68 comments

Drama

Abby usually did the laundry, but on the rare occasion that John did, the smell of the detergent took him back. Back to a time they had both erased from their memory. A time they promised to never speak of again. But the detergent had been only the beginning. 


           They had been so excited, after a year of trying it finally happened, they couldn’t believe their eyes. But there it was, two pink lines staring back at them. John grabbed Abby in an embrace, both crying. Their labrador retriever, Brody, circled their legs.

           The next few months were typical. Abby was tired and nauseous but nothing serious. The doctor’s appointments went well, the baby was growing as expected. John doted on Abby; making sure she rested, ate right, and took her vitamins. He had never been so happy.

           Then around the seventh month Abby developed cravings. John started making late night trips for ice cream and Doritos and black licorice. He thrilled with the sight of Abby, who had once been concerned about her weight and only eating organic, now propping a bowl of fried pickles on her large tummy, eating with reckless abandon. 

           One afternoon when she was doing laundry, John came into the kitchen. She was holding the scoop of powdered detergent up to her nose, her eyes closed, and her lips parted, a dreamy look on her face.

           “What are you doing,” he asked, coming up behind her.

           “Don’t you ever just want to eat it? It looks so gritty and crunchy and salty,” she asked, taking a deep inhalation of the powdered soap.

           “Babe, don’t even think about it,” he said, half laughing, half nervous. “Those are just pregnancy cravings. I think it means your iron is low or something. Lets ask the doctor and maybe they’ll do some lab work,” he said taking the scoop out of her hands.

           But they went to the doctor the following week, and the levels were fine. He started buying liquid detergent, just in case.


           A week later John came home from work early.

           “Abby? Abby you home?” He called. As he walked into the living room she was sitting on the couch, pushing something under cushion. “Oh, hi honey, you’re home early,” she said nonchalantly.

           “What was that? What are you doing?” He asked nervously. Brody sat next to her on the couch, cocking his ears at him. Brody had been John’s loyal companion since before he met Abby, but now he seemed to prefer her; following her around the house, sleeping at her side of the bed. Traitor.

           “Nothing,” she mumbled with a mouthful. He ran to her and flipped the cushion over, expecting to see the laundry detergent. But instead, there was a hole in the cushion, the size of a baseball, with the stuffing torn out. He grabbed her face with his hands.

           “Spit it out,” he yelled at her. She reluctantly opened her mouth and spit the bits of white fluff into his outstretched hand.

           “You’re going to choke. This is not healthy for the baby.”

           “It’s not not healthy, its only cotton,” she said, her voice muffled, as she calmly spit the last of it out.

           “You could get an obstruction or something. I don’t know. I just know it‘s bad. You can’t be eating the furniture!”

           “Okay. I’m sorry.”

           “Promise me you won’t do it again.”

           “I promise.”

           He turned to go upstairs. He could feel them staring at him as he walked away. For the first time ever, he was concerned about his wife.


           That night they went on their nightly walk before dinner. Brody pulled on the leash, Abby’s arm stretched. “Here let me do it. You’re going to hurt your arm,” John said, taking the leash from her.

           “Oh honey. You worry too much. I’m fine.” Maybe she was right. He didn’t want to put any added stress on her. He promised her he would try to relax and enjoy these last weeks it was just the two of them. They held hands as the sun set, Brody leading the way back home.


           After dinner the following night John took a shower while Abby got ready for bed.

           “Abby. I’m sorry I was so hard on you yesterday. I know it can’t be easy being pregnant,“ he called out from the bathroom. She didn’t answer.

           “Babe? Are you there?” Then through the bathroom window he saw the motion light in the backyard go on. He went downstairs, still dripping, his towel around his waist.

           Through the backdoor he saw her. She was on her knees, feverishly digging with both hands, stopping only to bring handfuls of dirt to her mouth. The backyard was illuminated, showing off dozens of small holes. He stepped out onto the patio, stunned. Hearing the backdoor slap shut, her head snapped over in his direction. Dirt stuck to her chin and under her French manicure.

           “I’m sorry honey. I just can’t help it,” she said, dirt falling out of her mouth onto her business blouse, her pencil skirt pulled up over her knees. He walked over to her, took her by the hand, and brought her into the house. He was scared, for the first time in a long time.


           “Well the doctor said it won’t hurt you but you need to stop doing it before it does. It’s actually somewhat common he said, it even has a name; pica,“ he told his wife as he entered the living room. She sat on the couch she had once eaten, acting as if everything was perfectly normal. Brody’s head rested on her lap as she pet him.

           “I’m sorry. I just can’t help it. It’s like something comes over me and I can’t control myself.”

           “Well, honey. Please try. You could get very sick. You’re very lucky you haven’t gotten sick yet. The doctor said he’s had cases like this before, he said to try substitutes for the cravings. Like instead of dirt, try ground cookie crumbs,” he said cheerfully as he sat down next to her. Brody raised his head, irritated.

           “Ok. I’ll try it,” an appeasing smile formed on her lips.

           “I’m not mad. I’m just worried about you. And the baby,” he said pulling her into his arms. “It’ll be okay,” he reassured her. As he hugged her, she fingered the cushion behind his back.


