DINE AND DASH

Freshness guaranteed.

OUR MISSION

Food at your Door is a quickly growing company ready to serve the needs of your local area. We give businesses everywhere the opportunity to fulfill the basic cuisine demands of the public at large, and just as importantly, we bring new opportunities for income to every community we engage. We are the final step to the successful economic expansion of your community, because your community is our mission.


Macy ran down the hallway of the fifth floor of the Parmello Hotel, Lucas in front of her, Toby and Damien right behind, and in truth, none of them were running fast enough.

An elderly woman in her seventies, a grandma type with white hair and glasses, stepped out of her room at the end of the hall, probably to see what all of the commotion was about.

Lucas bolted for the old woman, knocking her aside and down in his haste, and then he dashed into the septuagenarian’s now unoccupied room, slamming the woman’s hotel door shut behind him.

“Lucas!” screeched Macy. “LUCAAAAAS!”

She ran up to the closed door and banged on it, deliberately ignoring the room’s previous occupant, the old woman currently on her back upon the brown-carpeted floor.

Macy tried to turn the knob of the shut door, but it was too late…That coward, Lucas, had locked it.

She turned with wide eyes as two of the changed, ravenous people chasing them spilled into the hallway at the end they had just vacated, then two more spilled in, then two more.

Toby and Damien ran past her, so there was no more time to dawdle.

“Lucas, you COWAAAARD!” screeched Macy, though she knew it would do no good.

She pitched into a dead run for the stairs after that, deliberately leaving behind the injured old woman on the carpet of the fifth-floor hallway. She did not have to turn and look behind herself to know that the monstrously-changed people chasing them were now upon that poor old woman…The old woman’s screams did that for her.


OUR SERVICE

Unlike other delivery services, Food at your Door is dedicated to one thing and one thing only: bringing your meal to you in a quick and timely manner. Food at your Door doesn’t waste time with nonperishable products, which is why our service has the highest food-delivery rate and the fastest-growing work opportunities in your area when it comes to delivering food.


Macy’s short curly red hair bobbed around in her vision as she pulled open the heavy door to the stairs. She entered the stairwell and briefly took a moment to look for her two other compatriots, though to be fair, they’d only had a few seconds of a head start over her.

Toby and Damien were already pounding down those stairs, rounding the corner near the bottom of the turn, but they quickly swiveled and ran back up upon the appearance of two more assailants, and these two new attackers were even more horrifying than the previous ones they had all run into.

These monstrous people, these deranged maniacs, were changing even more, changing into something even more terrifying than before.

These two new people, one male and one female, were both in their thirties, maybe a couple, and they were styled in the nice dress clothes that people with middle-class careers often wore, but that was where the niceties ended. Their skin was a bluish-grey now, their ears pointed, their hissing mouths opened to reveal pairs of fangs, their hands twisted with gnarled and black-clawed fingers.

Before, their attackers had just had the pointed ears, the fangs, and maybe some claws…Macy couldn’t quite remember…but now?…It was not her imagination. Now they definitely looked more monstrous than before.

Maybe they were vampires, or maybe they were zombies…Macy didn’t know. All she knew was that this hotel had been busy with a business convention, and she, Lucas, Toby, and Damien had all been sent here with orders of food for various rooms. They’d been going back and forth from the Parmello to different restaurants all day long…and then this had happened.

Whatever had happened at that convention, whatever ungodly nightmare had unfolded in this hotel…it was all over the building now.


WE NEED YOU

We need hard-working individuals like you to deliver the finest of your community’s food to the hungry public. All you need is a mode of transportation, legal citizenship, and a drive to earn both money and the respect of your peers. Food at your Door is an equal opportunity employer that services the needs of everyone, so why sit around when you can be earning money today?


Macy huffed it up the stairs, Toby and Damien right behind her, all three of them pursued at top speed by the freakishly-changed people whose only intent was to rip them apart. There was no time to talk, no time to cry, and certainly no time to cower. It was all survival now.

Macy hit the top of the turn and slammed against the sixth-floor door. She grunted as she pulled open the heavy metal door, but she stopped at the sight of three people down the hall, two children and their mother, the mother in a once-nice white dress, that dress now stained with blood.

Those children, both boys, both around four to six, were both biting onto their mother like little bluish-grey gremlins, one swinging from the poor woman’s left arm, the other gnawing at her right leg.

The poor mother in question screamed at the top of her lungs as she bounced off of the left side of the hallway and hit the brown carpet of that floor, her ravenous kids all over her a second later, both children tearing into her exposed throat a second after that.

Macy released the heavy door to let it shut on its own merit as she continued up the stairs. After all, this hotel was—gee—only fifteen floors. She could make it to the roof without dying, right?


