Black Petals Issue #74 Winter, 2016

The Family F.
Home
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Beyond the Stars-Fiction by Brian McLelland
Doesn't Play Well with Others-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Killkenny Man-Fiction by Charles C. Cole
The Family F.-Fiction by George C. Economou
Masks of Innocence-Fiction by Dr. Mel Waldman
Trim Thought-Fiction by Chris Moylan
When the Sea Shall Give Up Her Dead-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
Anticipating Miracles- 3 Poems by Teresa Ann Frazee
Cemetery Haze-3 poems by Michael Keshigian
Seven Horror Haiku-by Denny E. Marshall
Four Zombie Haiku-by Denny E. Marshall
Love Letter (to L. W.)-Poem by Reyhan Qayoom

Fiction by George C. Economou

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The Family F.

 

By George G. Economou

 

Getting their buzz on

 

 

 The family F. consisted of four members: Father, Mother, Son, and Daughter. They roamed freely in the vast void, searching for food and shelter. They didn’t have a permanent home, nor was there a place to hold them.

They were constantly on the move, scavenging and collecting everything they could. This is also how they ended up roaming a bizarre landscape, which was, however, not entirely unfamiliar to the parents. The four were quite young, yet mature enough. Despite this, the children didn’t dare venture into the dangerous world on their own because of the horror stories they’d heard about what happened to those who attempted to live alone.

The father took the first daring step inside the new area, exploring the scary landscape; soon thereafter he called the rest of his family to join him, since the area had plenty to offer. There was enough space for them to explore, and food was scattered freely and plentifully all around, making the new, unknown area an ideal place to settle for a while.

However, not everything was idyllic in their newfound Paradise. Soon after they entered and, almost instantaneously, began picking up pieces of tasty, slimy, and well-aged edibles, a Giant intruded. The monstrous creature walked lazily and heavily among them, ignoring them.

It was the daughter who first noticed the Giant and cried out; her voice was shrill, her squeaking loud, and yet the Giant still didn’t notice her or the rest of her family. The father tried to calm his daughter down by explaining to her in a soft, understanding, yet stern voice, that Giants, like the one they now tried to avoid, were often seen by their people. The son recalled, almost in terror, several stories he had heard about the Giants from some friends he had met in another place—horror stories of how Giants had killed their parents and/or acquaintances.

His mother laughed it off and said that his so-called friends were only jesting; the Giant wouldn’t hurt them a bit, as long as they stayed out of his way. And thus, the family F. decided, almost unanimously, for the daughter still wished to leave, to stay in this new area and take advantage of the provisions so generously provided them.

For a time, the family F. was able to live in harmonious symbiosis with the Giant, who sat peacefully on a large, black object and was occupied with an illuminated object, which was standing in front of him. Only the daughter paid close attention to the strange creature and observed the images on the reflecting object—images of other Giants, doing things to each other, the meaning and purpose of which the daughter (or any other member of her family) couldn’t comprehend.

The rest of the family kept roaming the open space, scavenging the crumbs of food scattered all around. A bottle of milk was thrown in a corner, and both the mother and the son rushed to it, enjoying the sour taste of the white liquid, which they both cherished. Father ate heartily from a box, which was covered in grease and butter; the Mother scolded Father for eating so unhealthily, but she, too, sampled the greasy substance with gusto.

The daughter, on the other hand, could not enjoy the goods with which her family had been provided. She hovered near the Giant, observing both him and the constantly changing images on that illuminated object. She moved in circles around the Giant, trying to understand the bizarre creature.

She flew away with a pounding heart, when the Giant abruptly raised his arm, and an airwave passed by the scared daughter. The Giant produced a loud, terrifying noise (probably some incomprehensible speech, thought the daughter). Regardless, she was scolded by both Mother and Father, and told to stay away from the Giant and focus, instead, on collecting food and on surviving another day.

Besides, they would have to start exploring the area, too, because they needed a shelter for the approaching night. The place was, apparently, the Giant’s lair, and therefore they had to ensure that they would rest away from the monster. Nevertheless, the son continued tasting the variable edibles of Paradise lustfully and uncontrollably.

