Bon appétit! Or not...
"This is the best salad. " Mary dug into Emaline's contribution. "I'm so glad you decided to bring it instead of dessert."
"Quite all right," Emaline muttered, and escaped to the lobby, where tables were set up for diners.
People were already talking about going back for dessert when she took the seat next to Roger. Without enthusiasm, Emaline looked at the contents of her plate. She really didn't care for plain oil and vinegar dressing, but she forked up a bit of her salad anyway. A fat caper rolled off her fork and fell to the floor. She looked, but couldn't see where it had gone.
At least it wasn't as likely to stain the carpet in here, like the spilled spaghetti sauce had last year.
Conversation swirled around her, but she found nothing to add. Roger was, for a change, equally silent as he chased the last bites around his plate. She sampled the mysterious casserole she'd taken a small spoonful of and discovered it to be a risotto made with blue cheese. But what was the green and brown topping? Tasty, whatever it was.
Her second bite of salad had a strange flavor, like nothing she'd put into it. She picked up her napkin and spat the half-chewed mouthful into it. Turning slightly, so no one would see, she opened the napkin and looked at its contents. Most of the lettuce had been masticated into an unsightly mass, but there were some shreds of dark green she didn't recognize. She sniffed, but smelled nothing beyond greens, so she closed the napkin around the mass and set it aside. There was so much on her plate, she didn't really need the salad.
Everyone was happily munching on dessert when someone cried out, a high, ululating cry that faded off into a moan in the suddenly silent room.
"Mary! Mary!" The shriek echoed and re-echoed.
God Rest Ye, Mary (ISBN 978-1-60174-047-2) is available from Uncial Press
and most other online ebooksellers, or ask for it at your local library.