Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Consumption by Michael Patrick Hicks

Release Date: October 14, 2014
Subgenre: Horror

ABOUT Consumption:

You Are

Reclusive chef Heinrich Schauer has invited six guests to a blind twelve-course tasting menu.

What You Eat

While snow blankets the isolated Swiss valley surrounding his estate, the guests feast eagerly, challenging one another to guess at the secret tastes plated before them.

Meat Is Murder

As they eat, each guest is overtaken by carnal appetites, unaware of their host’s savage plans...or of the creature lurking below.

One thing is clear: There is more on the menu than any of them have bargained for.

Consumption is a 12,000 word (approx.) short story. It contains graphic depictions of sex and violence, and is intended for mature audiences.


Heinrich Schauer drew the blade across the smooth, silky flesh, his face set with concentration. His eyes were narrowed in focus as the knife’s tip found thick bone, slicing down at an angle and then across, separating the soft tissue. His fingers pressed into the fatty outer layer, holding the meat still, as his blade sliced with surety and carved free a long strip of meat.

Marveling at the ugly creature lying prone before him, Schauer promised that not a bit of it would go to waste. He had a generous menu planned, the courses incomparable to anything he had ever created.

Setting the meat aside, he turned his attention to the network of tentacles along the beast’s flanks. They, too, were smooth, unlike those of, say, an octopus. While it lacked suckers, the heavy musculature was striated into narrow but pronounced gills. Moving away from the base, the flesh tapered to a jagged point, the thick tentacles ending in a jagged, vicious array of stingers.

Again, the knife bit in, piercing the hide and releasing a milky fluid as he separated the stingers from each long appendage. When he was finished, twelve evenly cut stingers stood atop the counter, their gray skin glistening beneath the white lights. While he doubted their digestibility, the stingers would make for a rather dramatic element in the main course’s plating.

He took stock of the rest of the monstrosity, formulating plans for each of the evening’s dishes, giving new weight to his previously fluid ideas.

The creature was fatty, but well-muscled. Its meat would be nicely marbled, and the back fat would be excellent for pan-frying. Tentacles lent themselves to numerous methods of preparation, and he immediately found himself mentally flicking through dozens of recipes: battered and fried, stewed with saffron and smoked paprika, or perhaps a preparation more classically Asian, with coconut milk and ginger, or stir-fried with scallions and ginger. He smiled as he struck upon the ideal recipe, one that he had always found to be charming with squid. The recipe would work rather nicely, and even provide a bit of levity as the meal got underway.

Yes, that was it, then. Hors d’oeuvres of deviled…devil? He smiled tightly at the small bit of humor as he wiped his hands clean on a dishtowel.

He prepared the broiler and oven, his ingredients neatly arranged, ready to begin.

Michael Patrick Hicks has worked as a probation officer, a comic book reviewer, news writer and photographer, and, now, author. His work has appeared in various newspapers in Michigan, as well as several The University of Michigan publications, and websites, such as Graphic Novel Reporter and Leelanau.com. He holds two bachelor’s degrees from The University of Michigan in Journalism & Screen Studies and Behavioral Science. His first novel was the science fiction thriller CONVERGENCE, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarterfinalist and a Kobo Next Read selection.

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