|Granny's Christmas Cookies
Author: Heather Grey PM
*NEWLY REVISED* No one can ever get enough of Granny's cookies and she's looking for someone to help her out. Warning: Language content and disturbing images.Rated: Fiction M - English - Horror - Words: 3,271 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-23-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2294696
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Rated: R or M
Summary: No one can ever get enough of Granny's cookies and she's looking for someone to help her out. Warning: Language content and disturbing images.
Granny's Christmas Cookies
By: Heather Grey
Granny Mabel Winchester made the tastiest cookies in all of Pinecone.
Her notorious ones were her Christmas cookies—sugar with a splash of cinnamon and raspberry filling, cut out in plumped shapes of Santa Claus, bells, trees, presents, and of course, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
They were the yummiest, delicious mouthwatering treats from this small town. Folks from neighboring towns have to make special trips to Pinecone just to buy Granny Winchester's cookies. And any lost tourists were tempted to sample the forbidden fattening cookies.
But there was one thing that made Granny's cookies stand out from any other ordinary cookie.
Her secret ingredient.
Not a single soul in Pinecone knew Granny's secret. Not even her own family. Her daughter Ruth was trying for years to uncover her mother's recipe, but to no avail.
Granny Winchester would keep her collection of recipes in a little black box, except for her Christmas cookies. She never had to write it down. The ingredients and measurements were locked inside the safety of her memory. Eventually, she will take someone into her confidence and let them in so her cookies will forever be immortalized.
But not Ruth. The pussy of a woman.
No… someone like her. Someone who wants to give back to the community.
After all, 'tis the season to be merry. And love thy neighbor.
Light, fluffy crystals fell from the Heavens, coating the earth in its pristine white blanket. The roads were practically invisible but that didn't stop Lauren Churchill from being out in the weather. A couple days ago there was a terrible snowstorm, knocking out power and causing the roads to be closed. As soon as the storm let up, she was back in her car on her way to Pinecone.
"Hey babe, do we really have to do this?" asked her passenger, the hints of annoyance in his voice.
"Nathan, this is my aunt," Lauren answered placidly. "And my family, don't forget. Could you, for my sake, try to be a little sensitive?"
"Sorry. No offense, but why couldn't your aunt wait to die until after the snow blows over? Christ, its fucking cold!"
"Well, I did grow up in the North and quit the blubbering. No one can help when they die," she spat.
Nathan looked at her. "Speak of sensitivity. I don't think I seen you at all upset."
Lauren sighed and then shrugged. "I wasn't exactly on good terms with anyone. And Aunt Ruth… she was the preacher. Never liked anything I did while I lived in her house. I was the little Hell child."
Her companion kept silent. This topic for her was always touchy. Lauren hadn't seen any of her relatives for almost a decade, leaving as soon as she was of age. She didn't keep in contact, which came as a surprise when she received a call about her aunt's death.
That was several days ago.
The funeral was to take place the next day… that is if they make it in time.
Lauren exhaled, as she stared out ahead. The news was a shock, one that she couldn't react. She never cried. She never yelled. She never mourned. Period. Even now, she couldn't. And she doubted she would be able to at the funeral.
It wasn't because she held resentful feelings towards the woman who made her childhood a living hell. Part of it was her own fault, she knew. She often pushed her aunt to the extreme, but Lauren felt like the black sheep of the family. Everything about her was different.
With her vibrant copper curls, violet eyes so dark that were often mistaken as black, and a rebellious spirit made Lauren Churchill a living contradiction. And she stuck out like a sore thumb. No one else in the family could match her six foot height nor had her ivory complexion and unruly tresses. The Winchesters and Foresters were short, light strawberry blonde and dull hair. They were of the passive and goody-goody kind, a clan that was too tedious and creepy to Lauren. Ruth Forester was the worse. Her household was strict (only if you didn't stick to the rules) and always had chores in line for Lauren to do.
