CidusieA Chapter by Kenny Pomaski
This is a segment of a novel project I am working on. I edited/shortened the ending to make it sort of work for just reading as a short story, though even I know the ending is a bit weak. This is my mood.
The house on the corner of seven and seven was very impressive. Beyond its outstanding size and faded milky white color, all around it were roses pushing through the links in the rusty fence surrounding it, all red, and the cobble stones here were shined into a gleaming white and placed in precision for the entire corner. Even the thickness of omnipresent darkness couldn’t stunt the beauty on seven and seven.
With a hand in pocket, Leon walked along the rose fence, tracing his fingers along the loose pedals. They were vibrant, soft as they were elsewhere. They reminded him of something, perhaps some childhood moment when he was forced to go to the store with his mother while she stuck her nostrils into each and every flower. He knew she had found the bunch she wanted when she pulled back slowly, her eyes still closed and nostrils flared, and released an exhale that surely said, “These flowers take the pain the away.”
Rounding the corner, the rose part of the fence stopped and was replaced with a waist-high, splintering pattern of rust holes and tweedy metal strands. Before finding the front gate, Leon sniffed at his hand like his mother; eyes closed, lost in mental peace, but could not smell anything.
Tied to the nub of the gate were balloons. They were mostly deflated, and their colors were gone, caked over with dust and rust shavings. Pushing at the gate, the latch snapped off and fell to the ground, clanging into the dead grass.
“Oops,” said Leon, stepping through the gate and poking his fingers into the grass. The blades were like swords and sliced into the end of Leon’s finger.
“F**k,” said Leon as he yanked his hand back and placed his finger into his mouth. He forgot how dirty his visit had been to this place and, finding the taste of animal waste, aluminum, dirt and blood, regretted doing that. “Whatever, fix it your self,” said Leon, wrapping at his finger from within his jacket pocket, and walked up the path to the house.
This place reminded Leon of an old horror movie, with everything being creaky and about to collapse. The porch steps were warped to about every degree except balanced, the window shutters were all closed with ends rocking from loose bolts, and even the porch didn’t look very promising with its entire two boards for your feet where the rest were missing or sunk into the porch itself. Luckily the two boards were right in front of the door.
Knocking on the door, Leon was unsurprised to find dust shaking off and rinsing itself into his hair and pores.
Pushing his ear against the door, he listened for a sound. He heard something, people, and more than a few. Their voices were choked, mostly silent, though they were saying something.
Knocking again, Leon waited only a moment before twisting at the knob and walking inside, finding himself right in the middle of a birthday party.
All around him was darkness; except for in the center of the seemingly very large room laid a grand table with children seated all around it. It was a pretty diverse group of skin color and sexes, and none of them were talking to each other. They wore little cone hats with stars around them, and those little bead necklaces. In front of them sat empty plates, and goblets were placed in unison around them. They all looked miserable.
I always hated birthday parties too, thought Leon with a chuckle. Walking out of the door’s darkness, he began to say, “Excuse me, but is there an adult here,” but realized instantly that something was not right. The children were crying, their tears dripping from their chins and filling their glasses.
“Whoa,” said Leon, leaping out to comfort one of the children near the door. “What’s going on?” He crouched behind a little girl, placing his hands onto her shoulders. She was dark skinned, her hair tied into braids. She couldn’t have been older than ten. Her eyes were open, and her sobs were quiet, like tiny hic-ups that you try to hold in at one of those “social” parties. “It’s ok,” whispered Leon, wondering if his hands were of any comfort. “What happened?”
The children stayed quiet beside the sobs, their tears making ringing sounds as they swayed along the brim of the crystal goblets. They all looked starved, now that he was closer; their stomachs bulged with ribs threatening to rip through the skin and run off to nowhere.
“The children are fine, young man,” came a voice from afar. Looking up, Leon could see the outline of a man at the end of the table. He looked disfigured in the shadow, like his neck was very long and his face flat at the top of it. “They’re about done anyway. Back upstairs children.”
A clap came from the man, and the sobs stopped. The children pushed their chairs away from the table in unison and sat there for a moment, eyes bulging. Leon realized in that instant that the children were not wearing beaded necklaces; they were nooses.
“What the f**k,” shouted Leon and, before he could even try to remove the noose from the little girl near him, the children were yanked up into the ceiling, their feet kicking for a final moment of rest.
“Relax,” said the man from afar, “have a seat.”
“Get those kids back down there,” said Leon, his body iced and mind aflame.
“Pardon, but I do believe you’re the guest here, mister…?”
“I’ll kill you.”
“Frightening. Now, have a seat.”
