Characters: Czeslaw, Firo + mention of Ennis
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and line the base of the pan, to the skin of the child, and push him into the oven. Bake for thirty minutes. Let it cool.
Czeslaw blinks, squints and turns the page. Wrong fairytale, wrong memory. Sometimes he hates the verbs cookbooks use. Whip, beat, crack an egg or two – it's too familiar, too fresh in his mind. He can feel his bones aching all over with the throbbing of an old wound.
"What are you making?" Czeslaw asks Firo, who hums in front of the oven armed with a wooden spoon. Spoons can be used to gouge out eyes. Tongs, too, red hot and rusting, but the curve makes all the difference. Knives are too easy. Tongs are messy. Spoons are efficient. He's forgotten which one hurts like a bitch the most and which one he can pretend doesn't hurt at all.
"Spaghetti," Firo says, stirring the sauce. He scoops up a spoonful and tastes it. He smiles.
Firo is easier to read than Ennis, who still has some difficulty adjusting to relative normalcy. It's the existential crisis that does it, Czeslaw thinks. What makes Firo more human (humane?) is his wonderful talent of blissful ignorance. That, and selective attention. He would run after a girl to return a button but he would forgot what his eyes do not perceive. Is this being human, or is it simply youth and folly?
"Here," Firo says, carefully setting the spoon in front of Czeslaw's mouth, like feeding a child. "Have a taste."
Anthrax can be ingested and can cause internal bleeding. Larger doses, quicker death. Czeslaw opens his mouth and takes it in, obediently. Firo beams. Oh, child, Czeslaw thinks, patronizing, this is not trust. This is only force of habit.