Sliding Scales

My big cousin is dead. Her lips are swollen and bloody. Around my cell is a poisonous gas, preventing escape. I had seen her, only moments earlier, gasping for the air she knew she shouldn’t breathe. Her eyes are weeping and the neighbours know but they remain silent and distant.

There are four of us still captive and there has been no sign of who is going to be next. Our captor strides towards us and the room shakes violently. He reaches forward and I secretly hope that it will be one of the others and not me, I don’t want to face the poisoned mist. His hand appears and leaves food at our entrance. I am hungry. We are all hungry and we are cautious but can’t resist.

On a small wooden table and right next to us, he takes our cousin, and with his trenchant knife he severs her head, peels back her skin and cuts her from her bones. He slices her into pieces, dips her into some soy sauce and slides her into his hairy, smiling mouth. He is watching us live our lives in fear, trapped and waiting. I need a place to hide; inside the skull, behind the bushes, in the house, under the scuba-diver? I’ll go behind the treasure chest.