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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2209460
A visit to two reclusive sisters. Screams! 1/5/20.
A Pot Of Tea

Hilda watched as the woman paused before opening the garden gate and marching towards her door. It always happened, eventually. That's why she and her sister Ethel never completely unpacked. Sooner or later there would come a time for them to move on.

"Looks like we've got a visitor, Ethel," she said, neither expecting nor receiving an answer.

The knock on the door was firm. It would have been heard anywhere within the tiny cottage. Hilda waited a few moments before approaching it, calling out, "Coming," just to show that she had heard.

Swiftly rearranging her sister's hair, straightening her cardigan, she closed the door to the living room and walked to the door. She opened it a crack.


"Good afternoon, Mrs...?"

Yes, Hilda thought. It was always the one that felt herself in some way superior to her neighbors that made the call. Curiosity, after all, had to be satisfied. "Miss Jenkins," she corrected. "I live here with my sister."

"Ah, yes. We'd heard about your sister, yet no one has seen her. Is everything alright? If there is anything we can do to make her, and you of course, feel welcome, I'm sure we would be more than happy to oblige."

"Well, that is very kind of you. Would you like to come in and share a pot of tea? You could meet my sister then."

Hilda stepped back and opened the door, making it impossible for the woman to refuse the invitation without appearing rude.

"Just a quick one, then," she said, stepping in to the hallway, allowing Hilda to close the door and usher her into the kitchen.

It was just a small room, sparsely furnished. On the table stood a tray, laid out with teapot and three tea cups on saucers. If the woman thought there was anything odd about the three cups, she did not say.

While the kettle heated, Hilda turned the tables on her visitor. "I'm Hilda," she said. "I don't think you introduced yourself."

"Oh, goodness. I'm sorry. My name is Penelope. Mrs Penelope St-James." She thrust out her hand and Hilda took it in her own to give it a brief shake.

Silence descended on the kitchen while they waited for the tea to brew. Suddenly Hilda lifted the tray. "Come along then, I guess you are dying to meet Ethel."

Pushing the door to the living room open, Hilda made her way towards her sister. Ethel was sitting looking out of the window onto the garden, and seemed not to notice the arrivals.

"Time for tea," Hilda said brightly, pouring, then passing a cup to their visitor.

Penelope St-James lifted the cup to her lips and took a sip. It tasted strange and, when she looked down, she gasped in horror. The cup was full to the brim with maggots. She raised a hand to her throat, began to gag and cough. Only then did Ethel turn her dead eyes towards her, a rotten-toothed smile on her lips.

(500 words)

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