Tag Archives: tradition

Family Tradition. Flash Fiction.

Stacy glanced up from her phone and rolled her eyes, Andrea, her mother was still butchering the corpse. “Can’t we do this later? I’m tired and I’ve stuff to do.”
Andrea paused, she pulled the knife from the body and gently rested it on the table, “do you think I enjoy doing this? That this is something I want to do? No. This is a chore, like cleaning the bathroom, no one wants to do it but it has to be done. You know the rules, maybe I’ve been too easy on you. I’ve been letting you sit back and relax while I do all the work. So, your choices are to either pick up a knife and get to work, or you can just keep me company, because if I don’t do it now, you’re going to be doing it alone later.”
Stacy shrugged, “I’ll keep you company I guess. I just don’t like interrupting you when you’re working. I’m afraid you might cut yourself or something.”
Her mother smiled at her, her teeth were bright white and slightly too large for her mouth, “don’t worry about me honey, I’ve been doing this since I was four, I’m not going to cut myself.”
Andrea went back to slicing, upstairs she heard the door slam, “your fathers home.” there was heavy thudding, “Oh and I think he brought some more meat. He’s probably going to want you to help him.” Stacy scrunched her face.
“I know you’re squeamish about it honey but you know what your father’s like. It isn’t that bad once you get used to it, you just need to practise some more.” the footsteps reached the door of the basement. Stacy stood from the stool and slipped her phone into her pocket, she grabbed an apron from a hook on a wall and quickly tied it around herself, then she grabbed the knife and moved beside her mother. The door opened and her father entered the basement, taking his time as he went down the stairs. By the time he descended and dropped it onto the ground his breathing was only slightly heavy. He stood up and let out a long breath, “Phew! He’s fatter than I thought he was. I almost broke my back trying to heft him up.” he walked over and kissed Andrea on the lips, then kissed Stacy on the forehead, “it’s always nice to see you helping your mother.” He didn’t remark on her spotless apron or her clean knife. Stacy sighed and turned, her knife cutting easily into flesh.

When they were done butchering they packed the meat up carefully, portioning out what would be eaten in the next few days and what would be frozen. Their large chest freezer was almost completely full, the sight of it sent a flood of relief through Stacy, a full freezer meant there wouldn’t be any more butchering for another couple of months. Unless her dad got the urge again of course. Stacy left the basement and headed straight for the shower, as usual, she always felt dirty afterwards and the only cure was a long, almost scalding hot shower. She stripped out of her clothes and carefully bundled them up before putting them into the special laundry basket. She tested the water with her hand and seeing it was hot enough she stepped into the spray. It wasn’t exactly pleasant work, but there were worse things out there, besides she was eighteen in another few months and her parents promised she didn’t have to continue helping if she didn’t want to, though she knew she most likely would. They had also promised that if she continued to help they’d take care of college for her, and give her a generous monthly allowance, the offer was just too good to pass up. She was the youngest of the family and the most squeamish, ever since she’d been a girl no matter what her parents had tried. It wasn’t like that for Bobby or Carol, they had no problems mucking in with the butchering whenever it was required but Stacy always felt dirty and slightly sick afterwards.

Stacy stepped from the shower and wrapped herself in a warm, fluffy towel, “Dinner is in ten sweetheart! I made spaghetti!”
“OK Mom, I’ll be down in a few!”
Stacy’s stomach rumbled, she loved spaghetti, her mother always ground the meat fresh.

Every Year. Flash Fiction.

Jason stood in the centre of the clearing, a faint breeze rustled the leaves of the trees around him. He pulled his jacket a little tighter, it wasn’t a cold day, but it would get colder. Right on time Todd ran into the clearing, he stumbled and tripped over a tree root that was no longer there. As always Jason studied him carefully, everything about him was pale and washed out, like a photograph faded by the sun. Todd rolled over and started scrambling backwards, Jason couldn’t see what he was trying to get away from. Todd’s mouth opened in a scream as a bright red tear was opened along his stomach, more opened on his arm as he tried to shield himself. Jason watched as more and more cuts and scratches appeared. Todd floated into the air, dragged upwards by his arm, his face screwed up in pain. He was thrown partway through the clearing, his body stopping mid-air before collapsing to the ground. Jason had cut down the tree several years ago, hoping it might do something to alleviate his friends suffering. Todd lay on the ground, his chest rising and falling slowly. Jason moved closer and sat beside his friend, reaching out he grabbed Todd’s hand and Jason felt a deep cold move through his body. He could hear Todd whimpering and groaning in pain. Todd looked up at Jason, he frowned faintly, his face stained in blood that was too bright against his skin, it almost looked like paint, “Jason? Where did it go?”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be ok, help will be here soon.”
“I didn’t see where it went, it’s still here somewhere, oh god it’s going to kill us both.”
“Just try to stay calm, it isn’t going to get us. I took care of it. Everything will be ok, I promise.”
He sat in the clearing for hours, Todd fell in and out of consciousness, Jason kept promising that help was coming, it would be just a little longer. Finally Todd closed his eyes one last time, then he faded from view leaving nothing but a few streaks of blood on Jason’s hand. Jason stood, his muscles sore and stiff, he shivered despite the sun still shining above. He wiped at the tears that were falling, he felt drained, empty. He had taken care of the creature himself the day it happened, pure dumb luck really. He had been holding a gun and the creature pounced on him, in his surprise Jason accidentally fired, the bullet going directly through the creatures head. It had taken him a while to get out from under it and longer again to find Todd, who had passed away shortly after he arrived.
He came back on the anniversary, not really knowing why, just that he had a strong need to return. The first time Todd had stumbled from the woods he had screamed and then tried to talk to him, Todd was more defined then, not as faded. No matter what he said or did Todd could never see him, not until after he was thrown at the tree. Jason returned every year and would until either he died or Todd faded away completely. So far he had been unable to change things, unable to stop them, he could only watch and then be a comfort to his dying friend.

