Blood drips onto the plates as he chatters away over supper, seemingly oblivious to the dead end that awaits them all. The kids slink silently away, as though escape is possible. Surely they know that later in the night, he will thump up the stairs in search for them as she lies in bed wondering when they auditioned for this drama.
A new morning, and she awakens to find shattered glass littering the kitchen floor. The kids stare eerily ahead while slowly munching cereal. Milk bubbles from the corners of their mouths. Silence hangs heavy until he slaps the bottle on the table.
The kids’ expressions remain impassive as their tongues flick over pale lips. They rise and she notices their backpacks leaking blood.
“STOP,” she shouts, “people will know.”
“Everyone already knows.” They turn their empty gazes on her.
“You auditioned for the part, Ma, your name is in the obits.”
“You’re a terrible actress, I might add,” he cackles.
The kids leave and she starts vigorously mopping the floor. She is forever taking up where she left off and everything is always overwhelming.
Blood drips steadily from the ceiling, and suddenly, she is too tired to clean, too drained from yesterday, too fearful of tomorrow, too paralyzed to participate in the present tense. The chambers of her heart deplete as she struggles to recall events leading up to this point. A vision appears of her kids’ bloodless lips murmuring fateful words:
“Your whole life is a lie!”
“Only 80 proof,” she objects, knowing she is not the first to lie. Relief floods her as their accusing gazes fade into the cold, hard light of another day that she will thankfully never see as she sinks into the deep, dark, blissful deadness of oblivion.
Pavelle Wesser’s fiction has appeared in many webzines and anthologies. She writes in the wee hours of the night when sleep eludes her and she is usually slated to wake up early the next day, ensuring a never-ending cycle of run-on sentences and short-term memory loss. Originally a New Yorker, she currently resides in New England with her family and several dogs.
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