|A picture worth 958 words of story|
So, how it works...You get 1000 words and a prompt to tell a story. Go! This week's prompt was a photograph of a hotel. To read my contribution, meet me after the jump.
Eat. Prey. Love.
by Jamie Wyman
Splitting the curtains with a single, pale finger, Ana stared out the window. The day was dismal. Swollen clouds churned in blacks and grays, blotting out the sun. Far below, the cars were little more than colorful stones at the bottom of a flowing river of humanity. Ant-like bodies scurried along the concrete paths toward their little dens, hoping to outrun the incoming storm.
“This is not the way to start our honeymoon,” Ana pouted.
As she let her hand fall to her side, the curtains closed on the outside world. There would be no sight-seeing today. No tourist traps or scenic views. None of that was important, anyway. All that mattered in existence was in this suite.
“You didn’t really want to go out today, did you?” George said.
When she looked at him, Ana felt herself slip into happiness, as if the emotion itself were a silken, warm robe. George, her newly-minted husband, lay on his side in the bed. Ana took a moment to admire the way the amber light fell over his bare chest, the outline of his calves beneath the sheets. Her toes curled in the plush carpet at the memory of last nights ecstasies.
She felt her mouth curve into a smile. “Have a better idea, do you?”
George patted the vacant space beside him. “I can think of a few ways to spend our first day as husband and wife. What do you say we start with a champagne breakfast in bed?”
“Lovely,” Ana purred.
George hopped out of bed, his boyish enthusiasm enough to make Ana giggle, and began his naked bouncing across the room. She made as if to help him, but he waved her off.
“No,” he said, “let me treat my wife to something special.”
Ana bowed her head graciously and stretched out in the bed. Against her cool skin, the sheets were warm. It seemed she could feel each individual thread gliding over her, caressing her like the smooth hands of her lover.
Husband, she thought. She’d have to get used to that, but she had time. All the time in the world belonged to her and George.
Three quick raps on the door distorted the moment.
“Housekeeping,” chimed a voice.
Ana’s lip curled in a snarl, but George held out a gentle hand. To the door he said, “Not right now, please. Thank you.”
George, ever so thoughtful, placed the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door then joined his bride in their marriage bed with two gleaming silver spoons, two champagne flutes and an unopened bottle of bubbly.
“You could have let her in,” Ana said.
George’s eyebrows bobbed. “You want an audience?”
“Well, we could have cold leftovers,” Ana said, looking up at her husband coquettishly, “or we could have something warm.”
Dipping his finger into the bowl of sweets between them, George offered her a morsel. Ana’s mouth closed over it and her eyes rolled back as she savored the sticky red treat.
“Now, now,” he said, “let’s not be greedy.”
The flavors of blood and flesh burst over her tongue with a metallic tang. Ana couldn’t suppress the moan of delight, of sheer pleasure. Idly, she stroked the body beside her. Chiffon and blonde hair stained to the color of rust, beads of blood gleaming on lace, the corpse bride was a vision to behold. Stunning. Striking.
With that talent he had of experiencing her thoughts, George offered her a spoon.
“You were right,” he said. “They did look good enough to eat.”
Her eyes lingered over the corpses between them, the bride and groom she’d spotted getting onto the elevator the night before. So jubilant, so perfect. Even now, glassy-eyed and sprawled over the bed as they were, the couple looked like they belonged on the top tier of a cake. Perfect.
Taking another mouthful of the girl’s frontal lobe, Ana let her mind wander. It seemed that with each bite she consumed the girl’s memories, her essence. The dead bride tasted of angel food cake and hope.
George groaned and gestured to the groom’s open skull. “We should order room service. Some red wine and chocolate sauce and this man is divine.”
“Whatever my husband wants,” Ana said.
She took another dainty bite and knew that she and George would outlast the stars. They’d found the secret to a healthy marriage.
Yesterday, the newlydeads had pledged to love and honor one another until death parted them. Last night, Ana had given them the best wedding gift she could bestow. These two would never suffer infidelity. They would never argue over the mortgage or feud over custody of the children. This perfect gold and white angel of a bride would never have to stand by while her husband’s life failed him in some cold, antiseptic hospital. No, Ana had delivered them from such fates. So few couples these days know what it is to be elated for all the days of their marriage, to relish each moment and to die together.
“All love ends in tragedy,” Ana had said.
“All except ours,” George finished.
Now, the morning after, Ana hummed with the life she’d taken, the potential that was now, in a way, her own. The hopes lavished upon this dead couple were bequeathed to her and her husband.
The pop of the cork brought Ana back from her musings.
George poured champagne into both of the glasses and passed one to her.
“To you, my bride,” he said smiling, his yellowed teeth stained with gore.
“No,” Ana said. “To us.”
They linked arms, man and wife, and drank a toast to their love and longevity. Stretching over their wedding feast, Ana and George kissed.
“To us,” George agreed.