Good morning and Happy Hump Day ! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.
Charlemagne doesn't know what to make of what Tyrone just told him about his family. Cannibals? What? Maybe it's time to make a quick exit. See what's going on in this week's chapter of An Unholy Alliance. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!An Unholy Alliance #7 (2.4)
I have to confess that I didn’t see that coming. His whole family… cannibals… what? Like Mom and Dad and all the fine young cannibals? Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I was flummoxed, at a momentary loss for words. Congrats to him on that, doesn’t happen very often.
Gathering my wits, I blurted out, “Isn’t that dangerous?”
He arched surprised eyebrows at me. “For who?”
Okay, stupid question, I know. Like asking a man about to devour a steak which one of them is in mortal peril.
I began to pace back and forth beside the dead man’s car, trying to formulate my thoughts. I really needed to get going. I had things to do that didn’t include having this conversation. I wasn’t here in the Ozarks on a mere whim or even on holiday, I was searching for information. Personal information of the utmost importance. And yet, I found myself with too many burning questions that required answers regarding what Tyrone had just said. He’d ignited my curiosity, loath as I am to admit it. But first things first. I ceased my pacing and paused just beside him in order to give him my full attention. Or maybe I intended to intimidate him slightly by looming above him, since I easily had six inches on him.
“Have you… disposed of all the evidence?” I made some no doubt misguided attempt at being delicate. Not that I was trying to spare his feelings or mine, mind you, but to come out and ask what he did with the leftovers seemed a bit gauche.
“Gotcha covered, my man.” He thrust out one clenched fist toward me. Did he really expect me to fist bump him over his disposal of the remains of the day? I gave him my best disdainful look even as I took a step away from him. He didn’t appear to be the least bit offended. Did nothing ever rattle this guy? Or wipe the goofy grin from his face?
“I have everything packed up and in the trunk. Meat’s in a cooler, I put the rest in bags.”
“What do you intend to do with it?”
His response is to reach into his back pocket. I wasn’t concerned that he might be going for a weapon. I was undoubtedly faster than he was even at my weakest, and I was fully fed at this point. But even saying that, a bullet could do potential injury should he manage to get off a lucky shot. More about that later. Let’s just say there are some ridiculous myths about vampires out there. Like we’re indestructible or something. I wish that were true, but alas, it’s not.
Right then, I was simply curious, despite the adage about curiosity and cats.
Neither a gun or knife. Tyrone held a dark brown wallet, which may or may not have been leather (and I was trying not to think about the implications of that). From this, he pulled out a card and handed it to me.
I know, such an anticlimax.
Well, no harm in looking, right? Turned out to be a business card. Nothing fancy or special. No pretty pictures, the text a straightforward Times New Roman.
Jackson Family Meats.
No logo, no physical address. Not even a phone number. Just a website link with the same name.
“What is this, Soylent Green?” I asked as I handed the card back. Not as though I had a use for it.
He laughed again, a sound I was growing disturbingly used to.
“No, my family does meat processing. Have for years.”
Meat processing? Cannibals? Was he kidding me? “How is that even legal?” I might have been on shaky ground there, considering I’d just killed someone the night before, but I wasn’t about to split hairs. What I’d done was unintentional; this was a whole other matter entirely.
“No, no, not like that. We work with local restaurants, and also people order online. We have a few locations, actually. My family roots go all the way back to Colonial times, before the US even was the US.”
That was surprising. Maybe I’d made assumptions I shouldn’t have made. But considering what we’d had for breakfast, was that really such a stretch?
“Okay, so you don’t process human meat. How humane of you.”
Don’t judge me.
He laughed again. “I didn’t say that. Of course we do. I mean, not everyone’s good at butchering and stuff. We sell that to other family members. At a discount, of course. Those are the special orders. We make a great pemmican. That’s one of our big sellers. The secret’s in the spices.”
So he wasn’t just the backwoods Julia Child, he was the backwoods cannibal Julia Child. Good to know.
I wasn’t sure what my next question would have been. Did I intend to ask him about pricing? He had pulled a pen from his pocket and was writing something on the back of his card, before handing it back to me. Of course I looked to see what he’d added. Turned out to be his name and an email address.
“So we can stay in touch,” he said, rather unnecessarily. Obviously that’s what email was for. The question remained why would I want to?
But before I could frame an appropriate response—and by appropriate, I mean incredibly rude and condescending—I heard a familiar tone emanating from my cell phone. I knew who that was, and I knew it was definitely time to go.
Conversation postponed for now. No, not just for now. For always. I had no intention of seeing Tyrone Jackson ever again.
I glanced between him and the car, which belonged to neither one of us. My first thought was to take it, but not with all that meat inside. Not to mention the car was probably hot by now, or would be soon.
Without thinking, I slid the card into my pocket, gave him a quick salute, and vanished into the woods.
to be continued
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