SWEET MEAT - a short Halloween story
The master’s wife stood in the aisle of the orphanage dormitory and a dozen young children cowered beneath their bed-sheets - not one of them made a sound for fear of attracting her wrath. Elizabeth had been the brave one, she had volunteered to bring the woman to them, calling for her from the top of the stairs. It hadn’t been long before the young girl felt the sting of a swift backhand across the face.
‘You cheeky little bitch!’
The blow knocked the girl to the ground and she immediately scrambled into the nook between her bed and the nightstand.
‘There ain’t no bloody scran for the likes of you I don’t care what night it is.’ The woman bellowed.
She scanned the room, her eyes like searchlights seeking out the slightest of movements and listening for the faintest of murmurs.
‘None of you deserve supper!’
She rubbed her swollen paunch, her head raised in pride. Her sweaty flesh glistened in the moonlight as she lifted her nightgown to exposed her heavily pregnant figure. Her fingernails left lines of white as she dragged them over her flesh with an air of sensuality.
‘Take a look. None of you will ever know love like my babe.’
The woman craned her head to look down at Elizabeth. The girl was rocking on her haunches, her hands cupped to her face. She was whispering into a gap between her fingers.
‘What are you doing?’
The girl remained unfazed as the woman drew nearer. She continued to whisper into her hands. The woman kicked out a foot which struck the girl in the leg making her wince and she shot a stern glance at the woman.
‘I said what are you doing!’
The woman raised her eyebrows in surprise.
‘Praying! Ha! There ain’t enough prayers in the world gonna help the likes of you?’
‘The Halloween fairy will help us.’
Another kick to the leg.
‘There ain’t no such thing.’
‘Yes, there is. The fairy came to us because it’s Halloween.’
The girl hesitantly held up her cupped hands and slowly opened them. Inside was a tiny blue light. The woman leaned in closer and squinted as it danced about upon the girl’s palms. With bewildered interest, she shuffled a little closer.
‘And what does it say?’
‘She says we deserve a feast.’
The woman snorted.
‘Well, it bloody lies then, ha! Fairy’s indeed, its just a firefly. Some dirty bug. You should kill it.’
With that, she swung her foot again and this time made a hard connection with the little girl’s ribs. As she fell back in pain, the blue pinprick of light followed her descent and continued to encircle her. The girl spoke through gritted teeth.
‘She says you shouldn’t hurt us. That you’re a bad person.’
‘What did you say!’ the woman screamed at the girl’s impertinence. ‘How dare you!’
‘She says you’ll feed us.’
‘Well tough, you’ll not be eating for a week now. Tell that to your bloody fairy.’
The blue light flitted around the girl’s head, dancing about her face and ears.
‘She says you will feed us. She says we deserve something sweet.’
The woman snarled.
‘Sweet indeed, this ain’t no bloody tuck shop!’
The blue light suddenly shot towards the woman and disappeared up her nightdress leaving her frozen in shock. She felt a warm buzzing sensation between her legs, a pleasant tickle in her groin. This quickly turned into a stinging pain penetrating deeper into her body.
‘Oh my god!’ She screamed.
She felt a tug within her paunch - a painful clenching of muscles that made her wince and screw her face up in agony. She reached out to the bedposts for stability but couldn’t save her legs from buckling and she collapsed to the ground. The other girls had now emerged from beneath their bed-sheets and were creeping with fascination towards the woman, her pain creating smiles upon their faces. The woman ripped back her nightgown to once again expose the huge swollen belly and she stared with fear as her flesh rippled and stretched to its limit.
‘Get the Master for God’s sake!’ she shrieked.
But the girls remained silent and transfixed by what was occurring. The woman began to shake as she was embraced in the throes of a seizure. A sweet-smelling substance began to pour from between her legs, not blood but a thick crimson syrup. The woman screamed at the sight and then promptly fainted. The red substance was followed by the emergence of the small head of a baby. Its tiny face smiled inexplicably at the girls. Elizabeth reached out a hand and touched the baby’s scalp. Her finger glanced the surface of its head before she pushed in her finger with ease creating a small hole. She withdrew her hand and with it a thick string of sticky red syrup. She touched the goo to her lips. It was the most wondrous thing the girl had ever tasted. Sweeter than the nicest candy, stickier than caramel. The other girls watched with wide eyes and rumbling stomachs and one by one they sat down beside the woman. Their hands reached out and grabbed a juicy piece of candied baby and filled their mouths with its sweet flavours. When the Master suddenly appeared at the door to the dormitory, the sight of a dozen young girls ripping apart the curious confection that hung from between his wife’s thighs made him retch and gag. Tiny faces were covered in deep red syrup as they hungrily slurped and chewed on what once was a baby, but now because of the dark fairy’s magic, was the best meal they had shared in their short lives. From within the candied carnage emerged a tiny blue light. It danced between the girls and Elizabeth smiled.
‘Happy Halloween.’ She said nodding her gratitude to the dark fairy, and the tiny sprite vanished like a dying ember, leaving a room of screams and giggles.
Happy Halloween 2019.