Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Back Bacon By Jacob Dowling

Rolling small thunder - hoofs; hoofs and dogs and mannish howls. Someone is running. Through branches broken and earth sodden; eyes scared wide.



A ravine, edge shrouded in the dark; almost falling. Howls and hoofs - closer now… deep breath.



Breathe.



Rolling; tumbling. Sharp rock and shooting pain; legs - bleeding (eyes - watering!).



Calm... here; now; in the cold wet belly of the ravine: no howls; no hooves; quiet now… breathe...



But



Must



Keep



Running...



An opening in the treeline... a cabin, smoke dancing from stone chimney.



(Howls, drifting in the wind.)



[pause - breathe]



Inside: Kind woman with kind face slams shut door and wraps warm arms around cold shoulders. Water - no; brandy - yes. Warm now, starting to get warmer. Safe?



“You poor thing. Those terrible, cruel cruel men…”



Can’t speak - too scared; still, will try…



Thank you.



“Food?”



No, no food. Can’t eat. Not yet - too scared. But this place is… safe? And she is kind. Her words sound... kind.



“You must eat!”



Yes.



Something’s cooking. A large red pot over an open fire; ladle into a china bowl. It smells good. Fine silver. Decanter - wine, red wine; red like the men’s jackets, red like the iron pot, red like….



the stew…



Sprawling. Scrambling. Through a door. Into a stable. Horse REARNIG; SNAPPING with corn stained teeth; wild whites of eyes rolling back behind pitch black flared nostrils!



Outside now… a shed across the lawn? No… not there... too near



But.



So.



Tired.



Door swings open: A man; hunched over; crimson jacket - he turns. On the table - pine table stained red - a thing, a person, prone, silent, dead; my…



(breathe)



Screaming. Eyes balling. Must keep moving. Running. No, no not that way...



They’re here.



And here and there and there and... More red. More teeth. More howls and hooves and demonic trot of wild mares and lashing whips and snapping dogs and howling men and BLACK - darkness now; all dark now.



Quiet.



Breathe.



Awake. Feel fine. No - no something’s wrong. Moving arms - won’t move. Tied. Tied down. Eyes struggling to adjust. Blindfolded; through a small gap I see... crimson jacket and kind old lady stood with red licking lips.



“I thought you were going veggie dear?”



“It might be possible, of course, that far from being one, we may possess two selves.”



“Ha! Well in that case, I know how to cure your veggie self.”



Man with cruel face brandishing long knife with bone handle steps forward...



Screaming now - screaming; but no sound. Gagged. Silent screaming and screaming and screaming and crying and cutting and suffering and dying and please, please god stop…



“Fresh liver. Still pulsing. Hot pan. Foaming butter. Shallots. Garlic. Malbek from the Loire Valley.”



“Oh Henry. That sounds marvelous.”



“And bacon; for the morrow. Straight off the back.”



“Oh my. That does sound lovely. But do put it out of its misery, darling. I do hate to see it suffer.”



“Edward suggests you should let them bleed out. Something about tenderising…”



“Don’t be inhumane, darling…”



“As you wish.”


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