Log:Eat Your Heart Out
The Scholar's been holed up in his room for a fair amount of this waking cycle, digging through his books and taking notes. A lot of notes. So, so many notes. Now that he can do it, he's filling notebooks with thoughts and ideas and researching just about anything which comes to mind. Today, it appears to be something to do with textiles history. He's paging through a book describing various types of weaves, and their practical, industrial uses. Next to that are a couple of other books detailing things like the involvements of silk and cotton in wars, salvery, and colonialism and the mechanics of the looms.
He's dressed in denim jeans and a short-sleeved Linnaeus flower clock shirt in white. An empty plate suggesting some sort of hours-past meal sits off to one side, along with an mostly-empty pitcher of horchata.
Suddenly there comes a tapping, as if someone gently rapping, rapping at his chamber door.
Without glancing up, the Scholar says, "It's open." He flips through a few more pages, makes some more notes.
No answer. The door doesn't open.
After a moment the Scholar looks up at his door, frowns, and gets to his feet. He comes over and opens the door, brow furrowed with curiosity.
No one out there, but there is a box. It's red, with a black ribbon and bow. There's a small card attached.
The Scholar looks up and down the hall, still frowning, takes up the box. He reads the card first; it's only polite.
"Bastian," the card reads in a spidery hand.
"I'd give you mine, but I keep dying before I get it in the box."
The Scholar makes a low sound, turns the card over, tucks it into a pocket and opens the box. He's wary as he does so; there's only a few things he can think of which would kill someone before they put it into a box.
It's about the right size and shape for a human heart, but it's chocolate. At least the outer shell is. It's much too heavy to just be chocolate though, pretty and shiny as it is.
"Huh," the Scholar says, nonplussed. He feels the weight of the box in his hands. Too small for a cow's heart. Maybe it is a human heart? Could the dispenser be talked into one of those? It could be asked for various animal organs, though he'd never thought to try for human. Or maybe it was from one of the Anywhere Rooms; Wendy had obtained those seeds, as Max.
He considers the chocolate a moment, finds a weak enough corner to attempt to break through, if indeed it's a shell and there's a heart underneath it.
There is! It's actual, raw organ meat beneath the shell. Since they can't bring back objects from the Anywhere rooms, and it's highly unlikely that the dispensers offer human flesh, his best guess is perhaps that of a pig? It is, yes, too small for a cow.
The Scholar pops the piece of chocolate into his mouth, considers the heart in the box. Well, either he has a secret admirer--possible, though he thinks unlikely--or, there's really only two candidates, and since of them is Colorado, that means there's only one. He can start with her, at any rate.
He makes his way down the hall to Creepshow's room, breaking off bits of chocolate to nibble on as he goes.
Creepshow answers the door with a demure little smile, her hair an untamed explosion of frizz today. She wears a sports halter and yoga pants. "Hello," she coos up at him, leaning against the doorframe.
"Hello," the Scholar greets Creepshow, his smile both coy and warm. "Some fine, lovely person left me this chocolate covered pig heart in place of their own." He peers down into the box at it, eyeing it critically. "Bastian used to process his own kills. He ate deer heart a fair bit." He glances up at her. "I could cook it for us, if you like. Should still taste good." He breaks a piece of chocolate off the heart and offers it to her.
Creepshow parts full, soft lips to take the offered chocolate, then smiles as she chews. "They must be very special, indeed," she notes in an innocent tone. She opens the door a bit wider to allow entry. "Do we have anywhere to cook? I think Kimberly has a hotplate, but... Or we could take it through a door."
"I was thinking through a door," the Scholar says with a nod. He comes inside, putting the lid back on the box and retying the ribbon. "I'm sure I could get the room to make me a restaurant kitchen to myself. Then we could do all manner of fun things." Well, fun for him, maybe. He raises his eyebrows to see if she's interested. "Or, we could do something else, if you have any ideas or preferences. I seem to recall we were considering a drive-in."
Creepy gestures back out. "While I'm inclined to just say fuck it and screw you unconscious, I think a little kitchen time could be fun. Like Max and Bas making breakfast."
The Scholar smiles at her, slow and contemplative, takes up the box again. "Anticipation is the purest form of pleasure," he says. As he heads out the door, he adds, "Who knows, maybe heart muscle is an aphrodisiac," over his shoulder. "Only one way to find out." He eyes the box, biting his lip. "Should be a quick marinade I can throw together, pan fry it...what to have with it, though. Gnocchi, maybe? They cook fast..."
