Utah’s Round 7 Challenge: Incorporate a Steak Knife (taken from Fyor’s Story). Word limit: 600.
Read UTAH 6 here (see “Similar Posts” at the bottom of this post for any earlier entries)
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“Corey!” Jacob said. “We’ve gone over this a dozen times. The fork always stays in your left hand! Only rednecks switch back and forth.”
Corey stared vacuously at her plate through disheveled hair. With the fork in her right hand, she continued jabbing at the pieces of chuck steak that Jacob had fried up for her fourteenth birthday.
Jacob slammed down his silverware, grabbed her right wrist, and began prying the fingers apart. “Leave me alone,” she murmured.
“Give me the fork, Corey,” he said between clenched teeth. Once he tore the fork free, he took the steak knife, which was lying in a thin pool of blood on her plate, and jammed the handle into her right palm. He then forced the fork into her left hand. “The right hand cuts. The left hand stabs. I won’t tell you again.”
“You’re hurting me…”
“I’m trying to teach you things!” he said, sending flecks of spittle flying. His knuckles whitened as he squeezed down upon her small hands before releasing them. “Do you want to grow up to be trailer trash?”
Corey abruptly pushed herself away from the table and leapt up. The box wine they’d been drinking since mid-afternoon toppled onto the linoleum floor, spilling rosé over the vinyl flooring.
“Stay away from me! I’ll stab you, I swear it!” Corey stepped backwards towards the door, weaving unsteadily and wielding the steak knife in front of her.
Jacob intertwined his fingers over his belly and leaned back. “And where will you go, Corey, drunk, at night, in the dead of winter?”
“Anywhere away from you! You think you can keep me locked up my whole life in this hellhole, you… you kidnapper, you… rapist!”
The soft dark skin under Jacob’s left eye twitched. “I never touched you against your will. Not once. And I’ve never forced you to stay. You came to me. Remember that.”
“I’m leaving,” she said, the steak knife trembling before her.
Jacob motioned toward the door. “You’ve always been free to go. Go back to your mother, if she’ll take you. Go back to your mundane, tedious life.”
“Go to hell.” With the knife upraised, she stepped backwards out the door and into the snowy dusk.
Jacob picked up the box wine from the floor and refilled his glass. A moment later an explosion of barks and snarls filled the silence, followed by the thudding of running footsteps along the porch.
Corey burst into the front door and slammed the door behind her. She turned to face Jacob, her back and palms pressed against the door.
“You know how to tell a full-bodied wine?” Jacob said, swirling his wine up by the fluorescent light. “You check to see how many legs slide down the inside of the glass when you swirl it around. The more the better.” He examined the glass. “They must have sold us a bad box.”
The steak knife slipped from her grip as Corey slid down along the door, sobbing, until her stomach came down onto her knobby knees.
He sat next to her on the floor and offered her his glass. “Don’t take the barking personally. It’s just Herb’s way of saying, ‘Stick around.’”
Corey drank the wine between sobs. “I really didn’t mean it when I… I just got…”
“Shhhhhh, it’s okay,” Jacob said, running his fingers through her frayed hair. “It’s okay, my love. Everything will be okay.”