YOU ARE IN CONTROL

Earn competitive pay by choosing your own hours, and you only work as long as you need to. You can travel by car, scooter, or bicycle at your own convenience, and the best thing is, you can keep those dollars rolling in by serving the needs of your own neighbors. Community bonds help foster Food at your Door, so why not earn money while you grow closer to the people around you?


Macy briefly turned due to a shout from below. Poor Damien had fallen; he had twisted his ankle or something, but there was nothing she could do to help him. The ravenous couple raging up the stairs were on him in a heartbeat, and his screams only drove her to run even faster up those stairs, which…by the way…was no easy task.

It was a good thing she had eaten that beef fried rice earlier. A bunch of convention goers on the second floor had ordered a crap-ton of Chinese food from the Vermillion Bird, and they’d given her one of the cartons of rice along with a huge tip.

Normally, accepting food from a customer was a no-no, and the practice was referred to by her peers as a “dine and dash,” a phrase normally meant for restaurant patrons who ran out without paying, but according to her coworkers, the phrase was used in their business as a surreptitious way of avoiding getting in trouble with the company.

Everybody she knew did it anyway, so why should she be any different? Besides, now she had the survivor’s edge of body fuel.

Her calf muscles were already burning from the exertion, but at least she had energy, and as terrible as Damien’s demise was, his death had not been in vain. Now she could put some distance in-between herself and those monstrous fiends down below, because they were busy feeding off of poor Damien, giving her the necessary time to make it up to the roof.

She was pretty darned sure there were none of those mutant people on the roof, and up there, she could wait for a rescue by helicopter, because that’s what always happened in the games and movies, and those had to have some basis in truth, right?


WE’RE GREAT FOR STUDENTS

Our flexible scheduling allows YOU to choose your own hours, making the task of earning money around your class schedule a breeze. You’ll no longer have to worry about scheduling courses around your work hours, and you’ll be able to get the rest and relaxation you need to complete your life goals. Not only can you work for Food at your Door, but Food at your Door works for you!


Macy hustled up the stairs, stairwell after stairwell, Toby huffing behind her, but his panting breaths soon grew fainter in her hearing. For some reason, she had a ton of energy now, and even her muscles were getting a second wind, but Toby, even as athletic as he was, was not doing nearly as well.

Even so, she was not heartless. She briefly stopped to address him, to encourage him, but she had already outdistanced him by so much that he was at the bottom of the stairwell.

He looked up at her with a defeated look on his face as he bent over and held his knees.

“Come on!” she urged. “We’ve only got three more floors to the roof!”

But the young man shook his head no.

“I’m not gonna make it,” he winced.

The sounds of rampant feet trampling up the stairs hit Macy’s ears, and this was followed by the crazed grunts and screeches of those things still chasing them. This new threat sounded like more than just the couple that had eaten Damien…many more.

“You go!” yelled Toby. “They’re coming!…Go!”

“But…” said Macy in uncertain hesitation.

“GOOOOO!” shouted Toby.

A horde of ravenous, mutated people surrounded the young man as they crashed into the bottom of the stairwell like a raging tidal wave. Toby was sucked down into that bluish-grey whirlpool a moment later, his left arm raised high as he screamed, and then he was suddenly converted into a fountain of blood that sprayed in all directions as if he were being sliced apart in a blender.

Macy turned and continued her mad dash up the stairs. There were only three more floors to go.


CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY

Food at your Door has just acquired the rights to the new Perma-Keep Food Storage System! Developed by Teixeira and Trindade Industries, a new up-and-coming company located in Brazil, this cutting-edge technology uses the Perma-Keep Vial to keep your food as fresh as the moment it left the restaurant. This vial emits a constant aroma to keep the perishable contents of your Perma-Keep Transport Box fresh and delicious for all of your hungry clients!


Macy huffed up the stairs with a new burst of energy. She was almost there, though how this situation had happened in the first place was beyond her.

They had all run into each other at the hotel because of the convention, all four of them together because of the sheer number of orders being requested, but not one of them had imagined the hotel occupants turning into murderous creatures.

All four of them worked for Food at your Door, though they rarely ever saw each other, so when they had all met up in one giant coincidence of work orders, it had been a pleasant surprise.

The four of them had been chatting it up in the fifth-floor hallway when people had started getting attacked. Those monstrous things had looked kind of like normal people at first, still inhuman with the fangs and claws and pointed ears, but still…all that had changed in the blink of an eye. Something terrible must have truly happened to change them so much.

Macy could not understand why some people had changed and why other people had not, because there was no linking factor to any of it. It was a burst of insanity that had happened all at once, and the only thing she could figure was that something had happened at the convention itself, something to do with whatever business was going on down in the convention hall.

