|'There's a furball in the porch.' Greg shouted down the passage to the kitchen.
'Do us a favour...' the reply floated back on frying steak smoke.
'It's always me who has to clear up the mess.' He muttered, grabbing a sheet of newspaper. Scooping up the pile of hair, he realised that it was not the regurgitated, undigestable parts of prey but yanked out fur. There were still bits of bloody skin, with embedded roots. Before he took the rolled up package to the incinerator bin, he scanned the trees surrounding their hideaway. No one. No beast. They were alone.
The bin was half full, flies buzzed around it in an orgy of delight. Leaning back against the escaping cloud of insects, he dropped his addition inside and added a layer of kindling from the stack. The barbeque lighter bricks were in the shed, he decided to fetch them after lunch and have a burn then. Whistling, he dropped the lid back into place. He liked burns.
His steak was perfect, seared on the outside, red and juicy inside. There was a ring of bone in the middle, still with a core of marrow jelly. A chop, straight across the thigh, covering the whole of his plate. It was almost too big. Almost. Bloated, he leaned back, pushing his plate away. There were a few drips down his shirt, red and greasy.
'How much have we got left?'
Yvette dabbed her mouth delicately before answering. 'I put the other leg in brine in the cellar, I'll smoke it next week. The ribs and flanks are in the freezer and I need to deal with the offal.' She picked a bit of meat from her teeth. 'I'll stew up the arms, he was a bit of a bodybuilder, the meat will be tough.' She collected the plates. 'We won't need to hunt for a month.'
'That's a shame.' Greg loved the hunt. The crashing through undergrowth, drinking deep of the scent of terror. The running down of the exhausted prey and, with luck, a final turning to fight. The screams as flesh was sliced by talon and tooth. And the last, delicious moments of begging for mercy. It made the meat so much sweeter.
'I suppose you'll be getting rid of the leftovers as usual?' Yvette was disapproving, in the old days they would keep the skulls, displaying them on shelves, along beside urns of fermenting innards, making garvaisch, the rich sauce of yesteryear. She was one of the few who still knew the recipe, although the spices were impossible to buy these days.
'We have to.' Greg levered himself out of his chair. 'They're getting suspicious around here.' There was a bucket next to the sink. Lifting the cloth that covered it, Greg peeked inside. The remains of a face stared blindly back. He must have been bearded and definitely not bald, that explained the size of the fur ball that he had cleaned away.
'Time to barbeque.' He grinned.