Creepshow pads along with him, following him through the door and into a kitchen of his desire. "I leave it entirely up to you," she says. I'm good with whatever you choose."
It's a restaurant kitchen, with a huge walk-in refrigerator and Viking gas stove, long, stainless steel prep counters and every piece of kitchen-ware Bastian could have ever wanted. He's still the Scholar though; it's a little too painful to be Bastian very much, just yet.
He sets to shelling the heart, nibbling on the chocolate as he goes. "Inspired by Colorado's box of anatomical chocolates?" he asks around a grin. "I thought that was reasonably clever, I might see about making him some which are flavored like mixed drinks."
Likewise Creepshow remains her new self, not reverting to Max. "A bit," she admits with a little smile. "Plus, like I said, I'd give you mine but it wouldn't even make it to the box, let alone your door. It's the thought that counts, right?"
The Scholar offers her another piece of chocolate, expression softening from the teasing coyness its been sporting to something gentler. "It is," he agrees. He considers the heart, nods. "Right, a quick pan fry." He washes off the heart and butterflies it, pulls down some olive oil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper, makes a quick marinade for it to soak in. He preps the gnocchi, getting the water to boil and setting up a pan of browned butter and sage to finish them with. Then it's back to frying the heart, which is a brief affair, and back to the gnocchi to finish those off
It doesn't take long to cook all of it; he's done in just fifteen minutes. "The heart is a working muscle," he explains. "So you either have to book it very fast, or very slow and for a long time. Anything else makes it tough." The gnocchi are crispy and buttery-sage on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. The pig's heart has a strong, unique, pork-like flavor, accented with the pepper and herbs.
Creepshow watches him cook, hefting herself up to sit on a counter, feet swinging. She seems to enjoy the show. "Like my own, personal Food Network show," she muses. When he's done, she remains where she is, taking the plate and eating neatly.
"It's strange," she says. "This body came with tastes and cravings. I know none of my lives had Jamaican cuisine, but I wanted' Jamaican jerk after the change. I even knew what it would taste like. And rum punch. I wonder what it means."
"Caleb--ah, Lyle," the Scholar says, correcting himself around a bite of heart, "has indicated he realized he was fond of South African food." He raises his eyebrows. "If the theory that we are from somewhere outside this place holds--maybe this is the afterlife, or we're prisoners, or we're copies of someone, much like when you were Ramona--then any of that might easily explain a source of such memories." He tilts his head. "Colorado, for example, has more than a bit of the Southwest to him." Of course then there's himself, as generic as could be, though perhaps it was less that and more 'well traveled' and Cosmopolitan. Who knew?
"I was Latin," Creepshow says between bites. "White-passing hispanic, but still. Each life - except Ramona - had that as a part of her. Now I think I'm part Caribbean. Doubt I'm full anything. Could be Creole. Who knows." A shrug.
"So if we were someone before coming here, what does my change mean? How do we explain that?"
The Scholar checks the refrigerator and, ah ha! Cold beer. The room thought of everything. Or he did, however they want to look at it. He pops open the lids and offers one to Creepshow; they're lagers. "If you don't like this I'm sure there's something else in there," he adds, takes a drink.
"Well, if were to think of it as us being some kind of observed experiment, then it's as simple as them wanting to see a new dynamic." He shrugs about that. "On the other hand, if it's Purgatory or Hell, perhaps this is the result of a new life you're going to be reborn into." He pauses in the act of taking a bite of gnocchi. "I suppose that might mean it's soon," he says, voice low. He has the dumpling before his appetite can think to depart.
"We've been back a while this time," says Creepshow after considering his words. "Longest I think we've been between lives. I gotta think we're going back in any day now, yeah? Thirties, it looks like. That could be particularly shitty depending."
The Scholar grunts, finishing off his plate and setting it aside. He settles against the counter next to her, beer in hand. "No depending about it, if you weren't rich the 1930s in the United States were terrible. Not much better elsewhere, either." He sighs, studies her. "I wish we had more time," he says, reaches out to touch her chin. "I feel like I've only just scratched the surface of things with you and Colorado."
Creepshow nuzzles against that hand. "We'll be back," she says, eyes closing. "Promise. And we can pick up where we left off."
"I hope so," the Scholar says, unable to prevent a brief frisson of fear. He knows what can happen during one of these lives, how people can fail to return.
He resolves not to think about that right now, leans in to brush his lips over hers. "Now, we've both partaken of your heart by proxy." He kisses her neck. "Still feel like fucking me senseless, or did you have something else in mind?"
"You pick," Creepshow murmurs, giving him a little smirk. "The rest of the day is entirely yours."