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Horror Bedtime Fiction

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Warning: a bit of gore and violence

Duncan Dupree, head chef of La Vie Le Calamar, drummed his fat fingers on his crossed upper arms and surveyed the chefs in training as they prepared Le Grande Repas Quatro, the feast for that evening. His snooty nose in the air, his little piggy eyes lasered onto Pierre as the young man added a dollop of truffle oil to his risotto.

Dupree waddled over to the gently bubbling pot and inhaled the steam, dramatically closing his eyes and wafting the steam towards him with one hand, the other hand at the end of a limp wrist. 

I thought, ‘That Pierre must have ice in his veins, he’s so frickin cool.’ The cool young man ignored the fat chef and even had the audacity to smile.

His smile was beautific too, like Mona Lisa watching the ‘Soup Nazi’ episode of Seinfeld. How I admired him. He was tall, my height, with dark cropped GQ hair and blue eyes so dark, they made sapphires jealous. He was thin, with broad shoulders, and favored the slim-fitting men’s fashions of Italy- snug, muscle-hugging, yet soft and sleek and sometimes shiny. I, on the other hand, come from old Scottish farming stock, red of hair, freckled of face, and somewhat thick boned. I was not jealous of Pierre, and don’t get me wrong, I was not in love with him either, but instead, I used him as inspiration to get back to the gym.

Dupree on the other hand, either was extremely jealous of him… or madly infatuated. Or perhaps he’d been bullied as a child, and now took out his revenge upon us students.

This was a very expensive culinary academy. They taught only four students at a time. The owner of the academy was the multi-billionaire foodie, Malcome Crackett the Third, who also owned the magazine ‘Trip and Tip’ that I wrote articles for. The writing was my first professional gig; I aspired to write novels, but did enjoy the travel and tasting and reviewing, my name was getting out there. At last, next month, I was scheduled for my first European series of reviews. I was at La Vie Le Calamar on…I suppose you could say, a scholarship, Crackett liked my work so far and had injected my name into the roster for this semester.

We were into the final week (five days, actually) and I, along with three other students, Dupree, and a guest- sometimes a movie star, sometimes a political star, sometimes Crackett himself- feasted on each of the five nights on meals we created in the immense modern steel kitchen of the academy. Each morning of the final five days, Dupree handed out the assignments; each of the five days, us five- students and head chef- were tasked with one of the five categories: Entrée, starch side, vegetable side, soup, or salad. Salad did desert as well. Each of us made one of these in accordance with whomever was tasked with the entrée. When the meal was eaten, the cameras stopped rolling.

Dupree was the quintessential jilted one from a Gerry Springer, the crier of a black mother whose murderous, drug dealing gangster son was killed by cops. He was drama personified.

The preparing was all filmed for the hit foodie tv show on HBO of the same name as the academy, Dupree’s bullying was essential for the show’s success, he was the man you loved to hate. He threw things. He ranted and raved. He bullied…and the audience ate it up (pun intended.)

As I watched from the corner of my eye, Pierre nodded slightly. He was bracing himself. The other two students in the kitchen, Vera, the only woman in our class, and Charlie, the burly, bearded Canadian, tried not to quiver, but did anyways, fearful of Duncan’s rants and raves. 

Not to disappoint the audience, Dupree, after inhaling the steam I caught whiffs of from across the steel prep table in the center, dramatically flailed his fat white hands in the air and bellowed, “Wrong! All wrong! Where is the essence?! Where is the earthy scent dat de connoisseurs want?! Gah! Start over!” He grabbed a wooden spoon in the rest on my side of the table and threw it at Pierre. Then he dumped the risotto, pot and all, into the trash bin.

My mouth had watered as the risotto steam met my nose. It had been perfect.

Pierre smiled that smile, and silently bowed towards the fat man who turned his back on him with a “Harumph” and acted as though Pierre were kowtowing, but I knew different. I saw the young man’s eyes. They flashed red, like a warning. He grinned and his canines grew as I watched, saliva strung thinly down his chin. He lunged at the fat man and sunk his teeth into the fat roll of his neck. Wet red blood spewed like a geyser! I gasped, ducked, and covered my face before the shower flooded over me.

