Stave 5: The End of It

In the morning, the Cult's membership could be located in the dining hall of their underground temple. Breakfast was being served to all those on the floor who ate at a steady pace.

On a balcony overlooking the hall's constituents, Gabriel, Ishmael, and Ophelia ate their breakfast as well - a higher quality meal for a higher quality person. They ravaged their plates, wolfing down their food - grilled steak, sausage links, eggs, fresh ham, newly squeezed orange juice, coffee, and other rich treats.

Caleb stumbled in from to the scene, after taking the necessary time to make himself as presentable as he could to the others.

"Damn, two more minutes, I woulda had his breakfast," Gabriel spouted.

"My word, Caleb, you look like exim'ha," Ishmael said.

"Bad night," Caleb responded.

"You mean hangover," Gabriel said, spooning up his eggs.

"And hangover," Caleb said. He sat down and slugged back the 'hair of the dog' at his setting. Caleb made sure the food preparers always had one out for him every morning. With that consumed he began to scrape up his lukewarm meal as well, something to absorb the poison sitting rock hard in his stomach. The others continued eating, mouths too full to bother saying anything. Ophelia grabbed the pitcher of orange juice across the table. Ishmael reached over for more toast.

"So, er, you guys... all right? I mean, how're ya doin'?" Caleb addressed the table hesitantly.

The trio froze in action and turned their eyes up at Caleb, mouths open wide for food to be shoveled in. They looked at him like he had suddenly painted himself with white clown make-up and put on a striped sweater.

"What the hell happened to you?" Ophelia asked after a few seconds.


"You're not devouring your food."

"You're asking us how we are," Ishmael chimed in.

"Did you get kidnapped by aliens or sometin'?" Gabriel said.

"Fine, forget it, just forget it," Caleb said angrily. "Forget I ever said anything." Caleb speared a mouthful of sausage, glommed it into his cheeks and chewed nosily, keeping his eyes down on his plate. Forget reaching out to them, it's a lost cause anyway. Forget them.

With things apparently back to normal, Ophelia, Gabriel, and Ishmael continued their meal as well. Suspicious though, they quickly dismissed the feeling in lieu of filling their stomachs.

Ben walked into his home's dining room in the morning and saw something he never expected. There was a package on his table, a present to be exact. A square box nicely wrapped in white, trimmed with an eggshell ribbon. Instead of going to pour his morning coffee he went for the box, for it was very curious indeed. Once approached, Ben noticed a tag placed under the ribbon that read With congratulations on your wedding day in gold ink.

"Honey," he called out. "Did you see this box here?"

"What box?" came a faint reply.

"In the dining room here?"

Ben undid the ribbon and lifted the lid of the box. Inside was a set of wine glasses. He took one out to examine it in the light. They were rimmed with pure gold, handcrafted, and frosted with beautiful designs and shapes, no doubt very expensive.

"Well, god bless us... everyone."