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I Died at Dinner

Presenting my latest 750 word challenge story. This week’s picture prompt This particular picture was taken by, Jessica Maybury and is the cover of an old novel – La Chartreuse de Parme (The Charterhouse of Parma) and was written by French writer Stendhall in 1839.

This challenge was set by Miranda Kate, please find her on twitter @PurpleQueenNL. The challenge is part of her #MidWeekFlash game on Facebook, and the link is below the story.

I don’t why by this cover gave me creepy images and so I had to bring an old friend back for this one. Enjoy …

I Died at Dinner

Five perfect little flames danced upon the tabletop. Each atop an elegant white candle set within an Elizabethan candelabra. The table cloth was of rich purple velvet; matching the drapes and chintzy chairs. I was told sit and wait, I couldn’t – not here. She appeared from nowhere.

“Are you ready to dine, Mr Stendhal?” she asked through glistening ruby-red lips. Her red velvet dress revealed strange unfurling fern and lightning tattoos upon her milky skin. Her eyes like freezing orbs seemed to pierce my skull.

I felt my heart hammering in my chest – this was all wrong. “I – that is, no I’m not.” I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t even hungry.

“Aww, why not?” she ran a hand over my shoulder and circled me like a vulture.

“I came for a m-management meeting, not this.” I watched her passage to the sideboard. I had to admit she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever been alone with, but she was dangerous – I could feel it. Her talon-like nails clicked over a vividly coloured bottle. She lifted and poured two shots of pale-green liquid over ice and brought the glasses over.

“Chartreuse, Mr Stendhal. A speciality of the monks. Drink – allow it to calm your nerves.”

I took my crystal snifter in a shaky hand and swallowed hard as I tried to make my voice work again. “What’s the meaning of this? Who are you and where are the board of directors?”

“Oh, never mind them.” She reached into my suit jacket, released and removed my tie. “There. Relax, darling.”

The blood rose in my head. Sweat beaded my brow. I backed off and put my glass down without drinking a drop. My hand came to my chest, I gasped for air. “I don’t want to relax. Tell me who you are and what’s going on?”

“Okay, have it your way.” she sauntered to the table and rang a small silver bell. “There was a slight change of plans. The meeting was cancelled. I took the opportunity to have a little fun with you. You do realise you’re the most handsome man employed by Lemaitre, don’t you?”

“No – I’m m-married.”

She patted a chair and sat in the other. “Sit, Mr Stendhal.”

“I’m not a dog. I’m going home.” I turned to the door and flinched. It swung open admitting a giant of a man in a black tuxedo. He placed two bowls of soup on the table and swept out with a glare at me.

“You will sit down, Mr Stendhal.” She raised a hand and pointed at the empty chair. I couldn’t stop my feet carrying me to it and sitting me down. “We have tomato soup to start; I hope you like it.”

I looked at the liquid in my white bowl. It seemed too red somehow. “I-it’ll be fine, thanks.” That was a lie. I hate tomato soup. She was going to force me to eat anyway, so I may as well do it voluntarily. Tasting a spoonful, I realised it was good.

“You like?” she asked, devouring hers without taking her eyes off me.

I managed a nod.

“Excellent, darling.” When the soup was gone, she rang the bell. The bowls were replaced by steaks cooked and onion gravy.

I ate in silence feeling as uncomfortable as a gazelle stalked by a lion.

“Now, for dessert, Mr Stendhal.” She rose and flowed around the table to me. I felt my chair slide back in her grasp. I gasped, she must be ungodly strong to move my bulk so easily.

“What are you … “ she curled herself onto my lap.

“I was surprised you didn’t drink the Chartreuse, “she said while allowing her fingers to caress my neck.

“Yeah, it’s not for me and neither are you, get off!” I tried to stand. I couldn’t move. I felt glued to the bloody chair.

“Pity, oh well. Soon, all you’ll want is glasses of claret.” Her eyes flashed with evil.

“What! No … Oh please … NOOO!” I screamed as her fangs sank into my neck. I felt my life draining away as her tongue lapped at my blood.

“Hmm, Mr Stendhal. You’re delightfully tasty.” She stood over me wiping he fangs. “Now, you’ll be dead soon. When you rise, ask for Vasilica and we’ll dance the night away in the graveyard.” She cackled turned into a bat and flew out into the night.

Now, I am Count Stendhal and I vant to drink your blood!”

The End

Do you remember Vasilica? Why not revisit her first tale – Vasilica

Do you fancy writing a 750 word story for the above photo. Head over to Finding Clarity, follow the instructions and have fun.

Feel free to check out more of my tales in the Short Stories tab too.

Thanks for reading my friends.


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