He returns later, about an hour later, to do the session. He apologises for his forgetfulness as though he has left his lover waiting. Perhaps he thinks he has, but it is crueller still to have given that brief time for her to think she may have escaped the pain, at least this once, at least for this day.
If anything, it is worse, he is worse. It is as though he seeks now to accelerate the programming, as though seeing his goal in sight has given him a terrible second wind. He is an athlete, primed to work beyond the pain, but in this case the pain is hers, not his. Not his.
He wants to know how she tastes. He says that. And it’s given him ideas it seems, terrible ideas, because this time after the brutal fall of agony, the doctor is intent on something so terrifying that it eclipses all the savagery she has already endured.
They are in the hospital room and he is in green, but close to the bed is a stove top, on which a frying pan is spitting with butter melting and burning. It smells like the commercial kitchen of the café, a sense memory that cooking has created. And she’s trying to understand what this has to do with the doctor, and the hospital and his awful treatments. She is strapped down, but so, so awake, as he moves to the end of the bed, looking up at her legs spread open, but he is not looking at her sex, not there, but just below it, to the smooth, soft folds of her upper thighs. And he has a knife.
‘Your flesh is a moment from perfection, and in perfection is the perfect consumption,’ he says, ‘You are fillet mignon my love, my dear.’
And then, such agony as he reaches up and begins to slice, slice her as though she was a piece of meat at a butchers, cutting the flesh and fat and lifting the steaks that are all of her inner thighs up away from her, tossing them to the pan to fry. She’s bleeding, bleeding everywhere, and he’s scooping some of the blood and putting it in a jug nearby, as though it will be a kind of gravy for the feast. She thinks she will bleed to death, and that might be a relief, an escape from the smell. Because now she can smell the meat cooking, smell herself cooking and she’s screaming , and she’s screaming and…
When she finally wakes she is still whole. Yet again, it is only a programme, a direction for her to contemplate and endure. Our life is indeed a dream within a dream, she thinks, and all my dreams are nightmares. But when will they bleed out, bleed out into the real world? When does the nightmare and reality become one?
She feels the answer to this, the message is clear, in the last words the doctor said, just before the complete blackness of surrender: ‘We shall have fine food my love, food fit for the table of love.’
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved