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Death By Chocolate

The Secret Ingredient

By Dawn SaloisPublished 3 years ago Updated 3 years ago 9 min read
Death By Chocolate
Photo by Will Echols on Unsplash

I assemble the ingredients for my chocolate cake on the counter. I put the dry ingredients together first in a bowl: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. I use a wire whisk to combine everything so it is well mixed. Then in a separate bowl I combine the sugar and butter and beat them until they are well combined. Then I mix in the three eggs that I have taken out early enough that they have come to room temperature. I carefully mix the vanilla into the wet ingredients. Finally I add the dry ingredients to the mixture, alternating it with the sour cream. Every step is carefully executed to make the cake turn out perfectly. Making sure that my cake is irresistible is my highest priority.

The most important part of my cake is the frosting, though. I want the frosting to be extra special. While the cake is in the oven I start to assemble the ingredients for the frosting. I put the chocolate chips and butter in the microwave and melt them at 30 percent power. I don’t want the ingredients to become grainy and unappetizing. When the chocolate chips and butter are melted I stir them together gently and let them cool while I measure out the other ingredients. I mix together the sour cream, vanilla, and salt. When the butter and chocolate mixture is cool enough I add the chocolate mixture and sour cream mixture to the powdered sugar. I can tell when I taste the results that Garrett will love it. I’ve been cooking for him and getting to know his preferences for a couple of months now and I know that I have found the perfect balance of sour and sweet to suit his taste.

When the ingredients for the frosting are all well combined I am ready to add the secret ingredient. I look around to make sure nobody else in the house is near the kitchen. I don’t want anyone else to know about the secret ingredient. I have watched and waited over the past couple of weeks to find the perfect addition for this cake. I needed something sweet that would not be too noticeable.

When I am satisfied that I am alone and unsupervised I pull my secret ingredient from its hiding place in the cupboard where it’s been hiding for over a week. I managed to rinse out an empty milk jug to store it. I hid the thick, green liquid in the most difficult-to-reach spot I could find in the kitchen. The cupboard next to the sink contains pots, pans, lids, and other cooking necessities, but it also has an area that is difficult to reach or see, and only the least frequently-used items are kept in it.

After I dump the antifreeze into the mixture I cover it with some of the frosting and immediately rinse the milk jug and put it in the garbage can. The difficult part of the plan is complete. I finish mixing the frosting and get the cake iced. I taste a small amount of the frosting to make sure it is good. I hope it won’t affect me too much, but I can’t risk having Garrett become aware of what I’ve done. The frosting is delicious, so I know Garrett will eat it quickly as soon as he tastes it.

I put the cake in the fridge to help set the frosting. The extra liquid made it a little runny and I want everything to be perfect. I get busy preparing the rest of dinner. I know the other occupants of the house will be eating dinner, so I can’t tamper with that. I know Garrett’s partner, Jared, will also eat the poison, but Sarah and I will not be allowed to eat the cake. Sarah is the other girl who is captive in the house. She is kept in the basement in a room full of toys, because she is too young to cook. Garrett seems to want us as “daughters,” so I hope he continues to see us as children until we can get away from him. Garrett will not allow us to eat the desserts I make because he wants his “daughters” to stay thin.

I get ready to make spaghetti with marinara sauce because everyone enjoys it and I want Garrett to be in a good mood for the cake. Sarah and Jared will come upstairs for dinner so we can eat “as a family.” After dinner Sarah will be taken back downstairs while I clean up the kitchen and Garrett and Jared eat some cake and then have a drink together.

When the spaghetti is ready I set the table for four people. Garrett has always tried to create a “family atmosphere” around meals. He sees himself as responsible for both of us, because he has chosen to take on the role of our “father” and he takes it very seriously. As the oldest daughter I take care of preparing the food and cleaning the house. Luckily my real parents saw that I learned to do both of these household tasks, so I have been mostly able to avoid disappointing Garrett. The one time I accidentally burned dinner demonstrated for me how undesirable disappointing Garrett would be. He said I needed to learn how to cook if I wanted to be able to get a husband, because I’m already ugly and no man would put up with a wife who is both ugly and a bad cook. He also used his leather belt to spank me, and it hurt more than I could have imagined. My real parents did not spank me because they had read about the emotional damage physical punishment could do to a child, so I was not used to being punished in that way. I found it degrading and humiliating. I had learned a lot about what I am capable of handling in the two months since Garrett acquired me as his daughter, though.

