by Sarah McLaughlin ’23
It all started with one simple question: Should you eat mac and cheese with a fork or with a spoon?
“A spoon, obviously,” Genevieve says. “It provides the utility for maximum scoopage.”
Britney rolls her eyes. “A fork can scoop, too, idiot. And you can stab the noodles. It gives you options.”
“Guys,” I interrupt. “This is so pointless.”
“Just like a spoon,” Britney mutters. I shoot her a glare.
“Let’s just all agree to disagree and go to bed,” I say, walking over to the kitchen with my empty bowl (and fork, because that’s obviously the right answer, but I wasn’t going to spend another hour fighting about it).
About thirty minutes later, we’re all tucked into bed (or, in my case, lying on top of my covers—even in late October with the windows open, the air in the apartment is somehow sweltering). I’m on my phone, and Genevieve and Britney have both fallen silent, so I figure they’re asleep, but then Genevieve hums softly.
“Do you guys remember that viral video from, like, 2009? ‘The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon’?”
“Is that the one where he killed the guy by following him around and beating him to death with a spoon?”
“Yeah,” Genevieve says. “See? Another reason why spoons are superior.”
“It’s literally called ‘horribly slow’ and ‘extremely inefficient.’”
“I’m going to murder you in your sleep with a spoon and then you can tell me how slow and inefficient it is.”
“Shut up, guys,” I mumble, rolling over onto my stomach. “I have an 8:30 tomorrow.”
Genevieve and Britney giggle in unison, but they do quiet down, and it’s only a few minutes before I succumb to sleep.
It seems like mere seconds pass before I wake up with a start. I swear I just heard something metallic, like a sword being pulled from its sheath, but maybe I’ve just been reading too much King Arthur for my English class. Still, it sends a chill down my spine, and I sit bolt upright.
It takes a moment for me to notice something thin and cold pressing against my neck.
My body freezes. I try to glance down, but whatever is touching me is too small to see. Is someone behind me? I don’t feel a warm presence or hear anyone’s breath. The room is pitch black save for the distant orange glow of my laptop charger, but I’m pretty sure if there was an arm holding something, I would be able to see it.
“Hello?” I whisper.
Hello, something whispers back. I don’t even know if I can call it a voice. It’s metallic, like the noise that must have woken me up, and it sounds like a metal utensil scratching and squeaking against a ceramic plate—one of those sounds that instantly sets my nerves aflame.
“Who—who are you?” I manage.
Who do you think I am?
The cold thing seems to press deeper into my skin. It feels sharper now.
“What?” I gasp. “Is this, like—a sentient knife?”
Try again, the voice says.
I think back to last night’s conversation, and dread grows in my stomach. “A—a fork?”
But as soon as I say it, I know I’m wrong.
You fool, the voice hisses. If only you had been on my side. I’ll make you wish you had defended my honor.
“Wait!” I exclaim, wincing at the pain against my throat. “You’re—you’re great for ice cream! And soup! And—and hot chocolate before it’s cooled down—”
But I’m too late.