After an hour of prep and cooking, the Cornish hen tarts were ready and the fruit salad was tossed together with a specially made sauce. Fiona stood at the front door, clutching the salad bowl to her chest while her parents finished getting ready. She could hear kids playing, laughter and chatter, and grills coming to life beyond the door. Fiona looked at her parents as they joined her and they smiled at her. She saw a twinkle in their eye as if they knew something she didn’t and she narrowed her eyes.
“Mom, Dad?” Fiona’s eyebrows scrunched together as she turned to face them, blocking the door. “Is there something you aren’t telling me?”
Chloe and Jonah smiled and brushed past their daughter, opening their front door. Fiona turned around and was ready to demand that they tell her what was going on, but they had already walked away to join the fun. Fiona took in a deep breath before she walked out of the house, closing the door behind her. She saw a group of teens her age and she smiled slightly when a couple of them looked in her direction.
Fiona walked down her driveway, watching her parents disappear in the frenzy by the table so Chloe and Jonah could put down the plates of tarts. She walked to the table, her head down, and barely mumbling a hello to those around her. Fiona placed the fruit salad down and glanced at the other food. She saw vegetables, soups, meat dishes, French fries, cheese platters. Wait? Fiona walked closer to the French fries and gasped. They weren’t regular French fries. They were her favorite finger fries. She watched as someone stirred one soup and gasped when she saw eyeballs float around in the dark broth. Fiona looked up to see her parents grinning at her.
“We wanted to surprise you, Fiona-bear,” Jonah said as he held his wife close. “We have found a community of cannibals. Now you won’t be alone.”
Fiona looked around at the grinning neighbors, her heart soaring. She didn’t have to hide her and her family’s dark secret. She couldn’t believe that there were others who enjoy eating the same special meat or munching on finger fries as much as she does. She could just be herself and she would finally fit in somewhere. Fiona looked back at her parents. “When did you find out they are like us?”
“This morning. We noticed something going on with our neighbor right next door and saw that they needed help with carrying something into their garage.” Her dad chuckled. “The look on their faces when they thought we had found them out. I helped him finish doing what needed to be done, and we told them we were just like them.” He glanced around at their new family. “Word spread and, well, tonight we aren’t just having a BBQ. We are being accepted into their community.”
Fiona turned around when she saw the group of teens walking over to her. They asked if she wanted to join them. She looked at her parents for their approval and clapped her hands when they said yes. She looked at the teens and she even took in a sharp breath when two of the female teenagers linked arms with her. They walked away, deep in conversation, Fiona telling them all about her life in her last neighborhood. Her unease and nervousness she had felt earlier melted away, and she felt like she was finally home.