Monster Mash, 2019

Prompt: https://siobhanmuir.com/monster-mash-flash-fiction-challenge/

Having baked in the summer sun all day, the walls radiated enough heat to keep me awake even if I wasn’t in the sweaty grip of fear. I stared at the ceiling fan and wished that it would either move enough air to give me the illusion of comfort or fall down from its rickety perch and brain me. It did neither, of course, and I lay there trapped under the weight of the bargain I’d made with my wife. You get out, I’d said. I’ll stay here and keep him from…well, whatever I can. And now I was stuck there for the rest of my life.

The room was silent other than the slight wobble of the fan, and for that – if only for that – I was thankful. I don’t like when he walks around at night, not at his age.

Six months ago, when we’d watched the movers carrying our stuff into this house, it was hard to imagine anything other than possibility. My wife sat on the recliner, hands resting on her swollen-near-to-bursting belly, and directed the whole show. I took care of her like she was the most precious thing in the world, and she was – her and that package she carried. That night, as we snuggled in the four-poster bed, I put my hand on her belly, felt my son kick, and thought that it would only get better from there.

The clack-thump of the crib side coming undone always startled me, even though I knew that it was coming. It was followed soon after by the soft pitter-patter of a child who wanted to see his daddy.

It was feeding time, after all. A growing baby doesn’t sleep through the night.

He gummed hard at my wife’s breasts when she tried to nurse him, and the pain was severe. He wouldn’t take the bottle, though, so – trooper that she was – she put up with the pain. But he never seemed satisfied after nursing.

That is, until he drew blood late one night. Then he sucked harder. And he smiled when he was done, the cutest smile you ever did see.

For months my wife put up with feeding him that way, his sucking constantly re-opening the small wounds he caused. She wept when he slept and stopped leaving the house. I’d come home from work and find her staring at him, every day her look of loathing growing. At first she could keep him at bay by putting him in his crib and hiding in the bathroom, shower running to mask his cries, but then came the day where she found him scratching at the bathroom door. When she opened it, he was standing there holding his arms up.

It all changed one night while I was cooking dinner. I was lost in worry and got myself good with the chef’s knife. Cursing, I hurried to get the first aid kit. Before I could get the bandage on, I heard him running up behind me. His fingers were red with the blood he’d wiped up from the floor in the kitchen and his eyes were wide. Transfixed, I lowered my hand and he latched onto it eagerly. He didn’t drink much from me – a little seemed to go a long way. And then when he woke in the night he didn’t look for his mother, but instead stood by my side of the bed until I took off the bandage and let him suck.

It wasn’t long before I saw a new look in her eyes. After a week of only feeding from me, she started standing by the front door, looking out at the fields that surrounded our home. And after two weeks, she asked me if she could leave.

What was I going to say?

And so here I was with a six month old who could walk and open doors and drank blood to live. I hid from him whenever he wasn’t feeding, but I suspected that he was developing more abilities, things that would help him survive when he was older. He was getting greedier when he fed, and as he came into my room that night, I knew it wouldn’t be long before he took it all from me. Part of me hoped he’d starve once I was gone, but it’s hard to truly wish death on your own child.

Tomorrow, his grandparents would be arriving to live with us. I wondered how long they’d sustain him.

748 words

8 Responses to “Monster Mash, 2019”

  1. Ever Addams Says:

    Holy hell this is fantastic! And that last paragraph was perfection. HIGH FIVE!!! 🙂

  2. Cara Michaels Says:

    Holy hell, this is terrifying. Excellent story and use of the prompt!

  3. Oaths and exclamations! Wow! The way you layered on the horror without ever really giving any answers, the wife asking if she could leave, the grandparents coming… Just Wow! You nailed it.

  4. Siobhan Muir Says:

    Sweet glory, that scared the living daylights outta me! Well done.

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