Dupree said, “Michael Magilicutty! C’est quoi ce bordel! You got de bee in ya noggin boy? Mind that soufflé or it will fall.”

I looked up. No blood, no fangs. I realized that I did have a bee in my noggin. I stifled an insane titter. 

Dupree then set his sights on Vera, a petite Vietnamese woman with deer-in-headlights eyes behind thick glasses. She was assigned lamb for the entre that night and had chosen a braised recipe with Morroccan spices. Vera cringed under the bully-chef’s piggy gaze, and I lost respect for her. 

Dupree inspected the rack and tasted the marinade. He slammed his hand onto the table ‘WHAM!’ and Poor Vera jumped, as did I and the Canadian that looked like a lumberjack. Only Pierre kept his calm as he prepared a new pot of boiling chicken stock. “This is fine,” Dupree said with a hint of ‘meh,’ “Needs some zing… some pow.” He slammed the table again.

I dared a peek into my oven. I swear that ass was trying to collapse my artichoke souffle. I felt those nasty little eyes on my back and chided myself for letting him get to me. I busied myself with my lemon aioli sauce.

Behind me Charlie, the Canuck, sighed audibly as Dupree passed him by.

That night, Jennifer Judson was our guest star, there to promote her new talk show. Naturally, Dupree bent over backwards to kiss her black ass; Vera and Charlie were star struck, Pierre was visibly amused by her advances towards him off camera, and I was glad to see the egocentric twat flustered though Dupree would make Pierre pay.

She sat at one end of the table, Dupree, at the other. Vera sat across from me next to Pierre. Dupree acted the proud momma hen, Charlie was his funny self, Judson talked about herself and her show. The meal was delicious, though the risotto was too earthy, and damn that Dupree if he didn’t belittle Pierre’s culinary talents. 

“I warned you the truffle oil was potent.” Dupree waggled a finger at Pierre.

Pierre said, “Ah. Aren’t certain breeds of ovine the truffle experts?” He didn’t look up from his forkful.

Judson laughed like a braying mule.

The rest of us looked stunned as Dupree’s entire head turned into a tomato. He recovered quickly and said, “Oui. Why yes, in the Basque territory of France, leetle piglets of the rare Gascon family are trained to sniff the delicacies out. As a leetle boy I often accompanied mon pere with our prize piggies…”

Pierre, who actually did come from France, put down his fork and said, “But Chef Dupree, is it not fact you grew up in the Bronx?”

Dupree stood, sprightly for such a large man, plucked the carving knife from the table and hurled it at Pierre like a spangled professional at the circus. Pierre caught the knife by the blade, leapt upon the table like a cat, crouched, then sprung at Dupree. Blood from his hand rained down, turning the white tablecloth into a gory rorschach test as he charged. 

Both women screamed, Vera fainted, Charlie turned, and discreetly vomited under the table.

Dupree quivered with fright and fury, his fists balled as if he was going to punch the feral young man. Pierre plunged the knife into the top of the man’s head to its hilt. Dupree feebly punched left and right like a windup toy monkey winding down. Blood teared from his eyes, spurted from his nose, and gushed from his open mouth as he gargled a scream. 


I spun to the left to see who had spoken, but to my left, Judson stared at me curiously. I looked back to Dupree and realized I had stood up. He was not bloody. He had that smarmy look on his face. Pierre was just digging into his creamy Rhubarb Vanilla mousse. I sat and Dupree made a circular motion by his left ear. “Buzzing bees in dere.”

I sat down and faked a laugh. I thought to myself, ‘Maybe she was right. Maybe I need those meds after all. Jeezus! Two episodes in one day…’ I zoned back to the dinner party, but my mind was on the issue that had sent my wife packing a month ago.

