Liver

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
(This is my own version of the popular scary story "Just Delicious" written exclusively for the month of October.)

Have you ever wondered where your meals come from?

Submitted: October 11, 2015

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Submitted: October 11, 2015

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“Liver” -- A Short Horror Story

 

There was a family who lived on a hill in the poorest, most desolate part of town.  Like their living conditions, they were poor, and every day was a struggle for survival.  Father, the patriarch of the family, worked hard as a carpenter to support his always hungry family alongside Mother, a seamstress and jewelry maker.  The children--Mia, Dion, and Nilin--worked too when they could doing odd jobs around town.  Sometimes, no matter how hard they worked, the family was only able to afford rice and beans to eat, and they often went to sleep with that horrible empty feeling in their bellies.  As they slept in their shared beds, the family dreamed of grand banquets and tables filled with food of every kind imaginable.  How they wished they could sleep with a full stomach!

 

As it was, fortune was in their favor.  Father had landed a grand carpenting job, and Mother had sold a magnificent piece of jewelry to a very eager buyer, who paid her a bonus for her lovely needlework.  Even the children had managed to scrounge up double their usual earnings.  The family had finally earned enough money for a fantastic meal.  Each member pooled their money together and Father slipped it into a small woven pouch.

 

“I have taken some of my earnings.  With them, I will go and purchase a bottle of needle wine for our dinner.” Father stated, looking at the children.  “Mia and Nilin, stay here and help your mother get started preparing dinner.  Dion, go to the market and use our money to buy black bread from the baker, and liver from the butcher.”

 

“Liver!” The children cried, their mouths watering at the thought of such a delicious meal.  Dion accepted the money pouch and slipped it into his pocket.

 

“Be careful with that money,” Father warned, “Watch out for pickpockets and crooked shopkeepers.  And most importantly, do not spend the money recklessly.  Understand, Dion?”

 

“Yes, Father!” Dion answered and hurried down the path to the town market.  He kept a tight grip on the pouch in his pocket the entire way down.

 

The sun was still high in the sky and the market was bustling with busy shoppers.  Dion was in awe at the sea of townspeople crowding the streets.  If he chose to push through, he would never make it to and from the butcher’s shop in time for dinner.  His family would go yet another night without a filling meal.  He could not allow that to happen.

 

“I’ll take a shortcut!” He said with confidence, and he decided to take the back alley to the butcher’s shop.  He passed by several shops all advertising their goods--linens, metalwork, cutlery, and even pets--but he kept his eyes and mind focused on the road ahead.  To the butcher’s shop!

 

But Dion could not retain his curiosity forever.  He passed by one shop whose sweet smells overpowered his nostrils and will, and he couldn’t help but turn in their direction.  Mountains of candy greeted his eyes, brightly colored wrappers adorned the boxes surrounding the small shop.  The shopkeeper waved to Dion.

 

“Would you like to buy some candy? I’m having a sale right now.”

 

Dion was about to say yes, but he stopped himself and shook his head.  “I’m sorry, I can’t! I need to go buy bread and meat for my family’s dinner tonight!”

 

The shopkeeper smiled.  “That sounds lovely.  But wouldn’t you like some candy for dessert? I hear salty and sweet go good together.”

 

The more Dion looked at the candy, the more his mouth watered, and the more it sounded like a good idea.  Maybe buying some candy wouldn’t hurt, and he was sure that he would still have enough money left for the liver.  Without further hesitation, he reached into his pocket for the money pouch.  Dion left the shop with a small bag of candy in his pocket and a piece of coconut candy in his mouth.  The sweet, slightly crisp flavor made him smile all the way to the bakery.

 

“Hello Dion.  You seem to be in a good mood today.  Here for some bread? I just finished up a batch of naan.” The baker noted as the young boy stopped in front of her stand.  Dion watched as she carried a tray of freshly baked bread, the steam still wafting upwards from the loaves.  His mouth watered and he immediately opened another piece of candy.

 

The young boy left the bakery with a warm, fresh loaf wrapped up and tucked under his arm, and yet another candy in his mouth.  Now all he had to do was buy the meat.  He rushed to the butcher’s shop and stood in line, bouncing on the balls of his feet while thinking about the delicious dinner he would have with his family.  Then he noticed that there was only one piece of meat left on display...and the butcher was giving it to the person in front of him!

 

“Oh no! Sir, please, I need that meat!” Dion cried.  The butcher shrugged.

 

“Sorry, kid.  That’s the last pound of meat I have left.  You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to buy some.”

 

“But I need liver! Don’t you have any liver left?”

 

The butcher shook his head.  “I’m sorry, kiddo.  I sold out of liver an hour ago.  Like I said, wait until tomorrow and I should have more liver.”

 

Dion turned and ran away.  Tears stung his eyes as he ran and ran, and it was only until he felt a sharp pain in his chest did he collapse.  What was he going to do now? The butcher’s shop was closed and there was no more meat.  What was he thinking when he decided to stop for candy? It was all his fault and now his family wasn’t going to get to eat well tonight.  Dion pulled the remaining two pieces of candy out of his pocket and glared at them.

 

“It’s all because of you I lost track of time! Now where else am I going to find liver for my family?!”

 

At that moment, the young boy heard a loud noise and quickly ducked into the nearby alley.  A door opened and out came the town mortician mumbling to himself.  Dion could make out something about a fresh corpse that needed to be prepped in time for the funeral, which was to be in two days.  The old mortician left, still mumbling to himself and leaving the door cracked.  Dion grimaced as he stood from his hiding spot and walked over to the door.  There was nowhere else to go.  This was his last chance to get what he needed.  Taking a deep breath, the young boy swallowed hard and stepped into the mortuary...

