Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Prompt #30: I knew something was very, very wrong when I found the wall of cookbooks in his kitchen. Not a single spine had been cracked.

            I’ve always had bad choice in men. They turn out to be abusive, drug addicts, convicts, and, occasionally, gay. Which was my first clue that he wasn’t all he was cracked up to be. The second was his kitchen.
            I sat at his table, staring at his perfectly white tablecloth that looked like it had never had a stain on it. A china cabinet sat to my left. Not one of the dishes had a single chip on it from someone setting it down too hard at Thanksgiving. A shelf of cookbooks peeked at me from the kitchen. Not a single one looked as if someone had ever opened it just to see what it would land on.
            He set a plate down in front of me. I smiled, trying to ignore that the apron he had just removed was clean of tomato sauce stains even though spaghetti was his favorite food. He grinned back, his teeth big, white, and perfect.
            My fork cut through the pasta. Before I put the food in my mouth, I prayed that I would gag, that the only thing wrong with him was mediocre cooking skills. Noodles and meat never tasted so good.
            So I faked it.
            I placed my napkin next to my plate and pushed my chair back. He raised his eyebrows. “Just getting some salt.”
            He pressed his palms against the table, ready to stand.
            “No, it’s okay. I’ve got it.” I caressed his cheek as I passed.
            The tile was spotless, no chips, no cracks, no hairs, no food droppings. Every other surface displayed the same.
 I reached my hands up, opening the first pair of cabinets. Their hinges squeaked in haunting protest. Nothing inside but stale air. I rose up on my toes to be sure. More air.
I closed them slowly, and there was more squeaking. The next set of cabinets was just as empty, and the next and the next. Not a single bottle rested on the lazy Susan. I squatted and wrenched open the doors to the cupboard under the sink.
Pipes spiraled back into the wall, shining as if they were still brand new. The usual arsenal of cleaning supplies seemed to have been stolen. My cheeks puffed out and then all the air rushed out, leaving me with puckered lips and no idea of what was going on.
I stretched my hand toward the back of the cabinet anyway. My fingers skimmed against the wood as I reached down under the pipes. When I bumped against something, I thought it was the wall. But the surface felt too cool and smooth to the touch.
Butterflies swarmed around my stomach. I moved my hand along, trying to glimpse what it was through all the metal. I found an edge and dug my fingers into it. Every time I pulled, one or three of them would slid off. I paused, glanced over my shoulder, and thrust both of my arms into the cupboard.
A red gas can emerged. I held it in both my hands as I knelt between the cabinet doors. Gas splashed around inside, the stink of it reminding me of child-hood road trips.
I stood slowly. Thoughts bounced around the inside of my skull. What kind of person had absolutely no food in their kitchen? What kind of person had not one bottle of cleaning solution when their house was spotless? What kind of person keeps gas hidden under the sink?
“Do you need any help in there?”
Everything stopped. It was like I was the little kid with their hand in the cookie jar who had just heard their mother open the kitchen door.
“I can find it.” I set the can back in the cabinet and shut the doors harder than usual for emphasis.
“Your food is getting cold.”
“I won’t be long.”
I placed each of my hands on the refrigerator doors. I checked the entrance to the dining room and opened them.
Cold air smacked against my face, raising goosebumps along my exposed skin. That barely had time to register before my mouth opened, a scream building in my throat. I slapped my hand over my face, biting down on my tongue.
The fridge side was empty, the see-through shelves sitting all lonely. But the freezer, the freezer was filled with pieces, pieces that might have been used to make Frankenstein.
A woman’s head, severed at the base of the neck, sat on the top shelf, eyes closed. Wires protruded from it and wound down to a lower shelf, where they connected to a heart enclosed in a glass box. The heart beat slowly.
A hand clamped down on my shoulder, and this time I would have allowed myself to scream, but another came down over my mouth. I twisted, trying to get away, but their grip would not release.
“Do not worry,” he said. “It is not painful.”
The heart started to beat faster, as the frigid air seeped out of the freezer. I watched it as he lifted my feet from the floor, backing towards the counter. It picked up the pace each second.
The hand was removed from my mouth. Something moved in my peripheral vision and then a needle pricked my neck. I finally understood the fear of shots. My neck burned, my own veins attacking my body. And it spread, down through my torso, my arms, my legs.
I screamed. No one could have stopped me. Over the screaming there was a pounding and I couldn’t tell if it was my heart or the one in the freezer.
My eyes were drifting shut, my hands only feebly grasping at my throat, when the head opened hers. They were blue, like ice. She blinked a few times, then stared at me.  Her eyes flickered up, then down, like my high school gym teacher’s had during volleyball.
Her lips were chapped and they cracked when she opened them. “I'm guessing it’s too late for me to warn you he’s a robot.”
 Yay! for finally finishing this story and Yay! for finally writing a story over 1k.


  1. Well done on finishing a 1k story! I really enjoyed this one. :-D

  2. I liked this story too. I had a few bones to pick. You say, "They turn out to be abusive, drug, addicts, convicts, and occasionally, gay." of these things is not like the other. Meaning I don't associate "gay" as being in the same context or category as men who are 1) abusive, 2) dealers for drugs, 3) addicts, or 4) criminals. Also in the next sentence you say "Which was my first clue that he wasn't all he was cracked up to be." Well is the first clue the title? I wasn't sure if I was supposed to read the title as being part of the story, because if you take the title away, then you are left with no first clue so that sentence doesn't make sense. Okay and then after that, you say, "the second was his kitchen."

    When you say it like that, you are borrowing from the future that the narrator of this piece has not explored yet. She explores it in the following paragraphs, yet, how could she know what awaits her in the kitchen? How could she know that the stale musty air was sitting there for her to discover?

    I really like the M.Night Shyamalan feel of this piece and it gets pretty terrifying. You definitely have a way with horror.

  3. I loved it, great job!

    And congrats on getting the story over 1k. [:

  4. @Misha Thank you, on both accounts. And thank you for stopping by when I know you're so busy. ^^

    @Michael Oh! I didn't mean to offend. I was using that sentence to portray that the men weren't right for her, because obviously a gay man would want a relationship with another man and not a woman. I did not think about it being taken that way, or that it would portray being gay as bad.

    And the following statement is not an excuse (because those are bad), just clarification. ^^ That line is meant to be slightly futuristic and the 'first clue' line was supposed to imply that he appeared to be perfect for her.

    And you know what's funny? I never do horror in my novels.

    @Izzy Thanks. It's been really bugging me that my stories have been so short.

  5. Gahh, creepy! I could see how you could get this even longer than 1k, should you want to. Nicely done, Brooke!

  6. At least one of us does. XD Thanks, Jes.

  7. So freaky! I wish she hadn't stuck around once she realized something wasn't right.

    Never stay with a man who doesn't cook.

  8. But he did cook, and rather well. -wink-

  9. Came here from the Platform Building Campaign!!

    Cool Blog!!

    with warm regards
    Another Author

  10. You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give to fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. I want to award you with one of my homemade awards: Powerful Woman Writer Award. There are no pass along requirements. This is just to reward you for all the hard work you do!

    Go to and pick up your award.

  11. @AllMyPosts Thank you so much. I work very hard to make my blog cool.

    @Deirdra Ah! Thank you so much. I feel special. ^^ I'll go check out the award right away.