Samantha sat in her dorm room listlessly rocking her computer chair, staring out the window without seeing anything beyond. If you had walked into the room and asked her what the weather was like outside she would not have been able to tell you. The small TV in the corner was playing her favourite show on Netflix but she was not even aware of it, she was too lost in her own thoughts. Samantha’s twenty-first birthday was in less than two weeks and then it would be too late. Again.
Nearly twenty one years ago, Samantha had been born into a world where cooking and eating young girls were accepted, even common-place. She had been to two parties where girl-meat was on the menu before she turned six, the age at which she herself became eligible for slaughter. The first had been a family gathering where one of her older cousins, thirteen or fourteen at the time, had been spit-roasted. The other, she could not remember the occasion, had involved two girls not much older than her being boiled together in a big stew pot. She remembered finding it funny, as if they were taking a bath outside. She also remembered how tasty the stew had been later.
Throughout her childhood, Samantha had always carried the assumption that she was bound for the dinner table sooner or later. Nobody had told her this or even, as far as she could remember, suggested it as a joke, it was just something that she “knew”. As she got older, she saw more and more girls like her cooked and eaten, always enjoying those she got a chance to taste. She went to parties where the Birthday Girl got barbecued, went to restaurants where, instead of a menu, a live girl was brought to the table to help you pick which pieces you wanted, there were even more family reunions, weddings and other celebrations where girls from her family were cooked. The more girls she ate, the more certain she became that she would join them one day.
Then she had turned fifteen and suddenly found herself not only uneaten but now ineligible to ever be so. She did not know how to feel. There was relief to an extent but also a strange disappointment. It was not exactly that she wanted to be eaten. She was a happy girl who enjoyed life and was more than happy to go on living it but knowing that she would now never be cooked felt strange and a little upsetting, like she had missed out on a big opportunity. Then, when she was seventeen, that law had been changed. In response to increasing demand for girl-meat, the age of eligibility was extended downwards from six to four and upwards from fourteen to twenty. Once again, Samantha had found herself of an age where she could be cooked and the familiar feeling of certainty had, slowly but surely, crept back. It was almost like being given a second chance at a prize, albeit a prize she was not sure that she wanted, but a second chance none the less.
And yet the years had rolled by once again, years filled with parties and even dates to girl-meat restaurants, while Samantha remained almost obstinately alive and uneaten. It was not as if anyone had asked her directly but there had been plenty of occasions when volunteers were called for. She had waited for someone to suggest it to her, for her friends to apply a little peer-pressure, and yet it had never come and now, here she was once more, about to cross the boundary beyond which nobody would ever taste her meat.
She had certainly made the most of her life so far. She had studied hard at school, got great GCSE results and followed those up with even more impressive A-Levels, earning her a place at the top university of her choice, on her way towards what was sure to be a glittering career. And yet she felt unfulfilled. However much she thought about the future and tried to look forward to it, she could not shake the feeling that, whatever was to happen in the years ahead she was not supposed to be a part of it and that her destiny lay on the dining table. But could she bring herself to make that choice? To volunteer her body at some party or sign herself over to a restaurant to be eaten by strangers?
“Hey girlfriend!” Her best friend Vicki let herself into the room, smiling broadly and closely followed by Amelia. Both were carrying shopping bags that clinked in a tell-tale fashion as they moved. “We thought you seemed a bit down and we’ve come to cheer you up!”
“Thanks.” Samantha smiled, pulling herself out of her introspective thoughts and into the room with her friends, welcoming the distraction. “I’m okay, just got stuff on my mind, you know?”
“Oh totally!” Amelia grinned, plonking herself down on the bed, reaching into her bag and pulling out two bottles of Vodka. “Luckily, we know just the thing to get rid of that!”
Her family keeps loving and supporting and giving her opportunities to lead a successful life when all she wants is for then to acknowledge how tasty she is D:
“Damn!” Samantha groaned, clutching her head as she woke up to find herself sat on the floor of her dorm room in her underwear, leaning against the bed on which Vicki was sprawled, similarly dressed. Amelia seemed to be the most worst for wear of all of them having apparently lost her bra along with the rest of her clothes and was now passed out in the computer chair, head tipped back and snoring loudly. “Just how much did we drink last night?” A quick look around the room at all the empty bottles that littered the floor gave her the answer she was fairly sure that she hadn’t wanted.