Nevertheless, her only hope, slim as it was, was just up the stairs.

She rushed up the stairs until she saw the door to the roof just in front of her. Hopefully, it wasn’t locked, and even more hopefully, she could find some way to bar it shut from the other side.

Macy stopped for a brief moment and bent over from a sudden pain in her stomach. Her stomach gurgled and felt like it was twisting in a knot, and she grimaced from that pain as she clutched the railing next to her with her left hand, clutching the purple fabric of her Food at your Door work shirt with her right.

That rice wasn’t sitting well, which was funny, because her company had just gotten in those new transport boxes this morning. The new boxes were supposedly decked out with this new “aroma technology” that was supposed to keep transported food super fresh. Apparently, that claim was an exaggeration.


NATURE’S GIFT TO YOU

Using a synthetic reproduction of the enzymes of the rare Permanentem Chiroptera, otherwise known as the Immortal Bat or the Deep Amazon Bat, your food remains fresh for the duration it takes for you to deliver your food. This synthetic enzyme not only helps food keep fresh longer, it also stimulates the appetite, further satisfying our customers. Now, thanks to our illusive little buddy of the Amazon Rain Forest, you’ll never have to worry about disappointing the members of your community with substandard delivery!


Macy cried out as she took the necessary few steps up the stairs to reach the roof-access door, because the pain in her abdomen felt like ground glass moving through her guts.

She pushed open the door to the roof of the hotel without thinking and staggered out into daylight. She fell to her hands and knees as her short curly red hair temporarily covered her vision. All she could see were her hands and the rough grey exterior of the hotel roof.

“What the fu—!” she cried out, but that curse ended abruptly in a spittle of blood.

A sharp and terrible pain punched through her upper gums as blood spilled from her lips. Her tongue briefly touched something sharp as she tasted copper, and then her heart beat out of control as she felt long, sharp fangs in her mouth.

“No, no!” gurgled Macy, her speech garbled by blood. “No, please! Not this! No! NOOOOO!”

Her fingerbones crackled and warped as they lengthened into gnarled versions of themselves, and then she screamed from that pain, long and loud from the agony of it, squeezing her eyes shut from the horror and terror inherent within, and then that scream ended in a sonic, bestial screech.


DISCLAIMER

Food at your Door is not responsible for any injury or injuries caused by third party companies or delivery-service workers. Food at your Door is a family friendly business devoted to the safety and satisfaction of our customers. For more information on our legal policies, please visit our legal page on our official website.


The pain was tremendous now, but there was nothing she could do about it.

Macy’s skin rippled as its freckled peach color darkened to a bluish-grey. Her thoughts muddled from terror to mild fear to confusion, and then that confusion faded to something else, something completely alien altogether, instinct overriding everything human, though she desperately struggled against this.

She felt an urgency to free herself from her strange constrictions, the strange cloth bindings surrounding her, suffocating her body. She tore open her purple Food at your Door work shirt, ripping through it with her new claws, and then she tore off the rest of her clothing in order to stand fully nude in the daylight shining down upon the roof of the Parmello Hotel.

She bent over from more pain as her feet warped and elongated, bending back at the ankles to force her to stand on her new freakish, gnarled, and clawed toes. Wing bones burst from her back to stretch out in a span of twelve feet on each side of her, and then bluish-grey leathery flaps grew in, stretching between the wing bones themselves, her new wings ready to carry her changed body to even newer heights.

Her new ears were huge bluish-grey half-cones that swept back from her short curly red hair. She could hear everything now, but more importantly, she could hear others of her kind below her, though they were not complete, not fully-evolved like her. Those others were quite inferior, in fact, and she knew this.

No, she was something new. She was not like the others, those flightless inferiors that scrambled here and there in a ravenous never-ending hunt. She was at the top of this food chain, a queen, a matriarch that would soon spread her children everywhere. All she needed was a proper mate.

She flapped her new wings and lifted off from the roof like some kind of animated gargoyle, taking flight as if she had known how to do so all her life.

She had just completed the change, so there was no more pain, but the pain that had accompanied that change had sapped her, so she needed to restore her energy, and that required sustenance.

Yes, Macy was hungry, but fortune was with her, because there was plenty of food just walking around the streets down below, plenty of little morsels just ready to be plucked up and devoured. It was nothing for her to just snatch one of them up and fly away, nothing at all, because some dim memory from a previous life told her something that her new life immediately took to heart…The best meals are always free.

Dine and Dash Copyright © 2021 Matthew L. Marlott

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One thought on “DINE AND DASH

  1. Matt you stories are all brilliant and this one is with them the unusual way you broke up the sections of if it were unique the monstrous mob was scary for me and of course the main characters too can’t wait for your next tale of horror

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