Mother was in the kitchen slowly stirring a steaming cauldron of Harvest Stew. Both Wesley and Aaron sat in the parlor, gently brushing Marjorie’s golden locks. Sweet aromas danced through the air, filling the house with a warmth and good cheer that had been vacant for decades.

Long had it been since the entire brood was under one roof – and this was truly a harvest to celebrate. Large casks of yams and mead were brought up from the cellar. Even Padre Lorenzo was meant to stop by and say the traditional Navish goat blessing before the great feast began.

Jeremy was wheeling in Brother who nearly leapt from his cage when he caught wind of that sweet slow-roasted acorn squash. In our formative years, we would hand feed Brother stringy bits of mule flesh and leftover crème cakes through his wrought iron bars. I can still see Brother’s quivering lips as he greedily inhaled ever morsel given to him. His razor sharp teeth tearing through bone and vein as if it were salt water taffy. Every Saint Crispin’s Day we would all gather around and laugh with delight as Grand Papa Alphonse would shovel burning embers onto the floor of Brother’s cage. Brother would hop from one foot to the other as his bloodcurdling screams filled the air and unholy terror flooded his eyes.

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