Miss Peasy lived in a house made of sugar and consumed corn for her entire life. Corn seeds spouted from her ears; she planted them in her garden already occupied with daffodils and wild Dahlias. Summer rains impregnated the ground and as a result, stalks of golden elongated heads of corn sprouted from the underbelly of the earth.
Miss Peasy’s remarkable talent was known by the locals and they hated her for it; their hate grew to the size of some massive airless balloon. She ignored their resent as she would regularly shop for pounds of sugar to repair the damage done to the house by a couple of arrogant blue tits.
Her father, Maximo Peasy had invented the house which mostly comprised of sugar except for the wooden sills and oak floors; it was the perfect hiding place for his princess. It took two years to build the sugar house. In the summer of 1995, Maximo concealed his beautiful daughter’s eyes with his smelly, hard scabbed palms.
“Don’t peep now precious,” he said with excitement.
He lifted his gorilla palms to unveil a magnificent sugar house that reflected in the sun resembling myriad diamond eyes. The creation of Maximo made the local papers, clients stormed his house in hopes that he might replicate his masterpiece but he immediately turned them down.
“I built that house for my princess,” he said, smiling. He turned down millions.
Sadly four years later the same brilliantly talented man would be committed to a sanatorium. His wife, Mrs. Peasy insisted that he was mad and urgently needed help even though he had passed psychiatric evaluation and had no history of mental illness in his family. His daughter was devastated and refused to leave the comfort of the house. Maximo Peasy died a year later; he remembered no one other than his princess and the sugar house he built for her; a cocoon of love preserving his daughter’s inner and outer beauty.
Shortly after Maximo’s death, Mrs. Peasy remarried Mr Pinkelworth, a wealthy businessman. Her stepdaughter, Rose Pinkelworth died shortly after their wedding from an aggressive stomach ache. Doctors could not determine the cause of illness. A month after the funeral, Mr Pinkelworth took ill and two months later, he died from a burst colon. Detectives stormed the Pinkelworth residence questioning Mrs. Pinkelworth but found no evidence against her. She inherited the residence, business and millions. Mrs. Pinkelworth was a wealthy, powerful and successful woman within a matter of months. Her daughter had nothing to do with her.
Miss Peasy knew no other love beside her father until she met Thomas Cake. She found Thomas to be breath-taking and romantic. Flowers were constantly delivered to her doorstep with romantic cards attached.
You take my breath away Miss Peasy, one said.
The man was spontaneous, kind, conservative and willing to do anything for her. Every weekend was spectacular as he would serenade her and then make love to her all afternoon; they would chat into the night and make love again.
One thing that lurked within the shadows of Miss Peasy’s mind was that Thomas refused to tell her what he did for a living. With all the time they spent together, it seemed he had no earnings but that would make no sense as he bought her countless gifts and asked for nothing in return beside the love she could give him. Two years passed and her love for him grew.
One sunless afternoon, Miss Peasy received a fat envelope with her name and address on it. She opened it and a wad of money clad in sweat fell into her palms, blood money.
There was a note:
Without money, what are we?
She immediately grasped the phone and dialled her mother’s number.
“Pinkelworth residence, how may I help you?” asked Constantina
It was a voice she did not recognise.
Must be the maid, she thought.
“Could you put me through to Mrs. Pinkelworth please?” she asked, the blood rushing to her face.
“One moment Madame,” she replied.
The line went fuzzy and a cunning voice came through,
“Hello darling, I take it you received the small gratitude I sent,” she said with a hint of menace.
“Listen here; I don’t want a damned thing from you! You killed that man and his daughter! You had father committed you evil snake!” She shouted with tears running down her angelic cheeks.
“Shut up you silly girl, you’re just like your crazy father. Careful or you might end up like him. Crazy runs in the genes,” she retorted.
“You are the one that’s crazy! You never gave a damn about daddy!” she screamed, the rush of blood turning her face crimson.
“You silly trout, can’t you tell I want a better life for you? A life rotten from wealth, richness spurting from the earth instead of silly corn. Can you not see that, you silly girl?” she asked without a trace of anger.
She slammed the phone down with hot tears falling to the ground.
I never want to speak to that snake again, she thought.
Once Thomas walked into the sugar house, he felt the menacing atmosphere and found Miss Peasy crying on the sofa.
Without asking anything, he embraced her.
Thank goodness for Thomas, she thought.
He wiped away the tears with his soft, gentle fingers.
“Thank you Thomas, I needed that,” she said gratefully.
He smiled and gently guided her to the bedroom where they made love till the evening.
He stroked her milk-tea nipples and smiled a wolfish smile; something she had never recognised before. She had never seen that smirk before, for some reason it petrified her.
“I have a favour to ask sweetness,” he said with that unwanted smile plastered across his face.
“Anything for my darling Thomas,” she said lovingly.
“You have to cut off your ears if you want to be with me,” he said curtly.
The blood drained from her face.
“What?” she asked zombie-like.
“You’ll have to package your ears in a neat box and present it as a gift to me,” he urged.
“But they are my ears, I grow food from them. Please don’t make me cut off my own ears to be with you,” she pleaded.
“I’m not making you do anything sweetie, it was just a suggestion in order for us to live happily together,” he hissed.
She could not believe that this was the same man she fell deeply in love with.
“Don’t you want me in your life?” he asked.