Jason took one last look around the clearing, it was starting to get dark, “I’ll see you next year.” He turned and started the walk back to the car.

Morning Glass of OJ. Short Story.

Orange juice at breakfast, it was a family tradition. Every morning, without fail everyone had a glass of it. If it wasn’t finished you couldn’t leave the table. Everyone drank it, even those who didn’t like orange juice, it was much preferable to the punishment for leaving any in the glass.

They all knew why too, their father telling them at least once a week, even if no one made a face of disgust. “When I was a boy I would have killed for some orange juice at breakfast. We got to have it once a year if we were lucky. I do everything I can to provide for this family, you will take what you are given and you will like it. I did not raise you to be ungrateful. This is my house and” And on and on and on. The speech usually lasted a good five minutes followed by him drinking his juice and maybe doling out some punishment if he perceived any slights during his speech, like making faces or not listening.

It had been a part of Samantha’s morning ritual for so long that even now she occasionally found herself reaching for a glass that wasn’t there. It hadn’t been for almost a year now. That was when she was finally able to escape. The others, they weren’t so lucky. She was the oldest by seven years, they had a long road ahead of them. Before she had visited, trying to keep their spirits up, but then her father banned her from the house. Really, Samantha saw it as a blessing, no more unexplainable bruises, no more screaming in her face. She managed to keep in contact with her brother, he would write letters to her during school and send them whenever he could. Her father kept the computer tightly locked down, anyone using it needed to have someone supervising them at all times. It seemed that since she had been banished the abuse had gotten worse, as though her father was trying to regain his authority over her through her siblings.

She had taken all the steps you were supposed to, telling the school, reporting it herself, but it never did any good. It was too well hidden and everyone seemed to be blinded by it. Her father didn’t usually leave marks, that was only when he was really, really angry and even those were rarely visible. Samantha only received a large portion of her visible bruises after she left and that was because her father was usually trying to get a shot at her while she was running out of the house. She knew it was stupid going back, that it was just asking for trouble, but she couldn’t just abandon all her siblings. Her mother did nothing to help, turning her back on them when they were given beatings, ignoring the crying, the screaming. In Samantha’s eyes her mother was just as bad as her father. Sure, she may not have hit them, but she didn’t stop it. Besides, her mother liked to play her own little games. Getting the children in trouble, twisting things around to make sure she was safe. Samantha remembered when she was nine, her mother told her she could go play next door. When her father arrived home he had been in a dark mood and her mother could see that. When Samantha got home she was beaten for leaving the house without permission. Samantha would never forget what her mother said to her as she cried, “Why would go when I told you not to. Why would you bring this on yourself?” That was when she knew her mother was just as bad as her father. She could see it in some of her younger brothers too. That unrepressed hate and sneaking manipulation. Getting others in trouble to avoid it themselves. Of the six of them, only two were good. Her brother Jacob and her sister Annie. Annie was still young, she was a gentle little girl. Always so quiet. Sometimes Samantha thought she could see it though, the glint of reptilian intelligence as someone else got in trouble for something. She always dismissed that thought, she was only three, she wouldn’t have the capacity for such manipulations. At least not yet.

Of course Samantha knew she hadn’t escaped unharmed. That would have been impossible. She had her issues, her problems. She didn’t bother with therapy, what good would that do when no one believed her now? No. Therapy wasn’t the solution, but that wasn’t a problem. Samantha had her own solution in mind. One that would take care of everything. The cycle of abuse would stop with their generation, it wouldn’t be allowed to continue.

Samantha let herself in through the backdoor, she already knew where the spare key was. Everyone was upstairs, asleep. Her father was a heavy sleeper and the doors were locked at night. If anyone heard her, they’d think it was him. The kitchen was covered in darkness, but she didn’t need light to know where she was going. The layout had not changed since she was a child. The breakfast nook was over in the right corner, the table already set up and prepared for breakfast. She moved around the island in the centre of the kitchen and went straight to the fridge. She opened it, wincing slightly as bright light spilled out. She took out the orange juice bottle and set it on the counter. Then she paused, listening. The house creaked and groaned as it settled. All familiar sounds from her childhood. No one was getting up. Good. She unscrewed the lid quickly and added some powder to it. She closed the orange juice and gave it a gentle shake, letting it dissolve into the juice. When that was done she placed it back into the fridge, closing it gently. When she left she kept her head down and slipped out onto the street. No one would notice her but even if they did it wouldn’t matter, she was just a random woman walking home at night. No one would ever suspect her and if they did, so what? She had worn gloves. There was no way it would be traced back to her.