She tried to stand and regretted it instantly as the pain it made her feel as if she had been whacked over the head with a large mallet wielded by a particularly angry mountain troll. Revising her ambition to something more achievable, Samantha crawled over to her desk, hoping that her phone was still where she had left it, charging from the computer’s USB port. Carefully, slowly, she pulled herself up, pushing the chair occupied by the unconscious Amelia slightly aside, having absolutely no effect on its occupant. Fortunately, her phone was where she expected it to be – the first thing she had to be thankful for that morning.
“Shit…” she muttered, seeing the time and wincing at the sound of her own voice. She had a lecture in just over half an hour and she could not really afford to miss it. Although she wanted nothing more than to roll Vicki to one side of the bed and crash out again, either to die or sleep off her hangover, she had no particular preference, she forced herself to stand and slowly, shoving empty bottles out of the way with her foot, shuffled her way to the bathroom where she peeled off her apparently vodka-soaked underwear and turned on the shower.
The cool water revived her a little, enough to hunt for a packet of painkillers from which she swallowed twice the recommended dose, determined to survive the lecture. At least she only had one that day and could sleep off the rest of the night’s excesses afterwards. The combination of the shower, the pills and the fresh air on her walk across campus did her the world of good and, by the time she arrived at the lecture hall, her hangover had receded to the point that it was a mere irritation, possible to ignore most of the time, especially as the lecture was on a particularly interesting topic, delivered by her favourite tutor.
By the time the lecture was over, she had almost forgotten the way she has woken up feeling and decided to go to the cafe across campus from the lecture hall for a latte. Half way there, however, she heard her name being called frantically by someone who was apparently running to catch up with her. Stopping, she turned around to see Amelia running towards her with Vicki walking briskly behind.
“Hey!” she smiled, “You woke up eventually then?”
“Um, yeah.” Amelia stopped just short of crashing into her and stood trying to get her breath back while Vicki fairly effortlessly caught up.
“Hey girlfriend!” Vicki smiled and, in Samantha’s opinion, hugged her a little too enthusiastically. She was pretty sure what this meant.
“Okay, go on!” she sighed. “What was it?”
“What was what?” Amelia asked, looking genuinely puzzled and more than a little nervous.
“Well from the way you two are acting, I’m guessing you broke something of mine?” The other two girls looked at each other awkwardly. “Oh no,” Samantha braced herself for bad news, “it wasn’t my computer, was it? You know I can’t afford to replace it!”
“No,” Vicki seemed to be biting her lip, “not your computer.”
“My headphones then?” Samantha pushed, “My vibrator? What?”
“We didn’t break anything.” Amelia informed her in the obvious tones of someone who has bad news but not the type of bad news the person they had to deliver it to might be expecting. “It’s just… You tell her!” she turned to Vicki in desperation. “You’re her best friend! It will sound better coming from you!”
“Oh thanks!” Vicki rolled her eyes. “Okay,” she let out a deep exhale as if psyching herself up, “how much do you remember about last night?”
“Not a lot, honestly!” Samantha chuckled a little nervously, “Why? What did I miss?”
“Well we didn’t remember until about half an hour ago,” Vicki admitted, “and we wanted to… well, I do remember that after the first few drinks you started talking about cannibalism and all the girls you’d known who had got eaten…” Samantha had a bit of a sinking feeling, it sounded like she had opened up a little more than she intended to and weirded her friends out. If she really focussed and cast her mind back, she could vaguely remember such a conversation. “Well after that you started asking why we thought you’d never been cooked or why nobody had ever seemed to want to eat you.”
“So… What?” Samantha narrowed her eyes and folded her arms.
“Well I honestly don’t remember.” Vicki admitted. “I guess we talked about it some more and then had some more to drink and at some point… well… Go on,” she turned to Amelia, “you’d better show her.”
Sheepishly, Amelia handed over her phone. An email was open ready for Samantha to read. The email bore the logo of Sidney’s Family Restaurant at the top, the stylised signature of Sidney Roebuck after whom the chain was named.
“Thank you for your generous…” Samantha read the email, muttering occasional words and phrases out loud, “subject to satisfactory… report for… we thank you again for… Wait, WHAT?!” she practically dropped the phone as the content of the email sunk in. “What did you do?”
“Looks like we signed up to be meat.” Amelia gave an awkward smile. “All three of us, if that makes it any better?” Samantha did not know what to think. On the one hand, she was furious that her friends would do something like this when she had been in no state to make an informed decision but on the other hand, maybe this was just the push she needed to finally make up her mind before the opportunity was taken out of her hands once more?
“So, um, what do you think?” Vicki asked, nervously.
“I think,” Samantha replied, handing the phone back to Amelia, “that we all need a coffee!”
Wonderful! We're going back to Sidney's. I've missed that lovely place.