           The next night John came home from work as usual. He found Abby cooking dinner, her apron tight against her round stomach.

           “Mmm, smells good. What’s for dinner?” He asked, feeling a semblance of normalcy he hadn’t felt since before she got pregnant.

            “I’m making a nice fall dinner. I love this time of year. Soups and stews. Everything pumpkin spice,” she said smiling at him. He opened the oven. “Wow biscuits too.” He came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist.

           “Great job, babe. I can’t wait. I’ll take Brody for a walk while you finish and then we’ll enjoy this dinner.”

           “Brody, boy where are you?” he yelled as he clapped his hands for the dog. “Honey, have you seen Brody?”

           “He was in the backyard last I saw,” she said looking up from the stew. John went to the backdoor.       

           “The back gate is open! He must have gotten out,“ he yelled looking to Abby.

“Oh no,” she exclaimed.

That night they scoured the neighborhood, calling for Brody, asking the neighbors. There were no signs of Brody anywhere.

           “After dinner I’ll make fliers and post them to the telephone poles,” he said. “It’s ok. It’s not your fault. These things happen,” he said covering her hand with his. She gave him a sympathetic smile.

          

 After dinner John took the trash out. He flung the bag into the trashcan and as the lid closed something caught his eye. He reached in and pulled it out.

           “What? No. It can’t be,” he said to himself, beginning to panic. It was Brody’s collar. His heart banged against his chest. He ran inside.

           “Abby? What the fuck! What the fuck is this?” He screamed.

           “I’m sorry honey. I really am. I just couldn’t help it.”


A week later they welcomed a healthy baby girl and the cravings stopped. They never spoke of the incident again, and they became ‘cat people.’

September 26, 2020 15:12

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68 comments

P. Jean
01:28 Sep 27, 2020

Amazingly creative! LOL! Not sure who will love it! I enjoyed the process you worked your way through. Poor Brody!

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22:44 Oct 05, 2020

Thank you P. Jean !

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Jonathan Blaauw
07:22 Sep 27, 2020

This is wonderful! While I was reading the part about her eating the couch stuffing, when you first introduce the dog, I thought to myself, if this was my story, I’d end with her eating Brody. But I’m not normal, so I really didn’t expect you to go there. Turns out you’re not normal, either. But then, after Meatball Madness, we already know this. The only thing I noticed was this sentence: “But now he seemed to prefer her, traitor.” That’s 100% correct as is but, if it was me, I’d consider having traitor as a sentence on its own. I’d comb...

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12:05 Sep 27, 2020

Thanks Jonathon! Yeah I was thinking of making it dog stew but didn't know if that'd be too cliche. And I like your sentence idea I will make that change. And I don't actually post rough drafts I'm just not very good with editing. So the fact that this one is ok is just luck. And every time I read a story I change something. Whether its wrong or not I can't help tinkering. Thanks Jonathon!

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Charles Stucker
02:17 Sep 27, 2020

Title suggestion "Doggone Cravings..." Riotously funny. Starts semi-serious, then skews into Monty Python land. Other than the title, no suggestions at all.

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12:08 Sep 27, 2020

Thanks Charles !

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Ashton Noble
05:59 Oct 06, 2020

Wow, congrats on the win. I feel like you won already lol. I enjoyed the shocking twist at the end and the escalation of events. It felt like going up a roller coaster and when you think your going to go down you suddenly go left. I'm new to this site. Would you mind giving my story a quick once over, feel like a writer as good as you would provide valuable feed back. Can't wait to read more of your short stories.

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15:17 Oct 06, 2020

Thanks A.t.! And sure I’ll be there soon to read

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Thomas Nielsen
19:28 Oct 05, 2020

Marvellous. Just plain marvellous!

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22:36 Oct 05, 2020

Wow thanks Thomas!

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Ola Hotchpotch
05:10 Oct 05, 2020

This is creepy. There are places where they eat dog meat. There must be places where they eat human children. It's all in the craving. How you eat is a different point .

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22:46 Oct 05, 2020

Thank you for reading Ola!

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Ray Dyer
15:36 Oct 04, 2020

Such a great use of foreshadowing throughout this story. You kept the key character involved throughout, and the sense of dread built inside me every time I read their name. I love the subtle touches of detail, too. The pencil skirt above her knees, and the way you described the powder detergent. The story starts out so well grounded in reality; it really took me back. The nostalgia factor was powerful in the first few paragraphs, and I had to remind myself that you told me right at the beginning that this was going to be about somethi...

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17:16 Oct 04, 2020

Wow Ray what a great review. You got exactly what I was going for. Thanks for reading and your thoughtful reply !

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Alexandra Dyess
18:40 Oct 03, 2020

Omg this one hit me in the feels 😭 my sister and her husband tried forever and she finally has a baby girl! I’m new to Reedsy would you mind checking out my short story from this prompt? I would really appreciate the feedback 🥰

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21:46 Oct 03, 2020

Thanks Alexandra . Yes I’ll be there shortly. And welcome to Reedsy. There’s so many wonderful helpful people on here 👍🏼

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Alexandra Dyess
21:51 Oct 03, 2020

Thank you so much!!

