It's so easy to discredit a child. They took us out under the cover of night. On holidays that seemed torn from the pages of a medieval horror story: Witches' Night in April, Samhain in Halloween, the full and new moons which they called by deep, slithering names. We were ripped from comfortable beds in the middle of the night, driven by our own mothers to houses shrouded in acres of thick, private forest. But we never went inside. They kept us in cages around the outskirts of an enormous bonfire. By the time we were old enough to be truly afraid, we had already been electroshocked out of our primary personalities, torn and forced into facets that vied to protect each other--or didn’t know about each other at all.
My sister was younger than I, so it was my unspoken job to bare the brunt, to shield her and save her from these monsters. But what could another kid do? They were always dressed with dark hoods covering their faces, only their faces.
The first mock execution took place when I was six. Mother dragged us out of our room just like every time, but even she looked uneasy this cold January night. She herded us into the car, and the trip seemed to go by even faster than usual. We were curled in the back seat when I saw the reflection of dancing flames stalk up the side of Mother’s face. She didn’t flinch when a man opened the side door and dragged us out. We were stripped naked and shoved inside a wooden box. He was grinning at us; I could feel it.
“Spend your last moments with her,” he told me.
He slammed the door shut, and I heard the click of a padlock seal us in. We sobbed into the rough boards at the sudden and unjust death they had sentenced her to. I had no comfort to give: just raw, bloody fingers.
Time went by, and we wept silently--listening for anything at all. She pissed herself when that wretched man slammed open the door and pulled her out by the arm.
“Come,” he said to me, and I obeyed.
Near the bonfire, they had put in a galley with only one tiny noose that hung so close to the ground it could only be for a child. More hooded men zip-tied her arms behind her back. As they lead me to an electrified seat, I didn’t want to look at her face. I hoped they wouldn’t make me. They forced me to look into her eyes the whole time.
He put the noose around her neck and removed the ornate stool from beneath her feet. Her eyes started to bulge within seconds. Her body was convulsing when they cut her down, and I thought she’d never recover.
She did only to be mock executed by drowning in another two years. By the time I was keen on that game, they really killed her. She was buried alive in a coffin near the bonfire. It had tubes connecting her rather shallow tomb to the surface for air. I could talk to her as she died from dehydration, drowning in her own waste as she lay immobilized. She cried all the water out of her body. She knew this was it, and she was right. I denied it up until the point where they covered the tubes with dirt. Weeks went by, and they often set my box above her coffin. It was one cold January morning the next year that I vowed never to show my weaknesses lest I be sealed into my tomb with them.
This is a weird, dark flash fiction piece inspired by ritual child abuse.
Tags: #flashfiction #bariswriting #fiction