Freak For a Friend

Ita Mann and I were old friends, going back to kindergarten. So when she called me over the phone, sobbing over the death of her husband, Chuck, my heart bled for her. I wanted to be there for her and help in any way I can, so I asked her to come over for a weekend.

I was surprised how much weight she gained since I last saw her, but it’s not uncommon to eat more during quarantine. “You’ve gotten even skinnier!” she remarked when we greeted. “Need some meat on those bones!” Obviously I didn’t comment on her weight.

We sat down before the TV to binge watch some old soap operas we used to watch together decades ago. “Man, that guy is just as hot as I remember!” I commented on the male lead of one of the shows. “Delicious!” she joked. We had a great time catching up and exchanging stories.

She told me that she donated Chuck’s body for research, since she couldn’t bare to look at it. I sympathized with that, having lost my husband several years ago, though I wished Chuck received a proper burial. He was a good man and deserved that much.

A few days later, she invited me and a few other people over to her place for a barbecue. I found it odd, since Ita’s been on a strict vegetarian diet for over twenty years. Maybe she just wanted to spoil her friends, I thought.

When I arrived at her place, she was all dressed in black – as if this was Chuck’s funeral. I confessed that I felt a little under-dressed, but she didn’t seem to mind. When we sat down, I noticed a wall of huge raw meat just standing around. “Where’d you get all this meat and are you sure it’s safe to just let it stand out in the sun?” I asked.

“This is actually cruelty-free meat!” she explained. “I grew it myself – looks and tastes just like the real thing! You’ll see!”

The other guests arrived, also dressed in black, who I don’t recall ever seeing before. I wanted to ask Ita how she met them, but it didn’t seem appropriate. I couldn’t help but feel out of place – there I was, dressed casually, in the company of complete strangers. Something about them made me feel uncomfortable.

I was shocked when she served the food – she and everyone else ate their meat completely raw and only mine was cooked. I was starting to get really concerned. Ita was totally behaving out of character and I started to think that maybe she needs to see someone.

Weeks passed since that day and I tried calling Ita every day. I wanted to ask her why she’s behaving so differently and encourage her to get some help. But she returned none of my calls.

Life went on like before – I continued to arrange flowers for an extra income and sold some things I knitted on Plopsy. But I continued to worry about Ita, so I got in my car and went to her place.

I knocked on her door. “Hey, old friend,” she greeted with a hug. “Please come in!” She was very friendly…a little too friendly. “Good Watcher, Ita…what is that godawful smell?!” I shouted when I was greeted by a horrible stench coming from her refrigerator.

“Oh, you remember that meat we ate the other day at the barbecue?” she asked. “It was too much to eat all by myself and the fridge stopped working.”

“You should’ve told me,” I replied. “I could’ve stored it in my fridge and invited some of my family over.” The men in my family were big meat eaters. “Promise me you’ll throw that out,” I said.

“Yes, I will do that right after you leave,” she replied. “Could you excuse me for a second?” she asked. “Sure,” I said and she went to the bathroom.

I was very curious about the contents in that fridge, so I decided to take a peek while she was gone. Nothing could prepare me for the horror I experienced when I saw what was inside.

Inside Ita’s fridge was the severed head of her deceased husband, as well as some limbs and human organs. I screamed like never before.

“What’s going on?!” she yelled as she stormed to the kitchen. “Please tell me I’m not seeing what I think I saw inside your fridge,” I said, my whole body shaking.

“Okay, I killed Chuck and ate his body,” she confessed. “Why…why would you do that?!” I cried. “Are you one of the infected? Some kind of zombie freak?! Answer me, Ita!”

“No,” she answered. “But I am the leader of a secret cannibal cult. You know…the lovely folks you met at the barbecue.”

“I knew there was something fishy about them!” I yelled. “Chuck was a such good man…why would you kill him?”

“He was, but he was a little boring for my taste,” she replied. “The taste of his flesh, however, was totally out of this world…”

“You’re sick!” I yelled. “Well, if I’m sick, then so are you,” she shrugs. “You also ate Chuck…remember the barbecue?”

I threw up right there. “You can’t deny that you loved the taste,” she says. “Join us and you’ll never look back.”

“I’m sorry, Ita,” I replied. “I’ll keep your secret, but I would never willingly consume human meat.”

“I understand,” Ita said and reached out for a hug. “Friends?”

“Friends,” I replied and hugged her, reaching for the knife inside my pocket.

I stabbed her in the back.

“I’m sorry, Ita,” I said. “But I can’t let you do this.” I then set her trailer alight and rushed home. I packed my things and left town, with no plans to ever return. The remaining cannibal cult members are still roaming around and I sincerely hope they get caught one day, but my part in this is over. It’s time to start a new page.

Author’s Notes:  Thanks for reading! This is my entry for the Monthly SimLit Short Story Challenge this month, organized by LisaBee, EA Game Changer for The Sims 4 and fellow SimLit writer. The theme of this month is horror/suspense/thriller.

I kindly invite you to please read all the stories entered for this challenge at the end of the month and vote for your top choices in both categories. Your support would be greatly appreciated.