Have you read my short stories Say What? Little Red Riding Hood Goes Vegan and Three Little Pigs With a Twist? No, not yet? Feel free to click on them if you would like to check them out – they will open in a new page, so you can continue on this page and read the one I wrote for you today.
I love writing, and besides loving vegan food I am also a published author. My newest release is Thorn Heart (a post apocalyptic fantasy) and I have many more on my Amazon author website. Most of my books are historical fantasy, but I also write different genres.
While those two were humorous, today we are going on a vegan fantasy trip and see where it will take us. Halloween is only two months away (can you believe it?!), so a little scary story might be due 😉
Eva’s Secret Ingredient
Eva turned off the heat and removed the pan from the stove. The pancakes looked delicious. Although she made them every morning, the fourteen-year-old boy at the table couldn’t get enough of them. Every day he came and dropped in unannounced, and as usual, the pancakes were always waiting for him. Holding both his fork and knife in his hands, he looked at her expectantly as she served him a plate. Immediately, he smothered them with chocolate sauce and raspberries and dug in.
“Easy, Dork, it’s not as if your mom is starving you,” Eva said.
“No, but no one makes pancakes like you. What do you put in them?”
“I already told you.” She took a seat across from him and poured herself a cup of tea.
“Yeah, almond milk, coconut oil, a banana, vanilla extract, and some other things I can’t remember, but that can’t be it. It’s like there’s magic in them.”
Raising her eyebrows, she stared at him. “What do you mean?”
“Well, girls in school pay attention to me.”
“You’re a cute kid. Why wouldn’t they?”
“With a name like Dork? Come on! They used to laugh at me for years.”
She added a spoonful of raw brown sugar to the tea and stirred, gazing at him. “Names can be changed.”
“They don’t mind it anymore. Girls like me now.” He flashed a victorious grin at her as if he had just won a tough competition, and considering that he was in junior high school, he probably had.
“It can’t be because of my pancakes. You pour way too much chocolate over them.”
“My acne is gone.”
“Yeah, well, I told you why.”
“I never thought that my mom would agree with me dropping dairy.”
“Why wouldn’t she? There’s a lot of information about …”
A loud bang interrupted her speech, and both Eva and Dork looked up at the ceiling, wondering what had caused the noise on the second floor. It certainly wasn’t the cat. There it was again, a noisy tumble as if something heavy had fallen on the floor. Eva rose and rushed to the stairway, closely followed by Dork.
When they reached the second landing, they heard a growl in Eva’s bedroom. Nope, it definitely didn’t sound like the cat. Where was Tigger anyway? Quietly they tiptoed towards the room, wondering what was going on. The door stood wide open.
A most peculiar scene awaited them when they peered inside. A hideous looking monster, the size of a child, stood on Eva’s bed. In his hands he held a metal box where Eva stored her jewelry, and he looked ready to add it to the messy pile he had already thrown onto the floor. He turned and fixed his red eyes on them, grinning with malice. Then he lifted the box over his head and with all his might he dropped it on the floor where it fell open and its contents rolled out.
“What the hell is that?” Dork asked.
“Look at me!” The creature shrieked. Both Eva and Dork had been staring at it for a while now, so they did not really know what else there was to look at anymore. Its skin was a sickly gray, and a pointy tail stuck out from the back of his brown pants. A sharp nose stood under the devilish eyes, and tiny fangs revealed itself when he snarled and lifted his thin, black lips.
“I asked for a perm!” He yelled.
“A perm? You’re bald,” Eva said.
“Exactly! All my hair is gone!”
Eva wondered what this had to do with her, but she did not make another comment about it. The creature was upset enough as it was. She did not want to provoke him into destroying more of her belongings.
“Who are you?” Dork asked.
“Who am I? W h o a m I?” The monster stared in indignation, horrified that he did not know him. “You do not know who I am?”
“I wouldn’t know any gargoyles.”
“A gargoyle, is that what I am?”
The creature was calm now, and he examined his tail as if it was the first time that he noticed it. Then, he dejectedly sat on the bed, and let out a sigh, which seemed to expel all his sorrow. If he had not messed up her room so badly, Eva would have felt sorry for him, but now she only wished the thing would leave.
