Horror Writing Prompts- 33 Simple Prompts
Prompt #9- A chef cannot work out how she keeps sending her customers to the hospital with severe food poisoning.
Chef Diana Halls hums as she gets ready for the dinner rush at The Swan Paradise. She loves her job and can’t wait to cook up some delicious food for the customers. Diana brushes off her blue blouse and picks some lint from her black slacks. She ties her long auburn hair into a bun so it will fit under her hair net and chef hat.
Diana heads to her car and drives the 45 minutes to the restaurant. She walks into the kitchen with a smile on her face. She says her good mornings to the kitchen staff like she always does and heads to her locker to place her purse inside. She looks in the mirror one last time to make sure all of her hair is in place before she slips on her hair net.
The stoves turn on, the ovens are a blaze, and the kitchen staff gets everything ready for the dinner rush. Some are chopping vegetables, some have started mixing ingredients for sauces, and a few grab ingredients from the back shelves. Diana slips into her chef’s jacket and puts on her hat over her hair and hair net. She hums while she gets her station ready when the orders start coming in. Diana and the staff make the food, tasting and communicating so the kitchen runs smoothly. Soon they are sending out plates and bowls of delicious food to the dining hall.
Diana hears some strange noises in the walk-in closest but becomes distracted as more orders come in. She keeps the kitchen running smoothly, sending out amazing dishes. Diana smiles proudly at her staff and makes suer to make special dishes, placing them around the kitchen so the others can eat while working.
A clatter of plates causes Diana to jump. She turns to see the sous chef looking rather pale. “Jeff, are you okay? What’s wrong?”
“My stomach is killing me,” Jeff says, groaning. His eyes widen and he covers his mouth with a shaky hand. He runs out of the room to the staff bathrooms.
Diana looks around shocked. Two more of the staff rush out of the kitchen, covering their mouths and hunched over. She watches them rush into the restrooms after Jeff. “What is going on?” She and the staff turn when they hear what sounds like sirens rushing for The Swan Paradise.
Dian and the rest of the staff walk over to the swinging doors that lead into the dining hall. Diana pushes the doors open and walks in to see some customers on the ground, groaning and throwing up. She hears sounds behind her and she looks to see the rest of the staff, bending over, groaning, and throwing up.
Diana shakes her head, placing her hands on her hips as a figure walks up behind her. She turns to see her boss. “I just don’t get what is happening. All of our ingredients are fresh, I made sure of that.”
Before her boss can talk, the front doors fly open and EMTs rush in pushing gurneys and carrying their First Aid bags. They spread out and begin to treat the customers and the staff. Little by little, the restaurant is emptied. Diana is sitting in the kitchen perplexed by what is going on. She looks around the kitchen at the half cooked food still waiting to be finished and the half eaten plates by the staff.
“Everything was fresh. I made sure of it,” she mutters again.
Her boss joins her and pats her on the back. “Don’t worry. We will figure out what is going on. I need to get to the hospital and see if they have any answers. They will have to test the food from here, of course.”
“Of course, I just can’t believe everyone is in the hospital, sick, because of the food,” Diana says, shaking her head.
Her boss leaves her alone with the police while the officers bag up all the food, pots, pans, and utensils from the kitchen. Diana answers a few questions, but is let go with a warning to not leave town. She lets them know she won’t go anywhere and gave them her phone number so they can reach her.
After they left, Diana heads to the back door and she hears the strange noises from the walk-in closet again. She shrugs and leaves, locking the door behind her. She gets in her car and drives away, grumbling under her breath about what happened that evening, disappointed she didn’t get to finish serving more people. She pulls into the parking lot of her condo and heads inside. She cooks up a quick meal to eat while watching TV.
“Food poisoning? How did they all get food poisoning?” Diana sighs as she turns on the news. She sits down on the couch with her plate of leftover pot roast and mashed potatoes.
She digs into her food when an urgent message scrolls onto the television. She turns up the volumes and sits up straighter, her eyes widen when she sees two newscasters sitting in front of the desk, ready to talk about the restaurant. Diana sets her plate down on the couch next to her and scoots closer to the TV. Turning up the volume, Diana waits impatiently for the newscaster to start talking about The Swan Paradise incident.
“Tonight, we have been informed that the entire staff except the head chef Diana Halls and the manager of The Swan Paradise. The customers have also fallen ill and they, along with the staff, have been rushed to the hospital. It happened tonight during the dinner rush. Everyone came down with food poisoning. But we have recently learned that a few of the staff and customers have passed due to unknown complications from the food poisoning. More tests are being run as we speak to find out why these people have passed. The police have confiscated the food and kitchen equipment to also run tests. The police are also looking for Chef Diana Halls to ask her some more questions. More information will be provided as tests results come in and we learn more.”
Diana turns off the TV and stands, stretching. She grabs the plate and eats the rest of it before she cleans it off in the kitchen, placing it in the dishwasher. Diana cleans up the kitchen before she walks towards the bedroom, slipping off the brown haired wig and letting it fall to the ground. Her dirty blonde hair falls across her face and Diana steps into the bathroom. she looks in the mirror, humming as she takes out her blue contacts, letting them fall into the sink. She washes them down the drain and stares into her murky gray eyes in the mirror.
“That’s much better. I guess the poison took longer to kill again this time.” She brushes her hair and washes off the makeup, peeling off the fake nose and cheeks. She throws away the nose and cheeks and looks at her own skinnier face. “Oh well, I just have to keep playing with the poison until I get it right.”
The lady walks out of the bathroom and sits down on the bed, pulling out a box from under the bed. She opens it and takes out a bunch of IDs. She goes through the IDs of other women chefs from around the world, wondering who she wanted to play this time. He picks one and smiles. “Holly Kate from New Orleans. I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans and try their food. I hear it’s to die for.”
Holly laughs as she puts everything back in the box and closes it, making sure to tie it. She stands up and peels off the clothes she had been wearing, tossing them on the bed. Holly pulls out another bag from under the bed and picks a new outfit, slipping into it and cleans up after self. She cleans the condo all night, not leaving a trace she has stayed there before she packs the little belongings she has into her car. She takes a picture of Diana, as a keepsake, changes the license plate, putting the old ones back on the real Diana’s car, and climbs in behind the wheel.
Holly drives away, leaving Diana’s keys in the garage, and hums as she turns on the radio. She hears that the entire staff is now dead and most of the customers are either dead or on life support. Holly bursts out laughing when she hears the police have found Diana Halls at the restaurant, hiding in the walk-in fridge in a spot no one was able to see or hear her if they went inside.
“That was fun,” Holly says, pulling her car on the freeway and leaving Las Vegas behind. “I can’t wait to see what I can do in New Orleans.” She glances up in the review mirror and winks, her sea blue eyes sparkling in the sun and her red hair dancing with the wind.