He, too, came close to the Giant, who, once again, shoved him away with his heavy, hairy arm. The son scented something delicious and inviting on the Giant’s hair, and therefore landed on the monster’s arm. The son, heavily preoccupied with the search for the delicacy, only barely saw the hand coming his way. He managed to evade the strong, heavy hand and airwave, as well as the subsequent slapping sound, but only in the nick of time.

Father hurried to his son and scolded him, after he saved him from falling; both parents tried to make perfectly clear to the children, once again, the importance of staying clear of the Giant. Still, neither of the two children, each for their own reasons, were able to stay away from the Giant for long.

Family F. was very peculiar, in that they only were four, and were always travelling together (whereas most of their people traveled alone, or with a friend); these peculiarities, however, were also the reason why they were able to survive this long in the hostile, and danger-filled world. (The father was one of the oldest surviving members of his people).

The parents, especially, had also managed to shed all forms of curiosity and possessed increased survival instincts and a stronger will for preservation, which allowed them to stay away from the Giant, and focus solely on searching for shelter and food. Even though they had tried to inculcate the same principles in their two children, both the son and the daughter were still young enough to be governed by the primordial instinct of their nature and were, thus, curious and guided by their need to learn more about the world.

Both children were intelligent, and the son, in particular, hoped to become a great philosopher when he grew older; philosophers, among their people, were very few, but were also some of the most respected members of their society, since they were the ones who taught the rest about the wonders of the world, as well as of its dangers.

At that specific moment, then, the son was solely devoted in tasting the delicacy emitting from the Giant’s arm; unfortunately for the aspiring philosopher, who daydreamed of the recognition he’d receive if he succeeded in this self-imposed mission, the Giant seemed extremely reluctant to allow the son taste the thick liquid (it was a liquid, so much the son had managed to deduce).

The Giant, flinging his arms wildly in the air, was in a state of unrest. He was completely ignoring the images on the object—images the daughter was still examining, as she moved around the illuminated object constantly, driven by the desperate need of youth to learn everything.

The parents were, at that moment, preoccupied with exploring their surroundings. Finally, they discovered a dark, quiet place, where they could spend the night in peace and safety, and, therefore, emerged back into the open space to announce their discovery to the children.

Mother was aghast when she saw her two children circling the Giant, who was now frantic and red-faced. The Giant flung his arms, striking himself and several objects around him, trying to kill the two children! Father was enraged, mostly at his children, and launched himself towards the Giant, wishing to save the kids from the creature, then scold them as he never had done before.

However, and as Father recklessly approached the Giant from behind, who was too occupied with trying to smash the son, who kept landing on the Giant’s arm, the Giant threw his huge arm backwards and hit the father’s head.

Mother screamed helplessly as she saw her lifelong partner falling down in a whirlwind and landing on the hard ground lifelessly. The son hurried towards his father, while the daughter remained close to the image-playing object, too fascinated with the bizarre and grotesque images to even notice her father’s death.

The son stood right by the motionless body of his father; he shed no tears, for he couldn’t, but felt a weight crushing his little heart. He still wanted to taste the Giant’s liquid, but knew he had to ignore his natural disposition towards curiosity. He was now the one who had to protect his mother and sister.

He raised his eyes upwards and was rendered breathless as he saw the Giant’s foot coming towards him at great velocity. His small size and the agility of youth allowed him to evade the foot at the last moment; still, he did see the Giant step on his father’s body, smashing it into a black pulp.

Mother, in a state of deep sorrow and confusion, remained in the dark corner, too frightened to even attempt to rescue her children. She stared in disbelief as the Giant put Father’s body inside a white object and threw it inside a plastic object—a most macabre burial place to her.

The Giant then returned to his seat and tried to slap the daughter away, but she managed to evade the threatening hand, still unwilling to abandon the illuminated object, her fascination over the images growing.

The son went to the daughter hastily and, with determination (grief still tormenting his soul), shoved her away forcefully; he had heard his mother’s cries and thus located her hiding place. Despite her loud, protesting cries, he led his sister in the safety of the Shelter. Yet, disregarding his mother’s sobbing pleas, he left them there and returned to the Giant, approaching him in careful zigzagging moves. He simply had to taste the forbidden fruit.

And thus, driven by his determination and lust and hunger, the son left his mother and sister behind, in the relative safety of the corner; he approached, once again, and more carefully, the Giant, who had, after the murder of the father, calmed down and returned to his image-playing object.