‘They make me feel awful though. Dumb. Foggy. I'm a writer God-damit! I need to be sharp and articulate. I’m going nutso without them though. Totally schizo. Worse than schizo…what if I hurt someone in my fugue state? Or worse?’


Charlie had been talking to me. I looked up. He had green lumpy vomit, like pea soup, down his front. When I blinked it was gone.

“I’m sorry. What were you asking?”

“Wonderin how your book is coming. Its nearly done, eh?”

“Heh heh. Well, it’s been on hold the last couple of weeks.” I gestured at the table, now devoid of the meal but displaying near empty desert dishes.

The next day in the kitchen, on the air, Pierre, tasked with venison for the entrée, announced it would be Bourguignon.

Dupree smiled smugly. No one made Bourguignon as good as he…and venison? Unheard of. 

I was tasked with the soup and felt a light bisque of some sort would be an ideal starter for the rich, sauce-laden entre. Tomato-carrot with a drizzle of parsley pesto.

I heard Janice’s naggy voice in my head as I chopped my carrots with a deadly looking blade. ‘You didn’t take your meds, you fool. You’re schizophrenic Michael. I’ve been telling you for years…’

‘Yeah bitch, you mean nagging…’

‘Call me that all you want but I still love you. The sane you.’ The voice was chill, calm, …patronizing. ‘I know you think the pills kill your creativity…but you’ve never given them a chance. The doctor says you have to give them four months at least just to kick in.’

I wondered for a minute if she was right. ‘I’m fine Janice. I’ll get through tonight and maybe go see another doctor tomorrow.’ The lie felt even worse in my head that it had out loud. I was lying to myself now. ‘Or maybe after I finish the book.’ That sounded better maybe.

 Dupree was on the warpath. We all could feel it in the air. It was his last chance to humiliate Pierre once and for all. He wanted a meltdown. He wanted a resignation. I suspect he wanted, above all, a blowjob. 

Though his exterior was calm, the air buzzed with his nefarious intentions. Then I realized that it was my head that was buzzing. Those damned bees. ‘Not now. No no no. Just a few more hours.’ I looked around. No one was watching me. I poured a half cup of cooking sherry into my water bottle, looked around again, and drank it down. The buzzing subsided.

Dupree was complimenting Vera on her choice of bitter endives for her salad, the bleu cheese crumbles and small dabs of bright red sundried tomato chutney was perfect. I looked over and saw that the chutney was oozing over the table and plopping to the floor like bloody gore. 

I blinked. It was gone. Vera was mixing the batter for her crepes suzette. She’d won back some of my respect, the Grand Marnier would double as an aperitif and her extra egg whites guaranteed a lighter crepe. She would make a fine chef one day.

I wasn’t so sure about Charlie. I just couldn’t get the lumberjack image out of my head. I looked over at him and saw he was chopping his broccoli with a wooden handled axe. ‘Whump! Whump! Whump!’ As Charlie scooped up the bite-sized florets, I saw a scattering of severed fingers on the table, their bloody stumps glistening red…Dupree came over, surely to take the axe away and laugh at the funny joke. The fat man blocked my view as he patted Charlie on one of his beefy, flannelled shoulders.

“Very gute Charlie. Very creative to infuse a hint of Asia into a French meal. Bite sized, I like that, we cut the meat, we don’t need to cut the veggies too, no?” Charlie was whisking together a miso-based marinade, his black mushrooms sitting by in a julienned pile.

I drank some coffee quickly as Dupree turned my way, swirling the fumey beverage in my mouth. ‘Coffee beans disguise the smell of marijuana for TSA doggies, it should kill my wine breath…

“Ah, Michael. Very good choice for zee soup. Light, cleansing ze palate. Ah, and ze parlsey too, an obvious palate cleanser, not so subtle.” I wished he would STOP with the fake accent. It made my head start to buzz again.

“Should I have used basil?”

“Tut tut dear boy, non. A chef goes with what he feels is right, his instinct. I would have chosen parsley as well.”

