Prompt Day #182: Put something weird in the jelly
This was done and should have been posted last night but we had no internet for some reason. Funny how much we all have come to rely on it. So I finished my story and quietly went to bed. So here is yesterday’s. Today’s will hopefully be posted later tonight.
David and I joined the commune with the highest ideals of peaceful living, growing and working together. Raising our future children in a healthy, chemical free environment without government interference drew us to the group calling themselves Fields of Demeter. It was early spring when we were accepted “into the field” as the newest members. In the Fields of Demeter, each family member is assigned a craft. For instance, Mother Diana, the eldest and founding member, makes the most amazing jams and jellies. Brother Murphey her husband, has developed fertilizer formulas for every crop we grow.
In early spring a large bin of your family’s assigned crops, Murphey’s specialized fertilizer, and any materials necessary for your craft is dropped off at your door. This might include wool for the weavers, eggs for the poultry keepers, and in our situation, because we were new, baby llamas, fencing supplies and bags of feed. Throughout the rest of the spring and summer, all other necessities had to be bartered but that was never a problem, Demeter’s Fields were plentiful.
We survived our first growing season and were rewarded with a Harvest Basket left on the doorstep. Fresh artisan breads, jellies and jams from the heart of Mother Diana’s kitchen made for a wonderful breakfast the following morning. I was on my second serving of a thick plumb jelly when I bit down on something hard and felt a piece of my tooth fly out of my mouth as I simultaneously yelped in pain.
I spit the offending concretion into my hand assuming I would see a plum pit. What I saw instead brought a gorge to my throat. I stared at the yellowed molar in my palm. A line of tartar wrapped around it marking the horizon where tooth had once met gum. I held it up examining it, trying to forget the thing had been in my mouth just seconds ago.
“Where the hell did that come from?” David asked wrinkling his upper lip in disgust.
“I don’t want to think about it” I said trying not to gag again. “I’m afraid Mother Diana may have lost a tooth into her jelly. Should I say something?”
“Let’s go together” he said and kissed my cheek. We held hands walking across the fields noting the men building the tall pyres for the night’s bonfires. The Harvest festival where we would burn offerings to our Goddess Demeter. Mother Diana was sitting on her porch swing watching the younger members preparing for the party. We approached her in reverence. She smiled at us and held her withered hand out to me. I took it and kissed it. I held it between my own.
“Blessed Harvest Mother Diana” I said.
“Blessed Harvest, Sister Helen” she responded. My husband nudged me. I reached into the pocket of my apron smock and held the tooth out to her.
Immediately, Mother Diana’s countenance changed. She clenched her hands into fists.
“What have you done?” She squealed “You’ve ruined the Harvest. You fools!”
I stepped back, confused. “Mother, I…”
“Those Jellies are to be opened tonight and fed to your families. And not before. You selfish, stupid fool. The Goddess chose wisely, you’ve no right to live.” She was shaking, spitting words at me like venom.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t understand. That jar was in our basket. We thought it was for us.” David said. “We brought it to you because we thought you lost a tooth into your jelly. We thought perhaps the batch was contaminated.”
“That tooth does not belong to me. It is the token removed from last year’s sacrifice.”
“What’s it doing in the jelly?” I asked
“The token is placed in one jar of jelly. The one who finds the token is the chosen one for this year’s sacrifice. You have been chosen, albeit prematurely.” She glared at me “However, you have confessed to your sin and have not tried to conceal your finding, and so you are forgiven.”
My husband was examining the tooth. “Funny, it looks so much like a human tooth. What animal did it come from?”
Mother Diana cackled. “The Goddess accepts only a sacrifice in her own image. It is a human tooth.”
“Where’s the rest of the body?” I hated to ask
“The body is spread across the earth, feeding the next year’s harvest.” She said and grabbed my face in her hand. “You will make a good crop for next year.” She turned to David. “You must be proud. She will feed your future children as you will then have your choice of all eligible maidens for the fertility celebration at midnight.”
This nonsense was enough to bring me back to my senses. Demeter’s Field was just another crazy cult sacrificing humans to some obscure deity. And even worse than sacrificing me into a bag of fertilizer, they were going to send my husband to bed with some young hippy chic? Oh hell no.
A quick check of the surroundings revealed everyone hard at work in the fields, their baskets awaiting tonight’s festivities. I shoved Mother Diana backwards knocking her off her chair. She hit her head on the concrete and lost consciousness.
“Help me, quick!” I said and grabbed her shirt and pulled her into her kitchen. David grabbed her feet. “Find a wrench. I know she has one. She must.” I ordered.
David used whatever sense of tool-keeping men seemed to have inherent in their genes and went right for the drawer holding a powerful pair of pliers. I held my hand out to him and without questioning me, he gave them up.
“Hold her down” I said. He did. He is a good husband. I don’t think he would have stood by and let them burn me at the stake. I don’t think he would take a young girl to bed the night of my death either, but what makes him a really good husband is that he knows he doesn’t have to save me. He just has to be there in case I need some assistance saving myself. And all I needed was a little help. I ripped every one of her teeth out of her old hag’s jaw bone. Each time I pulled one out, he stuffed a rag into her mouth to stifle her screams. When I’d harvested every last one, I hit her over her head with the heavy set of pliers and knocked her out. We plunged a tooth into every jar of jelly we could find and closed them back up.
We left her body—I don’t know if she was alive or dead—sitting on the chair where we’d found her. We each carried a basket full of jelly out into the commons. I put on the biggest hippy grin I could muster.
“Everyone! Hello, Every one, can I have your attention? Mother Diana” I gestured back to her “is feeling a little under the weather, she forgot to prepare her special jelly. She has asked that we distribute these in place of the others so that we may proceed with the ceremony tonight.” I held one out. “Come, everyone, come choose your jar. Mother says this year, your fate rests in your own hands.”
The flock came to me and David. One by one taking a tainted jar. We watched them carry their gifts gently as if they were transporting the vessels of their own souls. Once our baskets were empty, we dropped them and walked out of Demeter’s Fields forever.
“Can I buy you a cheeseburger?” I asked David. He laughed.
“With what? We’re broke.”
I held up the token molar. “Tooth Fairy money?”