“That dinner was simply magnificent Jeffery, the best yet! The meat was so succulent and juicy, the vegetables so rich with flavour and the wine, my word Jeffery the wine was on top form tonight!”
Lord Canton drew his napkin to his wine soaked lips.
“Please, please will you prepare the exact same meal for me tomorrow Jeffery”.
“Certainly my Lord - would you like me to start preparations right away”.
“Oh certainly, I shall see myself to my quarters tonight, just make sure to bring me my late evening brandy and have the rest of the night to yourself when your done here”. Lord Canton stood up and nodded slightly to his humble servant in which he returned the gesture. He left the room and Jeffery started to clear up.
Jeffery had much respect for his employer, respect that surprisingly went both ways. The relationship between most man and servant was kept very formal around this part of the country, but in the case of Jeffery and Lord Canton they acted like the best of friends, brothers in fact. It would surprise Lord Canton’s guests at times whenever Jeffery would speak out of terms at parties and such, even more so to make witty remarks at his Lords expense. People would look to Canton and await a surge of anger at such disrespect but only to hear a hearty laugh, in which they would abruptly follow.
He cleared the tables and took the dishes to the kitchen to start the cleaning operation. Lord Canton was fond of big extravagant dinners. He was famous for his banquets and every year Britain’s top lawyers, politicians and doctors would fight and struggle to attend his events. The food was always the main attraction, which the Lord would also put on a show of music and theatre to accompany it. The parties of Canton Manor were legendary, but he had put off his big events in recent times to focus on his own personal ventures.
Jeffery finished the dishes and took his oil lamp out into the bitterly wintry night. Snow blasted his now rosy bitten face as he left the wonderfully warm mansion distantly behind him as he set off for the barn.
He unlocked the door and wandered in, he set the lamp on the floor as he grabbed a torch from the wall and lit it from the lamp. Jeffery picked up an axe before setting out to the depths of the barn, waving the fiery torch in front of him.
He walked past the pens for the cattle and sheep, eying them up before leaving them to there rest, he approached the pen at the end of the row. He drew his torch closer and opened the pen gate.
Hmm which one would Sir prefer, he thought as his mind lingered.
Ah! This one looks like it will produce such a fine meal.
He walked with such conviction around the pen before stopping before a man chained down to the ground. Screaming softly through his leather gag, the main course could do nothing much but watch as Jeffery carefully fondled his restraints. He walked towards the back wall and pulled hard on a rusty metal chain which sent his preys’ ankles first into the air, leaving him swinging and shrieking as Jeffery walked in front of him, aiming for his neck, he started to hack with his heinous hatchet. Dark scarlet liquid spurted out from the neck wound, the heart acting as a pump getting rid of the now useless blood which now flowed amongst the rest of the week’s chained down menu. They silently watched on as Jeffery untied his prey and wrapped it up in a thick straw sack and proceeded to drag it back into the mansion. On lookers where again left the nipping darkness, chained to the dankly damp floor with nothing to do other than faintly whimper and listen to the squeals of there fellow farm animals.
Jeffery threw his soggy cadaver onto the kitchen table, washed his hands and started to prepare tomorrows dinner. He fancifully filleted the flesh off, discarding of the fat and begun the process of removing the limbs. Jeffery’s face kept its dignified expression throughout the process. It was a routine that excited him more than anything. He shared Lord Canton’s passion for the exotic, the taboo. It was what brought them so close; they shared something so forbidden that no one would understand it but themselves.
One by one Jeffery threw the unwanted organs and limbs into the furnace and set off in the process of salvaging what he could use. You could barely recognise that a human had been on the table, mismatched red meat covered the slab and was now been packed into the freezer for preparation tomorrow.
A few months had passed and Lord Canton was sitting by the dining table slowly scraping his cutlery against is food in boredom. The lavish lord rested his cheek on his fist as his elbow remained screwed onto the table; he let out a breathy sigh.
“Is something the matter my Lord”, acquired Jeffery who was sitting in the foreground reading a periodical.
“Ah its this meal Jeffery, it’s beautifully cooked but I fear it’s all starting to taste bland now, I fear I’ve overdone myself.”
“That is a shame, would you like me to try and be more inventive next time” said Jeffery, with eyes still on his paper.
“No no, I fear the problem lies with the meat itself, it just tastes bland. Maybe a change of produce perhaps”, he said looked over to Jeffery who was now giving Canton his full attention.
“My Lord I’ve explained it to you before, the live stock I have sought out for you are very low risk. Despite the magnificence they eventually offer, they are still the scour of society, criminals in fact, and more importantly, no one is bothering to look for them. I would love to cook you a respected politician or and lean athletic but I’m afraid it is without our reach”.
Lord Canton sunk deeper with despair in his chair, sulking in his costly indulgence. He played whimsically with his meal before pushing his plate away.
“If only you could get your hands on a meal that isn’t such low class meat, imagine what you could do with someone in prime condition” he said loudly to himself. Jeffery remained focused on his paper whilst sipping white wine.