Dupree was being …nice. Scary. I feared for Pierre…Who was humming as he sprinkled a pinch of fresh herbs into the aromatic dish Julia Child had made famous. I was concerned. Dupree had given Pierre venison instead of beef because if not cooked just exactly right, it would be tough and, or, too gamey, stringy.

But the handsome Pierre was humming as if he were Peter Pan and had a pixie at his shoulder to magically make everything he made the most spectacular.

And it was.

Dinner that night was the best of our five. The entre was spectacular. I had only eaten venison in sausage form and knew it to be gamey.  But, like a good scotch, one embraces the character of the drink, whether oaky or smokey, in venison, a subtle hint of gamey is key. Pierre perfected the dish. It melted in the mouth but wasn’t mushy. The texture resembled rare filet mignon. Seasoned perfectly, and wonderfully black peppery, his entre was unique and sure to be a hit at whatever restaurant he opened in the future.

I was proud of him. I swelled with joy. He nonchalantly accepted the praise of our guest, Mr.Crackett himself, with his glass of cabernet raised. He was radiant. His pale skin glowed, his sapphire eyes sparkled as he looked directly at me and licked his lower lip.

My head was buzzing again. ‘He hadn’t really done that.’ And I congratulated myself for knowing better. ‘Who needs those stinkin pills.’

We all looked to Dupree. His opinion mattered little. The viewers voted, the guest’s comments aided the viewers decisions. How would the fat man deal with this young nemesis moving on to greatness?

Dupree, smiling and smarmy, cloyingly polite, apologized to the table and the cameras, as he got up and said, “I’m afraid zere iz something wrong with ze meat. I fear I am going to, uh, be ill.”

He dramatically left the room, limp-wristed hand on his up-raised brow, the other on his chest.

Damn that fat bastard!’ I thought. Getting sick on major tv was the absolute worst, the paramount disgrace no aspiring chef could survive. ‘Had I imagined all this?

Everyone was talking at the table, but their voices were buzzing in and out. I held my head together with my hands, unsure of what was real, and what was my illness.

When I looked up at the table, everyone sitting around it was grinning. Apparently, I’d imagined the whole thing before…including the eating, the entre in the center was still sitting under a silver dome.

I looked around and sighed with relief, no buzzing. Everyone looked normal. No blood spurting from knife wounds, no bloody gore dripping to the floor.

The sides were passed around, I took the bowl of miso dressed broccoli from Charlie on my right and turned to pass it to the fat asshole on my left. His seat was empty. I placed the bowl on the table and looked surreptitiously at each person sitting at the table. They were chatting and talking with their hands and smiling. ‘Okay. Everything’s fine. Everything’s normal.’

I caught Pierre’s eye from across the table. He winked at me and grinned. His canines were two inches long. When the tongue that flicked out licked up his entire forehead and around to his chin, I shut my eyes and chanted, Not real not real not real…’

He lifted the silver dome and, ‘of course’, there was Duncan Dupree’s fat piggy head, roasted, perfectly charred on all the right edges, a sweet Honeycrisp apple in a mouth that was stretched far too wide. The edges of it were split like the Joker’s, and marrow-like goo drooled down the fat, roasted chin.

Real or imaginary, I cared not at this point. I ran screaming from the room, not caring what they thought or what the cameras caught. I ran home. It was six miles. I did not trust myself to drive. At my condo, I swallowed three of the pills and crawled underneath my bed with my cell phone. I googled psychiatrists. I texted my ex.

September 08, 2022 23:10

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1 comment

Maddie Culwell
23:09 Sep 15, 2022

I think your story is a very unique idea. I really enjoyed watching the MC’s mental health go downhill until he realized that he needed help. That makes sense for the amount of stress a cooking challenge/school like this would cause. Here are some thoughts that I had reading it. There are some generally typos and such. I know sometimes you did that on purpose when Dupree was talking, but sometimes it was hard to tell if it was on purpose or not. It seems like you were trying to be really inclusive with your story, which is great. I will s...


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