Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Father

This was actually the first story I wrote. Again, it had to be under 1000 words, horror-related and about a first date. I quite like it. Author Tom Piccirilli called it "poetic" and "almost surreal."
Another writer, Steve Vernon said "Haunting, very subtle. Who ever wrote this definitely is not just farting around. My favorite."

My Father

I closed my eyes and tried to remember what I looked like. I have a painting of myself hanging in my office but my friends say it doesn’t look like me.

I think I’m pretty. At least that’s what my father used to tell me.

There was a knock on the door. I ran my fingers through my hair and took a deep breath to calm my stomach. A habit from a past life; faded but still there like an old fingerprint.

I opened the door and, once again, was reminded of my father.

didn’t every man remind me of my father in some small way?

Not so much how he looked but in the tightness of his face. The seriousness.

My father changed after my mother was killed. He never cried. He never showed emotion. But something inside of him had died. He never laughed again. If he had so much as smiled I had never seen it.

This man standing in front of me had that same look my father had. Would the past always be draped over my coffin like a grieving relative?

I searched his face for a reaction. I am self-conscious about how young I must appear. Did he think I looked too young? I am perpetually 16 years old. Some men like that; others not so much.

Another look crept over his face. It was confidence. I suddenly realized why he had looked so serious. He had been sizing me up. I disliked him immediately.

I forced a smile and said, “Hello Jason, so nice to meet you.”

He smiled back and extended his hand. I was taken aback by its warmth.

Taking my arm he responded in kind. We walked down the street together. It was a beautiful night. There was a restaurant down the street that I had suggested. As we walked we made small talk. How much we disliked our jobs, movies watched (re-watched really), and books read.
The rest of the evening, was unremarkable. Jason told me that I was beautiful. His confidence was without reason. I was bored and wanted to go home. Perhaps he noticed my detachment because he leaned forward and asked me to come to his house. I almost laughed but something caught my eye. His eyes. They were gleaming; predatory. I admit, for the first time that night I was intrigued.

His house was beautiful. Old but restored.

He led me to a part of the house that hadn’t been restored: the basement As I walked down the stairs I knew why. If I was still human my heart would be racing. My senses awoke; sharp and alive for the first time in years. I could smell her. She was young. Very young. Her sweat, rancid and bitter, smelled glorious to me.

Jason stopped in front of a metal door. The stainless steel door contrasted sharply with the dank, wet basement like a knife cutting through raw steak. The door was somehow obscene. A blasphemy against a God who had abandoned us all.

Jason turned to look at me like a game show host revealing a prize. His smile was feral and yet beautiful in its naked hunger. For me and for what waited behind the door.

“I have a connection,” he said. “She arrived yesterday.”

He pulled out a key and unlocked the door. The room was dark but there was a single light shining from a hanging bulb. The wind created by opening the door swung the bulb back and forth slowly like some terrible pendulum. She was sitting in the corner. Small, scratched up knees drawn up protectively to her face. I thought of my father gently placing a band-aid on my knee.

She looked up as we entered. Tears divided her face like claws marks. A brief glimmer of hope crossed her features but was gone in an instant like a footprint on the shore of a desolate beach. She was flawless, beautiful. Doomed.

In my former life it would have been heartbreaking. Not any more.
If I listened closely perhaps I would hear my father mourning. Feel his tears like warm raindrops on my face

A small piece of my humanity had survived my first kill. Given to us moments after we first change. It would not survive the second. Live humans were a rarity these days. Only the rich, or the cunning, could procure them.

“They arrive weekly” he said. “Sometimes twice.”

I looked at this man, this thing, and I knew at this moment he owned my soul.

did I even have a soul?

More than my soul, he owned my history. My future.

A brief flicker of shame touched my mind like a wayward child touching the leg of a lost parent. But it was very brief and then there was only the thought of us. Myself and him. Feeding on this wayward child. Entangled like a sculpture from the lowest parts of Hell.

And the next one. Would it be another child? A boy perhaps? They arrived weekly he had said. Sometimes twice.

I haven’t seen my reflection in years. The only time we do get to see our reflection is in the eyes of our victims before the kill. We see a piece of our past as we embrace our future. We see our reflections in eyes bright and fluttering with terror.

I wonder what I look like.

My friends say the painting in my office doesn’t do me justice.

My father used to say that I was pretty.

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