“Her Delicate Condition” by Sarina Dorie
We’d like to present a new Feature Story here at Metro Fiction. Please check the welcome page for more information about us. This week, we offer up a treat for Halloween in which acquiring eggs at the grocery store becomes a perilous but critically important errand.
We present our Feature Story: “Her Delicate Condition” by Sarina Dorie
“Did you remember the eggs?” Sandy stepped out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on her red apron. Her swollen bare feet slapped over the chilled linoleum. “If I’m going to finish that pecan pie for tonight, I need eggs.”
Jimmy set the canvas shopping bags on the dinner table. His Louisiana twang greeted her. “It was a mad house out there with the traffic and the icy roads and the zombie invasion at X-mart.” He peeled off his winter coat, threw his fleece hat on the table, and shook out his brown hair. The warm glow of the fireplace in the corner made the room toasty enough that he could have removed his sweatshirt. The overly long sleeves remained unrolled and hid all but his fingers.
Sandy raised a perfectly plucked blonde eyebrow. “Zombie invasion?”
“Yeah, you wouldn’t believe it. I had to knock ‘em down with the grocery cart in the baking aisle.”
Sandy hugged him around the waist and stood on tip-toe to plant a kiss on his cheek. “My hero.” She carried the bags to the pantry in the kitchen and unpacked the groceries alongside him. “So was this another black magic thing or an alien virus?” She still wasn’t used to the latest wave of Santeria and zombie stuff like he was. This was Oregon for crying out loud.
Jimmy shrugged. “Beats me. Here, let me get that for you. You’re supposed to be resting.” He pulled out the milk and cream and crossed over to the ancient avocado green refrigerator that matched the kitchen’s peeling linoleum floor. The curtains were drawn, only a sliver of light from outside making it past the heavy curtains, lest the sun give Sandy another migraine. “The zombies weren’t as aggressive as the ones back home, so it’s gotta be some hippie New Age spell. They’ll probably return to their graves before Mama wakes from her nap.”
“That’s a blessing, at least.” She lowered her voice, glancing down the hall at the closed bedroom door. “There’s no telling how she’ll react to zombies. It’s a good thing I started that pie.” Not that Sandy expected she’d make it anywhere near as perfect as Dorthea did. But it would be better than the tantrum her mother-in-law was going to have if there was no pie at all.
Jimmy gave an uncomfortable little laugh. “You know, you can make a pie that doesn’t have eggs in it.” As he reached up to put the Cornflakes on the highest shelf, his sleeve fell back, revealing a bleeding bite mark.
Sandy stopped rummaging through the bags and rushed over to him. “What happened to your hand?”
Jimmy gave her a chagrinned smile. “When I reached into one of the refrigerated cases, one of ‘em was on the other side and bit me.”
This was just what she needed. A husband who was going to turn into a zombie while her mother-in-law was visiting. Sandy snatched up his mother’s Jack Daniels on the counter. “How could you have been so careless at a time like this?”
“I was doing it for you. I was trying to get the eggs. I did get the sausages for you.”
Blood sausages would appease Sandy’s own food cravings, but not her mother-in-laws. She dragged him over to the sink where she drenched his wound with whiskey. She eyed her unfinished pie in the corner and the remaining groceries in their eco-friendly bags. “You didn’t get the eggs, did you?”
“There were zombies.”
“So you didn’t get the eggs.”
“Honey, shouldn’t you be more concerned about me being infected by a virus and becoming a zombie?”
“You already said they were probably from a crazy hippie spell.” She pointed to the door. “I need you to go back and get the one item you promised you wouldn’t forget. You know how your mother gets when she doesn’t get pie for dessert.” Especially when it was her time of the month. Why couldn’t Dorthea have chosen a more opportune time to visit? This was just like her imposing on them and not caring what kind of havoc it wrought.
“What if I was wrong?” Jimmy asked. “I might turn into a zombie.”
Sandy threw up her hands in exasperation. “You’re already acting like one today.” He was going to sleep on the couch that night. And it probably would be best to lock the bedroom door in case he did turn into a zombie. If he wasn’t going to get eggs so she could finish that pie, he was going to have to face his mother’s wrath on his own.
“You could make a berry pie?” he said, voice rising in question.
Sandy opened the freezer and gestured to the frozen steaks, vegetables and ice cube tray. “Do you see any berries in here? Do you want me to go to the store?”
Jimmy slumped dejectedly. They both knew she couldn’t do that with her delicate condition.
The guestroom door swung open, the odor of wet dog wafting out with it. His mother stepped into the hall, her plump cheeks dimpling and eyes crinkling with merriment. “I do love me some pie.” Her eyes flashed yellow like a wolf’s. A werewolf’s to be exact.
“Anything for you, Mama.” Jimmy’s nervous chuckle died in his throat.
“You are so sweet, I could just eat you up,” Dorthea said.
Sandy gave Jimmy a sidelong glance. He scooted closer to the door. “Um, I guess I’ll be going back to the store. Right now.” He dashed out the door, leaving Sandy alone with his mother.
Sandy did her best to smile politely, but her fangs distended and her mouth salivated at the thought of drinking her mother-in-law’s blood. Dorthea raised an eyebrow. Sandy could tell it was going to be a long visit. Considering her delicate condition as a vampire, it would require all the willpower she could muster not to eat her mother-in-law.
Sarina Dorie is a speculative fiction writer, artist and belly dance teacher who currently lives in Eugene, Oregon. She has sold 20 stories in the last two years to a variety of magazines including Daily Science Fiction, Flagship, Allasso, Roar, New Myths, Untied Shoelaces of the Mind, Penumbra, and Crossed Genres.
Sarina’s fantasy novel, “Silent Moon,” won two second place and three third place awards from Romance Writers of America. This novel is now available on Amazon and Smashwords.
Now, if only Jack Sparrow asks her to marry him, all her dreams will come true.
For more information, please visit her website.
Tags: metro fiction, sarina dorie, short stories