So imagine, that one day, you wake up, and your stomach growls like crazy. You smell something, but it's not the usual bacon and eggs your mom prepares for you on Saturday mornings. 'Maybe she's trying a new recipe for something,' you think. You wake up, stretch, and make your way to the bathroom to brush your teeth. Before you reach the bathroom, though, you stop at your little brother's room. You open the door quietly, not wanting to wake him from his slumber just yet. You smile at his sleeping form, watching the way his little chest rises and falls with each breath. After a minute or so, you go over to his bed and tickle his sides.
He wakes with a start, trying to squirm away from your fingers, but moving listlessly-he just woke up. Eventually, he fights his way away from you, and lies down on the bed. You lay down with him, trapping him in a hug. "I'm hungry," he says. "Me too," you respond. "Let's go brush our teeth, and then we can go get breakfast from Mommy." "But I don't wannna bush my teeth!" "If you don't, Calcifer, you can't eat breakfast. You know that." With a pout, he says "okay" and lets you carry him to the bathroom. In the hallway, he sniffs the air and wrinkles his little nose. He looks so cute like that… "What's that smell? It's weird." "I don't know what it is either," you respond. "Maybe Mommy's trying a new recipe for breakfast this morning." Satisfied with this response, Calcifer nods his little head and lets you carry him the rest of the way to the bathroom.
In the bathroom, you set him down on the toilet and get his and your toothbrushes. You put a bit of toothpaste on his and hand it to him, and he starts to violently brush his teeth. You shake your head at his antics and begin to brush your own teeth. When you both finish, you wipe off his face and pick him up again. You hold him upside down, smiling as he flails about in an attempt to right himself. You laugh and set him down at the top of the stairs. "I forgot something in my room. I'll meet you downstairs." He nods his head rapidly, excited at the prospect of getting food. You turn around and make your way back to your room.
You're in your room by the time Calcifer reaches the kitchen, so you don't hear his confused voice say "Mo...mmy…?". You're walking back towards the stairs, iPod in hand, when you hear a wordless cry filled with anguish. Acting purely on instinct, you run down the stairs, taking them two at a time. You stop short as your breath catches in your throat at the sight in the kitchen.
Calcifer sits at the edge of the kitchen, curled up in a fetal position, crying and wailing at the top of his lungs. But that's not the sight that stopped you in your tracks. On the dining table, your mother's lifeless body lay split in half, with her intestines and organs spilling out of her. Her blood stained the tiles and cupboards around the kitchen, and some dripped off of the table onto the floor. The shock not quite setting in fully, you glance at her face. The sight of her usually serene face twisted and frozen into a scream of agony breaks you. Tears you hadn't realized you started shedding cascaded down your face in rivers as you dropped to your knees. The metallic smell of blood, the sounds of your brother's cries, all of that is drowned out by the sight of your butchered mother lying across the dining table. Subconsciously, your eyes do a full body sweep of her, from her face-frozen in one last scream of pain-to her neck-sliced so deep that blood still drips from the wound, to her midsection-cut wide open with her innards spilling out of it- to her legs-covered with bruises and cuts.
The sounds and scents of the kitchen rush back and hit you full force, and you finally snap. You let out a loud scream, putting your very being into it. You scream and scream and scream, until your vocal chords give out and you're reduced to soundless cries of woe. Something pierces through your grief and you crawl towards your brother, who is still curled up and wailing. You take his quivering form into your arms, holding his head to your chest and crying into his hair. You can't remember how long the two of you sit there, crying and screaming, before your neighbors open the door to find you. They heard the screaming and rushed to the house to see what was going on. Using the spare key your mother keeps-well kept, now- under the welcome mat, they opened the door and followed the sounds of the screams. They were not prepared for what they saw. After a moment's pause, Mrs. Hansen ran forward to comfort the two crying children, shedding tears of her own. She wrapped them in a warm embrace as Mr. Hansen moved to the house phone to call the police. When they picked up, his voice was low and hoarse, and cracked on many of the words as he told the police what he walked in on.
You can't remember how long it took for the police and the paramedics to arrive, nor can you remember their reactions to this grisly scene. You can't remember any of the words the paramedics told you, or any of the questions the police asked. You can only remember Mrs. Hansen telling off the police, telling them that you two were only children; that you would need time to get over the fact that your mother was dead. Hearing someone say your mother was dead brought on a fresh wave of sobs from you and Calcifer. 'This is unfair,' you think. 'Calcifer shouldn't have to go through any of this. He's too young, too innocent… Our mother shouldn't have been…..been…" You can't finish that thought, and you clutch little Calcifer closer to your body, as if you could merge him with yourself and protect him from the onslaught of grief. Per the paramedics' request, Mrs. Hansen coaxes you to your feet and tries to get the two of you out of the door. As soon as Calcifer feels himself moving, he let out an ear-splitting wail that causes you to flinch. He clings tighter to your body, sobbing loudly and muttering "Mommy" through his sobs as he is carried away. He glances up one more time, casting a last look upon his mother's mutilated body, and buries his tear-stained face into your shoulder as you carry him towards the waiting ambulance.
Time passes in a blur as you are driven to the hospital. They leave you and your sobbing brother in a room, and tell you two to wait for a doctor, that he will be here shortly. Seconds, minutes, and hours mean nothing as you and Calcifer wait, numbed by the pain. Calcifer's sobs have stopped, but tears still run freely down his face. Eventually, a doctor opens the door and feels a pang of pain for the two children sitting there. They look lost, dejected, stricken. He walks in and approaches the children, speaking in soft, reassuring tones. He gets no response. Just blank, empty stares. Asks them how they feel, if they're hungry. Nothing. They look ahead, staring blankly at the wall in front of them. He asks when they last ate, and that provokes a response from them. The girl visibly flinches, and the boy breaks down into sobs. The girl clutches the little boy closer to her, and raises her head to glare at the doctor. Even through the tears, the bitterness within her gaze shines out loud and clear. The doctor walks out of the room to let the children grieve, shaking his head in sympathy.
Seems pretty farfetched, right? Seems completely cruel, like something that you'd only see in a movie. Something that you wouldn't expect to happen to anybody you know. Well, it happened to us. Why else would we be here? We were relocated here, to Gainesville, to get us away from the memories that house holds.
Every time we think back to that day, we close our eyes and shake our heads, trying to erase the image of our mother's body from our minds. Those attempts are in vain, because we both know that we will never forget that day. That image is burned into our mind and will forever haunt us.