"That is it, Dale!" Marietta cried. She had been hurt by him for the last time. She raced through the house, hot on his heels, cast iron skillet in hand as she cataloged his wrongs. "I forgave you for Lucy the barmaid! You said it would be the last time, but you lied! Then came Susanne, the neighbors' daughter! Bethany, the veterinarian! Alice from the general store! And now my own sister! You filthy pig!"
At last she had him cornered in the bedroom. Dale cowered. There was nowhere left for him to go. "I'm sorry, baby! I'm sorry! Please! I'll do anything!"
"Anything?" Marietta asked, a smile creeping across her lips.
"Anything," Dale repeated, breathlessly. "Anything at all."
Marietta was silent for a moment. She hefted the pan in one hand. At last, she made her request. "Die!"
She brought the skillet down hard. It cracked against Dale's skull. He let out a scream which quickly died away. Blow after blow after blow she dealt him. Ribbons of red splashed the wall, the bed, and anything else nearby. Each successive thud was wetter than the last. She only stopped when there was barely any head left to hit.
As she surveyed the damage, Marietta's rage melted into guilt and regret. "Oh my Lord, what have I done?!" she cried. She knelt beside what remained of the only man she'd ever loved. Pitifully, she took his limp hand in her own and pressed it to her face. "Oh, Dale, why? Why?!" There she stayed for some time, weeping, begging an answer that would never come from a body that could no longer give it.
At last, she had no more tears to shed, and her thoughts turned to action. This mess had to be disposed of, but how? She sat on the splattered bed, a much more comfortable place to weigh her options. It was as she sat there that she happened to gaze out the window. The sight of the pigsty met her eyes, and a fit of inspiration overtook her. She had heard of it somewhere before: a woman, probably not unlike herself, had killed her lover and fed him to her pigs. Why should she herself not do the same? Why, it seemed almost as if the answer had been handed to her by some unseen, helpful force.
With new resolve, Marietta set about her task at once. It took quite a bit of strength to drag Dale to the bathtub, but the sense of accomplishment she felt upon making it there was well worth the effort. Next, she ran and fetched the hacksaw from Dale's workbench. She remembered as she handled it how happy he had been to have acquired a tool of such quality. It almost made her laugh to think of how closely acquainted with that quality he would soon become.
Upon returning to the bathroom, she set straight to work, first separating the body into large chunks, and then smaller and smaller until the whole thing seemed manageable. A few moments later, what remained of Dale lay in the pigs' trough, the animals christening him with greedy slobber.
Soon, the sight of such beasts making a meal of her lover became too much to bear. Marietta covered her face and wept afresh, the sound of her sobs nearly drowning out the scarfing and snuffling of the pigs. When at last she had cried her fill, she pulled herself to her feet. The sun, she noticed, had begun its descent, and there was still much work to be done. Marietta turned, went back into the house, and began the grim task of removing Dale's memory.
It was hours and hours into the night by the time she finished. She lumbered back into the bedroom, her limbs heavy with exhaustion. She flopped onto the bare mattress and there she stayed for Heaven only knew how long. So deeply did she sleep that the rooster's crow did not awaken her, and so she remained in bed, slumbering long past her usual waking hour, leaving the farm unattended and the animals to grow hungry and restless.
When at last her eyelids fluttered open, it was well past noon. The summer sun had begun to beat through the open window, filling the room with an oppressive heat. Though the room appeared to be cleansed of what had gone the day before, the heat had found and released an odor that was better suited to the inside of a human body, and away from the nostrils of the living.
Marietta covered her face with one hand and moved quickly from the room. In doing this, her eyes landed on a clock which hung on the wall. An instinctive panic seized her. Could it really be so late in the day? How dead asleep she must have been! Murder, she reasoned, was certainly tiring work.
Marietta set about the duties of the day, ready to make up for what time had been lost that morning. The first order of business was to feed the pigs once again. A pang of sadness struck her heart at the thought. Would feeding the pigs ever feel the same, she wondered, knowing as she did what she had done with Dale? She could only hope that, one day, her feelings toward her duty would return to relative normalcy.
Gingerly, she approached the pigsty, being careful not to spill any of the slop that filled each of the two buckets she carried. Her attempts were all in vain, however, as the sight she saw there caused her to drop and spill both. Standing at the trough was a single male pig. The others of his species busied themselves in far corners of the sty, but this one there stood fat and proud. It was as if he had been waiting for her, and as she drew nearer, this possibility seemed more and more likely. The animal had a strange look to it. Marietta had seen this very animal every day since he'd been born, but today, for the first time, it seemed to be less animal and more man. The very human twinkle in its eye unsettled her. Its lips appeared to grin. Even its snout seemed to have morphed into the shape of a prominent nose. All of these features worked together to leave her with one chilling impression.
"Dale?" The word came up barely above a whisper. Even so, the animal seemed to hear and reacted with excitement.
Marietta could feel the tears returning to her eyes. Guilt seized her. "Oh, Dale!" she bellowed. "Dale, I'm so sorry!" She reached out to the animal and stroked it gently on the head. It seemed to lean into her touch, an act she interpreted as blessed forgiveness. "Oh, thank you, Dale! Thank you!" Marietta wept even harder, praying the moment would last.
After a minute or so, the pig brought his snout up to Marietta's hand, and tapped it gently. This seemed to signify that their sentimental moment had come to an end. Almost immediately, he turned tail and trotted off toward the others in the sty. Marietta watched him with curiosity, but soon wished she hadn't. The pig, she realized, was headed straight for another, a female. Once he found her, without a moment's hesitation or an ounce of shame, he pulled himself up onto her back and mounted her.
Fury blazed within Marietta, consuming and killing all other emotions. Logic and reason flew from the blaze as well, leaving her totally within the grip of blind rage. "You filthy pig!" she cried out, and bounded over the fence that kept the animals in place. She tried to run toward the offending pair, but the muddy earth shifted beneath her. Each leg shot out in its own direction, and Marietta landed flat on her back.
Seeing this, the pigs wasted no time. They raced around her, trampling her beneath their hooves. Savagely, they nipped at her flesh. Blood and soil began to mix. Marietta shrieked her last as the beasts began to tear her apart.
Little had she known how well they would take to the taste of human flesh.
Written by Jdeschene