 

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“There you are, Dion!” Mother cried as she saw her son walk slowly up the path to their home.  “We were getting worried.  Your father is not home yet, so hurry and hand me the liver and I will cook it.  Go and help your sisters set the table.”

 

She took no notice of Dion’s sickly appearance, only happy to have him and the liver home at last.  Dion did his best to appear undisturbed, but memories of what he had done fluttered before his eyes.  Nilin tugged at his sleeve and pointed to the pile of cutlery that needed to be set, which was enough to pull the boy from his reminiscing.  He did as he was told and helped set the table.  Mother was at the stove preparing the liver, mixing it with vegetables and sauteeing it with the spices she had saved for such an occasion.

 

Just then, Dion’s father walked through the door carrying a bottle of wine.  “Oh my word! It smells amazing! Is it almost done?”

 

“Almost.  The children are setting the table right now.” Mother replied and went back to simmering the meat.  Father went and greeted his children, hugging each and kissing them on the forehead.

 

“My children! Tonight we will have our feast!” He turned to his son, “Dion, do you have the pouch? May I have it back, please?”

 

Dion obeyed and gave his father the pouch.  Father weighed it in his hand, frowning slightly.  “There seems to be more money left than I thought.  Why is this?”

 

Dion quickly thought up of a lie.  “The butcher said he was having a sale on liver today, so I didn’t have to pay as much.  Oh, and the owner of the candy shop was giving away free candy.  I brought some for Mia and Nilin.”

 

His sisters squealed with joy as they were handed their sweets, and Father seemed happy about this apparent good fortune they were having.  He went about his business and helped to set up, but Dion was in turmoil.  He had never lied to his family before.  Should he tell them the truth? Could he tell them the truth? He couldn’t let his family take even one bite of that meal, not when only he knew where it came from.

 

“Everyone, I--” Dion began, but he was interrupted..

 

“It’s ready! Dinner is served!”

 

Everyone but Dion scrambled to sit down as Mother served them.  A sliver of liver each with a chunk of bread, and a glass of needle wine.  It smelled so delicious that everyone was salivating; even Dion felt his mouth water when he saw the plate of food waiting for him.  He wanted to tell everyone that they were eating a person’s liver instead of an animal’s, but the words would not come out.  He stomach growled loudly and he found himself sitting down in his chair reaching for the food.  Dion cut himself a small piece of liver and popped it into his mouth, all thoughts of the horrible truth gone from his mind.

 

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Later that night, he was comfortably curled up in his bed, his belly full of food and wine.  Mia and Nilin were already asleep and snoring in the bed next to him.  When the memories of what he had done earlier that day came back, Dion resolved not to think about it anymore.  What was done was done, and nothing could change it.  He closed his eyes and fell asleep.  He dreamed of delicious banquets just for him and he ate to his heart’s content.

 

Dion awoke when he heard his sister call him faintly.  But both sisters were asleep and quiet.  Curious, he thought and went back to sleep.  Then he heard someone call out to him again, it sounded as though they were far away.  The boy rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and looked around the room.  His sisters were still asleep and neither was talking in their slumber.  Now Dion was beginning to feel a little more alert.  He froze when he heard it more clearly, like the barest whisper on the wind.

 

Where’s my liver?

 

“Father? Mother?” Dion called softly.  There was no response from his parents’ room.  There was only the sound of the voice on the wind again, this time a bit louder.

 

Where’s my liver?

 

It was still quiet, but he heard it better now and it sent chills down his spine.  Dion contemplated running to his parents’ room or crawling into bed with his sisters.  He would deal with their teasing later, right now he did not want to be alone.

 

Where’s my liver?

 

It was closer now.  Dion bit his lip and tried to keep his hands from shaking.  What was that noise and where was it coming from? Was this all in his imagination?

 

Where’s my liver?

 

The wind voice was right next to his bed now and could be heard clearly.  Dion hid under his sheets and hugged himself tightly.  He didn’t dare call for his parents or his sisters now, not when whatever it was that was haunting him was right next to his bed.

 

“Help me, help me, help me, help me, help me,” he chanted to himself while keeping his eyes shut.  He prayed to the gods to help him ward off whatever this was.  He promised that he would never lie to his family again.  He promised that first thing in the morning he would tell everyone the truth.

 

All was quiet.  Dion opened his eyes, wondering if his prayers and promises had been answered.  He peeked out from under his sheets cautiously, and yet he saw nothing.  He sat up in bed for a closer look.  The room looked the same as it always had.  His sisters were still sleeping peacefully in their shared bed, and he could hear his parents’ soft snores from their room.  There was nothing else here.  Maybe it really had been in his head.

 

WHERE’S MY LIVER?!

 

Dion froze when he felt a presence standing right behind him.  He dared not turn around, only keeping a tight grip on his sheets.  Then he heard someone whisper into his ear:

 

“You ate it.”

 

Dion opened his mouth to scream.

 

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The next morning, Dion was nowhere to be found.  His parents searched all over town for him, asked the townspeople if they had seen him, but there was no sign of his whereabouts.  His sisters looked all around the house for him.  Nilin was the one who noticed the lump in Dion’s bed and, thinking that her brother had been playing a trick on them all along, pulled the sheet off expecting to see her silly brother still asleep.  She screamed when she saw what was in the bed.

 

On the very spot where Dion slept was a mass of liver, still wet with blood and as fresh as though it had just been removed from the body.  Alongside it was a note written in blood:

 

Was I delicious?


© Copyright 2018 Dani Raines. All rights reserved.

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