Torture Cookies

In recollection, Rajaymus Hayley was hungry. The local Chinese restaurant three blocks away from his home was open twenty-four hours a day, and at four in the morning, this policy was advantageous for the said restaurant’s gross sales. The restaurant’s OPEN sign glowed in neon iridescence, except for when it wasn’t. The batteries haven’t been changed on the sign since they first put it up.

It was also advantageous for Rajaymus and his stomach. Rajaymus walked into this Chinese restaurant where he was greeted by sound of wind chimes. There was a single overhead lamp that swung just enough to be considered as a swinging lamp, rather than a stationary lamp. By this, of course, I mean that the lamp swung just enough to break through the threshold that differentiates a swinging lamp from a slightly-moving lamp. This swinging lamp illuminated only three tables in the center of the restaurant with its white light that appeared to be too white. It was the kind of white you’d see on operating tables; the type of light that makes everything else darker in comparison.

If Rajyamus squinted his eyes, the wallpaper in the restaurant was just a bunch of thin brown lines coming down in vertical fashion. Of course Rajaymus did not squint his eyes, so the wallpaper was probably blue or orange. Who knows? Instead of squinting, Rajaymus followed the waitress to the table right below the swinging lamp.

It took about twenty-five minutes for his food to be prepared and brought out to him. The waitress brought out his food on one giant serving tray. She smiled a warm smile to Rajaymus as she put down his plates of rice, beef, duck, and shrimp on the table. Or wait! I think it was chicken instead of duck. Chicken makes more sense since it’s in season the whole calendar year, whereas duck is only available in Spring and in the month of July. In front of him the shrimp, rice, beef, and chicken (all of the chinese variety) popped and sizzled in their heat. Well, at least his shrimp, beef, and chicken did, for his rice was white and not fried, and we all know white rice is steamed.

It is not important for you to know how many spoonfuls were needed to conquer the food that sat in front of Rajaymus Hayley. However, what is important is that he finished it all.  Rajaymus stroked his beard like one would pull taffy while he sat in the booth, letting his gut peek through his shirt. The waitress brought him his bill. Said bill was pinned down by single fortune cookie. Rajaymus popped the little bag open and spilled the cookie out to his hands. With one twisting motion of his left hand, the fortune cookie snapped in two. Not two equal pieces, but two pieces nonetheless.

Unrolling the stiff paper, Rajaymus read the words, DANGER LIES AROUND EVERY CORNER. Rajaymus Hayley slowly put down his fortune, scanning the room inch by inch.

The whiteness of the swinging lamp above disabled Rajaymus from seeing the rest of the store. It was all dark. From this darkness, the waitress walked over to Rajaymus. Rajaymus took out his credit card and held it between his thumb and index finger. He looked the waitress dead in her eyes as he played with the beef stuck in between his molars with his tongue. The waitress curled her eyebrow in vicious indifference. As she walked away, Rajaymus stuffed his fortune in his pocket and bolted out of the door, leaving nothing but the sound of wind chimes in his wake.

Rajaymus’s fingers fumbled the loose car key in his pocket. The sun had peeked its crown over the horizon. He freed his key from his pocket and kept walking down the parking lot of the Chinese restaurant, looking over his shoulders, not at the same time, but one of his shoulders at a time, completing this action a total of two times. He managed to open his car after two shaky attempts. Rajaymus planted his bum in the driver’s seat and reached for the seat belt with his right hand. He couldn’t get the seat belt to budge. It was jammed and it wouldn’t let loose, regardless of how hard Rajaymus Hayley pulled. He let out a groan under his heavy breathing. However, he decided to go without the seat belt this one time. The engine started up after two turns of the ignition switch.

Rajaymus stopped at the stop sign be the exit of the restaurant as one would. He put on his blinker and let it blink three times before he turned right. The road Rajaymus was headed down was long and straight, much like a long and straight road. However, a few miles down the road, a pair of bright white headlights merged into Rajaymus’ rear-view mirror. If it was you or I, we would not fear such headlights because headlights are headlights, and headlights do not pose any danger to us humans. However, Rajaymus Hayley, not being you nor I, was afraid of such headlights because he swore that the headlights belonged to the danger that Rajaymus was warned about in the mentioned fortune cookie given to him by the restaurant he visited not too long before the apparition of these ghastly headlights.

The sweat of Rajaymus’ hands coated the leather steering wheel. The headlights grew bigger and bigger as Rajaymus drove down the road.  

There was nothing in front of him but the yellow glow coming from his own headlights. The white dashes on the road seemed to meld into one solid white line. The trees on each side of the road became one big blur of a navy hue. The engine of his car groaned louder and louder. The headlights in his mirror shrank by the second. His sweaty palms gripped the leather wheel tight. He was getting away.

His foot kept pushing on the pedal and he kept his eyes on the yellow headlights in the mirror. Regardless, even if Rajaymus had his eyes on the road, the road signs passed by too quickly for Rajaymus to know of the three-way stop that was coming up. Because of this, Rajaymus smashed into the guardrail that ran perpendicular to the road he was on. He managed to hit it whilst travelling 112 miles per hour.

The frame of Rajaymus’ car collapsed like an accordion. The engine block came through the radio slot and pinned his legs to the seat, completely breaking both his Tibias in two. Of course not in two equal pieces, but two pieces nonetheless. As I have told you before, Rajaymus couldn’t put on his seatbelt because it was jammed. The scrap and metal peeling off the car tore into his fleshy body. As previously mentioned, his legs were snapped in two, so his legs bent in such a way that it appeared as if Rajaymus had another pair of knees around one foot below his knees. These new knees Rajaymus gained bent a certain way that made his leg, as a whole, look like the letter Z. His body flew forward with incredible force. His carcass slammed through the windshield. However, he was pulled back before fully being flung out because his legs were pinned by the engine. His legs were stretched apart from the muscle tissue on each side of the broken bone. Neither leg tore away from the rest of his body. Instead, his body was just elongated. He was kept together by a single strand of meat, nerves, tendons, and god knows what else on each leg. I was told he stretched five inches that night. This left the crown of Rajaymus’s head peeking through the shattered window while the rest of his body laid lifeless. Black smoke seeped out of the car.

The car that had been trailing Rajaymus Hayley saw all this happen. The car approached the stop sign with its blinker turned on. The car turned left without fully stopping.

Who takes those things serious at 4 in the morning anyways?

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