Aaron stood in the hall gazing at each and every painting on one of the walls. While the girl took longer, Aaron could not stop himself from admiring the beauty of the house. His eyes fell on the wooden bookshelf that had small statues on the top shelf. It was a row of characters you see in your real life, a postman, a security guard, a student with a bag on his shoulder, and many more…

The girl came with two cups of coffee and cookies. Her two pets, a dog and a cat wagging their tails in delight at her feet. Aaron had not anticipated such a warm welcome.

“Please be seated, you look tired so I brought coffee and cookies.” The girl smiled as she served the coffee and cookies on the tea table in front of them.

“Thanks for this generosity, I don’t know what to say.” He was at of loss of words.

“You can start with your name.” The girl smiled handing the coffee cup to Aaron.

“I am Aaron.”

“I am Hanna.” She took a sip of her coffee and asked further.

“So, Aaron, what brings you here? Let me guess… mmm… Museum…?” Hanna leaned back on her sofa.

“Ya, I came to see the paintings of Picasso. I am a huge fan of his work.” Aaron replied looking at the pets who stared back at him without even blinking their eyes, making Aaron uncomfortable.

Watching his discomfort, Hanna shoed the pets away and they walked to the other room but without taking their eyes off Aaron. It was an awkward sight as he had never seen the pets behave in such an absurd manner.

“So you are a painter ?” asked Hanna taking some more sips of her coffee.

“Ah… Nothing like that, but I want to be one, at least to create something aesthetic that will be remembered by if not all but few.” Aaron was more relaxed now with the pets nowhere in sight.

“What about you? Are you a painter too?” Aaron asked looking again at the paintings on the wall.

“I paint and bake. Baking is my passion and when I get tired, I drift to paint something that runs in the fields of my mind.” Her smile cast an enchanting spell on Aaron.

“Try the cookies. You’ll love them.” Saying so, Hanna passed the plate of freshly baked chocolate cookies. The first bite of cookie and Aaron could not resist himself from taking another, it was delicious.

“These are some best and the most delicious cookies that I have ever tasted. There must be some secret recipe for it.” Aaron asked taking another one.

“Yup… It is made by a very secret recipe my grandmother had taught me.” Her eyes had a sparkling glitter. Aaron felt uncomfortable being observed by her undivided attention and constant stare so his eyes drifted to the statues on the bookshelf.

“Seems you are good at pottery work also. Those statues…” Aaron pointed towards them to change the conversation.

“So you also didn’t get it…” Hanna laughed keeping her cup of coffee back.

“Sorry…” Aaron could not get what Hanna just said.

“They are not made of clay, but of dough… The cookie dough…” She winked and smiled making Aaron skip a beat.

“Are you serious…?” Aaron immediately got up to have a closer look at those small figurines. It was for the first time he observed them. Their facial features were perfect, they looked just like small human beings who may come to life at any moment.

“This is an amazing piece of artwork… Seems these too have some secret recipe…” Aaron spoke standing barely a few centimeters away from the miniature statues.

“You wanna know what’s the secret recipe ?” Hanna’s deep and husky voice fell on his ears like wind passing through the trees. She was standing right behind him. Aaron was jolted off his feet the hair on the nape of his neck stood upright as he turned back to face her. Her eyes penetrated his heart.

Before Aaron could respond, with one swift move Hanna slit his juggler vein. Aaron was aghast and before he could respond, Hanna stabbed the dagger right into his chest. She then pulled it out and stabbed him again.

Aaron fell on the ground and Hanna kept a bowl near his neck to collect the blood oozing out of his neck. She pulled out the dagger and pushed it in his stomach now. Groaning Aaron could not scream louder. The dog and cat pounced on his tearing flesh from Aaron’s body to claim their part of the feast.

“Not yet darlings.” Hanna pushed the dog and cat away and took Aaron’s hand to slit his wrist and collected more blood. Aaron’s eyes struck with horror began to turn glassy and stoned. Life departing from his dying body in a most brutal and painful way. Aaron was losing his life even before he would be actually dead.

“Human blood is the secret ingredient of my cookie recipe.” Hanna collected the blood from the bowl into an empty glass bottle and talked to the lifeless body of Aaron. The pets turn into menacing creatures who pounded on the leftover flesh of Aaron’s body.

Hanna got her dough bowl and added some of Aaron’s blood into it and made a perfect statue of Aaron who was no more in the house, not even the tiny bits of his bones were left on the floor.

Aaron’s statue was also now in the row of same other statues…

Written by: Hemang
Sketch: Paranj Sankdecha

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