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Echo Sundar
18:34 Oct 03, 2020

This is such an amazing story! it definitely deserves to win.

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21:47 Oct 03, 2020

Well I don’t know about that but wow you made my day! Thanks Rachel

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Jonathan Blaauw
16:28 Oct 03, 2020

Did you change the name of this story? I just came over to challenge you to a race - first one to 19 stories wins! Deal? You might think I'm saying this because I've got one ready to go, but I really don't. I'm hoping if I make a contest out of it, it'll push me to push myself. If you win you can have all my points😃

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17:13 Oct 03, 2020

I did change the name. Do you like this title better or the first one? I’m trying to get out of the very ambiguous titles. Although this one is not much better. And sure I’ll take your bet. Although I’m not sure you’re allowed to allocate your points in such a way. Bragging rights only I think. Which is fine because I think you’ll win. I gave zero creativity right now. I think I may just be a reader this week

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Jonathan Blaauw
18:01 Oct 03, 2020

What was the first one, again? Cravings, wasn't it? I liked that one, but this new one is also good. Amazing that you have a story about an Abbey who eats a dog, and I have one about cats eating an Abbey! It's like karma. Speaking of which, those karma points are mine and I'll spend them how I want!🤣 I think with some basic hacking skills one could find a way to add unlimited points, start a black market point selling business and make a killing. The kids will pay, oh yes they will! Wanna go into business? I'm assuming you have basic hacki...

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21:48 Oct 03, 2020

I may subconsciously stealing your ideas. No hacking skills here but you know I bet Laura does it

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Elle Clark
18:05 Sep 29, 2020

Nooooo! Not the dog! Oh, Sarah, too far, too far. I was fine with the meatball baby but poor puppy... I’d hear of pica but hadn’t really thought about it too much - now it’s going to occupy my every waking moment. Good job, as per usual.

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19:52 Sep 29, 2020

😂😂

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Chris Stewart
02:52 Sep 29, 2020

Yuck....really funny and creepy and funny! Well done.

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18:04 Sep 29, 2020

Thank you, Chris!

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Jessica C
16:00 Sep 28, 2020

And then what happened?? I'm going to 100% brutally honest. This one feels disjointed. The meat of the story (I will not apologize for that pun!!!) is brilliantly well-paced and descriptive, but I'm having trouble connecting the Abby and John at the very beginning with the rest of the story. I'd like to see a little more of their current dynamic...because it's GOT to be weird, and that may add another layer to the rest of the story. You're a twisted chick, Sarah. I love it!!

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16:22 Sep 28, 2020

Lol I agree. Let me see what I can come up with. I see you have some new stories too, I'm so behind. Thanks Miss Jessica

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Katina Foster
19:52 Sep 27, 2020

Wow Sarah!! The dog? No!! This was really good. I liked the build up with pica, which tricked me into thinking this was a normal story. Nice work!

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22:46 Sep 27, 2020

Thanks, Katina!

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Rayhan Hidayat
14:07 Sep 27, 2020

I CALLED IT! Omg this is such a beautiful macabre story, I love everything about this, dark humor and all. Keep it up! 😙

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18:05 Sep 27, 2020

Thanks Rayhan !

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Phil Manders
08:25 Sep 27, 2020

Hi Sarah You often read my stories so I thought I would check out yours. This is right up my street. I’m always looking for a bit of humour...even twisted humour. And so nice to know that other people have eaten their own dogs by accident...it was a long time ago, and I was hungry. Don’t judge.🌭 Great job.

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12:06 Sep 27, 2020

Thanks Phil! If you like twisted stuff you'd prob like my story meatball also! Cheers

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Miles Gatling
17:39 Sep 26, 2020

That was awesome!

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22:45 Oct 05, 2020

Thank you Miles!

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Kristin Neubauer
16:16 Sep 26, 2020

Oh my gosh! That was a shocking story, but amazingly well-crafted, developed and written as always. How did you come up with this? You have some of the most original ideas I've ever read!

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17:06 Sep 26, 2020

Thanks you Kristin!

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Keerththan 😀
05:55 Oct 14, 2020

Woah! This was amazing! I always love your stories and I also think they have no grammar mistakes. I loved this story and cat people is really awesome. The story became funny and I enjoyed it a lot. Keep writing. Would you mind reading my new story "The royal fork?" Thanks!

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02:58 Oct 16, 2020

Thanks Keerththan. And yes I’ll be there shortly to read

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Lucy Splendid
11:24 Oct 08, 2020

Very dark indeed, and with humour. I think they should probably only have one child in case she gets a craving for human flesh. My only critic is how she ate the dog, in comparison to her other cravings, it felt premeditated or thought out. What if he came home and found her with blood on her face, but clearly in distress. This then changes her from being a calculating and unsympathetic character. I also think she should be more worried, than blase about her compulsions as this then sets up the idea of loss of control on her part, ...

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17:58 Oct 12, 2020

Thanks Lucy. I love that idea. I'm gonna play around with it and see what I come up with. Thanks so much for your help

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