The Black

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box. I highly recommend it, as I’ve been having fun with it and will be posting my results.

[At first, we thought the black liquid was oil, that we’d struck it rich and that we’d be able to retire and live in leisure. We actually started writing down all the ways we’d spend the money. Our first choice was] an expensive meal made by the finest chefs at the finest restaurant. Something French, something that included steak and lobster. When I woke the next morning I thought I was still dreaming, because I could smell it, sweet and savory in the air. But when I went to the dining room, all the food was there. An enormous spread of meats and vegetables and gravies and desserts. I picked up a drumstick from a turkey, and it felt odd, kind of squishy and yielding. I rubbed my thumb over the skin and the color came away like it was paint. Underneath was a slab of black like oil, but not oil. It was thick, molded, but rubbed off in my hand. My sister Hannah had unfortunately bit into a chunk of cake and was spitting it out, her teeth black and tarry.

We left the rest to go back to our room and dress. We opened the closet to find it stuffed with the most exquisite dresses and blouses and scarfs and fabrics. The second item on our list. Hannah shouted in happy surprise and pulled a gown from the pile, but it came away black and gummy, falling apart in her hands.

She looked at me, and I knew what she was thinking. The third item on our list. Brand new cars. We ran outside, and sure enough a Buick and a Camaro were parked in the driveway. We approached them cautiously, wishing and praying that these might be different. But we put our palms to the hoods and ran our hands along their surfaces and the glamour wiped away to show what they were: molded blocks of black tar.

We went back inside, dejected, not even sure what to say to each other. We saw the rings then, on the kitchen counter. Two diamond rings. Of course, the next on the list. They glistened and sparkled at us, but when we picked them up all that sparkle was rubbed away. Black tar, again and again.

Hannah said my name, and I looked up to see her eyes wide and frightened. I remembered then, the next item on the list of what we would buy with all our newfound wealth:

Even wealthier husbands.

A dull knock sounded at the door, as if it were being struck with something thick and viscous.

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