This week's Friday Flash story....
She ate her last meal slowly, chewing each mouthful as many times as she could physically manage before swallowing, trying her hardest to imprint on her mind every taste, hoping that the memory would live on somehow when she could eat no more. To start she had selected chicken liver pate, rich and sensuously smooth. He – standing no more than three feet away and watching every bite with eagle eyes – said that he could not understand why she liked it so much; he hated the texture, hated the taste. She however relished the way that it clung to the roof of her mouth, loved the savoury flavour. She would definitely miss it.
For the main course she chose a rare t-bone steak, blood trickling from the fibres as she plunged the knife into it. She joked to him that she was surprised to have been allowed a knife, given the situation; he replied, straight faced, that it was as a blunt as the plastic cutlery from a roadside diner, and anyhow did she really think that she stood any chance of overpowering him in her current state? She laughed and pointed out that she’d successfully overpowered a guy before, as evidenced by the very same ‘current state’. His face remained blank.
Instead of a dessert she opted for a cheese course, a fine selection of unpasteurised cheeses including a soft Camembert that dribbled down her chin when she bit into it, and a Stilton, white and threaded with a network of blue veins like a recently deceased corpse. She cut the cheeses into ever smaller pieces, trying to delay the inevitable for as long as possible. This was her last meal; she was sure as hell going to make the most of it. With the knowledge of what was to come - in the immediate future at least, what would happen beyond that being terrifyingly unknown - it was surely the least she deserved, even if ultimately it had been she who had determined her own fate. Her actions that day had been driven by an uncontrollable blood lust; there was no way that they could be taken back now.
The only thing that she felt could have improved the meal would have been a bottle of good wine, maybe a rich and spicy Shiraz or a smooth Burgundy, the smell of which always transported her back to the Catholic Church in which she had been raised, and where she had first tasted alcohol. She had initially been put off drinking red wine by the memory of Father O’Reilly invoking the Holy Spirit to transform the Eucharistic gift from wine to blood, but quickly developed a taste for it and could imagine no better accompaniment for the beef. She didn’t even bothering asking, however, as she knew that the answer would be a resounding ‘no’, and in her present position she lacked the energy or inclination to plead. He was not worth wasting her breath on.
With the last morsel of cheese slipping down her throat, she glanced at the clock on the wall. She’d dragged the meal out as long as she could but it was over now. 2.15pm. Almost time for an appointment with destiny.
As the door slammed behind her she bade farewell to this chapter of her existence. Time to find out what would happen next. Time to accept her fate. Father O’Reilly would surely have said that she would be damned to hell for what she had done; she recalled however her religious studies teacher telling her how Jesus forgives any sinner who truly repents, so maybe there was hope for her yet? Mind you, that would involve repenting, and she could not honestly say that she regretted a second of what she’d done. Regretted the consequences, perhaps, but the act itself had been pure pleasure.
The artificial light of the corridor made her strain her eyes. It seemed very clinical, and the smell of disinfectant invading her nostrils made her feel quite nauseous. She had tried to put off thinking about what was going to happen, but as she made her way down the hallway past silent, judgemental eyes, she could not help but picture what was coming, the white-coated doctor leaning over her, the smell and heat of his breath on her face and then the final prick as the needle pierced her vein. He was a couple of steps in front of her, several other people following behind.
“Shit, I’m scared;” she whispered, her eyes welling as the enormity of it hit her. In just a couple of minutes time she would wave goodbye to freedom forever.
As her stifled tears gave way to loud moans he turned and looked at her with a quizzical smile.
“I know this hasn’t been easy for you, hell it hasn’t been easy for me either, but it’s time to face the facts, sweetheart. The doctor is only going to confirm what you already know. We’re going to be parents! With a face like that, anyone would think you were on death row....!“
(Note: This was inspired by discovering via a pregnant friend quite how many dietary rules and regulations there are for pregnant women....)