of you to find it. You’re hundreds and hundreds of miles away from Kentucky. That’s why the spelling is “Jack’s-Town, not Jackstown. It must be a small, unheard of town with… ah-ha… a population of…
…Hmm… the glare from your car’s headlights made it impossible to read the sign. Hopefully there’s a late night diner still open where you can sit down and finally eat for the day.
The main road in town is void of cars and people—seemingly void of life. All the shops and storefronts are closed with lights turned off. Even the residential homes off the main road are completely dark.
“Is this is a ghost town?” you ask yourself.
No sooner after you ask this, a lighted sign can be seen off in the distance that glows and nearly illuminates the entire sky. It says, “Jack’s Diner.”
“Jack’s-Town… Jack’s Diner…” you say out loud while continuing to drive. “Who is this Jack?”
Not a single car can be seen in the parking lot of Jack’s Diner as you pull in. All the lights are on; but aside from an old man with a white beard standing at the cash register, there aren’t any customers. Keep in mind that you are famished, and really need to eat. Who knows when you will enter the next town and find a place to eat? It’s best to enter Jack’s Diner and ask for a seat.
“Welcome to Jack’s Diner!” the old man greets as you enter.
“Are you open?” you ask.
“We’re always open.” the old man reassures. “Will it be just you?”
“Yup, just me.”
The old man hands you a menu. “Go ahead and take a seat at one of the stools. You want some coffee?”
“Sure, coffee will be great!” you affirm.
You pull back a stool and take a seat as the old man suggests. Then you flip open the menu to see the usual items one would expect to see at a late night diner; hamburgers, nacho plates, grilled cheese sandwiches, fried fish sandwiches, chicken tenders, and such.
A cup of coffee on a saucer is set before you. Next to it is placed a small dish of non-dairy creamer and packets of sugar.
“Do you see anything you like?” the old man asks.
“I’m starving, and I could take everything!” you declare. “But I think I’ll have the fried fish sandwich with a side-order of fries.”
“Okay, we’ll get that going for you and bring it out.”
Moments later, the old man returns to the front. It leads you to realize that there might be a second person in the back kitchen cooking the food. “I take it you’re not alone?” you ask the old man.
“Alone?” he asks in reply. “Oh, the food cooks by itself.” Then he winks.
The moment is a perfect opportunity to ask about the unheard of Jack’s-Town. “So I’ve never heard of this place.” you begin. “Initially I thought this was a ghost town because all the shops and businesses were closed. Even the lights in the houses are turned off.”
“Jack’s-Town?—not to be confused with Jackstown, Kentucky? We’ve been around for a long time. In the 1800s, this very restaurant used to be shack-of-a-building out in the middle of nowhere. It served as a place for miners and panhandlers to get something to eat. A man by the name of Jack owned this place. That’s all we know of him. And rumor had it that he struck it rich with one of the biggest finds of gold. He supposedly buried it here and was waiting for the day when the crowds of disappointed miners left so he could finally transport his gold out of here. This was just rumor, of course.
Then one morning he was discovered in the cellar, hanging by a noose. There was a vague suicide note lying on the ground. But no one believed that Jack would commit suicide. It had to be a murder. Some speculate that bad men got hold of him late at night and tortured him until he revealed where his gold was hidden. Then they killed him.
But that’s not what people remembered Jack mostly for. People said that Jack was a real jokester. He played gags and tricks on people—people who really needed a good laugh. And to this very day, the Ghost of Jack lives on and continues to play tricks on the people that live here. This is Jack’s diner, Jack’s town, and he is very, much alive. That’s why the town is closed down late at night. Everyone is in fear that Jack will play some ghostly trick on them.”
Suddenly, the jukebox at the corner of the diner starts to play a mysterious and unheard of song.
“Look! There he is now; up to his shenanigans!”
“Nice…” you say with a smile while trying to look amused. Surely this was staged for when visitors travel through late at night.
“Well listen to the song!” urges the old man. “Have you ever heard a song like that?”
The music is mysterious and ghostly; seems to be a modern duplication of some 1800s eerie folk music. Maybe it’s something that the Ghost of Jack liked to listen to when he was alive.
“It’s definitely the Ghost of Jack!” excitedly declares the old man.
A stool about a few places over begins to spin on its own.
The old man looks at you in delight. “Maybe it’s the Ghost of Jack!”
“Whatever…!” you answer with a smile. At least the diner has some late night entertainment for you.
“I’m going to check on your order and see if it’s ready.” The old man walks into the back kitchen which leaves you alone.—alone, that is, if the Ghost of Jack isn’t with you.
The mysterious and eerie song stops playing on the jukebox, and there is no sound except for the buzz of the fluorescent lighting in the ceiling. There is no activity or movement anywhere. In fact, it feels as-if time has suddenly frozen.
The old man returns without your food. Apparently it isn’t ready, yet. But what’s this? He asks you a confusing question. “So what can I get you?”
“Excuse me?” you ask.
“Have you decided on what you want to order?”
You freeze for a moment and are slightly irritated. “Well, I ordered a fish sandwich with some fries. You went in back to check to see if it’s done.”
“Fish sandwich?” the old man asks. “We don’t have any fish sandwiches.” With lightning speed he grabs a large knife from under the counter and stabs it into his chest. “Tonight’s special is my bloody, beating heart!” He actually pulls out his heart which is still beating and nearly pushes it in your face.”
“What the…???” You back away. Needless to say, you are in shock.
“Would you like a side-order of brains with that?” he asks just before pulling a revolver from under the counter and pointing it at his head. Then he pulls the trigger. There’s a loud explosion with flash of light. Blood and brains spray on the wall behind him.
“Oh my gosh!” you exclaim. Horrified you drop your head on the counter. Hopefully the cook comes up front to help. But what’s this? Seconds later you look up and are surprised to see the old man standing above you with your plate of food.
“What the heck is going on around here?” you demand.
“Excuse me?” the old man says while setting your plate of food down. “You asked for the fish sandwich and fries, right?”
“No, that’s not what I’m talking about! You were here a moment ago and stabbed a knife into your chest. Then you shot yourself in the head with a revolver.”
“I did?” the old man asks. Then he cracks a delighted smile. “You saw something, didn’t you? Well maybe it was the Ghost of Jack. He’s always pulling pranks on people who come in here.”