Caution: if you have a weak stomach or a delicate mind, please don't read the following story. When I read this at writers group, I felt like I had just sucked all of the air out of the room.
Coming in from the garage, the house was eerily quiet. And dark. Must be the change of season. I am just not used to the early sunset. I flick on a light to guide me toward the kitchen. My eyes climb the stairs while I stand in the doorway. A habit I never would have noticed had it not been for the glistening deep red bloody stump of a severed head waiting at the top of the stairs. Looking back on it now, it's as though my brain sat pickling in a jar on the kitchen counter: the only witness to my body as it moved quickly to pack the grotesque head in paper and dispose of it in the garbage can. It was instinct that powered my limbs, not reason. My body acted in reflex. "Protect them," the auto-pilot of all mothers. From its sickening perch, my brain spoke to me: "It will be picked up tomorrow. No one will know. No one has seen."
As in a dream, my brain watched as I washed my hands and began preparing dinner. The knife rocked over vegetables on the cutting board. I blinked hard to erase the vision of cutting off my own fingers. Butter, garlic, carrots, onion and celery seemed a mile away in the bottom of the stock pot. The boys will be home soon. Some hot soup will do us all good. I tried to act normal.
To be continued...