He said he’d love to have you for dinner—but you are careful.
A woman has to be careful. Never give them your address. Don’t drink too much. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Carry grave dirt to throw at them if they get too forward. Be ready to run to the nearest safe space if needed. The good news is that the Hungries, while persistent, are dumb as fuck (brain rot, you know) and slower than the sickness overtaking their bodies. Unless, of course, they are well fed, which is rarely the case.
This one looks a little better, you think optimistically.
You sit across from each other at the dinner table. The white tablecloth is as smooth and unblemished as his collared shirt. He has dressed for the occasion, taking care to hide the evidence of his affliction as best he can (though truly there is only so much he can do with a missing ear and half a brain). Still, the tuxedo and carefully applied makeup are enough to create the illusion of pumping blood beneath his pallid, blush-stained cheeks—in the right light. Which is another reason why you chose this place. Candlelight can hide a multitude of sins.
His manners are studied and smooth, as if he has spent a lot of time practicing more human-like movements and behavior. You admire a man who makes that kind of effort. He watches you as much as you do him, as if he is trying to remember what it was like to be alive. When you reach for your wine glass, so does he—only his thick decaying fingers almost crush the stem, whereas your nimble live ones carefully bring the dark red liquid to your mouth. You try not to notice how he stares at your lips—stained now from the wine—wondering, perhaps, how you taste. As it turns out, he does get a taste of you. You’ve been surreptitiously picking at a hangnail on your pinky finger—that’s how scintillating the conversation is—when you looked down and realize it is your whole fingernail that has come off. You stare at it in horror, letting the truth of your situation sink in.
At least he has the decency to wait until you’ve left the table before grabbing your napkin and stuffing your bloodied nail in his mouth. A little color comes back into his face. He groans in ecstasy.
Nice to know you could still have that effect on a man.
Find out more about Maria and conjuring everyday magic at www.mariaddeblassie.com