roasted aubergine

Blue Book Society | masonverger-rising | opheliaavery

He’s excited, hasn’t been this excited in decades. Tonight will surprise his guests. Tonight they’ll see him changed. And, oh, he can’t wait to see her shine.

The menu is weeks in the making. Tamarind-soaked lamb with a smoked pistachio crust; curried aubergine with roasted Red Spanish pineapple; Tandoori spring chicken with mint and goat’s yoghurt. For afterwards, a carrot and almond sweet-oil cake, with a citrus rind and candied petals. An old reflex makes his mouth water. 

Of course, his guests won’t be eating anything.

Hannibal takes a break from cooking, ringing his hands on a dish cloth before tossing it down. He sought Mason out in the drawing room, smiling widely at him. 

“The guests will be arriving soon,” he says. “Will you make sure the table is set correctly?”

If you were to peer into the dining room, you would see six men and women tied to their chairs, their heads slumped forwards. Clean plates in front of them and glasses ready for wine to be poured.