This is second third installment in a Valentine’s Day series of shorts by Jennifer Weigel in which unsuspecting lovers succumb to deadly gases. You can read the first two installments here:

Brad and Jeffrey

Episode 2:

Meanwhile, Brad and Jeffrey were on a date night together to Phillipe’s Haute Couture Cuisine enjoying an exquisite romantic meal by candlelight at the corner table.  After pouring Brad a second glass of champagne in their secluded nook, Jeffrey took to bent knee and procured a ring box from his pocket.

“Will you marry me?” he proposed in formal display.

“Oh, Jeffrey, will I?” Brad exclaimed.  “Of course, silly.  This is the happiest day of my life.”  Brad donned the ring and pulled Jeffrey to him in a wide bear hug as his eyes brimmed over with tears of joy.

Jeffrey melted into the embrace but something wasn’t right.  Distracted, he sniffed at the air.  He’d gone to such lengths to ensure that this would be their perfect night together, on a special date in a secluded nook at the grandest restaurant in town.  He’d planned every detail, even down to the seemingly innocuous display of cut flowers.  But what was that smell encroaching on their bliss?  The odor hung heavy in the air like a strong smelling cheese, but not one that the men could recognize or find any culinary appeal in.

Brad must have noticed it too, as he withdrew from the embrace and glanced warily towards the kitchen.  No one else in the restaurant seemed fazed.  Patrons laughed and toasted one another while waiters clustered at the extremities watching for any sign that their services were needed.  Brad and Jeffrey were pretty isolated though, so maybe no one else had noticed it yet.

Jeffrey’s nostrils flared as he rose.  “Excuse me a moment, darling,” he said as he strode towards the kitchen.  He met his waiter head on as he emerged from the revolving door to the back.

“Sir, there is something dreadfully wrong with our table,” Jeffrey huffed.

“So sorry, Monsieur!  Let me fix that for you, right away,” the waiter responded, hurriedly following Jeffrey to where his fiancé sat fanning the air in front of him with the wine list.

“What is that… smell…?!”  Brad asked accusingly, his eyes tearing up.

“I’m sorry, Monsieur, but I smell nothing,” the waiter replied, dramatically inhaling deep breaths all around the table.

Jeffrey began to feel adrift and sidled back into his chair.  Brad blasted him with sweeping gestures from the wine list in an attempt to drive fresher air in his direction as his face grew more and more pale.

“How can you not smell that?!” Brad questioned, exasperated and gasping for breath himself.

“Perhaps you would like a different table?” the waiter proposed after sniffing the air, the flowers, and even under the table to no avail.

Jeffrey collapsed in his chair, landing face first in his salade niçoise.  Brad fell immediately after, tumbling from his seat onto the floor.  The terrified waiter called out for help as he reached towards the men in turn.  The restaurant was bustling with activity but it was too late, both men were already dead.

The paramedics and police were bewildered.  Names were taken and witnesses interrogated but again there was no sign of foul play, nothing amiss, no lingering fumes to offer any indication of what had happened.  It was the second unexplained event in an outbreak of seemingly disconnected deaths throughout the city.

Visualization of what the foul-smelling swirling cloud of deadly gases would appear as, if it weren't invisible
The fetid cloud of deadly gases closes in…

You can find more of Jennifer Weigel’s writing by visiting her website here at Jennifer Weigel Words.

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
About the Author

Jennifer Weigel is a multi-disciplinary mixed media conceptual artist residing in Kansas USA. Weigel utilizes a wide range of media to convey her ideas, including assemblage, drawing, fibers, installation, jewelry, painting, performance, photography, sculpture, video and writing. You can find more of her work at: https://www.jenniferweigelart.com/ https://www.jenniferweigelprojects.com/ https://jenniferweigelwords.wordpress.com/

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