Some time ago, I wrote this odd little story for a competition in a local free paper. We had to include three random words: dream, chocolate and glasses. The competition was cancelled, so I thought I’d share it here:
Two glasses sat smeared and grimy on the coffee table; dregs of cheap red wine congealing. Greasy entrails of foil tubs spilt over the chipped woodwork. Stale aromas of spice mingled with cigarette smoke. An alcoholic fug filled the room. Weak sunlight struggled to reach dusty corners. A low moan rumbled from the tatty sofa.
‘Oh…’ a deep voice rasped,’…my head…’
A shadowy hump rose slowly from its resting place.
‘What a night…think we overdid it…’ the hump said staggering across the floor transforming into a man.
The man stared into a smudgy mirror. He rubbed his stubbly cheeks vigorously.
‘Ugh…’ he said to his dishevelled reflection.
He looked around the unkempt room.
‘Sandy!’ he called gruffly. No reply. Where was his wife?
The man picked his way gingerly out of the lounge, through the cluttered hallway and into the musty, dark bedroom. Sandy liked a lay-in on Saturdays. Her only chance for one. The rumpled bed was empty. He sat heavily on the lumpy mattress. Was Sandy there last night? It wasn’t her late shift at the factory. Yes, he remembered her coming home from her cleaning job at the hospital. She’d found him asleep in the kitchen. He’d woken with a start when she banged her bag down on the table. She’d glared with contempt at the sink full of oily dishes, the grubby work surfaces and basket of dirty laundry sitting shamefully by the washing machine. All as she had left them.
‘I see you’ve been busy,’ she’d said; voice quiet and hard.
He hadn’t been shopping or prepared the evening meal either. Since being made redundant two years ago, a dull laziness had seeped into his bones. Lethargy he could not shift.
‘Sorry love…’ he’d simpered, ‘We can go to the supermarket now…get some bottles…a takeaway…treat for you…’
Sandy had driven them to the supermarket. She’d tutted as he put two extra wine bottles in the trolley. They had picked up a Chinese then come back to the flat in bitter silence. The rest of the evening was blurred.
The man rubbed his hands over his distended stomach. His skin taut, firm and tender to the touch. They – well he – had overdone it last night. He let out a bilious belch which left a bitter sweet tang at the back of his throat. Chocolate; rich and dark. The sensation relit a memory. Something odd. A dream. Last night…
He was sitting on the sofa with Sandy. She was quiet; still angry with him. The air simmered with rage. He turned to speak to her, to apologize. He couldn’t bear the atmosphere any longer. Sandy sat immobile. Glossy, brilliantly tempered. A perfect impression made from delicious, luscious chocolate. He touched her gently. She felt cool and smooth. He breathed in the exotic, sweet smell. His mouth watered, taste buds tingling. He put out his tongue and licked her statuesque face. She tasted good. A high quality chocolate from a posh shop. He wondered if he could risk a nibble. A small bite. Of her ear. He couldn’t resist. The flavour was divine. He began to gobble greedily. Gorging himself on the chocolate. It melted and dripped from his lips. Soon he had devoured his wife with big, hungry mouthfuls. He felt a sickly burn in his throat. His stomach felt swollen and sore. He slept.
The man looked down at his enormous belly.
‘Oh my God…’ he moaned, panic fluttering in his chest, ’I can’t have…it’s not possible…’
He rose from the bed and stumbled into the hall. Frantically, he began to search the house. Pushing, smashing and renting furniture, ornaments and clothing as he went. He shouted and wailed for his wife, his voice tense and hoarse. He tore at his hair in desperation. Silence surrounded him. Fear filling his lungs so he could hardly breath, he surveyed the wreckage of his home. He collapsed on a kitchen chair and swept the table free of clutter in frustration. Putting his head in his hands, he sobbed convulsively.
‘No…What have I done?’ he wept.
Underneath the table, hidden amongst the carnage, sat a pristine square of paper. On it, in neat script, was written:
I can’t stand living like this any longer. I want something better and I’ve gone to find it. I’m sorry.