Dragon sat at head of the massive table, picking at his barbequed peasant. His niece and nephew, Amelia, and Rodin sat to his right and left. As they gorged themselves on finger strips and thighs, he shook his head in disgust.
He cast a brief glance at each, and after a long pause said, “Amelia, Rodin, we need to talk.”
Rodin’s cheeks bulged and he spit a chewed fingernail onto his plate. “Sure, Uncle; what’s up?”
“Kids, I can no longer afford to indulge your every whim. You are my sister’s kids and I love you dearly. However, with plummeting real estate values and an unstable stock market, I have lost nearly everything I’ve invested.”
Amelia rolled a knuckle from one cheek to the other, giggling as it rolled between her upper teeth and lip.
“You mean you’re cutting us off, uncle? What about my schooling at the Culinary Institute? How can I learn how to develop creative menus without proper training? You promised me I could go.”
Rodin belched. “Yeah, and I was planning on going to Mardi Gras this year, and figured you’d pay my way as you always do.”
“Oh, you can dear children,” Dragon said, sipping on a ’92 Transfusion Estates, Pinot Noir. “But, but you kids cannot expect to survive as one of the undead unless you learn how to make your own way in this world.”
“How can we do that?” They both asked. “We have no money and don’t know how to make our way!”
“So, wing it,” Dragon replied, shrugging his shoulders. “Heavens, when I was your age I had already gone out on my own and devoured my first human. Come on kids, spread those beautiful wings of yours, and fly. Experience the ups and downs of ghoul hood.”
Rodin and Amelia glanced at each other. Their lips curled in twisted smiles as though they read the other’s mind.
Rodin nodded, and sat erect in his chair. “Okay Uncle, Amelia and I will make a go of it on our own.”
Dragon smiled at his nephew. “I knew you kids would take this like mature ghouls. I just want you to know that I will, however, always be here for any advice you may need.”
“We do appreciate that, dear uncle.” Amelia said.
She gathered the dirty plates and carrying them toward the kitchen. Stepping behind her uncle however, she pumped her fist and mouthed, “Yes!”
Dragon seemed pleased they were taking it in stride.
“Very well, then. Additionally, I think you should know your mother asked that I provide for you in my will. Therefore, when I no longer exist you will then share in my estate. Of course that is, if there is any left.”
“Oh, Thank you Uncle!” they said in unison.
“Good. Now, I am going to excuse myself to the parlor and have a glass of Sherry by the hearth. She was a particularly good year, you know.”
After cleaning off the table, Rodin tidied up the dining room. Amelia washed the dishes and set them in the cupboard. She removed two Butcher knives from the Ever-Sharp cutlery set. After handing one to Rodin, they crept to the parlor. Rodin sat in his favorite faded and overstuffed, leather chair, enjoying his Sherry and perusing the Wall Street Journal.
Before Dragon could react, Rodin reached from behind the chair. He sliced the knife across his uncle’s neck clean through the vertebrae. After the two impetuous young ghouls cut him into steaks, roasts, and chops, they stored the fresh meat in the freezer.
A month later, while playing eyeball backgammon by the fireplace, they heard a knock on the door. Rodin opened it, and their most hated cousin stood grinning ear to ear.
“Morbid! What a surprise,” Rodin said. “Look Amelia, Cousin Morbid is here.”
Amelia stepped beside her brother, and gave Morbid the once-over. “Hello fat a–, I mean, Morbid! How good to see you.”
Morbid ground his fists into his chubby hips. “Hel-lo cuz’s, I heard Uncle Dragon disappeared. I thought I would come get my share of whatever the old coot had stocked away.”
Amelia smiled. “Do come in, dear cousin. We have not seen you in ages. With so much catching up to do, I do hope you’ll stay for dinner.”
He scratched his ample belly. “Of course! I never met a meal I didn’t like.”
“No sh–,” Rodin caught himself. “That’s great! Come, let’s sit by the fire, and reminisce awhile.”
Amelia winked at Rodin as he and Morbid sat by the hearth. “While you two talk about old times, I will check on dinner.”
She hurried to the kitchen, licking her lips as she reached for the butcher knives.
©2011 Hal Kempka