A Symmetry of Cake

The room was filled with the rich color of sunset but when a cloud passed over the front lawn there came a shifting of sorts; the golden light shuffled through a few shadows before settling again. The petulant muttering of bees insinuated the room was much warmer than seemed appropriate for spring.

In the center of the far wall, directly across the room from me, stood a young man of exceptional beauty. Opposite him, a table’s width away, stood a young woman equally as beautiful. Between them, very carefully arranged on what looked like one of my grandmother’s fine china dessert plates, rested a single slice of chocolate cake. The rich, dark color almost glowed in perfection against the white porcelain, marred only by one bite carelessly removed from the nearest corner.

The two figures glared at each other across the luscious battlefield. Both held forks in their right hands but it was impossible to ascertain who had eaten the first bite or who would take the next. Their eyes were locked as if they were engaged in a duel to the death and neither seemed likely to break the impasse.

I had never seen either one of them before in my life.

Quietly I backed out of the room and retreated to the front door. Only then did I notice the portrait of my grandparents, which usually hangs above the mantel in the middle of the far wall. It was leaning at a drunken angle against the hallway console table.

“Honey?” I called, advancing bravely once again to stand in front of my fireplace. “Did you buy another new piece of art?”

“Nope,” answered my husband’s deep voice unnervingly close behind me. “I found it in the attic. A striking piece, isn’t it? I felt compelled to bring it downstairs and hang it.” He handed me a glass of red wine and clicked his own lightly against it.

“Here’s to beauty,” he said, then nodded to the painting which I still couldn’t seem to look away from. “Isn’t she beautiful?” he murmured.

“Yes, he is,” I answered, absently wondering why I had thought the couple had been holding forks in their right hands? She was, clearly enough, but his fork was gripped tightly in his left so as to symmetrically balance their hands on either side of the slice of yellow cake with its two missing corners.

“Honey?” I said. “There’s something wrong here…..” He didn’t answer and without looking I knew that he was as absorbed in the painting as I was.

The cake seemed to be disappearing; now white, now pink and finally back to rich, dark, engulfing brown. Our dark wine tasted like chocolate and when the bees stopped whispering neither one of us seemed to notice.

When they find us I wonder if they will notice the puncture marks?

Zero to Hero Day Sixteen – Make a Prompt Personal – Publish a post based on your own, personalized take on today’s Daily Prompt. The Daily Prompt: Unexpected Guests You walk into your home to find a couple you don’t know in your living room, eating a slice of cake. Tell us what happens next.


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