Soup for Thought by Melissa Ta


    Author: Melissa Ta
    Class: Advance Writing, XJS Coaching School

    He screamed, his voice muffled by the gag that was thrust into his mouth. His raven black eyes were bright with panic. He felt a warm sticky liquid run down from the right side of his head, his silver hair stained with blood.

    He felt pain.

    And then nothing else, as he slipped away into the hands of Death.

    *     *     *

    The sky was a blanket of light pink as the sun cast warm rays of light. The sunlight filled the second-hand shop, as the books gathered thin layers of dust. Suddenly the bell let out a faint tinkle of warning, before an old woman walked in, looking for a specific book.

     Her eyes were hazel jewels, and her hair was like white fairy-floss, threaded with grey strands. She smiled gently as she waltzed in, her pink flowery dress flowing out around her.

    She nodded at the shop-keeper, dismissing him in a glance. She knew exactly what she was searching for—a cookbook.


    The books beckoned her, sick of the coatings of dust, but her eyes scanned the area briefly. She tilted her head slightly, as if she was in deep concentration. She shook her head disdainfully; they weren’t what she was looking for.

    Arriving at the fifth aisle, she noticed there were several cookbooks. With a sigh, the woman examined each row, only to stop at the end of the aisle.



    The book was, of course, a cookbook - Cooking with all Sorts of Meats.  A picture of a piece of beef seemed to call out, luring innocents to buy the book. Apart from the picture, the front cover was bright red.

    The colour of blood.


    The woman skipped back to the counter and her eyes seemed to lighten. The man at the counter smiled at her and his emerald eyes sparkled with curiosity. “Madam, that boo—“

    “Yes, I would like to purchase it,” the old she cut in, clearly impatient. She flipped to the back of the book, and glanced at the price.

    Five dollars.

    “Madam, you can’t purcha—“

    The shop-keeper was once again cut off by the clinking of coins, as five dollars was dropped on the counter, clattering uselessly.

    Then the old lady hurried out, and just as she was about to leave, the shop-keeper called out a question.

    “I-I didn’t get your name?”

    “Betty,” was the reply, before the old lady slipped free.

    *     *     *

    The sun was now setting, rays of gold spilled over the concrete. Betty walked home and her footsteps echoed in the empty street. This part of town was empty.

     A movement in the corner caught her eye. Just a quick flicker, an odd shadow. A glance at a face.

    She hurried, her pace quickening, like her pulse, and then she paused. She cocked her head, listening intently.


    The footsteps ceased, and when she started to walk again, they started.

    She was being followed.


     Uncertainty flickered in her eyes as she reached her house, but with a shrug, she opened the gate, and walked inside.

    *     *     *

    Ding dong! The chimes brought her to attention.

    Betty opened the door; a policeman stood before her.

    It was that stalker.

    “Come in! Come in!” she said, her voice pleasant.

    The policemen frowned, but obeyed, stepping in.


     A gasp escaped from his mouth—just after he felt a sharp blow to the head. Blood soaked his hat. Betty grinned at the now dead stalker.

     He had seen the man with the silver hair, who lay dead on the couch, gag in his mouth.

    He had seen the fate that he had just entered.

    He had seen the cookbook.

    He had seen the human arm that stuck out of the pot cooking on the stove.

     Betty licked her lips.

    Another man to add to her menu.

     He would make a very nice soup.

    A very nice soup indeed.

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