It had been a busy day at work. By the time Carter got home it was almost 9 o’clock. He turned on the T.V. to watch the news while he ate his dinner. There was another missing person in the town. There had been several lately. Some were assumed to be dead because they had been missing for over a month without a trace, but no bodies had been found to date.
As a series of advertisements came on, Carter turned his attention from how awful it must be for the families of the missing people to not even have a body to bury to the meat he was eating. This piece was particularly succulent. He thought he was finally getting the hang of the recipe he had been trying to perfect for the last month or so. He had found the recipe after his grandmother had died a few months ago, and he was looking through all of her old things. It had fallen out of a stack of books that he had been moving into a box to donate to the local library. Seeing the aged, wrinkled paper it had been written on, he looked through the rest of the books to find something that matched, but found nothing, so he decided to keep it and to try making the recipe.
Carter’s grandmother was well known throughout the town. The plants growing in her garden were said to be magical. No one actually believed in magic, of course, but if it did exist, it would be in the form of the plants in that garden. They always grew, no matter the weather or how often she tended them, and they could heal anything. Headache? Go to the garden. Fever? Go to the garden. Flu? Go to the garden. There were murmurs throughout the town that the old woman had been a witch, but of course no one really believed that.
When she died, Carter, being her only living descendent, got everything she owned, but a young man had no use for most of the old knick knacks an old woman kept, and so he donated most of her things. Still, there were a few things that spoke to him, and though he had no use for them, he kept them. The recipe was one of those things. Carter had never cooked a meal in his life before he picked up that recipe. But now that he had tried to make it, he could not rest until he got it perfect.
Having finished his meal, he turned off the T.V. on which the news anchor was again lamenting those missing in the town and went into his kitchen. He checked his freezer. It looked like he was running low on meat. He was close with the recipe, but not close enough that he was willing to quit trying to make it. He would get more meat tomorrow, he thought, and went to get ready for bed.
The next day was Saturday, and Carter’s friend came to his house for dinner. The dinner was almost ready but there was one thing Carter had forgotten in the kitchen, and he asked his friend to get it for him so that he could finish setting the table. His friend gladly went, but when he opened the refrigerator, he saw something that looked like hair hanging from the freezer compartment. On closer inspection, he was almost certain it was human hair. He opened the freezer to see where the hair was coming from and saw the head of the last person who had gone missing in the town. Numb with shock, he called Carter’s name and turned around to see what his friend had to say about the situation, but was met with a kitchen knife in his gut.
“Sorry, buddy,” Carter whispered to his dying friend, “but you know too much and I need to perfect this recipe.”