Askew in the Family
Father keeps scratching his left hands index finger with his dinner fork right in the spot where his black curly hairs sprout in the field between the knuckles. Father always scratches there when he has nerves. He does not stop this but continues while mother, sister, brother and dog eat their food. Little sister is the only one who notices this disgusting habit.
Father never even says hello anymore when he comes home from work in the dark with large, full sleeping bags. Sometimes he yells for the door to open, but there is nothing else he says. It's a mystery if he remembers her name at all when she opens the door for him as he sweats at such a late hour, laboring for the family. It's alright though, Father keeps us all well and there is no trouble with his not speaking or the scratching of his own flesh with the dinner fork at the table.
There are open wounds now on Fathers index finger at dinner, and he only sits at the table to scratch. No food is placed in front of him, only a plate. It's as if nobody sees him anymore. Still every time something needs to be done, someone will do it for him. The little girl still opens the door in the early morning but now she does not expect to be known any longer.
One day, Father does not come knocking. The family stares at the door to the basement with the piece of paper tacked to it, words stabbed in black marker across the page. No one wants to open the door, or even touch the handle, all but the little girl. When she opens it everyone else leaves her be, and she makes way down the stairs in pitch black.
When she reaches the bottom she finds Father, bound in chains within a charcoal cage. His index finger is not bloody, nor is it scratched at all. His mouth is gagged with the dirtiest sock. Where his eyes should be are large white pits without color or shape like pools of spilled milk. The little girl wipes her Father's cheeks, and tells him she loves him before heading back up the stairs, returning to her room to dream.
The next day at dinner Father is back. He is scratching wildly at his index finger, blood spilling without concern onto his plate. Nobody seems to notice anymore.
writes: "I'm a sophomore at Rogue Community College in southern Oregon. I love to write anything from poetry to horror and beyond. I appeared in the online chapbook Careful: You'll wake the story
, and wrote book of kaleidoscopic acumen
. Other works can be found at my experimental web site/blog, An Endless Plane
. I'm very thankful to have a chance to share my work with other enthusiasts."