I used to enjoy our pleasant stays at Miss Gunthry’s house. She lived far off the road on a plot of land that I swear used to be a farm but now is a long patch of pretty flowers and tall grass. Her house was like a mansion, two stories high with 360° view of her estate through the many windows. It’s bright white walls and fenced porch made it an ideal place to retire, which was probably why she built it that way. It looked good, had a good feeling, and smelled even better thanks to the flowers being mixed with whatever it was she was cooking in the cellar.
Every weekend my mother made it a point to drop me and my brother Andy off at Miss Gunthry’s for the night while she went out with her friends. We never minded, Miss Gunthry always treated us nice and made us the biggest breakfast of bacon and ham and eggs. For lunch, it was sandwiches. My favorite meal was dinner, typically we’d have a roast but on special occasions, we got to have pulled pork.
She was a sweet woman.
She used to have many farm hands who helped her with her massive garden. You could always tell they were jealous of me and Andy because they would occasionally gather around the external cellar doors. I knew they were smelling the yummy food Miss Gunthry was preparing for us. It’s too bad they never got any.
As time went on her garden began dying. First, the furthest flowers started wilting but it eventually began to move itself up her fields. Every time we would arrive at her house it would seem like more flowers were dead. I was a pretty smart child and noticed there were less farmhands, which probably accounted for why the flowers weren’t being taken care of properly. Of course, I was sure they were all quitting due to Miss Gunthry not feeding them our food.
On our last trip I was upstairs playing with some toys while Andy played outside in the garden. Miss Gunthry came upstairs and asked if I wanted to help her prepare dinner. As much as I would have loved to go into that aromatic cellar I was too content playing my toys and suggested she ask Andy. I pointed to him outside the window but I didn’t see him down there. With a loving smile she went to go find him.
It was hours before dinner was ready and I came downstairs to get some food. Andy was nowhere to be seen. When I asked Miss Gunthry she smiled and said he had made a mess in the garden so he was cleaning it up but will be here for dinner. I was a bit worried but seeing the giant pulled pork sandwich made all my doubts of his safety go away. I devoured that sandwich as if I hadn’t eaten all week. Miss Gunthry just sat at the other end of the table, smiling like a proud mother.
After doing the dishes the worry came back. I asked Miss Gunthry if she had seen Andy again. She told me he had fallen asleep so she put him in his bed. I went upstairs to check and his covers around him like he was freezing. I was happy he was okay. I said goodnight to our wonderful host and laid down.
Sleep was not a friend to me that night. I was having terrible nightmares and my stomach was hurting. I tried to fight it and sleep knowing mom would be mad if I didn’t. When I couldn’t fight it anymore I thought maybe Andy could entertain me until I fell asleep. I called over to him in the dim lit room.
I called him a few more times before opting to get myself out of my bed and wake him up. When I tried to shake him my hand sunk into the covers.
Andy wasn’t in his bed, there was a sheet wrapped around pillows. My heart began racing as I worried about my brother. Where could he sneak off to? I immediately ran to Miss Gunthry’s room.
She wasn’t there.
I frantically searched her closet and bathroom, foolishly thinking she was hiding. As I panicked at the thought of being alone a sudden smell hit my nose.
Miss Gunthry was probably busy preparing breakfast! I ran down as fast as my legs could carry me. Down the flight of stairs, around the corner and through the uncommonly unlocked door. Down the cellar’s creaky staircase I ran. She was my only hope for finding my brother. I had to get to her and let her know he was missing. I jumped down the last couple stairs and looked up to find her.
To my horror I did find her. She was dressed in an apron stained red with what I prayed was not blood but observing the walls and large, wooden table in front of her I had no doubt. She wielded a large butcher blade drenched in the same crimson liquid everything else was. Behind her sat a large stone over, much like the ones you see in old west movies but on a massive scale. It was connected to a large furnace that was burning at an extremely hot temperature.
I looked back at her and saw a smile on her face. Not like the gentle smiles I was used to but more of a satisfied grimace. Her eyes seemed so cold and and pierced right into my soul.
“I’m so glad you could join us today.” she said in a dark, sinister voice.
I stood in shock, scared of what I saw but hurt and confused at the same time. How could she be doing this? What is this? I was bewildered and appalled but then it occurred to me. Who is we?
I looked onto the table she was standing by. There were chops of different areas and sizes laying there, seasoned and ready to be cooked. Next to them were Andy’s neatly folded clothes.
All at once my world collapsed. Miss Gunthry had killed my brother and was cooking him! It was horrific and disgusting. If my body was petrified I might have vomited. My observant mind swirled and kept showing me the images of the meat over and over, each time I could only picture the pieces of meat on Andy. MY Andy. My little brother. The brother I swore to protect. He was now in a few pieces of meat on a table.
Wait, a few pieces? He wasn’t a big kid but he wasn’t only a few pieces of meat. Where was the rest of him?
“Did you enjoy your dinner?”
It hit me. The flowers had begun dying. The workers began disappearing. The aromatic cellar. The hearty meals. The field hands coalescing at the doors. They weren’t jealous for our food, they were were our food. Me and Andy had been eating human meat and now I ate my brother!
With the sudden realization my petrified state could not hold it in any longer as I spewed everything in me onto the cellar floor. Not just the bile and vomit but my soul, my dignity… my humanity. It was gone. All of it. In a flash I was nothing more than a monster. I was a cannibal, an abomination. How could I live with what I’ve done. There cannot be a life for someone who has committed such atrocities. I will never be loved. I will always be shunned. My brother is dead. I ate him. There was no way my mother would believe me. I was a pariah. I was an outcast. I was… alone.
But wait, I wasn’t alone. There was one person who knew the whole time and never treated me horribly. The one person who always greeted me with a loving smile. Who accepted my faults. Someone who nurtured the beast and forced it out.
Miss Gunthry didn’t turn me into a monster, she freed me from humanity.
When I looked up I saw her towering over me, my crimson savior. Her hand was reaching out, helping me get up like she did the monster in me. I grabbed it, I accepted my fate. I am who I am. I cannot change what I’ve done but I know what I must now do.
We embraced. The way lovers do after a long war and a lonesome heart. I could feel the warmth of her heart. It helped with the cold blood dripping down my cheek. I squeezed with all my might hoping she would never let me go. She was mine and I was hers. We were soulmates.
Gently, she pushed me arms length away, hands on my shoulders. The blade she held rested near my neck.
“Your mother is on her way. Let’s invite her in for breakfast.”
She spoke with a large grin on her face and at that moment i knew what she meant. I tried my best to conceal it but laughter burst out of me. A comforting laughter. The laughter of insanity. It was almost as if all the happiness in my life wanted to escape with my breath. My sides hurt with pleasure, my mind swirled with ideas, my heart emptied it’s emotions.
“I’ll go get cleaned up” I said before I made my way out of the aromatic cellar.