“It looks like there are ten of you remaining. For your next course, I have prepared something healthy, though it won’t be so healthy for those who choose the wrong dish.” He laughed at his own joke, but seemed displeased when no one laughed with him. “Anyways, the next course will be a salad. This time, individual plates will not be poisoned. Rather, I have two salads. A caesar salad and a greek salad. One salad is poisoned and one is not. Choose wisely. And those who survive will get to indulge themselves with a wonderful dessert that I have prepared.”
Liam scoffed inwardly. The man spoke as if he were a renowned chef feeding wealthy patrons at a five-star restaurant, rather than a psychopathic killer who poisoned food and forced them to eat it or die.
The serving girl walked next to him and gestured to his plate. “Which salad would you like?” Though she asked the question, her eyes gestured to the greek salad. Liam recognized it as the girl’s way of helping him, and pointed to the greek.
For some reason, unknown to him, the server had taken to helping him since the first course. He had no idea who she was or why she did it, but for some reason she wanted him to live. And he wasn’t sure if that thought encouraged him or worried him.
Still, it was better than going in and picking a dish, not knowing if it was poisoned. Though there still was the possibility that the server would betray him, either with this course or the last.
He picked up his fork, not wanting to dwell on the thought. He would simply be glad that she decided to help him thus far. He took a bite of the salad, pushing aside the onions. The chef had said they needed to have five bites, but that didn’t mean he needed to taste everything in the salad.
Then he leaned back in his chair and watched the others. He noticed that seven people—including him—chose the greek. Only three had chosen the caesar. Which meant that they might be the next ones to die, if the server had not steered him wrong.
Either way, he wasn’t really bothered with the prospect of dying, though the idea of dying here didn’t suit him. But something else bothered him.
Something about this whole situation was not right. More than just the fact that their strange group was being picked off by the poisoned dishes. This didn’t just seem like a killer who had unique ways of getting rid of people, this seemed like…well, he couldn’t quite put it to words. Except to say that something more was going on here. He only hoped that he lived long enough to figure out what that was, or run.
He turned his attention back to the table and noticed that the server had not, in fact, led him astray. The three who had consumed the caesar salad sat slumped and motionless in their chairs, while everyone else appeared just fine. Well, as fine as one could be seeing as they were being held hostage, forced to eat food that was possibly poisoned, and watch others die all around them.
The chef walked out once more and smiled. Liam wanted to punch the smile off the man’s stupid face, but he wouldn’t risk meeting the wrong end of Boris’ knife. “Looks like this is the final course.” He gave a mock frown. “I hope you all enjoyed the previous courses and suspect you will like this one even more. For dessert, I have prepared a delightful crème brulee. The poison I have used for this course causes the most entertaining reaction in those who consume it, so I will stick around to watch.”
“What do you plan to do to those that survive?” one brave soul asked. “I don’t believe for one second that you will simply let us go.”
The chef looked at him, a dark smile on his face. “I wouldn’t know what happens next. I am just following orders. Now, let’s commence with the next course.”
Liam watched the chef as the servers began serving the crème brulee. Something about his words were odd. “I am just following orders.” That meant Liam was right about something more going on? But what did this mean for them?
He did as he had done in all the previous courses and picked the dish the server glanced at. He ate the dish, but this time his stomach clenched as he waited for what would happen next.
And then he heard it. A scream, coming from the far end of the table. He turned toward the sound and noticed the blood. Lots of it. Blood dripped out of the nose and mouth of the woman who had screamed. He looked away and saw another with the same affliction.
A thin man with wheat colored hair, sat bleeding, while the lady next to him tried to stem the blood flow. Hopelessness was etched into both of their faces. They both knew what would happen next.
Chef Philip or Philippe, whatever his name was, watched the scene with a sense of satisfaction. He gestured to the servers. “Take those two away and then return.”
They nodded and together they managed to drag the now lifeless bodies away, leaving a trail of blood on the ground. A moment later, they returned and stood behind the chef.
Liam watched them all, waiting on the edge of his seat, wondering if he would be able to run away. But he had no idea where he was, and more importantly, didn’t know where the exits were.
Boris stepped forward menacingly, clutching the knife. Liam stiffened. He hadn’t sat through that whole meal, just to be killed by this man. But rather than step towards the table, he walked to the chef.
Chef Philippe looked over. “What are you doing, Boris? Remain at your post until I tell you to do otherwise.”
But rather than listen, Boris shook his head. “The boss no longer needs you.” Then without warning, he plunged the sharp blade into the chef’s abdomen. With wide eyes, the chef crumpled to the ground.
Liam regarded the whole scene, with an expression of horror. Boris, then grabbed the chef by the leg and dragged him from the room.
Liam stood and the others did as well. The servers stepped forward and urged them to move forward. “Come now, before Boris returned.”
The others hesitated, but Liam rushed forward. Even if he didn’t know these two. One of them had aided Liam throughout the whole meal, and he figured going with them would be better than being stabbed by Boris.
They were nearing freedom and an end to this horrible night. But as Liam turned the corner, he had a niggling feeling in his stomach that this was just the beginning. But of what, he did not know.