G is for Grasping at Straws…

Ok, things are a bit busy today and, as I wasn’t organised enough to have a whole month’s worth of posts written in advance, today’s A-Z Challenge is an incredibly bad story I wrote for my Creative Writing course a few years ago.  I seem to remember that I hadn’t done any preparation for the class (sounds familiar…) and knocked this out in my lunch-hour at work.  I will pull my finger out soon!

Come Die with Me

Angela had slight misgivings as Google Maps directed her into Dead Man’s Lane.   Her misgivings grew into major concerns as she got out of the car and looked up at her destination.

Number 13 was a large Victorian villa, in a sad state of disrepair.  Ivy clung to the front of the house, obscuring the grimy windows.   A cracked path led to the house, the slabs raised up in all directions and weeds grew out of the cracks.  The black front door had a large brass knocker in the shape of a coiled snake.  The house stood in darkness; the ghostly light from the pale moon highlighted the neglect and decay.

Angela checked the address.  Yes, this was the right house but somehow it didn’t seem to fit with the advertisement pinned up in the local deli that she’d answered:

Food, fun and thrill lovers wanted for local Come Dine with Me experience.  Recreate the excitement of the TV show with like-minded people.  Email Dea at dea@thetombshop.com for further details. 

Call her prematurely judgmental but the house didn’t look as if it would offer too much in the way of fun or excitement.   Angela straightened the cloak of her vampire costume and wondered if it looked slightly ridiculous.  She’d been so pleased with it earlier, twirling about and making scary faces in mirror.  Dea hadn’t specified fancy dress; Angela had just assumed they’d all make an effort but what if no-one else had dressed up?

A car pulled up and a plump, blonde lady wearing a black jumpsuit and (phew!) cat’s ears got out of the car.  She held a sheet of paper in her hand and looked up at the house with an anxious expression on her face.  Angela was sure her own face mirrored that expression.

“Hi,” said Angela.  “Are you here for Come Dine with Me?”

“Yes, is this the right place?  It looks deserted.”

“Well it’s definitely the right night, couldn’t really forget it when it was on Halloween.  I’m glad you’ve dressed up too!  I’m Angela.”

“Oh, hi.  I’m Debbie.  Have you done anything like this before?”

“Nope, first time.  Hopefully not the last.”

The gate hung precariously from the hinges and creaked loudly as Angela tentatively pushed it open.   She and Debbie made their way up the crooked path.   Brushing cobwebs out of her way, Angela picked up the heavy knocker and released it.  The resulting boom echoed through the house.

“Is it just me or is this like an episode of Scooby Doo?” asked Angela, as silence descended on them.

The door abruptly opened, making them both jump.

A tall, thin lady with pale skin and long dark hair stood in the doorway. She was wearing a long black dress with wide sleeves and held a scythe.   “Come in.  Come in.  I’m Dea.  Welcome to my home.”

“Thanks for having us; something smells good,” said Angela.    Actually, this was stretching the truth a bit as the odour that engulfed them was more of a stench than a smell.

The inside of the house wasn’t much of an improvement over the exterior.  Faded wallpaper hung from the walls, cobwebs decorated the corners.   Dea showed them into a dark dining room where tall candles in a large candelabra on the table offered the only light.

A man in his early 50s sat at the table.  His face was painted white and he was wearing a ripped t-shirt, covered with what looked like blood.

“Hello, I’m Geoffrey,” he said, getting up from the table to shake hands.  “This is fun isn’t it?  I’m glad we all dressed up.”

“Dressed up for what?” asked Dea.

“Halloween!” said Debbie.  “I love your outfit.”

Dea gave Debbie a mystified look.  “Help yourselves to wine.  I’ll bring in the starter.  It’s salmon mousse.”

Unfortunately, the stench Angela had smelt as she entered the house was the salmon mousse.  She managed to force down a couple of mouthfuls, trying not to breathe as she swallowed.  A wave of nausea threatened to overwhelm her.  Debbie and Geoffrey seemed to be enjoying it as much as her.

“I don’t feel well,” said Debbie, in a small voice, “I feel weird, a bit dizzy”.

“Really?” asked Dea.  “Anyone else?”

“Actually, I’m not feeling too great,” said Geoffrey, before emitting a strange moan and falling forward onto the table.    Debbie started to scream, the noise catching in her throat as she collapsed in her chair.

“Oh dear,” said Dea, rubbing her hands together in a ridiculously evil manner.  “Looks like it was the salmon mousse.*  You’re going to die.  What a great success for my Come Die with Me evening.”

Angela just had time to say, “You’re only getting 1/10 from me,” before everything went black and her Halloween was over.

*Apologies to Monty Python.  And Come Dine with Me.  And to literature in general…


14 thoughts on “G is for Grasping at Straws…”

  1. I remember the story, and I still enjoyed reading it the second time around, even if I did know the ending.
    I know what you mean about being organised – I promise myself if I do this again I will have everything prepared beforehand! I was writing blog posts in my head last night. Of course, I didn’t write anything down and now they’re gone…


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