- Vol. 04
- Chapter 06
I remember the plants in the Devil’s kitchen. They were dry, brittle herbs that reached from the walls like coarse fingers. I was called a witch for knowing each of them by name, though I imagine it had more to do with my swollen belly and the fact that the Devil had put her there.
Daphne. Lia. Florence. Ruby.
‘Crack!’ He released their flaking particles into the air, teaching me how to take those modest twigs and turn them into fields of riotous taste. It was simple: he was magic. He wove such intoxicating smells, flavours, colours that made my head spin, and lay them carefully before me on porcelain plates.
Beatrice. Anna. Evangeline. Daisy.
In the still mornings, I would creep down to pad the length of that kitchen, barefoot, lifting the lids of the boiling pots to see which bones he had bubbling away inside. The steam made my cheeks blush like a little girl. I suppose I was young, really. I was young and he was ancient. I fancied that his black eyes had seen life and death a thousand times already for he existed in a constant state of unsurprise. Maybe he’d fallen from the sky a long, long time ago.
“Mirena.” I suggested. Crack. Crack. “Madeleine. Rosemary. Alice.” Crack.
He put the plate in front of me. Adorned, it was a work of art.
Everything that grows can be eaten. He told me. Everything that lives can be consumed.
When they took him away, the people tried to stone him in the street. I walked along the road, cutting my heels and picking up those pebbles after the van had disappeared in the distance. Some were as big as a fist. Some were as large as the daughter in my womb.
Together, we slid beneath the police tape and crept into the Devil’s house. The kitchen was dark but I felt the plants reach out for us, raking at my skin. All was silent. Painfully quiet.
“Eat.” I felt sure I’d hear him say. “Sit. Eat.” For in the dry garden of his kitchen, he wanted his fruit to grow.