Monday, 23 March 2015

PROSE - Hell's Kitchen


I submitted a five-hundred word story to a local competition a few months ago, and yesterday I heard that it has been highly commended in the contest. I haven't written any prose for a long time, so it was nice to do something a little different for a change.

Hell's Kitchen

"I think there's something wrong with the cooker."

"What's the matter with it?"

She turned round in her seat to look at him, putting her book down in her lap as she did so. Henry's hair was singed, his eyebrows completely burnt away, and he wore the look of a man in shock. The remains of a scorched oven glove clung to his left hand.

"I don't really know.” He appeared dazed. “It's just that, well... All of a sudden it just got... really evil."

The book dropped to the floor as Isabel sprang to her feet.

"Evil?"

Henry nodded gravely and beckoned for her to follow him.

As they left the living room, Isabel noticed how hot she felt. Slick patches of condensation glistened on the walls of the corridor - as if the paint were melting right off the brickwork - and a loud, deep humming throbbed through her body, growing louder with each step towards the kitchen.

The whole house stank of sulphur.

At the end of the corridor, the smell was even worse and the heat was almost unbearable. The door to the kitchen was closed but beyond the wooden panels, she thought she could hear screaming.

“Did you leave the radio on it there?”

He stepped aside. “See for yourself.”

Isabel gripped the handle and threw open the door. Inside, the room was ablaze. Smoke billowed from the extractor fan in the ceiling and flames danced across the linoleum floor like lightning. The doors of the kitchen cabinets flapped manically, while grey, dead fingers curled around the edges of the fridge, beckoning and making obscene gestures.

The newly-possessed kettle, toaster and microwave had slipped their moorings, their plugs dangling as they swooped and dived around the room. The kettle knocked a pot plant into the fire, and its leaves exploding in a flash of blue light.

The oven door was wide open, slack-jawed, as if bawling in terror. A pair of shining red eyes peered out from its depths, and an unhinged cackling could be heard echoing out from under the grill. Large purple flames crackled on the hob and the flooring had melted away in an arcane semi-circle around the evil appliance.

Isabel smiled. Jumping over the burning patches of lava that had appeared on the linoleum, she swept across the kitchen and pressed the 'reset' button on the cooker.

In an instant, the flames and smoke were sucked back into the oven. The grey hands disappeared, and the screaming stopped. The flying appliances fell to the floor with a crash.

“What the hell was that?” Henry gasped, peering into the room from the hallway.

“It's ok! You must have just accidentally pressed the 'open a portal to hell' button” said Isabel. “It's an unusual setting, but great for steaks.”

Henry turned very pale.

“Is this going to void our warranty?” He asked.

'Hell' (Hortus deliciarum manuscript 1180)

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