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Meal for a Monster

by Alexander G. Tozzi

Within the haunted house a witch paced her kitchen. Through a cracked window she saw the sun going down, the shadows of her yard’s gnarly trees creeping across the tile. It was a beautiful sight, but the witch was so concerned with dinner that it went unappreciated.

A monster would be over for dinner shortly, and unless the witch cooked something soon it would be she who was that beast’s meal. But what in the world to cook?

Coming to a stop, she leaned against the counter and surveyed the dusty jars on the ice box. There were pig snouts, newts’ eyes, bat-wing powder, and also a torn box of mandragore sprout. All made the witch run a bony finger across her chin, and she wondered if there were anything she could cook with those grisly goodies.

It occurred to her that if anything were to be made, she should consult a cookbook. She kept a whole stash of dog-eared tomes in her living room, and she rushed into that dusty chamber and found a very ancient book whose cover, behind a layer of mold, was a gold engraving of a roast buzzard.

The witch opened the tome and breathed deep of the grimy stench. It was a delightful smell, and if not for the ticking skeleton clock nearby she would have savored it. Instead she madly flipped through the pages to find something which made use of all her foul ingredients.

One recipe called for just such ingredients, and she tore out the page, not caring that it was damaged. After all, it was just a cookbook.

Back in the kitchen she gathered the bottles. They clinked a sound akin to skulls as she put them on the counter, and each emitted a puff of pungent fragrances when their jars were unscrewed. Perfect fare for a witch’s supper they were, but monsters prefer meals, not snacks, and the witch hurriedly fetched some pots and pans.

Following the recipe to each crabby letter the witch sizzled the snouts, mashed the eyes and boiled the powder. It took a very hot furnace to cook each ingredient, and the witch’s stringy hair became matted to her face. Each time she pulled it away with clawed finger she cut herself, blood dripping into the food. She paid no heed, too caught up in mixing this and scrambling that.

In the end she had followed the recipe correctly and laid upon her rotted-oak table a platter of the most exquisite Pig-Snout Dumpling Soaked in Newts’ Eyes, along with a side of Batwing gelatin.

Each looked as disgusting as could be imagined, and the witch could not resist stealing a few bites. It was a terrible taste which turned her stomach and made her wish she’d made it sooner.

Suddenly there came the sound of clanging bones and chattering teeth. It was the skeleton clock, ringing for dinner. And a moment later there came a fierce pounding at the witch’s front door. Before she could leave the kitchen she heard the crack and splinter. A throaty, gut-wrenching roar made the haunted house shake, and into the kitchen stepped the monster.

The witch smiled at the furry beast with horns coming out its shoulder, and directed him to the table. Upon seeing the feast, the horrid creature’s great, yellow eye grew wide with wonder, and it slobbered with a thick, long tongue. It sat down and shoveled the food into its mouth, letting out a big belch afterwards.

Quite satisfied with her cooking, the witch breathed a sigh and went to get her torn shawl. She expected the monster would let himself out while she went to watch the setting sun. A loud rumble caught her attention.

It was the monster, its belly rumbling. It was still hungry, and not for more Pig-Snout Dumpling. No, the monster had caught the taste of blood somewhere in that dumpling, and upon seeing the cuts on the witch’s face, he knew where that blood had come from.

With a gasp the witch realized what was going on, and she lunged for the back door. Too late. The monster caught her with a clawed hand. The witch shrieked, and the monster gurgled in delight as he stuffed the witch into his massive maw.

Within the haunted house a monster rubbed its belly. Through a cracked window the sun had set and bats flew before a yellow moon. It was a beautiful sight, and for a monster, the best way to end a good meal.

Copyright © 2011 by Alexander G. Tozzi

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