While her simpering cousins would play outside, Lauren was trapped in the house. She could never understand her aunt's behavior towards her. Aunt Ruth and mother were close and Aunt Ruth was named as guardian when her parents died. In the beginning, there was comfort and love. But that later changed. Lauren could never understand why the change in heart. The only possible reason she could think of must be Granny Winchester.
She had pleasant memories of assisting Granny in the kitchen, baking her famous Christmas cookies as the snow would fall outside. Lauren was the only grandchild; scratch it, the only person allowed to help Granny with her cookies. Aunt Ruth must have been jealous. For years, she was trying to get the recipe from her mother and was always denied. Although, Lauren was Granny's assistant and even she didn't know what the secret ingredient was. Her job was to mix the batter and pour the sprinkles on the steamy hot cookies.
Aunt Ruth was determined to know the secret and she severely punished Lauren whenever she couldn't tell her what it was. She couldn't accept "I don't know" for an answer.
When Lauren turned twelve, she threw out the good and became the "Hell's child" that Aunt Ruth referred her as. And the rest was history as they say.
"How long do we have left?"
Lauren turned her head towards her boyfriend of four years and glowered. "A couple more hours. Can you last that long?"
Thirty-two and handsome in a roguish way, Nathan Wagner was the world's most impatient man and the biggest complainer. If you were to look up "asshole" in the dictionary, grant it, Nathan's face would be looking right at you.
When they first met, it was instant attraction. At one point, Lauren convinced herself she was in love with the arrogant bastard that everyone believed him to be. She was obviously blind and any dreams of getting married were squashed when Nathan told her he never was one for marriage.
Lauren hated to be alone.
He crossed his leg over and pointedly gazed out. "We'll make an appearance and leave. I have an important meeting I have to be back for on Thursday."
Lauren gripped the steering wheel. Whatever you say, dearest.
The greetings were lacking, the funeral deathly silent.
Lauren bore a blank expression, matching her monotone gray outfit, fixated at her aunt's coffin.
It was closed.
Apparently, her death wasn't peaceful like you would imagine a relative's to be.
That was all her family and close friends would disclose.
Nathan's cold hand closed over her own in a futile attempt for comfort. She didn't remove her hand nor did she hold his.
She could feel the stares at the back of her head, the unspoken whispers.
She has a lot of nerve in coming.
Such a bad apple, Ruth used to say.
How dare she mock her memory!
Lauren kept a steely resolve and refused to look at any of the townspeople. She came out of respect. She didn't have to, but she did. Apparently, that wasn't enough to get over the "Hell's child" label.
The service was too saintly in Lauren's opinion; the usual "she was so giving, so loving" crap that was dished out in any funeral. No one had the balls to actually say the truth—"She was a bitch that had it coming. Oh and God bless."
Afterwards, everyone gathered together at the house. At Granny's house.
"God, she has to be a hundred," Nathan hissed after Lauren introduced them.
Sure enough, Mabel Winchester was alive and kickin' it. She was a woman that demanded attention by her domineering presence—donning a sleek pant suit of ebony, her short, silver hair curled. She looked good for her eighty odd years, her midnight blue irises glittering with unspent energy.
Granny was the first to welcome Lauren warmly, embracing her. With Nathan, she nodded stiffly and regarded him with disapproval. But he didn't notice and headed towards the kitchen for a beer.
"Nice young man you have there Lauren," Granny said, her brows frowning.
Lauren made a noncommittal noise and sighed. "I couldn't believe what you said about Aunt Ruth when you called me. How sudden."
"It was," she replied. "But I'm so happy to see you again. Seems ages when I last saw you and I missed you so."
"I missed you too Granny." Lauren grinned. "You're the highlight I was looking forward to when I came back to Pinecone."
Granny chuckled and then whispered, "And I you."
If it was possible, her grin became even bigger. Granny Winchester understood her well, probably better than she did herself. And it was a relief for a kind, loving face rather than the bitter hated ones.
"Come. I want to tell you something important."
Taking Lauren's hand, Granny led her past the kitchen towards the cellar. It was old-fashioned, practically medieval with the dirt floor and wooden shelves that were ancient-looking that they could break any second.
