Strength. Short Story.

Sarah looked at herself in the mirror, everything looked good. She still wasn’t sure about the dress. She had chosen the black to make her look thinner, rather then the red. The red was a nicer colour and gave a hint of passion, but it wasn’t as forgiving as the black, though it did fit slightly better. Sarah checked her phone, there wasn’t time to change out of it now anyway. She quickly glanced over her make up, everything was still in place. She left the hall and entered the kitchen, high heels clacking against the ground as she went. Dinner was well on its way to being done. It wouldn’t be finished before Jacob arrived, but then that was part of the fun of a home cooked meal. They’d have a glass of wine and a chat, plate it together, eat, then afterwards, Sarah smiled to herself, she was particularly looking forward to that part of the evening. She had made sure that dinner wouldn’t be too heavy either. Better to be able to it than be too full to do anything.

Sarah opened the door, “Hi” Jacob stepped forward and kissed her, they kissed for a moment before Sarah stood back and let Jacob in. She closed the door behind him and followed him to the kitchen. He had been here many times in the last few months and he knew his way around.
“Would you like some wine?”
“Yeah, I’d love a glass.”
Sarah stepped around him and grabbed out the corkscrew, “Want me to do it?”
“Nah, I can do it.”
“Are you sure?”
Sarah pulled the cork from the bottle and smiled at him, “Yep”
She poured two glasses and passed him one.
“How was work today?”
“Ugh, horrible. Everyone’s stressed out the last few days.”
They continued to chat as Sarah began slicing a small roll, then placed the slices into the grill. She had already diced the tomatoes and had everything ready, it just needed to go onto the toasted bread. They both liked bruschetta and Sarah always thought of it as the perfect starter as it was so easy to make.

They continued to talk and drink as they ate, and when the main course was ready, they moved back into the kitchen as Sarah put everything onto the plates, then they returned to the dining room. As they ate they talked about a seemingly endless array of topics. That was what she liked about Jacob, he could talk about almost anything and make it seem interesting to her. When they had finished their meal, Sarah returned to the kitchen.

She placed the desserts onto the table carefully, “I made these earlier, this is my second attempt, they were finicky.”
“I’m sure it will be delicious.”
Jacob took a bite, “This is really, really good.”
“Thanks, usually it isn’t that hard but I haven’t made it in a while.”
“Well, you’ll have to teach me how to make it some time. It’s so good.”
Sarah ate hers slowly, watching as Jacob ate his, when he was done he grinned up at her, “Is there any more?”

“No, sorry, I only made the two.”
“well, I guess you’ll just have to make it up to me somehow.”
Sarah smiled, “I’ll think of something I’m sure.”
Jacob reached for his wine, his hand hit against the glass knocking it over, he frowned at his hand, then at the glass.

“Don’t worry, I’ll get it.”
Sarah stood from the table, Jacobs arm fell to the table, “I’m sorry, I don’t…” His words were slurred, but understandable, Sarah stopped, “are you ok?”
“I…” Slowly Jacob shook his head, it felt light and vaguely dizzy. He slumped forward, head hitting the table with a thud. Sarah smiled, she had expected him to be out halfway through the dessert, but obviously he was enjoying it too much. She slipped her feet from the high heels to make things easier for herself. She didn’t want to be dragging around his dead weight with heels. She was strong, but why make things more complicated? Sarah took a step towards him, then saw the wine. First things first though. She went into the kitchen and grabbed a towel, after making sure the table and floor were clean and dry, she patted him on the head, “Don’t worry, I’m not mad. I know it wasn’t your fault.” The floors were wood, but Sarah was almost certain the wine wasn’t there long enough to cause any problems.

Sarah lowered Jacob to the floor and grabbed him underneath his arms. It seemed kinder to pull him that way than to allow his head to bang against the stairs on the way down. Sure, she was going to be doing much worse to him, but it seemed somehow impolite. Especially when they had spent so much time together in recent months.

Sarah slid Jacob onto the table, it really had been a genius idea to have a table that slanted like this. She remembered all those times of having to heft who ever it was onto the table. Always leaving her sweaty and tired. The straps were securely tightly, she injected a small amount of anaesthetic in his wrists, to ease the pain a little. She didn’t do this for everyone, just the ones she liked. Then she cut along his wrists. Not too deep, but enough to get the blood flowing. She wanted him woozy and able to actually wake up, but she didn’t want to prolong his suffering. She watched as the blood lazily flowed from his wrists and into the small channels in the table. It would drain it away into the large bottles she had already set up earlier. She would dump the blood somewhere else then burn the containers.

He was coming to slowly, he had already lost a lot of blood, she gently patted a cold wash cloth onto his face, “what…What happened?”
Now came the hard part.
“Thank you for the sacrifice you are making. Thank you for giving your life for mine, for allowing me to take your power into me.”
He still looked confused when she made the cuts on his wrists deeper. He struggled weakly at his bonds, then slowly the struggles stopped. He didn’t give up until the end, he was determined. She admired that about him. Now, it was time to work quickly. It didn’t take her long to remove his heart and give it a rinse. The blood continued to drain slowly, it would start to congeal soon. She wasn’t too worried about that either.

The body was still downstairs as she cooked the heart. It was best to eat it as soon as possible, while it was still fresh. She cooked it quickly, just minute or two in a hot pan, then she let it rest for a moment. As she ate she thought of all the qualities that Jacob had that she had wanted, all those that she was taking into herself. She ate slowly, chewing well. When she was done she sat in the kitchen for a moment, head bowed, thinking about him. She always did this for those who gave themselves to her. When she was done she stood and went downstairs. She was tired, but it would be best to have him gone before morning came and people wondered where he was. She would get him out before then though, she was determined to get the whole place cleaned within the next two hours and be in bed at a reasonable hour.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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