A tea party worthy of the mad hatter
|SCREAMS!!! Entry 1/5/20
Prompt: Tea and Maggots
I opened the door to Grandma's mobile home, talking off my worn out shoes at the doorstep.
Grandma walked stiffly into the living room, wearing a floral house dress and a fake pearl necklace. She wore a nervous, almost pained expression. Behind her, walked another woman, several wispy white hairs that had escaped her bun floating around her head like a halo.
"Hi, Grams! Who's your friend?"
Grandma looked as if she wanted to say something, going so far as to open her mouth, but no words came. Instead, her friend spoke, drawing my eyes to the stranger.
"I'm a friend of your grandmother's, child. I came over for tea." There was something about how she said the latter that bothered me, though I couldn't put my finger on why.
I glanced toward grandma. She had closed her mouth, but now she looked afraid. What was going on here? I moved my eyes back to the strange woman.
"Why don't you join us?" the stranger asked.
"Okaaaaay," I said, uncertainly. The stranger smiled like the cat that ate the canary.
My grandma walked still more stiffly--almost like a marionette--to the dining room table. I joined her and sat down, my eyes never leaving the strange woman.
"I'm Cordelia," she said with a hesitant smile, taking a seat.
"Jennifer," I said. I didn't want to tell her my name, but I couldn't help it.
Cordelia passed tea cups, saucers, and tiny spoons to grandma and me before placing one before her. She picked up the tea pot in the center of the table and poured the three of us a cup. She passed around a small plate of stacked sugar cubes. I used the miniature tongs to select a cube and dropped it into my tea with a glump.
I looked again to grandma. She was trembling.
I wanted to ask her why. I couldn't. Instead, I picked up my tea and took a sip. I didn't want to, but I couldn't help it. My grandma did likewise.
As I set down my tea, Cordelia passed a plate of crumpets. Something seemed to be moving within them. I took one then passed the plate to grandma. She took one too.
I put it to my lips and took a bite. I didn't want to, but I couldn't help it. The crumpet writhed in my mouth. As my teeth squeezed it, I felt small bursts of warm liquid blast into cheek and tongue. I swallowed. It squirmed all the way down.
I looked at my grandma. Her face was a mask of horror.
I looked at Cordelia. Her face was beatific.
I took another bite. I didn't want to, but I couldn't help it.
Cordelia rose, and my grandma and I fell to the floor, clutching our throats.
I couldn't breathe. I wanted to, but I couldn't.
As Cordelia closed the door behind her, my vision went black.
A maggot crawled from my mouth.