Lord Canton sat up abruptly, his face was tingling with excitement, sweat drifted onto his brow has he banged his fists harshly on his table causing Jeffery to spit out his wine in fright.
“My word, have you lost control of yourself” said Jeffery with a hint of annoyance.
“I’ve got it Jeffery. I have found you a source of prime British beef for you to cook, one with a rich ancestry line, the height of society and in the peak of physical and mental health”, declared Lord Canton with such pinpointed pride.
“Is that right” muttered Jeffery, screwing his eyes with cautious curiosity; he looked over to his employer.
“You shall cook me! I want you to slice off apart of me and I shall dine like a king” declared the lord.
Jeffery looked at Lord Canton with disbelief.
“Y … you can not be serious my Lord” He struggled to locate words.
“Of course I am.”
“Sir this is madness” he interrupted. “You can’t possibly expect me to maim you all for one meal; you will be disfigured for the rest of your life”.
“I understand that, but it will be the most monumental meal you will have ever prepared and the most marvelous thing that I have ever eaten. The only maddening thing about it is that it would be only me that would enjoy it”.
“So how would I even attempt this without killing you” replied the servant, trying desperately to poke holes in the ill fated plan.
“You make take one of my legs Jeffery. I rarely have any use for them; I spend my days sitting with my books. Preferably the left one, the right one has a scar I obtained from childhood, I fear it would ruin the taste slightly. I will get anesthetic from Doctor Utterson, he owes me a few favors he can stitch me up when you are done, I’ll tell him I have an infection or something or other … and once I am under you may use part of my leg for roasting, I quiet fancy a roast this week”. Lord Canton stood up and embraced Jeffery.
“I know you think of me foolish, but it is my wish and I know what I am doing. You have never done me wrong before; don’t let me down now after all that we’ve been through”.
Jeffery struggled to formulate words. He looked to his crazed employer, his eyes bulging, his lips forming a desperate smile, after a few moments the fraught servant sighed.
“If you wish my Lord, only after this meal, these exotic ventures are over, I will no longer provide you with these delicate dinners”, he said in a defeating tone.
Lord Canton kissed Jeffery on his forehead with such glee.
“Of course, you will not regret this; I shall make the appropriate arrangements at once.”
He sprung out the room leaving Jeffery alone in the dining hall. He sat down by table, anxiously tapping his finger tips against the tablecloth, not knowing what to think, after a several moments he vomited.
The following week, after acquiring all the necessary equipment Lord Canton made his way into his kitchen were he saw a pale looking Jeffery. His arms were folded and he dawned a surgical like outfit.
“Where would you like me” said the lord, a smile beaming from his face.
Jeffery pointed to the metal table and the meal hopped on gladly. Lord Canton put his arms by his side and tried in vain to get comfortable. The skittish servant pulled out a green bottle and spilled some of its contents onto a white cotton cloth; He looked boldly at his master and started to gag him with it, after a few moments the main course slipped into unconsciousness.
When Lord Canton awoke he found himself bound to a bed, he could move his arms but his waist and what was left of the rest of him was strapped in tight. It took a while for him to focus his eyes and see what was in front of him. It was stunning. Jeffery had decided on a medium rare roast beef and garnished the slightly bloody meat with exquisite vegetables and sauces. He didn’t think of his own injury, the sight before him rendered any pain obsolete. He fired into his own meal, not stopping for breath as he devoured himself, consuming his contents with such certitude; he inhaled the wine letting it wash down his own tender self. After he was done he threw his cutlery onto the plate, the noise echoed throughout the chamber.
“That was superb. I must say it was worth all the extreme effort. I best get myself out of here and find Jeffers.”
After fighting and struggling with his restraints Lord Canton started to grow curious as to why he was in such little pain, after such an ordeal. He finally found the buckles and started undoing them. Once he was undone them he threw the sheets from him and lay utterly confused at the sight of himself.
He was in perfect condition. Two fully functioning legs, no bandages, no cuts or blood to be seen, it was highly perplexing for him. He set off to find his servant to see what was going on.
He stepped out from his room and made his way around the mansion looking for his friend. After calling out a few times he had gotten no response.
He’ll be down in the kitchen cleaning up as he usually is.
Once he made his way to the kitchen door he reached for the handle and threw the door open. Lord Canton convulsed to the floor and struggled to find his feet as he moved back from the horrendous sight which lay in front of him.
Jeffery was crawling on the floor, his belly cut open, exposing his pulsating entrails which blead profoundly over the floor. He moaned in a dull tone of agony as he tried desperately to clean his own mess.
“Jef … what hav … oh my god Jeffery what have you done to yourself”, shrieked Canton, finally finding his tongue.
The maimed butler struggled to pull his head off the floor to look up at his stuffed master.
“Was I forever delicious my Lord”? Jeffery’s head collapsed on the marble floor, where it remained forever lifeless in a pool of his own matured blood.
© Copyright 2016 Jonathan McQuillan. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Horror
Short Story / Thrillers
Short Story / Horror
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