Spooky folktale about a young traveler who stumbles across the home of an old woman with a very unique chilli recipe. One you’re probably not going to want to copy! Written by Laura Miller.

Mickey was finally eighteen today. For months now he had been yearning to go start a life of his own in thriving Atlanta. Mickey wasn’t like most of the boys in his small hometown, he had dreams of moving to the city and creating an empire. He wanted nothing more than to live ‘life to the fullest’ and thought that his best chance of doing so was to leave the secluded lifestyle of the South Georgia town that had been his home forever.

Though it never got Mickey down, his family was very poor. He had no money to get to Atlanta because all of the money he ever made went towards bills at home to take some of the pressure off of his father. So, without a car, Mickey figured that hitch hiking couldn’t be too bad. So off he went, with nothing but a back pack full of clothes and a baseball cap to keep the sun out of his eyes.

Unfortunately, for Mickey, the rural roads leading to and from his hometown saw a limited amount of traffic, and today was no exception. Mickey hadn’t seen a single car all day and soon it would be night fall.

As the light in the sky slowly began to fall victim to the night Mickey came upon a little house on the side of the road. Here goes nothing, he thought to himself as he knocked on the door of the tiny home.

He was studying the cracked paint on the door, and as he scrolled his eyes down the door he noticed some strange looking scratch marks in the porch wood he was standing on. The marks stopped as the floor disappeared under the door. Just when Mickey began to wonder if fingernails could have caused the odd markings, the door opened.

She asked him to call her Ms. Paula. She was a frail older woman with thinning white hair that swung from side to side around her lower back. She welcomed Mickey into her home with kind eyes; taking pity on him she offered him a room for the night. The inside of the house was quaint and simplistic, and an overwhelming odor filled the home.

“Mmm, what is that your cookin’ ma’m? It smells delicious.” Mickey asked.

The old woman smiled at him, “That’s my specialty. It’s my chilli, I should be famous for it really, but somehow I have managed to keep it a secret.”

“It sure smells wonderful.” Mickey confessed, as his stomach grumbled. He hadn’t eaten since he’d begun his journey and the aroma was really awakening his taste buds.

“Go ahead and wash up for dinner. You must be starving – there is a washroom down the hall.” Ms. Paula waved Mickey away and made her way into what Mickey figured was the kitchen.

After Mickey washed his hands and the sweat from the long day off of his neck he went and found Ms. Paula in her cramped little dining room. She served him a huge bowl full of her chilli, steaming hot. Mickey leaned over the bowl and took a deep breath; it smelled like it was going to be better than anything he had ever tasted before. Heaven in a bowl, Mickey thought. He felt his mouth filling with saliva as he picked up his spoon. He plunged the spoon into the reddish chunky dish, scooped it full of chilli and popped it into his mouth. The chilli coated his tongue; the taste was unmatchable. Mickey was half way through the bowl before he said anything.

“Ms. Paula, this is absolutely amazing!” Mickey complimented the wrinkled woman. “What did you say was in this again?”

“I didn’t say,” She answered with a smirk. “I’m surprised you can’t figure it out by taste. It is an ingredient that everyone around here should be very aware of.”

“You’ll have to forgive me ma’m, I was never much for my mama’s chilli. This however, is marvelous!”

Ms. Paula began to blush a little and then urged Mickey on. “Enough talking, eat, eat!” she winked at Mickey as he dug into the meal once again.

Mickey savored every moment of the chilli. He rolled the meat and beans around in his mouth delightfully, and satisfied his overwhelmed taste buds by licking the sauce off the spoon. All manners went out the window; this chilli was far too good for one not to indulge in.

He was almost at the bottom of the bowl when his spoon hit something harder than it had. He picked it up with his hand as it was longer than the other pieces of meat that were in the chilli and this was confusing. Mickey froze, realizing what he was holding, his eyes widened as he stared into Ms. Paula’s widening smile.

“Oh my, well I was rushed to strain it. I hate when a finger gets left in there.” Ms. Paula sighed. “Well dear, you have figured out my secret ingredient, and we can’t have you blabbering my recipe to everyone.”

She reached across the table and took the finger from out of Mickey’s hand. Mickey’s eyes swelled with tears and his heart began to beat faster and faster.

“Mickey, I just noticed,” said Ms. Paula, “what lovely hands you have.”


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This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Ginger B.

    I feel as though this is one of those stories that works well with an equivocal ending. While the end could have used some, pardon, fleshing out as to details, giving the reader an idea of just how a frail old woman was planning to take down a healthy young man, it is fine to stop with sharp cut as opposed to spelling everything out.

  2. aisha lights

    this wasn’t a bad story but i hate how it ended!!!!!! what happened after??? did he get killed or get away? how does an old lady kill a man? 0.o thats just dumb -.- unless shes something super natural

  3. dude , yall should have added on to this i mean really not a good ending ! *(:

  4. doc

    A great tale of adventure and intrigue combined with the twist of the occult. look forward to reading more from Laura Miller. Thank You for sharing this well written short story.

  5. jimmy jim

    I really enjoyed reading this story. I feel as though the abrupt ending only aided the overall urgency of the piece. And I dont know why but for some strange reason I have the feeling that whoever wrote this is extremely good-looking. Thank you for your time.

    With love,
    Jimmy Jim

  6. joshua saywer

    this is very well written. great suspense makes u read to the end to find out wats in the chili

  7. Charlotte

    Thank you for this delightful little tale. It is short but none the less shows the talent of the story teller. I have enjoyed your site for several years. It is so nice to find so many folks around who have taken the time to share with us.

  8. dani

    i think this book is realy good and a realy intrewesting book and i wood love to read this book again

  9. Laura

    Thanks for the comments! I can see how it ended a bit abruptly, Ill take it into consideration next time! 🙂

    1. We have stories with abrupt endings too – check out “Wait Til Jesse Comes” or “The Coughing Dog.” Sometimes your stories just end when they want to end!

  10. Sam Carter

    I find this story to be good and descriptive. Just too short. Almost like the author ran out of steam. It is for this reason I will not be reading further works of this author.

  11. Erica Woodworth

    I have to agree with Douglas! Love it!

  12. Douglas Rees

    THIS is a great story! Very exciting throughout, can’t wait to read more by Laura Miller!