She made five more stops before she returned home. All people she vaguely knew. Each one was the same, break in, add the powder to the orange juice, leave. No one heard her, no one would ever know. She tried to choose older people, or those who were single, but that would be suspicious, so she had another family too. Three of them, mother, father, little girl. It would appear random and that was what she needed.

It was all over the news a few days afterwards. Poison in orange juice. People, good people, struck down in the prime of their lives. Fifteen people dead at the end of it. They were scouring for clues, looking for leads, but Samantha knew they wouldn’t find any. She had gone into the grocery store and done her shopping, but she had never been near the orange juice. They wouldn’t find anyone on the store cameras, they’d think it must have been someone in the factory. After all, who else could it be? She waited until they came to ask her questions, she played the part of the grieving daughter and sister perfectly. That was something she had gotten from her upbringing at least, she was very good at acting. When they left she set out the pills. Different from the poison she used, obviously, and took them all at once, followed by a few good sized gulps of vodka. When they find her they’d think that the grief was too much, that she couldn’t deal with the death of her family. They would never know. As she felt herself drift out of consciousness she smiled. She had done it, she had stopped the cycle.

Ressurrection of an Ancient Tradition. Short Story.

So christmas is over, no more presents, but don’t worry, there is still leftovers. And you know, love and junk.

Christmas was fun, though slightly stressful, we finished out visiting, then cooked dinner, I finished making dessert (pears poached in red wine, yum!) Then we drank and ate and were merry. Then after I pretty much zoned out on the couch, I was insanely tired.

I then bought a bunch of books off amazon, so yay! I’ll have some reading to keep me occupied before I get back to college to my final semester (aaaahhhhh).

I realised that I haven’t really done a christmas story, so I figured I would rectify that, but it will be short today because everyone is obviously tired and drained and would probably have short attention spans.

Hope everyone’s day was fun yesterday, regardless of what they were doing, who they were with and what they were celebrating.

On with the show!

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Resurrection of an Ancient Tradition

“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse” I stop reading from the ancient scroll “this is preposterous. What makes you think such a person existed?” Dr Johnstone moves excitedly amongst the machinery “because what kind of culture would dedicate so much time and effort to celebrate a fictional character? Besides, we did find that toy work shop in the north pole, with suspiciously small skeletons!” I look at him incredulously “but…but that’s nonsense, what proof do you have that those skeletons didn’t  belong to midgets or small children instead of elves? It could have been a slave labour shop, you know how barbaric they were back then.” To my right a tube of green liquid sizzles over a Bunsen burner, it starts to boil, then turns to a vibrant purple. Dr Johnstone calls out to Jacob “start the machinery my boy!” I have tried to talk him out of this insane plan to resurrect this “Santa Claus” I really do think he has finally lost the plot. All we have to go on are various legends and a destroy factory in the north pole, destroyed around the time of the last wars. I have tried to convince him otherwise but he wont listen, he is convinced he is right and when he gets that way, nothing can dissuade him. Who knows what kind of monster he is resurrecting, he collected DNA from a large skeleton found near the workshop and plans to clone who ever it was, but who knows what he could be unleashing on the world. People back then were all savages. Barely keeping order until the nuclear fall out of 2056, even now, three hundred years later, we still haven’t fully repaired all the damage they caused. What if it isn’t even a person? We’ve all heard tales and legends of the mutations and genetic engineering that was attempted, who knows what we could be reviving? The cogs start to grind, Dr Johnstone pulls levers wildly, I stand back and watch, I will have no part in this, this travesty. I mean come on, what kind of person can deliver toys to 6 billion people in one night? It is preposterous.

Steam starts to fill the resurrection capsule. Too late to go back now the process once started is unstoppable without turning the power off at the source. Cogs turn and grind as the machine picks up speed working faster and faster to recreate whatever or whoever the DNA belonged too, it’s speed continues to build before it finishes creating a cacophonous crescendo.

The machine is starting to wind down now, the cogs are slowing and the loud roar is dying, all that’s left is the application of skin. I lean forward, eager to see what is coming, despite my convictions, Who knows what we have recreated, just seeing it could answer so many questions. The whole lab holds their breath. The steam clears, the capsule is empty.

There is a collective sigh of relief, only Dr Johnstone seems disappointed.
Out of the corner of my eye I see a bench move, a loud screech flaring to life then dying away. A tray of vials crashes to the ground they bubble and sizzle, eating into the ground. we look around but we can see no-one. I can hear something, its faint but it sounds like chuckling. I jump as I feel a breath of warm air caress my ear “Ho ho ho”

The sound of manic laughter grows. My god, what have we unleashed.