Garrett brought Sarah home two weeks after me so I could help take care of her. She is only six years old, and since I am thirteen I am old enough to look after her needs and comfort her. He even made sure we looked like we could be real sisters. We both had blond hair and blue eyes, which went well with Garrett’s own blond hair and blue eyes. We looked like a real family. After allowing us to form a bond he used Sarah to control me. When I was reluctant to stay in line and follow orders he threatened to hurt Sarah, because he knew that I felt protective of her. It was because of Sarah that I had not tried to escape even though I am free to move around the house. There were locked doors, of course, but I had been made aware that if I escaped Jared was usually within easy reach of Sarah and he had been instructed to kill her if anything happened to bring Garrett’s carefully planned household crashing down.

I couldn’t tell what Garrett and Jared’s relationship was exactly, but I could tell that Garrett was definitely “the boss.” Jared did whatever Garrett wanted him to do and they seemed to have almost a teacher and student relationship. Even though Jared did not seem to be comfortable with hurting either Sarah or me, I believed he would do whatever Garrett told him to do.

I have been working on the poisoned dessert plan for many weeks. I knew I needed to do something to get Sarah and me out of here, but it seemed impossible until recently. Garrett has started drinking more in the evening lately. He seems stressed out and he is probably worried about getting caught with the two girls he stole and forced to act as his “daughters.” I know the police and our parents are searching for us. I have overheard news stories that Garrett watches on his laptop when he thinks I’m busy with my chores.

I have been able to get access to areas of the house I could not get to before Garrett started “passing out” every night. The outside doors are all locked, but I have been able to get to the garage. I remembered my parents telling me to be careful that my dog, Pongo, did not get to the antifreeze in our garage at home because it would kill him. They said the antifreeze tasted sweet and Snowball would want to eat it if he could. I don’t know if I have added enough to kill anyone, but I hope it at least makes Garrett and Jared really sick long enough for me to get Sarah and get out of the house.

Even though Garrett and Jared took us away from our families and treated us badly, the thought of killing either of them still really bothers me. I feel weak thinking that way because I have to do this not only for me, but for Sarah too. I hope they are just incapacitated long enough for us to escape so I don’t have to live with the knowledge that I am a murderer.

I am pulled from my string of thoughts by Garrett coming into the kitchen with Jared and Sarah behind him. I dish up the spaghetti and sauce and put the plates in each spot on the table.

“This looks really good, Tara,” said Sarah.

“Thank you, Sarah. I hope you like it.” Being around my “sister” helps me relax a little bit and stop doubting my plan.

We have just finished the meal and Jared has just gone downstairs with Sarah when there is a firm knock at the door.

Garrett looks at me and says, “Remember that Jared is alone with Sarah. He knows what to do if I signal him.”

I nod that I understand his threat and promise to stay silent while he gets the door. He is only gone for a few minutes, but it seems like a long time. The kitchen is at the back of the house, so I can’t hear or see what’s happening at the front door, but eventually Garrett comes back through the kitchen and calls Jared from the top of the stairs. I pull the cake out of the fridge and cut two pieces and put them on plates while Garrett and Jared speak in hushed voices in the stairway. I can’t tell exactly what they’re saying, but I hear the words “police” and “search.”

“They might still be looking for Sarah and me,” I think to myself.

Finally they finish talking and come into the kitchen. They sit at the table, but neither of them start to eat right away. They look worried.

Garrett says, “I’m going to take a look outside. I’ll be right back.”

All of the delays are making me more and more nervous about the cake. What if they are too worried to eat it? I don’t know if I’ll ever have another chance to go to the garage and get more antifreeze. What if Garrett gets scared and decides to “get rid” of us before the police can find us.

After what seems like an eternity Garrett comes back inside looking much more relaxed.

He sits at the table with Jared and says, “Everything is quiet out there.”

The men finally pick up their forks and start to eat.

Garrett gets a couple of bites in and then looks at me over by the sink where I’m washing dishes and says, “Wow, Tara, this is the best slice of chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted! Is that a new recipe?”

“Yes it is. It’s called Death By Chocolate Cake.”

Short Story

About the Creator

Dawn Salois

Mother of a wonderful son. Writing is a relatively new passion of mine. I love to create my own images. Self-published author of Shadow and Flame.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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