Sophie trod carefully on the aged, brittle floorboards of her late grandmother, Barbra’s cottage. Barbra was a sweet soul, she baked cakes for the neighbours and invited the shopping delivery man in for a cuppa every Saturday morning. It was an untimely death which had bestowed the family, shocking that such a pure soul could leave the earth so soon.
The walls of the cottage had sunken in as if it were holding its breath. Sophie creeped up the large staircase at the end of the corridor which lead up to the master bedroom. The carpet was moth eaten, dusty red and smelt of tea biscuits and caviar. The aroma diffused through the rooms of the house so that it all smelt of dead fish and wheat. Up to the bedroom Sophie had edged, as if she were not supposed to be there, as if she were intruding. The door to her grandmother’s bedroom slowly creaked open under the gentle push of Sophie’s fingertips. The door screeched like chalk on a blackboard, she stopped, frozen. She screamed.
She sat there twiddling her fingers, slowly peeling the edges of her cuticles clean off of her nails. She sat there shaking on the edge of a hard, wooden framed rocking chair. She sat there listening to her thoughts as they whispered in her ears. She sat there staring at the wall, the sunken wall, holding her breath. Barbra finally got up and walked to the door her of bedroom.
She plodded, flat-footed down the large staircase, which was covered in a luminous, rich red carpet and smelt of clean cotton and linin. It was all pristine, just as Barb liked it. The tomato sauce boiling on the stove, let loose a high pitched screech as it spilled over onto the kitchen floor, the red leaked and spread across the stone tiles. It was quickly wiped up, out of sight, out of mind. She was making dinner, it was only 2 o’clock, but Barb needed to make dinner. The fresh pasta lay strung out across the table top like ligaments, the newly chopped basil infested the desk, and the seasoning was speckled over the chopping board like blood clots. Barb needed to go to the shop, she needed more thyme, she could not season her dinner without thyme. But it was too late now.
Barb ran upstairs to get dressed into a dress as white as a dinner plate. Taking four bobby pins, she hoisted her hair up into a neat and tidy bun and ran a thick line of blood red lipstick across her crispy lips. Her lips were like great crevices in a thick crunchy loaf of bread. Bread. Barb had forgotten to bake the bread. Like a flash of light, she rushed into the kitchen and pulled out the large mixing blue bowl. Strong white flour, three teaspoons of olive oil, yeast, water, and a pinch of salt were combined under the pressure of a robust wooden spoon. Onto the surface the dough limped and was kneaded. The dough rolled between her knuckles, it felt lifeless as it sagged through her fingers, it felt cold to her hot skin. She didn’t have enough time to let it rise, she had to bake it now. The oven door opened, and the dough went in.
She stirred the sauce, patted a little onto her finger and licked it. There was something missing. The thyme. She needed more thyme. But her thyme was out.
A knock rung on the door like a dinner bell. Barb closed in on the front door and gently poked her head through the crack and smiled. It was the milk man, her delivery man. What a nice surprise to see him on his timed schedule. He looked cold, he felt cold to her hot skin. She needed to bring him into the warmth, he needed a bit of baking.
“come on in young man,” she exclaimed, “ it is much to cold for a nice man like you out there, come a warm yourself up by the fire”
Graciously, the man stepped into the house out of the frosty afternoon breeze. His feet sagged against the floor as he limped across the floorboards, the battering fingers of the gust had prodded and poked him. His hair was an olive colour which swept across his face, his nose was a salt white which looked as if it had been pinched at the end, his clothes were drenched in water from the down pour which had occurred not moments before.
“why don’t you take a seat?” Barb gestured, as she swung her hand across to a large blue chair in the corner of the room.
After a few minutes, the man looked warm enough, fully baked. The timer went off on the oven, so the bread was pulled out and filled the room with a crisp loaf scent, ready for dipping into a beautifully seasoned red, gooey tomato sauce.
But there was not enough tomato sauce for the bread in which she had acquired, she needed to get some more.
“Do you mind if I get some more sauce?” Barb asked the man in a sweet high pitched voice. He smiled and shook his head in a lazy roll of his neck. Barb smiled.
From behind her back she struck out a large sauce spoon and lunged at the weak body of the man. The spoon plunged into his chest and oozed a nice gooey red sauce. It was not quite thick enough. Barb struck harder into the man’s stomach and gushes of sauce spilled out over the kitchen floor, the red leaked and spread across the stone tiles. He gave a high pitched screech. She dug deeper. Beneath the sauce lies the pasta, and it was no different for Barb. She looped out the pasta from inside his insides, like ligaments, they stretched out and were strung across the table top. She plucked his pieces of hair out of his scalp which now infested the desktop and blood clot seasoning speckled the floor.
There was something missing. The thyme, she was out of thyme.
Quickly she grabbed her dinner and lugged him up the stairs and stuffed him in the closet. She calmly sauntered down the stairs and turned off the stove, Barb wasn’t hungry anymore.
Sophie stood frozen over a mangled blood bath of strung out bodies, a gooey mess. There were many of them spread across the floor, dozens of delivery men baked, fried, roasted, steamed, poached, and broiled.
There was one thing running through Sophie’s mind.
How did she do all this?
When did she do all this?
There was one thing Barbra definitely did have. Barb had had enough time.