“It all started with the acne …” Dork and Eva exchanged a confused look. “It got really bad. Then Dork got all the attention and no one looked at me anymore.”
“You’re an ugly gargoyle. Why would anyone look at you?” Dork remarked. Eva wanted to shush him, but it was too late.
The gargoyle wailed like a wounded animal, throwing his arms up in despair. “I wasn’t a gargoyle two days ago.”
Dork took a step closer and gazed at the pathetic creature. If at first he had inspired fear in him, he now only felt pity. The red eyes met his and somehow, behind all this monstrosity, there seemed to be something human. The look the gargoyle gave him seemed vaguely familiar.
“Skip?” He said. The monster nodded.
“You know him?” Eva asked.
“Yes,” Dork replied. “He stopped coming to class two days ago.”
“I got bad acne, and then scales started to grow on my arms, fur on my legs, and …” He hesitated. ” … small wings on my back … and now I even got this tail.”
“I am hiding them under my sweater.”
“How did this happen?” Only a few days ago Skip had been the most handsome boy in 8th grade, making heads turn every time he ambled through the school hallways, and now he was … Dork did not know how to describe his classmate. He would surely still make heads turn, but not in the way he was used to.
Skip shook his head. “I don’t know. My parents took me out for lunch, and there was a buffet. It was really good, and so I went for seconds, and even for a third helping. When I went back the fourth time, most of the food was gone, but there was one dish I had not tried yet. I had not seen it before, so I figured that it had been brought out later. It was some sort of meatloaf, but it was unlike any loaf I had ever seen. The woman said that it had all the meats and cheeses that were offered at the buffet stuffed in it. And it was really … everything. It had mutton, beef, duck, chicken, pork chops, Pepper Jack, Gouda, and Mozzarella, and I don’t know what else. The loaf was rather high, but it looked so good that I cut a piece of it as well.”
Eva made a face in disgust, since she did not eat any animals or animal products, and she felt no sympathy for Skip and his tale of gluttony.
“I remember that the lady gave me a peculiar smile,” the gargoyle continued. “Somehow it reminded me of a witch who was looking forward to an evil spell. After that lunch my mother took me to the hairdresser, and when I saw my face in the mirror, it was covered in acne. I have never had acne in my life. I asked the hairdresser for a perm to cover up part of my face, but when I came home, my hair started falling out. An hour later I was bald …”
“Wow,” Dork said. Skip had always been a popular guy. No wonder he did not come to school anymore, not with such a dramatic change.
“In the morning I returned to the restaurant to find the woman, but no one knew who she was, and when I mentioned the weird loaf, nobody knew what I was talking about. The manager told me that they would never serve such a disgusting thing. I hid in my room, but then scales began to grow, fur, feathers … wings …” His ghoulish eyes now leaked yellow tears.
“But why are you here, in my house?” Eva asked. She didn’t even know him …
“Dork’s acne disappeared after he started coming here, and I thought … I …”
“Dork wasn’t covered in scales, feathers, and fur, and he was certainly no gargoyle.”
“He might as well have been one, the way girls ignored him.”
“Get out,” Eva said.
“No, I’m sorry, please.”
“You insult Dork and then expect me to help? I don’t even know how to help you.”
“Your pancakes …”
“What about them?”
“They have a special ingredient.”
“No, they don’t. I use almond milk, flour, sugar, baking powder, …”
“There is a special ingredient,” the gargoyle insisted.
Ten minutes later, Skip sat at the kitchen table and gobbled up her now famous vegan pancakes. Both Eva and Dork stared at him, wondering if something would happen now, but there was no magic change. He was still the same ugly gargoyle.
Dork rose and said, “I have to go to school.”
“Don’t tell anyone about me,” Skip said,
“They wouldn’t even believe me if I tried.”
Dork walked out the door, leaving Eva alone with the small monster.
“You’re going to have to clean up that mess you made in my room, you know,” she said.
“Why did you throw all my stuff on the floor anyway?”
“I was angry …”
“Your binge eating isn’t my fault.”
Did a blush just creep over his grayish cheeks? She wondered if his skin was looking less sickly than before.
“Could I have some more please?”
“I have no more pancakes. You and Dork ate them all.”
He hung his head in embarrassment. “I suppose I am a glutton.”