‘Yes, of course I do,” she said curtly.
“Then do this for me,” he persistently said.
“I won’t be able to hear or grow corn,” she said.
“You have me. I’ll learn sign language and we could live without the corn and grow tomatoes instead,” he pleaded.
Her face contorted and she forced a smile.
“I suppose I could do it for us to be together,” she forcefully said.
“Great! Let’s get married tomorrow!” he shouted.
A genuine smile spread across her face. She always wanted to be Mrs. Cake.
“But before we get married, I need to make arrangements and I do think it would be best if we cut off your ears before the big day,” he urged.
The smile instantaneously disappeared and fear grew in the pit of her gut like a malignant tumour.
“If you think that would be best,” she uttered.
At last, she would be Mrs. Cake, she thought.
In the coldness of her room, Miss Peasy cut through her flesh with sharp scissors. Blood spurted to the floor like dead mush of black beetles. The little black drops of blood terrified Miss Peasy but she was determined to become Mrs. Cake. Blood gushed to the floor and she passed out.
She awoke to a blinding light, murmurs of surrounding voices and then nothing.
At least I’m with daddy, she thought.
Miss Peasy awoke, a vase of pretty peonies sat next to her. She saw patients and nurses she did not recognise, their mouths moved but no voices came out. She reached for her ears and felt bandages. She no longer had ears.
Thomas got what he wanted and now I’ll finally get to be Mrs. Cake, she thought.
The nurse walked over to her and noticed a peculiar smile spread across her face. Naturally, she was shocked.
The woman can no longer hear and here she is smiling like a maniac, thought the nurse.
The nurse wrote something down:
You lost a lot of blood; a Mrs. Constantina brought you here. You were very lucky.
Miss Peasy snatched the pen and paper and hurriedly wrote:
Where is my husband, Thomas Cake?
The nurse raised an eyebrow and wrote back:
Thomas Cake? The millionaire? He grows corn and supplies the local markets. As far as I am concerned, he married a young Arabic woman.
Miss Peasy let out a bloodcurdling scream but she heard nothing.
Five years passed but Miss Peasy would never be the same again. She had learnt sign language but still felt helpless and lost. She could no longer hear the sweet strum of music and harmonious voices from her old radio. She had not uttered a word since that day she had heard Thomas, the love of her life had married an Arabic woman and stole her ears to make a fortune. She occasionally spotted him in various local newspapers smiling with her cornfield in the background and his arm around his lovely, voluptuous bride’s waist. She felt defeated.
She found pleasure through reading and was a regular visitor at the local library.
One cloudless afternoon, she visited the local library but could not shake the feeling of a pair of eyes following her every movement. She turned and noticed a woman dressed in a floor-length black laced gown staring at her. She felt the room spin and fell into the woman’s arms.
“Who are you?” asked Miss Peasy.
“I am whoever you want me to be,” she responded in a tone of ice.
What shocked Miss Peasy is that she heard the woman clearly but when she turned to look around her, she only saw mouths flapping but no sound coming from them.
“What do you want?” asked Miss Peasy fearfully.
“To kill Thomas Cake and take back what is solely yours,” she responded with no vestige of emotion.
“What is mine?” asked Miss Peasy.
“Your gift Miss Peasy, your gift,” she said curtly.
Miss Peasy stared into those minacious black cold eyes of hers and she disappeared.
Time passed and the woman in black took revenge on Thomas Cake. The doctors could not find out what had happened to the young man. One day, he suddenly stopped speaking and moving. He lay in bed like a corpse as his eyes darted across the room as if he saw someone who wasn’t there. He could not move, speak or eat. A month later, Thomas Cake died and his Arabic wife remarried a wealthy businessman.
Miss Peasy heard a knock at the door, it made her jump. She opened the door and saw the woman in black face to face with her.
“Here are your ears,” she said.
She held up Miss Peasy’s ears neatly clad in red velvet cloth embedded within a miniature bed of cotton.
Miss Peasy smiled.
“What did you do to him?” she asked as the smile fell.
“I ate his soul and then I ate his heart,” she said coldly.
She sewed the ears back onto Miss Peasy, the needle erect penetrating her flesh. Pain erupted as drops of darkened blood fell to the oak floor. Tears streamed down Miss Peasy’s face; rivers of black mascara ran down the hills of her cheeks.
“Don’t ever let a man take away your gift,” said the woman in black in a dead tone of ice.
“I won’t ever allow a man to take away my gift for foolhardy love,” she uttered.
The woman in black nodded and left.
There had been no other love like my father’s love, thought Miss Peasy.
Her lips contorted into a strange smile.
Indian Review | Literature and Fiction | Fairy Tale | Sasheera Gounden is a freelance writer who has a flare for writing. Numerous of her poems have been published on Literary Yard and The Guwahatian. Short fiction: “For the Love of Miss Sue” was published in the May issue of The Bitchin’ Kitsch (2016). Artworks: “Black and White” published in Guwahatian Volume 3, Issue 2 (2016).
Indian Literature, Fiction and Poetry from Authors around the world….
Sasheera Gounden is a South African English teacher who has a flare for writing. Her article, “Twenty years of growth and success” was published in Accounting SA July 2015 issue. She has written numerous poems and short stories which have been published in The Literary Yard, The Bitchin’ Kitsch (2016) and the Guwahatian.