Jill giggled as her boyfriend of two weeks, Max, kissed her hand. She wasn't used to such things since her old boyfriend had been almost psychotic and preferred making her kiss his dead, stuffed pets. And that hadn't been pleasant. Jill was especially dressed up for the night, red hair curled and flowing down her back. As he looked at her face, her green eyes appeared bright and full of life. Because of the chilly nights that often occurred out in the sticks, she wore beige slacks and a green tank top with a jacket over it.
Her house was out of the way for him, so she appreciated how willing he was to go through the trouble of driving all the way out to pick her up just so she could have dinner and meet his parents. With quick reflexes, she raced him to the door before he could open it for her, and sat next to the driver's seat in shotgun.
Jill recalled a time not too long ago, when in the same burgundy car she and her best friend Jenna had both gone into town with Max and the weather was looking grey and cloudy. And she had stuck her head outside the car window to feel the breeze, but then the clouds broke and it poured and she got soaked along with the entire backseat of the car. Max had laughed at them and she had rolled up the window.
Today was different. It was special. And Jenna wouldn't be there to tease her each and every time either of them made a move or tried to kiss. She hung around a lot when the two of them were trying to be alone, Jill didn't understand it. Regardless, she was Jill's best and closest friend, but sometimes, Jill wasn't sure her judgment was right. She had been wrong about Max.
Jenna based most of her advice about people through rumors, and a month previously, there had been a particularly nasty rumor about Max and his family. It was something outlandish and ridiculous, saying that they scammed people on a regular basis, or that anyone who associated with them vanished. It was simply not true. Max had plenty of friends at school, granted, most of them were guys, but that made no difference.
As for past girlfriends, he was very quiet about his relationships, preferring to keep them private as much as possible. He was very quiet about most of his life it seemed; any time she would ask a question about his family he would dodge it. She didn't press for much information though. But she knew he lived with his parents and he had a sister who was a year older.
He stopped the car in front of the town grocery store, saying "I'll be back in a minute, just gotta pick up some last minute ingredients." About five minutes of waiting later, Max came out of the store carrying a plastic bag of spices. He got into the car, handing her the bag, "Mom loves her spices," he said, chuckling.
The town was a lot bigger than the little hole-in-the-wall place she grew up. More little shopping strips lined the streets than she was used to seeing every day. As they drove through his neighborhood, they passed by a small park. All the children were inside by now, just about ready to eat dinner with their families. Jill was excited. Finally she would meet her boyfriend's family. She had rehearsed what she would say to them several times.
They pulled up in the driveway outside a gorgeous two-story house with bluish-grey shingles and red bricks. A big bay window introduced the inside of the house with its inviting, pale, yellow curtains and quaint looking living room. As they entered, she took a closer look at the living room. Bookshelves were lined against the wall to the right of the window. The beige couch sat almost directly in the center of the square section of paneled, wooden floor.
A staircase sat in front of the door, leading to the upper story. To the right of the staircase, there was a kitchen. Max brought the bag of spices into the kitchen, taking them each out one at a time. When he was done, he signaled Jill into the kitchen, "Do me a favor and help me with this," he said as he took out a big pot, filled it with water, and brought it to the stove carefully. His mother came into the kitchen and said "I can wait for the water to boil, you two go upstairs and get ready."
Max nodded, "Come on Jill, I can show you my room while we're up there." He took her hand, leading her upstairs to a closed door. He unlocked it with an old styled key, and let her go in first. Once he was inside, he stood with his back against the door. "Come here," he said. She giggled and skipped back over to him, barely noticing the strange images covering his walls. Splatter gore posters were one of the few things that were prominent on his walls. Photos, likely taken by him, were up in a mixture of black and white and color. Most of them contained images of dead or dying animals and images taken from an old slaughterhouse that had been giving tours three years ago.
She gave him a hug, he squeezed her tightly, burying her head in his jacket and making sure it stayed there. She struggled, trying to push him off, trying to call out to him that she couldn't breathe. He pretended not to hear her, shoving his hand roughly against the back of her head, pressing her more into him. She flailed her arms, reaching for his face, nails grazing his neck and the side of his face. He tightened his hold around her head and wrapped his other arm around her flailing frame. Awkwardly, he moved her over to his bed, sitting down with her head still buried, still suffocating her. It took a few minutes before she finally passed out from lack of air.
