halfway through dinner

“I hate apples.” Marrionetta seated herself in the stiff upright chair that Lorelei had pulled out for her at his table. Her long, draping purple dress piled over her legs in gathering extravagance.

“I’ve prepared no apples.” Lorelei said, pushing her in.

“If I so much as see one, ” Marrionetta seethed, clanging the cutlery on the table.

“Please be quiet.” Lorelei went into the kitchen.

Marrionetta’s expression did a somersault. Be quiet? Her? She decided she would leave halfway through dinner. Just to show him.

In the kitchen, Lorelei was sharpening a carving knife. It sang a winged narrative of practiced precision. Marrionetta leaned all the way back in her chair until it was practically parallel to the floor. She peered into the kitchen.

Lorelei was standing over an enormous, bloody roast. It was dripping everywhere even onto the floor. It looked like some kind of pig. He was wearing an apron and humming something to himself. Marrionetta recognized the melody as something classical but couldn’t place it.

“There’d better not be any apples in that pig!” Marrionetta scolded. He ignored her again but she realized she might be having fun. At least he wasn’t boring. She lurched forward in the chair. Then backwards again until it was nearly tipped over. See-saw, see-saw. She looked around at her former rooms in The Emerald House and observed how changed they were now that Lorelei was their occupant.

Lorelei had ruined it, of course. He had taken down all of her chintzes, turned the furniture in odd directions, covered the north facing windows with blueprints of mechanical devices and, just to add insult to injury, there were all manner of curious stains on the walls.

From the kitchen, the sound of slicing up flesh evolved into a squeegee as a large piece of thigh slid down the countertop and splurted on the floor. Lorelei kicked it away and spat, “vlatch!” Marrionetta arched an eyebrow at nobody and took off her shoes. What a strange dinner this was turning into. Maybe she’d stay until dessert. Just to see what this doctor’s bent was.

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