Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Message

The smell fills my nostrils and I know I'm here again. I will my eyes not to open, knowing that what's coming can't be stopped yet holding desperately to the notion that maybe this time I'll have the power to stop this.

My eyes open (god dammit), taking in the sights before the inevitable happens. Mom, wearing her hair in a familiar 80's perm I once loved to pick at just to watch the curl bounce back up. My brother, chubby cheeked in his high chair picking at spaghetti o's. The sunlight peering in shines light on them both while I sit at the table, no such light sharing warmth with me. "I hate this part most" I think into the nothing as I watch them shine. "One happy moment so easily destroyed".

This world is silent and slow. Movements seem to exert all my strength as I get up from the table. I take one last look at these two bits of my heart. I walk into our living room as the sunlight begins to fade. (Oh subconscious, even you don't need to be this obvious with your foreshadowing) Hiding behind a cloud or maybe just a lie?

The back door breaks open with one swift kick from an armored solider, screaming for a name that isn't here, never comes to stop this scene. My mind wants to run to my family, but instead finds me ducking into the hall closet once again. (Why do I always do this knowing it does not save me from having to see what happens next?)

Spit flies from the dark man's mouth as he screams for the name again. My brother has began to scream cry by now, my mother replying that the name is not here, please let her pick up my brother then they can talk.

The man responds by smacking my mother across the face saying what I can only assume is "shut the fuck up cunt" as I read his lips.

As the tears fall down my mother's face, he walks through the door, another pair of faceless armored men at his heels taking their posts on either side of the door frame.

The man in white. A perfectly pressed, likely expensive suit swallowing a thin man whose features are just detailed enough to make him hard to pick out of a crowd.
His hand pats the dark man's shoulder as if to say, 'well done, son, now please, leave this to me.'

The thin man stands before my mother, his lips barely move as he says what he must think is the most terrifying sentence of his life. My mother's eyes growing larger as each word leaves his lips.

"Leave him a message" is always the only part I can make out, even after all these years. The thin man tips his hat as he walks backward out our back door.

SWAT 1 and SWAT 2 move quickly from their posts, each one grabbing one of my mother's arms. Her silent screams forcing me to close my eyes, only I never can.

The dark man stands behind my wailing brother, I see my mother scream, the shining blade come from almost nowhere into the hands of the dark man. The knife falls, the crying stops, but the worst is yet to come.

My mother has fallen to her knees by now, the dark man removes the knife from my lifeless baby brother's head. He nods as SWAT 1 and SWAT 2 as if to say, "your turn".

SWAT 1 picks my mother up, holding her arms behind her as though she has any will left to fight. SWAT 2's knife is his right hand, his left pulls the permed hairs of my mother's head, forcing it back just enough to expose her neck completely. One movement and it's done. The red is running, she is falling, but their work is not yet done.

As she gasps her last few attempts at breath, they move her body to lay out perfectly straight between our kitchen table and the back counter. She now lies directly in front of what was my brother.
SWAT 2's blade gets back to work as there are far too many organs left inside. The blade guts with surgical proficiency, just out of second sight as SWAT 1 closes my mother's eyes.

The dark man has a few more tasks before he will flee with the others, their message clear. His knife makes a jack o lantern of the tender baby skull that once belonged to my brother. He removes his brain like a pile of pumpkin seeds and leaves it on the kitchen table. A centerpiece to this dark business.

The dark man seems proud of his work as he tells SWAT 1 and SWAT 2 there is one last thing to be done. "Find the girl." He tells them. "I will finish up here."

In a flash, I'm back in the hall closet raw eyed and shaking. They will find me, I know that. They always find me.

SWAT 1 walks by giving no interest to this closet at first. I can hear him navigate the hall, peering into each room. SWAT 2 lingers a moment but continues into the living room before turning his attention back to the small closet. I quietly push myself farther back hoping to be saved. 1, 2, 3, 4....maybe I'll be ok this time....5, 6. The doorknob slowly turns, the door opens. Nothing but a gun barrel greets my eyes and in a's over.

My consciousness floats, watches SWAT 2 pull my six year old self from the closet towards the kitchen to be with my family again. The scene begins to turn white, but cannot filter the red that flows from the tiny body in the highchair, the open carcass that was my start in life. I reach for them as though I have any hope of bringing them with me.

I wake in a cold sweat, still grasping for what all this means as the flash of my brother's last moments, my mother's final pleas burn my tear filled eyes.

I don't get the message.

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