Lauren paused in the middle, rubbing her hands up and down her arms trying to find some warmth in the chilly atmosphere.
"What is it you want to tell me, Granny?" she asked.
Granny Winchester faced her, her motherly countenance replaced by a twisted curl of her lips.
"Lauren, how would you like to bake some Christmas cookies? I have the secret ingredient all ready just for you."
It was close to midnight by the time Lauren slipped into bed. Nathan lazily opened one eye at her.
"Where were you?"
"Oh, just baking some cookies with Granny," Lauren whispered. "Go back to sleep."
He muttered something inaudibly and rolled to his other side.
She stayed up a few more minutes, watching over her boyfriend. Tentatively, Lauren caressed his lower jaw. So soft, so tender, she mused.
Lying down gently, she closed her eyes.
And for the first time, Lauren slept peacefully.
The next morning Nathan woke up to find the bed empty. Groaning softly, he ran a hand through his jet black hair. I wish she was a morning person at home, he thought.
Placing his feet on the cool surface, he shuffled into the attached bathroom. Have to admit but Granny has some nice digs. Feeling a little more alert, Nathan proceeded with his bathroom ritual—shower, shave, and brush teeth. Done, he figured Lauren would be in the room and to his surprise, she wasn't.
Muttering some more curses, Nathan quickly dressed and padded down the stairs to the kitchen for breakfast.
Granny Winchester was already down there, whipping up some scrambled eggs and bacon.
"Hey Grans, have you seen Lauren this morning?" Nathan questioned, plopping himself on the cushiony chair. "Smells good."
"Yes I have and thank you," the older woman replied. "She's making another batch of my famous Christmas cookies."
"Ah." Nathan nodded. "Well, I'm sure we will bring some back home for the holidays."
"You two are not going to stay for long?"
He shook his head. "I have a meeting I have to be at in a couple of days."
"You should," Granny went on. "Pinecone loves Christmas. There's the Light Festival and the school children will be singing carols and don't forget my cookies."
"Yeah, cookies," Nathan mumbled. "Lauren told me once how good they are."
"They're the best," Granny agreed. "The best in all of Pinecone."
"R-right." Nathan forced a smile.
She flashed him a smile of her own before making him a plate.
"Eat up," she whispered as she set the plate down.
When he was half-way done, Lauren's footsteps were heard coming up the stairs from the cellar. Walking briskly into the kitchen, Lauren grinned brightly towards Nathan before going over to Granny and kissing her cheek.
"Wait, were you baking cookies in the basement?" Nathan demanded.
"There's a second stove," Lauren retorted. "Granny's cookies are always in demand and she needs to be baking more than one batch."
Nathan kept quiet as his girlfriend was whispering to her grandmother in earnest. Granny Winchester gave her a swift nod and then left the room. Lauren leaned against the kitchen counter, her violet eyes gleaming black from the sunlight. Rocking on the balls of her feet, she tilted her head at him.
"So… how do you like Granny Winchester? She's wonderful, isn't she?"
"Delightful. Simply delightful," he told her. "Babe, I think after breakfast we should hit the road so we'll be in Detroit on time."
"Honey," Lauren pouted, putting emphasis on the endearment. "I haven't seen Granny for almost ten years. I want to stay longer. You can afford to miss this meeting. It's no big deal."
"No big deal?" Nathan scoffed. "Lauren, it's a very big deal. You knew this from the moment we left the apartment to come to this shithole for some biddy's funeral you didn't give a damn about."
"Nathan! This is my grandmother. She was the only relative I was ever close to. You wouldn't want me to drag you from your grandmother's house."
"You wouldn't have to! I wouldn't stay for a half hour!"
Her nostrils were flaring, her eyes grave. "Nathan, this conversation is over. We're staying. As long as I please!"
His mouth fell ungracefully open. Lauren never ordered him around! What the Hell?
"You will want to stay too once you tried Granny's cookies. There's some I made last night especially for you."
Turning her back on him, Lauren picked up a platter and swayed over to the table. Sitting it before him, she lifted up the cover, exclaiming, "Voila!"
