Shanna wove her fork into the spaghetti noodles. The pasta wound like worms as the utensil slid through it.
Shanna’s roommate, Babs, scowled and muttered, “You’re trying to do that trick again, huh?”
“It’s not a trick; it’s magic.”
Babs narrowed her eyes and loudly slurped a noodle into her mouth. “It’s the reason we’ve been eating pasta every night for the past week.”
“You could cook something,” Shanna replied quietly without taking her gaze from her plate.
Babs grumbled, “You know I don’t cook.” She scooped up another fork-full and added, “You just wanna be like the guy in that Naching Kassa story. That was cool but this is just lame.”
“Please stop talking,” Shanna said through tight lips.
“Spoiler alert: that guy used intestines; you’re just playing with your food,” Babs continued.
Shanna clenched her teeth.
Babs chewed loudly with her mouth open. She yelled, “Spaghetti divination!” and burst into laughter.
Shanna slammed a fist down, leapt across the short table, and plunged her fork into Babs’s left eye.
A scream lodged in Babs’s throat as she choked on the food, her hands frantically moving from the fork in her eye to her neck and back again. Her right eye pleaded with Shanna for help.
Shanna left the table and returned with a carving knife. She pulled Babs away from the table and threw her onto the floor.
Babs kicked and writhed on the linoleum. Blood and tears oozed from her punctured eye. Shanna reached down and twisted the fork a half-turn. A choked and garbled cry scratched its way out of Babs’ throat. Shanna grinned, yanked up Babs’s shirt, and thrust the knife into her roommate’s belly.
The knife moved smoothly through the skin, opening Babs up. Once Shanna had Babs’s midsection spread wide, she twirled her fingers in the dead woman’s intestines, looking for clues and insights into the future.
Shanna’s brow furrowed. Her lips drew into a thin line. Her eyes narrowed. She held her breath. And she saw nothing. She punched the floor in frustration and then returned to her spaghetti, swirling it back and forth across her plate. She focused more intently and, to her delight, images formed in the red sauce and noodles.
Shanna saw an ancient tree. Chunks of meat became rocks. Shanna’s eyes widened with excitement, and then bulged in shock as a wet noose squeezed tight around her throat, cutting off her air supply. She slapped at the reanimated hands tightening the intestinal rope that Babs had wrapped around Shanna’s neck.
“I always knew you’d do something like this,” Babs mumbled, “So I had to have a protective spell of my own.”
Babs yanked Shanna out of the chair. She peered over and saw the vision in the spaghetti. “Yeah, that looks about right.” She grabbed the carving knife and pulled Shanna out of the kitchen.
Shanna kicked and clawed as Babs dragged her from the apartment, using the length of her long intestine that Babs had also used to strangle Shanna.
When they were out at the old tree in the woods behind the apartment building, it didn’t take long for Babs to cut Shanna open and string her up by a length of Shanna’s own slimy innards. Once her work was done, the spell ended and Babs collapsed against the tree with her roommate’s corpse swaying in the breeze above her and a heap of Shanna’s intestines coiled on the ground beside her.
The police never made sense of the crime, although the lead detective swore that he saw something in the pile of intestines strewn over the ground. It was an image that he couldn’t let go of, one that drove him to need to discover more, and set him on the path of holy divination, a path that would make detective Kyle Loring a ghoul of the night, gaining insight from the insides of each of his victims, but with each clue, each divine insight only leaving him wanting and needing more, forever searching, forever hunting, forever seeing, never stopping. And but of all the seeking and questioning, he knows that one thing is for certain: all the answers are on the inside.