“You’d never guess, as thin as you are.”
“It’s a relief that at least I kept my figure.”
She stood and picked up her dishes. “Tell you what. You clean up my room now and I will make you a nice lunch.”
“With the same secret ingredient you use for the pancakes?”
She smiled endeared. “Yes the same secret ingredient.”
He rose at once and rushed up the stairs, his tail bouncing behind him.
When the gargoyle came back down an hour later, delicious aromas drifted from the kitchen. He sniffed with his gray nostrils and licked his dry lips. It smelled so good. He wondered what she was making. He entered the kitchen and sat at the table.
Eva’s back was turned to him. He gazed at her, wondering how she and Dork had ended up friends. She was at least ten years older, and even if she lived in the same street, what was Dork doing here every day? Did he really come for the pancakes? He knew now how good they were, and …
He stopped his train of thought and looked at his hands that were resting on the table. Although they were still shaped like claws, his human skin color had returned.
“It’s working,” he said.
Eva turned around, holding a spatula in her hand. Skip held up his hands to show her, grinning madly.
“Your skin color, it’s coming back,” she said, surprised.
A dark shadow flew past the window, momentarily darkening the kitchen. Then it disappeared as quickly as it had come. Eva ran to the window and looked outside.
“What was that?” She asked.
Skip did not answer, vaguely remembering the same thing happening when he got home after the buffet. A dark foreboding took hold of him.
“Is the food ready?” He asked.
“Is that all you care about?”
“No, but I could use it, to get rid of all this …” He glanced at his arms and pointed at his face. “I want to look normal again.”
She took a plate and scooped up a generous portion from the pan. Then she placed it in front of him.
“What is it?”
“Veggie stir fry with tofu.”
“Tofu?” He cringed at the thought.
“You want to continue looking hideous, be my guest.”
“It’s all right … I’m sorry.” He took a bite and was pleasantly surprised at the strong flavor. “Wow, this is really good!”
“Told you. I marinated the tofu.”
“With your special ingredient?”
“I wonder what your special ingredient is, it surely is amazing.”
Eva watched him eat and to her amazement his tail shrunk with every bite he took. The skin on his face and arms also began to take on a more human color.
“It’s working,” she said, not believing what she saw.
At that moment, the front door was flung open and a cloud of dust flew into the kitchen, accompanied by an annoying cackle. Skip, now half gargoyle, half human, jumped up in fright, suspecting who this might be. Eva moved back to the stove and grabbed a knife.
The dust fell on the floor and table and a tall woman dressed in shabby black clothes appeared. A large handbag was slung over her shoulder, and her long, black hair fell in dry strands over her back. Her right hand dove into her bag and she pulled out a huge meatloaf. She held it out to Skip, tempting him with it.
“Be a good boy now and finish that meatloaf. You left half of it the other day.”
In horror, he watched her approach with the meal he had found so delicious only two days ago but now provoked a profound revulsion in him. Suddenly, he heard a duck quack in fear. Then a cow cried in terror. A sheep bleated, a chicken screeched in pain, and a pig squealed so loudly its scream tore through his bones. Blood ran from cracks in the meatloaf and splashed on the floor.
In horror, Eva and Skip watched the thing take on life and bleed all over the kitchen floor while the woman kept on pushing the revolting thing towards Skip, laughing amused.
“You know you’re going to eat it. Come on now.”
She placed the meatloaf on the table where it suddenly sprouted four spindly legs and it started running towards Skip. He fell backwards and landed on the floor. The living meatloaf jumped off the table and landed on his face. With its front legs it pried his mouth open, forcing its bleeding flesh inside him.
“Don’t eat it!” Eva shouted.
Wails came out of the woman’s bag, and Eva realized that these were the cries of children she had trapped within, victims like Skip she had turned into gargoyles and then somehow imprisoned in the cursed handbag. She ran towards Skip and pulled the meatloaf off his face, but the thing was stubborn and strong and it clung to his lips with tenacity.
One piece had broken off and fallen into his mouth. It forced itself down his throat, and at once, the skin on his hands began to turn gray again.
– Oh dear – Eva thought.