Leon stood still, his mind racing with how to save the kids; if their necks hadn’t snapped, how long did he have before they suffocated? Or should he simply break the man’s face before him?
Clearing his throat, the man said, “If you haven’t realized by now, you’re not home. Things are, quite simply, very different here than from there. So feel free to gawk and hate all you want, but you are a guest and you will sit when offered.”
Fists balled and eyes sunken, Leon submitted and sat at the opposite table head. No child had sat there.
“So those kid’s are alright, is what you’re saying?”
“No. Those are very, very naughty children and, despite your enthusiastic sense of justice and rationality, their punishment is fair.”
The man’s words hammered at Leon’s skull.
“There is nothing fair about that, and who the hell are you to decide?”
“Name’s Madien, thanks for asking.” Jumping up onto the table, the strange figure quickly stepped across toward him, his hand outstretched. The darkness of the house seemed to gravitate toward him, following from his head seat to each and every silent step he took. None of the cups stirred as he did a final leap and stopped, toes on the edge, with his outstretched hand inches from Leon’s face. “Pleased to meet you. Your name being?”
“Leon. I wish I could say the same.”
“Rude, but understandable. Hold on a minute,” Madien said as he started flailing at the air. The darkness scattered away like smoke, and, after a few more empty strokes, there stood a boy, grinning a chipped smile at Leon.
“Better,” said a satisfied Madien as he hopped off the table into the chair beside Leon.
Leon sat baffled. The tall neck and awry face he swore he saw was only an extremely large, green, polka-dotted top hat. Madien wore a matching green coat with patches on the arms and three rows of double buttons running down, nearly dragging below his feet. He was very poor looking in everyway other than his hair, which was very similar to Leon’s.
“Don’t be rude,” said Madien, apparently perplexed by Leon’s misunderstanding. “Come on, have a drink with me.” He started reaching for the goblet when Leon understood what he meant.
“Those are tears,” said Leon, casting a hard gaze at his host.
“The very best,” said Madien as he took his goblet and poured the tears of children into his mouth, swishing it around his gums and between his teeth before, finally, swallowing with a satisfying smile.
“What are you,” said Leon, watching in disgust at the treacherous little boy before him. Madien, raising his finger, exhaled and swirling from his mouth came the every scream of the little girl’s horrible life whose tears he just drank. It was horrible; from within the screams he could hear other things also, like the little girl’s mother beating her, the sound of men taking turns on her, and even the rush of wind amidst one of them.
Patting at his stomach, Madien burped one final, tiny eerie screech, and placed the goblet back onto the table. “Quite a tale, isn’t it,” Madien said, licking his teeth clean.
“Who was she,” stuttered Leon.
“Oh, nobody. Nobody that was ever heard of, at least.”
“What happened to her?”
“You heard the story. You tell me.”
“She… she jumped, from a bridge. Didn’t she?”
Leaning back on his chair, Madien placed his feet onto the table for balance and nodded casually towards Leon. “She was quite a f**k-up.”
In one moment Madien sat comfortably, the next he was rolling on the floor with blood cascading from his nose. Leon stood now, his fist still clenched.
“Take it back, you little s**t,” fumed Leon, his eyes caked in tears. He could see it all now, the entire story of that little girl. Her name was Sheila; she was seven when she jumped. She was born somewhere horrible, one of those chaotic countries you see on that small glimpse of news before switching the channel, where there’s no food or water and all the people have too many children. Her mother hated her; Sheila was sick, and the last of the living children. Her mother could no longer get pregnant, and saw her as the final failure. Her mother beat her, and her father also. It was he who eventually sold her to one of the revolutionary movements, and was killed immediately after handing her over. They tortured her, raped her. One day she ran, and just as she was about to be caught, leapt from a bridge somewhere in the woods.
“Okay,” said a very angry Madien, “she wasn’t a total f**k-up. Just a whiny c**t that thought she should be treated as a damn princess.”
Leon’s foot swung, aiming for Madien’s chest. In the instant before hitting, Madien snagged it, and yanked back, pulling Leon down, and, before he even fell completely, Madien lay on top of him, with a fist clenched back. Leon closed his eyes as the fist swung into his face, and there stood a scared Sheila, stuck on a bridge without clothes, the sound of gunfire drawing closer. She wiped off her tears and stood proud before stepping off.
Unconsciousness took over.
© 2009 Kenny Pomaski
Added on November 14, 2008
Last Updated on February 4, 2009
AboutI'm a writer who wants nothing more then to be a writer. Name is Kenny Pomaski. I'm 20, and have been writing seriously for nearly five years (Though I've been writing stories my whole life). The b.. more..