Prompt #46 – Family, for jaydesims

Warning: There is going to be a sudden influx of sim stories over the next couple of days. I began taking story prompts over at tumblr and now I want to collect them over here for the sake of convenience/because this was supposed to be my writing blog. Flee in droves, or don’t.

Originally posted at my tumblr. Pictures are a little sparse because I was posting directly to tumblr, which has a picture limit of 10. Naturally, I realized belatedly that it would make much more sense to post to livejournal and link back. Of course, livejournal then began acting obnoxious, so I guess I’ll just post things wherever accessible until I finally succumb to the urge to buy another domain.

001

Family

The screaming had stopped a while ago, but her head still aches with it, her thoughts swollen and bruised.

The sudden quiet is impenetrable. Her mother and sister haven’t spoken since her father left, and though she opens her own mouth, there is nothing

He’s not coming back, they

What now, what do we do, we’re

We have nothing, no food, no

They’re still here, they’re just waiting until

What now

to say, and she closes it again.

002

Footsteps in the hallway. The doorknob jiggles and they all go rigid.

003

Behind her, Lilith’s lips move in tight, frantic spasms, emitting a strange hissing sound. Her fingers knead and pull her shoelaces like rosaries as she runs through a frenzied litany of half-remembered prayers.

Our Father, who art in Heaven, Lilith whisper-begs. Hallowed be thy name

Angela’s lips peel back from her teeth. Her throat burns with the poison of her own unshed laughter. Her father’s screams echo faintly beneath her sister’s voice.

Lilith is unrelenting. She only knows two prayers.

Our Father, who art ground into the carpet and splashed across the walls

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my bones to eat

She claws at the bedspread, squeezes her knees together, chews the inside of her mouth, and feels her sanity begin to shift and splinter beneath the onslaught.

If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take

Her mother’s hand envelopes her own, pulls it free from the fabric and holds it prisoner behind long, manicured bars. “It’ll be okay,” she says, her nails digging into Angela’s palm.

She thinks of times when she was younger and would desperately cling to that assurance, no matter how unlikely it seemed; back when she was safe in the fortress of her parents arms.

But that was so long ago.

The footsteps retreat.

Lilith begins to cry, and her mother releases her hand, needing both arms to cradle a child she hasn’t been allowed to touch in years.

#

004

Her mother stops pacing abruptly and turns to face them.

“I have to go now,” she says. Her voice is thin and terrified, but they both recognize the underlying steel within it; that special “NO BUTS” audio feature that lies dormant until parenthood.

They argue anyway; what punishment could she possibly administer now? Ground them? They were already confined to her room.

“Maybe they’ll go away.”

“Maybe they’ll get bored.”

“Maybe they’re already gone.”

Mary-Sue shakes her head, simultaneously defeated and undeterrable. “They know we’re in here. They won’t go away on their own, not without us. Right now they’re waiting, and maybe they will get bored. Maybe then they’ll come in. That door won’t stop them if they want to push the issue.”

“We can’t wait any longer.”

Mama, they beg. They watch the word knife into her. Some tiny flicker of hope ignites in them, that maybe if they hurt her enough they can break her and she’ll stay.

It’ll be okay. Then they can all die together.

“Listen, girls,” she begins, but they override her, crying Mama, don’t leave us. Mama, don’t go. Mama, mama, mommy.

“I’m going to do everything humanly possible to get them out of here, away from you two,” she promises. “When you both feel ready, try to sneak out. Don’t wait too long, in case they come back. Once you’re out of here, head for Aunt Jennifer’s house. If she’s still alive, Jennifer will help you.”

“What if she’s dead?” Lilith demands.

“Don’t go, mama,” Angela pleads. “We’ll figure something else out.”

Mary-Sue shakes her head again.

“If Jennifer and Lucy are dead, then you two are on your own. I want you two to stay together – promise me that. And don’t just ‘yes, mom’ me and ditch each other the second I leave, either. Promise me.”

A brief argument ensues. No, they can’t all go; yes, they’ll be fine; stay together; find Jennifer and Lucy; no, they can’t all go.

Finally, they give up.

“We promise.”

#

She turns off the lights before she goes, apologizing as the room is swallowed by the night.

“Just in case the light attracts them.”

#

005

“I love you,” she says over her shoulder, her hand on the doorknob. It opens to the vast emptiness of the hallway, and quickly closes behind her, severing their family in half.

The lock clicks into place. A useless gesture, but one they don’t dare forego.

Footsteps in the hallway. Heavy and fast.

Not their mother’s. Too many to be their mother’s.

The house goes quiet again.

#

006

The bed squeaks softly as she climbs onto the mattress next to Lilith.

“Now what?” Lilith asks, nearly inaudible. She sounds exhausted and looks even worse as she leans into her sister.

“I don’t know,” she says, slipping her arm across Lilith’s shoulders. “We’ll figure something out.”

For now, though, they sit and listen to the moaning wind outside and the muffled cries of the other survivors.

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