Roast Beef on Ciabatta

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Short Stories
Tags: , , , ,

Monday seems to be my Flash Fiction day.  This week’s challenge was to write a scene about a character making  a sandwich.  I thought it sounded insane at first, but then I realized it could be pretty fun! This one comes in at 992 words.  See if you can find the names that connect this story to last week’s.  Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Lenora’s stomach gurgled as she threw open the door to the apartment.

“Nora, that you?” Shane called from the common room, never looking up from his video game.  Muffled gunfire and zombie groans drifted to the kitchen.

“Yeah!” she whipped open the breadbox.  She growled.  Empty.  Again.  She braced herself on the counter and ground her teeth.  “Who ate all the freakin’ bread?” she barked.

The violent sounds silenced.  Shane stood in the doorway.  “Are you okay, Nora?”  He took a tentative step towards her.

“I’m hungry,” she seethed as her nostrils flared and her eyes became green slits.

“Okay…it’s okay.  There’s more bread in the fridge.”

Lenora shoved him backwards when he moved to get her a plate.  “I don’t want your help, Shane.”  He held up his hands in surrender and leaned against the door.  Opening the fridge, Lenora’s face suddenly split into a grin.  “It’s ciabatta bread!” she cried.

Shane just laughed.  “Guess you’re okay.  I’m just gonna go finish kickin’ zombie butt, then,” the gunshot and zombie noise resumed as soon as he left the kitchen.

After retrieving a bread knife, Lenora happily sliced the ciabatta roll.  Sandwiches make things better.  Especially on special bread.  She hummed tunelessly to herself as she spooned horseradish sauce on one piece of the bread.  She let it soak into all the airy holes.  Ketchup went on the other piece of bread.  In the dim light from the single bulb, the ketchup almost looked like thick blood.  She smiled and licked her lips.  The bread absorbed some of the red.  Just like cloth.  Like lab coats and stupid little sweaters underneath.  Like paper, too.  All their notes and research.  She stuck the condiments back in the door of the refrigerator and reached for the rare roast beef from the night before.

The ketchupy redness had filled a few more holes in the bread.  Her thrill at finding the ciabatta bread evaporated.  Like towels and rags, the knife in her hand shook.  A quick picture of once-white towels, soaked in blood, overtook her.  No.  No, no, no, she dropped the blade to the counter.  No remembering.  The smell of almost raw meat drew her away from the memories lingering at the edge of her mind.  She shook her head and quickly sliced a thick slab of beef.  She slammed it on the horseradish-covered bread.

She wrenched the refrigerator open one more time to find the cheese she had stashed in the vegetable drawer earlier in the week.  A deep frown creased her forehead.  Half of the cheese was gone.  So much for that hiding spot.  Sharing a dorm-like apartment with four other teenagers had its disadvantages.  Lenora almost stormed into the living room and demanded that Shane tell her who ate it.  With a flick of her wrist, she tossed the half-block of sharp cheddar back in the otherwise empty drawer.  She didn’t bother to shut the drawer before she slammed the refrigerator door.

Crack.  Lenora winced.  Her stomach growled again, now more insistent.  She opened the door to see the damage and sighed.  They were almost out of duct tape.  I’ll fix the stupid drawer later, she decided.  Once again, she retrieved the cheese and plopped it on the counter next to the half-made sandwich.  She sliced the remainder of the block and laid the thick slices on top of the beef.

The unexpected memory still had her shaking inside.  She refused to let it mess up her sandwich eating.  I really do love sandwiches.  The light bulb above her head flickered and dimmed.  She glanced up at it and shrugged.  I’ll get Shane or Ian to change it later.  Ketchup oozed out of the sandwich when she squished the top piece of bread on top of the meat and cheese.  Oh gosh, the blood again.  It’s the blood again.

She wasn’t in the little apartment kitchen anymore.  She was fifteen again, desperately trying to grasp what was happening to her.  A choked sob barely escaped her throat.  The only color in the bright white and chrome lab was the bright splotches of red scattered all around the table.  They had nicked an artery when she got one arm free of the bindings.  One of them had his hand on her mouth, forcing back her screams while one of the others tried to stop the bleeding and strap her arm back down so they could open her arm and take tissue samples.  The third one was on the floor with a couple of thick towels.  “It’s gonna stain the floor,” he complained.

“I told you to put down plastic,” the one gagging her looked down on him.

The floor?  That’s what they’re worried about?  The freakin’ floor?  That was the only coherent thought Lenora could remember.

“Nora!  Nora, it’s okay!” a disembodied voice called to her.  Something wrapped around her chest.  She struggled and tried to kick and bite, but the something seemed to know how to keep away from her attacks.

“Let me go!  Let me go!” she cried.  “Please,” her tears overcame her struggles.

The strong something lowered her to the floor and rocked her back and forth as she sobbed.  “Shh,” it whispered in her ear.  “I’ve got you.  It’s gonna be okay.”

She was back in the kitchen, her carefully made sandwich in pieces on the dirty floor next to her.  The strong something was Shane.  He stroked her hair and kissed her forehead.  “Shane?” she murmured.

He pulled back to look her in the eye.  “What happened?”

She pushed her hair out of her face and shook her head.  “I don’t know.  But it’s happening more often now.”  She pushed herself off the floor.  Without a glance at the mess she’d made, she strode to the porch door.

“What’re you going to do?” Shane frowned, not sure if he should let her leave so soon after an episode.

“I’m still hungry,” Lenora suddenly grinned.  “I’m going hunting.”

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Comments
  1. sarahhans says:

    Nice story! I hope she’s going hunting for the people who hurt her. You’ve definitely opened a mystery here–I want to know more! 🙂

    • missared says:

      Thanks! I really liked yours, too. The plan is that there will be more about these characters. I love them all too much to use them for a quick once and done.

  2. Woah…..creepy x two! Loved it….so many directions you could take this. Makes me want to read more!

  3. Celia says:

    Ooo, this could be fantasy, suspense, horror … you name it! Good job.

  4. BJ Kerry says:

    This has completely turned me off ketchup for life!
    I really ‘got’ the whole ‘who stole my cheese’ thing.
    Students are the same all over the world.
    Great story.
    What happens next?
    Gimme more!

  5. Ketchup and cold cheese. Hmmm. This is definitely not a stand alone! More please. : )

  6. […] finger, sparrow, fever, cape, flea, and scream.  This story takes place about a week after the “Roast Beef on Ciabatta” story from a few weeks […]

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