The first part is here
I had an inkling as to the location of the door but I would have to wait until my father was at work to begin my investigation. I left the library using an alternate exit to avoid confrontation. I would have to hide the key when time afforded but at the moment I had no alternative but to rejoin the celebration.
When I entered the room I could tell by my mother’s expression that she had noted, if only just, my absence. Her hand alighted on my shoulder like a frightened bird and she took, what I imagined was, the last breath of the evening. I had prepared an excuse for my brief disappearance but it proved unnecessary.
“There you are Eli! Come now it’s time to cut the cake…” She maneuvered me toward the large banquet table in the center of the dining hall.
There were three cakes one vanilla, one strawberry, and one chocolate presented precisely in that order. It had been determined, after much consideration, that vanilla was my favorite. Strawberry suggested effeminacy. Chocolate suggested impudence. Vanilla was prudent and therefore the only acceptable choice, I would not even be permitted to sample the other flavors. If it really was that easy to alter a man’s nature then why hadn’t my parents taken more care with their own diets? Why did my father drink? Why did my mother refuse to eat?
My mother pressed the handle of the knife into my outstretched hand, but she was not permitted to guide the blade. I watched her take her seat, her knitted brows drawing out the terror in her smile. For this occasion I would be permitted to sit at the head of the table, a designation I neither deserved nor desired. The guests, which existed purely for their own benefit, appeared sewn into their chairs. Their faceless heads raised as gavels and I standing there, a child solider, over the body of a man I was destined to kill.
I buried the key beneath my mother’s favorite rose bush. She was in the kitchen, embroiled in a war which offered no hope of formal resolution. She would scrub each dish until her fingers were raw from heat and persistence. Once clean she would drop them into the trash one by one, like the shells of discarded eggs. No one dared intercept her pathos and no one dared name it but the cause was obvious. My father retired to his study, drink in hand, he would not speak again until breakfast.
I had been careful not to kneel in the dirt and with my sleeves rolled up past the elbows I believed myself impervious to filth. Against my naked forearms the air was as sharp as a briefly applied cigarette. Not for an external chill but such was the shock of my violation. I had wanted for very little in my short life and had asked for far less but this key held the culmination of all those secret leanings. I patted the earth carefully knowing that my mother would detect the slightest disturbance. If she were for some reason vexed by the sight of the topsoil she might extract the entire plant. The thought that she could kill something she loved to appease her illness frightened me and though I’d never voiced my fear I often worried that my own anomalies might prescribe a similar fate.
A house full of sick people self included. Also this story doesn’t actually have name yet not a proper name anyhow