Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Campaign For Real Fear - My rejected story :(

Maura McHugh and Christopher Fowler have had a Campaign For Real Fear competition going on where you have to write a really scary story in 500 words. The top twenty stories will then be published in Black Static and some of those will also be turned into audio and be downloadable as podcasts.

I sent off mine - A Matter Of Taste, but unfortunately it was rejected. However, a group of us rejects have gotten together and posted our stories anyway on the TTA Forum site. The stories can be read for free here and the site also has links to some of the other rejects, they are pretty good, makes you wonder what the ones getting chosen must be like!


Well?’ he asked, the empty fork hovering in Gail’s line of sight, ‘am I right? Does it taste delicious or not?’
She wanted to vomit. To spew it back into his face. To rub it into his eyes. To claw those eyes out and grind them into the worn carpet with her bare feet. She smiled.

‘I take it all back. I’ve never tasted anything like this before. It was out of this world. Fabulous. Devlin, you are a genius. What’s next?’

The man’s face simply beamed with delight. His furrowed brow smoothed out and his eyes twinkled upon receiving the compliment. The fork lowered. She relaxed a little and waited.

‘Right. Something special next. It’s a Czech dish, one my grandmother used to make; it’s called Jatrov Knedliky. The broth just has to simmer a little longer. Meantime please help yourself to some finger dips. That one is asparagus guacamole, it’s quite a delicate flavour and the other is honey mustard. You might find it a little zestier. Please, enjoy.’ He pointed to them with the fork and she tried not to flinch. He turned his attention to the saucepan simmering away and for perhaps the hundredth time she tested her bonds. They did not budge. Apart from her right hand she was totally secured to the chair. If he would allow her to use a knife perhaps she could try to cut through the wide leather straps holding her down, but she had no knife and she dreaded to think what he would do if she attempted to escape again. It would bring forward her turn to cook for him and that paralysed her with fear. He turned suddenly, as if tuned in to her thoughts.

‘Come on slow coach,’ he said, grinning. ‘Tuck in.’ He moved the sauces and the finger dips closer to her and waited. She took one and dipped it into the honey mustard sauce. She imagined it would have the strongest flavour. A flavour which would mask everything else. Gail bit into it. She had to bite hard. She had to chew vigorously. She had to force it down her throat.

'Lovely,’ she said, keeping it down.


The Jatrov Knedliky proved to be chopped liver dumplings in a chicken broth. How he’d managed to remove part of his liver she couldn’t imagine. The first course, the prairie oyster appetizers, was easier she thought. Although the removal of his testicles must have smarted. The remaining thumb and finger of his left hand seemed adequate enough for him to continue cooking with, but it definitely impeded him. She needed a way out before it was her turn to cook for the madman and have to carve into her own body.

She smiled at him. ‘Do you know what I really enjoy?’

He clapped enthusiastically. ‘Oh do tell!’

She blushed. ‘I have a terrible craving for brawn cooked in white wine sauce.’

‘Terrific!’ He cried and ran off to get his electric saw... and a mirror.