Jill woke up in near darkness. The room was spinning and her head hurt. She nearly gagged on the golf ball that was in her mouth, reinforced by duct tape. Max was sitting in a chair across from her, unmoving until he saw her eyes open.
"Hang on Jill, I have one more guest coming," he said bowing his head politely and leaving the foreboding attic. Jill heard the stairs creaking as he descended, a miffed female voice caught her attention and she tested her chains once more as if to prove to herself that it was absolutely impossible to escape. The voice got louder and the footsteps were drowned out by their slight argument until they reached the top of the steps, a click was heard and the door opened.
"Jill, meet my sister Sarah." Sarah, a girl with a round, pretty face and dark brown hair that matched her eyes entered the room and curtsied, saying with no hint of mockery, "it's a pleasure to meet you, Jill."
Jill, her mouth still sealed with duct tape, stared wide-eyed at the two of them, willing them to either go away or untie her. They did neither. Instead, Max walked over and stood beside the table, gesturing his arms towards the table and said elegantly, "Dinner is ready, ladies first."
Jill instinctively began to flail as if trying to escape or deter the event, but Sarah paid no heed. Instead, she turned her head away and replied, "I can't eat with it watching me."
"Of course not, dear sister," he said. Max quickly jabbed his fingers into both of her eyes. The pain for Jill was so unbearable that she flailed about helplessly, emitting a high pitched squeal that could barely be heard through the tape. He removed his hands from her bloody eye sockets, fingers coated in gel and blood. Sarah inched closer until she stood beside her brother and casually took his hand, sucking the eye jelly and blood off.
"Leave us alone, would you dear brother?" Sarah asked.
Max seemed hesitant, "If I leave, are you gonna keep her all to yourself?"
"Well, you'll never find out if you don't leave," she replied.
Seemingly accepting of this response, Max decided to leave his sister up to her own devices, deciding she couldn't do much harm. As soon as Max closed the door, Sarah turned her attention back to the suffering girl on the table. "Miss Jill," she said soothingly and pulled a chair up next to her. Almost lovingly, Sarah placed her hands on Jill's face, wiping the blood onto her own hands. She moved her hands down, rubbing her neck and shoulder muscles, trying to relax the hysterical girl. "Shhhhhhhhh," she whispered calmly, until the spastic movements had stopped entirely. Almost hypnotically, Sarah continued to talk to her, she spoke mainly of her family lifestyle.
She spoke desolately of her and her families addictions. How their father had initiated the tradition of eating human meat within the family. They had grown up with it and now they were continuing the tradition. They had a craving that it was too late in life to kick.
This kind of meat was different; the flavor was mixed and varied depending on the person it came from. She wasn't close to anyone, and neither was her family. They were raised to be distant, raised to be hunters. So her brother had started bringing people home, and she had as well.
Unlike her brother, however, she liked to experiment before bringing them home. She wasn't afraid of the emotional attachments that could possibly have saved any of them had she formed one. Max was quick to demolish any theories about what he did with his victims before bringing them home, claiming that absolutely nothing happened before he brought them back. She didn't believe it for a moment. Even accusing him on rare occasions when he didn't bring someone home, that he had formed an unsolicited attachment and let them go.
Sarah paused between her stories to move her hands around and switch positions on occasion. When she felt that there was nothing more important to say, she stopped, stood up, and removed the duct tape from Jill's mouth. Jill flinched and a small scream escaped her lips from the pain as the duct tape removed bits of skin. Sarah said nothing. Instead, holding Jill's head in her hands, she leaned over her, dropped her own head down closer and began kissing her.
The kiss lasted a few minutes. Finally, Sarah said, "Goodbye," jerking Jill's head so that her neck snapped. Max entered upon Sarah's beckoning and looked at Jill's bleeding eye sockets and oddly turned head. "It is done," she said and, remarking on his irritated grimace, she continued, "I liked her, she need not have suffered more. You can eat now." With nothing more than a hand wave gesture, she left the room, going downstairs to scold her parents for not waiting before eating the girl, Jenna, who had been Jill's best friend and the only person who knew where Jill was.