The fragrance of wild onions, sage, and fresh peeled carrots lingered in the air. Mixed with a rabbit from one of the traps, dinner and dessert was bound to be delicious. It was not often she could afford to offer dessert with a meal. Her son would be home shortly, as the sun had set and the stars had taken their place in the sky. Technically, her son was Graham the Fifth, named after his predecessors. His father had joined his father before Graham was born, but still she named him according to tradition, in honor and memory of the Grahams that came before them. This particular Graham was smarter than the last, if not a little more scrawny. Nothing a full meal with a large serving of dessert couldn't remedy, she mused.
Amidst a flurry of cold and darkness, Graham stepped through the doorway, wet from the snow and chilled from the wind. Naturally, Margery was older than Graham, but if looks were any indication it was by only a few years. Even Graham would have had to remark how attractive his mother was. It would be good to find a wife with such skill at housekeeping and just as pretty as well.
Graham slipped onto the stool with a sigh, heaving the satchel of goods onto the floor beside him. With his blond hair and rosy cheeks, his youth was particularly evident as he waited for dinner, anticipating the dessert his mother had promised. Margery began to serve him, as she had since his birth, and they spoke of his recent journey into the small town from hence he had just arrived.
Stirring the stew with one hand, she emptied the contents of her other into Graham's bowl. The powder was but one of the steps she must take to regain her love and her youth. Having but sipped his stew, Graham would begin to forget his life. His daily toils, his meager education but most necessary she found, his family; his mother.
As they talked, Graham sensed something different in the air, a smell may be. There was definitely hunger in the air as he graciously accepted the stew; it was not often his mother parted with one of her beloved albino rabbits. In his living memory he could not recall the last time she had parted with one of her pets. Although she often spoke of how it was his father's favorite dish, as well as his last.
With a belly full of rabbit stew, Graham began to relax, and slowly peel off his travelling clothes. It had been the first time his mother had let him make the annual trip to Stockport by himself. The shopkeeper had filled the order readily as always, but would not speak a word to Graham. To Graham this was not much more peculiar than the years before, but the look on his face was queer when he realized that Graham had made the journey by himself. Even queerer still was the small meat pie, the shopkeeper's daughter slipped him as he stepped out. The pie was less than filling but tasty never the less. Graham headed home, thinking of the daughter and wondering what her name could be. The only woman Graham had ever known was his mother Margery, but he doubted they would have the same name.
Anticipation began to settle up on him, as he waited for the dessert to finish warming up. Dessert in their meager household was a luxury never before experienced. It was his 16th name day that provided the occasion. Custom held that in the morning, Graham would be a full grown man. It was for snow berries, a crucial and expensive ingredient for the dessert, which Graham had journeyed to town.
After a while the pie was ready, and Margery and Graham began to feast. Just as his mother had promised, the dessert did indeed compliment the albino rabbit stew. Drunk with food, Graham shuffled to his straw mat, to lie down. He was not used to such rich food, and it began to make him feel strange. His face became flush with heat, and in response Graham unbuttoned his shirt. Beginning to perspire, he next unlaced his britches, removing them with a toss towards the corner.
Margery, noticing Graham's agitation began to worry over him, first bringing him a cool cloth for his forehead. Having bade him lay down; she began to rub his body with a wet towel. As she soothed him, his vision began to blur. When this happened, he began to panic until Margery whispered that it would be alright, it was only the dessert and that soon all would be well. He was reassured by his mother's smile, as he closed his eyes.
As soon as his eyelids descended, Margery took leave of him, and began to undress herself. Slipping into a small night gown, she dabbed herself with the juice of the snow berries. Next, she laid out several items on the table. They would be needed when the sun rose. But now it was time for dessert.
When she slowly lowered herself into her place on the straw mat beside Graham, he stirred awake. With a grin on his face he caressed her face. Who was this woman beside him he wondered. His grin grew into a smirk, as he realized it didn't matter. A busty blonde with good hips laying in his bed on his 16th name day, surely his mother had arranged this. With a dim realization he thought it might be the storekeeper's daughter.
With the lust of youth he ripped his small clothes off and next her gown. With a before unknown skill, he ravaged the woman, provoking moans from both himself and his lover. When the life force left him, the heat began to fade, and Graham laid on his back and contentedly slipped into sleep with his arms and legs tangled amongst the woman's.
Margery woke early, and began to prepare for the day. It was Graham's first day of manhood and things had to be prepared in just a certain way. She sharpened a knife, as she hummed her favorite tune, and laid the ingredients beside their respective bowls. It wouldn't hurt to have everything measured and ready for sunrise.
He awoke slowly, opening his eyes to wonder at the fading peculiar dream the dessert had brought. The woman of his dreams was not to be seen, but his mother was whispering to herself as she fretted over some things on the table. With the clarity of morning, Graham began to understand what his mother was whispering. It was a list. No, not really a list, but steps. A list of actions he realized as she spoke of cooking the rabbit and the snow berries.
Graham was dismayed when he learned of the powder in his stew, and that it was meant to leave him unable to move; paralyzed. His thoughts turned to shame and horror when he realized that it was his mother's moans he had induced the evening before. It was not until she began to detail the next steps, that the terror seized him. She meant to use the life force she had collected during the night and his blood to sustain her youth. She needed his blood, all of it, and only the blood of a living relative infused with the pain and fear of death could make the potion powerful enough to work.
Graham realized with a chill that his mother thought him immobilized. He stared at her as she came back to her place beside him on the mat and began to caress his cheek. He remained expressionless as she spoke of her first husband Graham, and his untimely death. It was through this ritual that she kept her lover alive, she explained. For sixteen years at a time she would wait for one night of dessert.
As she held his cheek she brought the blade to his throat. With a rage, Graham grasped her wrist. Startled, Margery was dumbfounded. This was not meant to be, this was not on the list would be her last murderous thought. If gasping is fulfilling an action, then it could said it was her last. Graham leaned forward, kissed his lover once more, and connected the knife with Margery's heart.
With a fresh day, and a lifetime of manhood ahead of him, Graham set off for Stockport. The idea of seeing the storekeeper's daughter again stirred his loins. He wondered how she had known it was his name day. When Graham finally returned to Stockport, the shopkeeper, obviously pleased with himself, asked if he had enjoyed Helen's gift.
I could live forever, thought Graham as he presented the flowers.
If you have a moment, come constructive criticism would appreciated. I thank you in advance.
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Short Story / Horror
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