Fine Dining And Façade, a short gothic horror story by J.M.Burrowes

For Part 1 click here

For Part 2 click here

VOLUME IV

Eight thirty am; Monday morning and I am already late. The tedious task of getting ready begins as I drag my comatose body out of bed and slip dreamily toward the bathroom. Looking into the mirror I stare back at my reflection wondering how a night’s sleep could wash away a weekend’s carnage. “Well it’s back to the daily grind” Mmm grind, like that enchanted night where I had stolen a butter knife while at a rather lovely dinner alone.

I had slithered in to the night and found a handsome young man with what I recall as quite a magnificent jawline. I had punctured his neck with the knife. Shamefully I must admit, it did take some force as a butter knife isn’t all that sharp, I watched as his blood drained from his body like the air escaping from a deflating balloon. “Daily grind” I repeated this time aloud in a cheery voice almost attempting to perform an inspiring speech to prepare me for what lies ahead; photocopying, faxing and grovelling to my manager in hope that when I do fall ill, I will be excused, with pay, from work. In the time it had taken me to ponder my thoughts, I had somehow had a shower and was presently putting on my clothes for work.

Oh god, it’s quarter too. I grab my messenger bag, fumble around looking for my shoes, and force the left one on while clambering down the stair case. Kitchen, kitchen, kitchen! “Oh come on this isn’t the first time we’ve left home without breakfast.” Slamming the door behind me I hear the patio doors whisper, “you’d better hurry.”

Good, I’ve made some sort of progress I guess, shoes are on, hair is a little on the wild side but that will do for now, messenger bag check… just as I’m finishing my inner checklist monologue the dreary voice of a man over the train station intercom interrupts with “Due to a red signal failure, there are severe closures on all major lines.” “Well that’s just bloody brilliant.”

Half an hour passes and I’m finally entering work, I hope I can sneak to my cubicle without anyone noticing, however there is always one person you can’t avoid, in my case its Judy from sales “Good Morning Judy, how was your weekend?” At this point my mind trails off as she rambles on about insignificant events which I have no particular interest in. My brain begins to orchestrate a puppet show upon my face, with a smile here and there and a gasp when needed for added effect. Judy laps it up as she spirals into another perilous event. I’d have to say I’m the world’s greatest charlatan. The curtain falls as Judy walks away completely deceived and I chime “See you later”, “I really hope we don’t see her later.” I get to my cubicle and everything is as I had left it on Friday. My files are stacked in a neat pile; an ancient picture of my family is placed firmly in the corner to prolong my façade.

Time seemed to pass in an irksome manner as if while at work my brain is on auto pilot. Everyone was none the wiser, making their cups of tea and gossiping in the staff room.

Friday came around, and the week had ended how it had started, arid.

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