"Jesus Christ!" Nathan pushed himself away from the table, scraping the chair against the floor as he jumped to his feet. "Is this some kind of sick joke?"
"You don't like? Appearances can be deceiving, sweetie," she said, her hand reaching out for a cookie. But it was no ordinary cookie. The shape was a horrid attempt of a Santa Claus. The dough was dripping, sliding off her fingers, the crimson filling oozing from the sides. And instead, of the mouthwatering scent of warm cookies, the stench was foul and smoky… like the scent of charred flesh.
His eyes widened in horror as his girlfriend took a huge bite from the morsel, the red goo dribbling down her chin. Her tongue flicked out to wipe the stickiness around her mouth, her mouth stretching into a crazed grin, her teeth covered from the filling and bits of cookie.
"Try one, dear," Lauren cooed. "You will love these forever."
"What the fuck is this!" Nathan screamed, staring aghast at the scene. "What the fuck is that?"
She took a step forward, the cookie practically melting in her palm as she held it out for him. He began gagging at the strong smell, his hand covering his mouth as he was moving backwards.
"You're insane! You're fucking insane!" Nathan shouted.
Lauren paused, her eyes softening. "Oh Nathan," she clicked her tongue. "Don't hurt my feelings. I made these with you in mind. Don't we both hate my Aunt Ruth for forcing us to come here when it's so close to the holidays?"
"Eat!" she insisted, nearly shoving the cookie in his face.
Nathan's eyes watered, there was no denying what that smell was.
"Is… is… that—"
"Aunt Ruth?" Lauren answered for him. She smirked. "Who else?"
Nathan slapped her hand away from him and broke out into a mad dash to get away from the psycho bitch. He saw the front door up ahead, sweat was breaking out on his temples as home run was so close… close to his fingertips.
"You're not leaving are you?"
Granny Winchester appeared in front of the door, an apron wrapped around her thin frame, its whole front covered in blood.
"You must stay Nathan. I do insist."
"What the Hell is wrong with you?" He was shrieking almost at the top of his lungs. "Why are you doing this!"
Granny shrugged. "I can't live forever, you know. Besides, Lauren was the only person in the family I could trust with my recipe so I had to have her come here somehow."
The realization was washing over him. Aunt Ruth's death… she was murdered. By her own mother.
"Why don't you be a nice lad and try those cookies Lauren's made. It will make her feel good to know she got it right."
"Stay the fuck away from me!" Nathan spun around and ran away from Granny. His heart was pounding, his head whirling as he scrambled for the door he found and thudded down the stairs. The dank cellar had become hot, too hot as Nathan tried to look for a place to hide.
He found another door and hoping it would lead to somewhere safe, he went inside.
"Oh my God…" his voice trailed off.
There was a baker's oven against the wall, shelves filled with jars and boxes laced around the whole room, and in the center stood a large table. But what was on the table had the bile rising in Nathan's throat.
A body. A goddamn body was lying on top.
It had been lately a woman, yet identifying exactly who would have been proven difficult to do. She was naked and chunks of her skin were missing—from her face down to her legs. Each part gone was done in a shape… Santa Clauses, trees, gifts, and reindeers.
He couldn't help it.
Nathan lurched forward as his breakfast spilled forth from his mouth, the nauseating air taking his senses through a spin. He knew, right then, who it was. Who it had been.
Tears stung his eyes as Nathan tried to leave and tripped over his foot and landing hard on his leg. Pain wracked through his body, but he couldn't stand up. Hard as he tried, his legs wouldn't work.
"Oh God… please no!" He sobbed.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Nathan rocked, using his arms and hands to get away… get away. He was trapped. There was no escape. No escape…
"Ah, you poor thing," Lauren's taunting voice rang out. "Granny, I think Nathan wants to help us make the next batch."
"I believe you're right my dear."
The last thing Nathan could remember was the cracking of his skull and the sweet oblivion of darkness.
Granny Mabel Winchester made the best cookies ever. And when her granddaughter, Lauren Churchill, took over the treats became even sweeter and better than before.
Everyone wanted to know their secret.
Some died for it.