C3Lady: As she devoured the last of its tender flesh, a putrid taste...

As she devoured the last of its tender flesh, a putrid taste permeated her mouth. Anna had never eaten Kobe beef, as she and her husband could never have afforded it. The perfectly marbled steak had melted on her tongue, making it hardly necessary for her to chew. She had ordered hers medium rare, slightly bloody.

The chef who had prepared it had never cooked anything but sirloins and flank steaks, and he was nervous, terrified that he would ruin so costly a cut. But he had done his research, cooked it perfectly, and upon removing it from the skillet, had allowed the natural juices to seal, so when Anna made that first incision, tiny rivers of blood, fat, and oil oozed onto her plate.

She had never eaten a better or more expensive cut of meat, but now, as she swallowed the last morsel, she felt nauseous and sweaty. She placed her fork carefully by her plate, wiped her mouth, but kept her napkin close until she felt she could once again keep a calm, sincere look about her.

Rebecca Fairly sat across from Anna at a table that had been positioned perfectly in the middle of the room. She had ordered her steak rare, and, unlike Anna who had eaten rather quickly, still had half of hers. Every couple minutes, she would swallow, cut off another sliver, and savor it as slowly as the others. After every bite, she would look up at Anna and give her a crooked, checkered smile.

They had been in the room for over half an hour and, gauging the from the pace Rebecca was eating, it would be at least another half before she was able to leave. Anna straightened in her chair and looked into Rebecca's chocolate brown eyes. Those milk chocolate doe eyes that appeared slightly dilated, as if Anna were already dead.

Don't worry, sugar, I'll be dead tomorrow. Tomorrow, I aint your problem.

Anna had never pushed Rebecca for answers, but she wanted them. Why?

Rebecca's lips turned further up.

You'll always wonder why, won't you? Every time you look into my eyes with that self-satisfied ‘God, why me?' look on your face, I see you keep asking yourself the same question. And I know until you finally make it to your reward, and dyin'll be a reward for you, you'll think of me and ask yourself the same question.

I shouldn't have agreed to this.

Stupid woman, they were my babies. Mine. And the world was playing god with them. And I didn't like the kind of god they were playing. I killed 'em. If I didn't someone else would've , someone just like you who blames everyone but themselves for the way things are, someone who paves their road of good intentions with golden bricks just to make themselves feel better. Throw money at the problem you aint wanting to dirty your hands with. That always works, don't it?

Anna took deep breaths to keep from gagging. With God's will, she would stay until Rebecca finished, give this dead woman her last wish.

A nice sit down meal with the nice lady who always came every week and prayed with me, told me about salvation, pearly gates, the promised land. I'll see my babies if you're right. But if you aint, you'll know it ‘cause I will haunt you from hell.

Sweat beads formed on her forehead. Anna wanted to be away from this monster who would never ask for forgiveness, never give her any answers. She killed her children. How could anyone take their own child's life, let alone three lives? She bit her lip to keep from crying.

She smirked, her blank stare, empty--just like her soul. She knew that when this kind woman, who came and prayed with her every week, left the prison gates, it would be her soul that would be tortured forever. Thanks for trying.

How'd you like that fine steak, Ms. Anna? Ever tasted anything like it? I hope you know you just ate your last bite of peace of mind. Hard to swallow, wasn't it?

Rebecca's plate was almost clean. Only two more bites. At that point, she'd had enough of her own game, so she scooped up both bites with her fork, shoved them into her mouth, and swallowed them without chewing. She looked up at Anna and gave her one last smile.

Anna uttered enough to tell the guards what she wanted.

"Out, please."

Once on the other side of the door, she doubled over and vomited., then closed her eyes for a moment and said a silent prayer, relieved that Rebecca was no longer her problem, relieved that she would be in her own home when they injected the last dose that would give humanity their wish: an eye for an eye.


The End

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