Dinner is Served!

A short story just in time for Halloween.

I use a fork in one hand and a knife in the other to cut the steak, admiring its tenderness and juices that spill onto the china. I look outside the kitchen window and notice the moon, smiling at the glow and its perfection.

“It’s a full moon tonight, baby,” I chuckle before putting the succulent meat between my teeth. “The wolves are out. Don’t you hear?”

My husband stares at me from across the dinner table, but refuses to utter a word. His steak is half eaten, but the green beans have barely been touched.

It’s almost Halloween—our anniversary—and I have to say, it is one of the most loveliest holidays of the season, quite dearest to my heart. Oh, I just adore the costumes, the movies, the skulls and bones, the demons that come out to play, the frail screams that come out at night. I used to despise every fairytale in the book, the ones where Prince Charming sweeps you off your feet and takes you away in a carriage you never asked for, convincing the notion that happily-ever-after exists. But then I met my husband the night of Halloween at a bar in the city, and though I never asked for a carriage, he gave me one anyway, and I, well, willingly accepted without much of a fuss—without much of a conscience really. He showered me with sunsets, beaches, gave me diamonds and deep kisses, he even let me buy all the grotesque paintings I desired for our home. We haven’t been married for long, and of course, there was a limit to the love I thought I deserved.

I hear the scratching noise from the coat closet again, a digging at the door, a knocking on the wood.

“Quiet!” I shout before slipping another piece of meat into my mouth, chewing away its flavor as I scarf down some pinot noir. My husband looks at me again and I wonder if he’s annoyed with the way I’m eating, or the fact that I just yelled across the room without his permission. I roll my eyes, “Do you want to deal with it?” He’s about to say something, I know it, but then…no, still nothing. How pitiful of him, you know, to not even have the decency to care.

“Yeah,” I smirk. “I didn’t think so.”

Isn’t there always a limit to the affection our husbands produce? One minute we are kissing on the front porch, and the next he’s making me learn the proper way to chew. One minute he’s showering me with flowers and makeup sex, and the next he throws my favorite china plate across the room because I wasn’t compliant with his dinner plans.

I’m aware of his affairs with other women, the secretaries he’s been sleeping with at the office, at hotels, on business trips, at nightclubs. I’m even aware of his newfound relationship with a woman who frankly doesn’t give a shit he’s married, or more so, married to me. Now, I’m the fool. I’m the derange one. I’m the one whose sanity is compromised because I’m reluctant to leave the brute. And yet, we made vows, promises, shared secrets and paid debts. And I…well, I can’t just let that go.

A spider appears across the dinner table, and I watch it inspect the table cloth, the tiny stains soaking through the fabric. Once it notices my husband, its hairy legs crawl towards him before its mother peeks from the edge of the table. They must smell the food, the delicious flesh, the feast I served for all to eat and still has yet to be eaten.

I feel shallow warm breaths on the back of my neck then, and I smile when They whisper affirmations in my ear. I nod to Their liking, giggle at Their comments, whisper back to Their satisfaction and agree to Their commands.

And then I hear the scratches at the door once more, claws digging at the surface, fists knocking on the wood.

“SHUT UP!” I scream. My husband glimpses at me again, shocked, face becoming increasingly pale by the minute.

You see, my husband doesn’t quite understand my obsession about this holiday, doesn’t understand that Halloween—and all its glory—is more than just my love for grotesque things. It brings out the very best of me; discloses my capability and the beautiful darkness that revels inside of me. The voices that speak to me, that whisper and console me, grow deeper, louder, stronger whenever Halloween is near, feeling them against me when I wake from great slumber, or walk alone in the shadows. These demons love to come out and play, speak to me as we condemn those who like to prey.

But I couldn’t wait until our anniversary. No, no, They couldn’t wait any longer.

I put down my utensils and stand up, wiping my mouth across my blood-stained sleeve. I watch the spiders with plump sacs creep up my husband’s naked flesh, thirsting to poison his blood. Frankly, I’m not sure why my husband is still holding on to his life.

He’s sitting in his chair, choking on his own blood, continually looking at me when I speak, looking at me when I don’t, staring at me as if I’m insane, psychotic, as if I’ve lost my mind. I find it quite hysterical that he thinks I’m going to spare his life, that suddenly I’m going to regret feeding him his favorite succulent steak and then slicing his throat in the process.

“Just give up, baby,” I smile, taking the knife in my hand. “Seriously, give up!”

I walk towards the coat closet, vexed by the noise and constant knocking. I unlock the door and swing it open, stepping back when my lovely black cat jumps out of the closet. She hisses at me furiously for sticking her in there, and when I roll my eyes at this, she turns her back to me, her tail aloof. I watch her yellow, wide eyes study my husband’s corpse. She doesn’t bother to cry or even inspect the blood, but only moves closer to get a better look.

His girlfriend in the closet gawks at me in horror, screaming through the duct tape as she squirms in the chair. Her wrists and legs are bounded by cable ties, and she is rocking back and forth, causing a knocking sound on the wooden floor.

I’m practically steaming in annoyance, roughly gripping her chin to keep her still, “I said QUIET! I want to eat my dinner in peace!”

I slam the door shut and lock it.

We’ll deal with her later.

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