The woman laughed and laughed while the voices in her bag cried in despair. Eva realized that she was guiding the meatloaf. But how …? She had never believed in the supernatural, certainly not in witches. Who – or what – was this woman? There was no other explanation, though … What else could she be …?
Without a further thought, Eva dove towards her, cut the straps of the handbag, and pulled it off her. The woman shrieked in rage and turned to face her. Her pitch black eyes were fixated on her, piercing her very soul. The witch approached, grinning madly, knowing that Eva could not win against her.
“Give me the bag,” she said.
“Let him go first.”
“I can’t, sweetheart. He is mine now.”
Skip was still on the floor. The meatloaf had gone quiet, no longer controlled by the witch’s spell. It was still impossible, though, to get the blasted thing off him. It hung onto his mouth like an appendix, its blood streaming off his chin.
Eva took a few steps back until she felt the stove behind her. The witch grinned in victory and held out her hand. “Give it to me.”
Eva reached behind her and found the half full pan. Her hand closed around its handle, it would have to do. With her other hand she opened the bag, curious about the sounds coming from within.
“Don’t open it,” the woman warned her. Eva pulled it wide open, and out came the voices, screaming in agony and crying for their parents. She looked inside and saw dozens of little gargoyle faces staring up at her, their fanged mouths twisted in terror and fear.
The witch leaped at her and Eva struck with the pan, hitting her square on the nose. Food splashed on the kitchen floor. The woman yelled in anger and went for her throat, but Eva avoided her and hit her over the head with the bag. Both the woman and the trapped children cried in pain. She raised her knife, but this time the witch was too quick. With the sheer power of her mind, the knife flew out of Eva’s hands and landed on the witch’s stretched out palm.
“Give me the bag now,” she said, her tone indicating that she had no more patience left. Behind her, Skip was still on the floor, fighting to get the meatloaf off him.
Eva wondered why the woman wanted the bag so badly. Perhaps there was something she could do with it, something that might hurt the evil witch. What did she want with those children, eat them? Use them for an experiment?
“What’s so important about the bag?” She asked.
“Surely, you know by now.”
“I need those children.”
She flashed an evil grin and said, “I need their blood. It’s the special ingredient that gives life to the meatloaf and helps me trap more children.”
Behind her, Skip cried out in terror when he realized who the blood belonged to.
“You’re insane,” Eva said.
“A necessary evil,” the witch replied nonchalantly.
“So, I can live. How else could I survive, live, be immortal, if not with blood of the living?”
At once, Eva turned the bag upside down.
“No!” The witch shrieked as the faces fell out, still wailing like banshees, but now the noise did not encumber Eva anymore. The sounds traveled to the witch and trapped her. In a desperate attempt to keep the voices out, she covered her ears. The faces floated in the kitchen, their mouths wide open in endless screams.
Finally, Skip managed to throw off the persistent meatloaf. He grabbed it, jumped up and stuffed it down the witch’s throat. Her muffled cries went lost in the blood that streamed over her chin and into her mouth. The meats forced themselves down her throat, and in astonishment, Eva and Skip watched her skin turn a nasty gray, and two huge horns protruded from her forehead.
The bag flew out of Eva’s hand and soared towards the witch, swallowing her up at once.
The screams were gone and silence reigned in the kitchen. After all the terrible noise, the silence was so heavy that it seemed nearly deafening. The floating faces had disappeared, and before Eva stood a good-looking fourteen-year-old boy with normal human skin, shoulder-length blond hair and green eyes.
“Skip?” She asked.
He held up his arms and stared at them. Then he felt his scalp and realized that he had hair again.
“I’m no longer a gargoyle,” he said, astonished.
A noise in the entry hall startled them. Twenty-nine children stood there, pressed together like sardines in a can, staring at them through the doorway. Many of them looked normal but some still had a few scales and grayish skin. Eva glanced at the bag and picked it up.
“What shall we do with it?”
“I think we should burn it,” Skip said.
“I have an idea. Let’s light up the barbecue in the garden. I have some Beyond Meat burgers. And I am going to make some nice seitan fajitas. Can you grab some buns and tortillas from the pantry?”
With that food, the kids should soon be back to normal, she figured.
“Excellent,” Skip said. “Can you tell me something?”
“What is your special ingredient?”
She smiled and said, “It’s love.”