The son circled around the Giant’s limbs with swift, elegant moves, avoiding, albeit often just barely, the Giant’s attempts to strike him down. However, the irritated movements of the Giant, and his spasmodic flinging of limbs, didn’t allow the son to stay on the Giant’s skin for long. Thus, the son was frustrated in not being able to taste the smelly liquid, now running in abundance along the Giant’s arms and legs.

Mother was holding on tight to the daughter, who was struggling in the mother’s stern embrace, wishing to return to the images of the object and continue her observations. The mother was staring befuddled and in fear at her son moving around the Giant, touching the monster’s limbs, then taking flight whenever the Giant slapped his limbs violently. Despite the distance, she could see red spots appearing on the Giant’s skin, courtesy of his own slaps.

The son was growing impatient, flustered and reckless, for he needed to taste the unknown liquid, anticipating the congratulatory remarks he’d receive, the heroic reception that awaited him. He could see far into the future, his name being remembered among the very few names that had survived in the memory of the people; yet, if he couldn’t taste the strange liquid, and perhaps take a sample of it too, all his dreams of becoming a hero and a philosopher would vanish. And, because of the Giant’s mania to protect the liquid, the son had no doubt in his mind it was precious and valuable, which could only mean even more honors for him.

When the hand of the Giant hit the son, the mother let a heartbreaking cry, loosening her grip around the daughter. The son fell, in dizziness, on the ground, laying there alive but perplexed, incapable of rising. Mother took a step outside her lair, yet retreated back almost immediately, as two of her most primitive instincts came in conflict: should she preserve herself, or try to rescue her offspring?

The daughter, in the meantime, almost oblivious to what was happening to her family, abandoned the hiding place and launched herself straight at the image-playing object; the images on it had changed, as the Giant had, presumably, tired of the old ones. The new ones were eerily similar, only this time the daughter distinguished four different Giants, performing similar, inexplicable acts on each other as in the previous images.

The Giant muttered something incomprehensible that the daughter knew was some kind of speech, and left the area. Mother, observing her Giant enemy’s departure, finally found the courage to abandon her dark, safe corner and rush to her son, who was still alive, but struggling to move.

The mother carried him with difficulty, by just pushing him along the ground, to the hideout; in the meanwhile, she was screaming at her daughter to return to safety as well; but her well-meaning begging was completely ignored by the daughter, who was hypnotized by the images.

Mother patted the son’s head, trying to comfort him. However, the son, although uneasy, was unwilling to abandon his quest for the mysterious liquid. He got back to his feet for a second or two, then crumpled back down, dizziness and weakness overwhelming him. Mother continued to nurse the fallen son, who simply refused to stay down, utterly determined to taste the liquid, willing to even give his life for an opportunity to earn eternal fame.

The daughter reached the object of her fascination, focusing solely on the constantly changing images, and, a brief moment later, the Giant returned, holding a new object—a weapon, to the mother’s petrified horror.

The Giant smiled, exposing the yellow teeth hiding behind his hair-covered lips, as he raised the sparkling object. He flung it against the daughter violently, who just merely managed to escape the flattened surface of the oncoming object. She felt the heat emitting from the strange object and, for the first time, managed to forget the fascinating images and realize the dire situation in which her family was.

The daughter glanced briefly at her mother and brother in the corner, and started towards them, in wild zigzags, as she had to avoid the constantly flung object; the Giant, in hot pursuit, was following her closely, with a flushed face and heavy panting.

Yet, the daughter, due to her youthful agility, easily avoided the object; however, she couldn’t go to her family because the Giant seemed unaware of their presence. Therefore, she turned abruptly, and for a moment was heading straight towards the Giant, who grew bewildered, but only for a second.

The daughter turned left—her mother watching helplessly from the safety of the corner, while nursing the slowly recovering son—once again avoiding the object thrown at her. The Giant was following her extremely closely, appearing determined not to stop till she was gone.

The daughter turned again, this time to the right, avoiding the heated object; yet, the Giant, seemingly more resourceful than expected, flung his free hand at the daughter, and hit her, bewildering her. The daughter couldn’t move in a straight line, for her vision had grown blurry; she saw two Giants standing in front of her, but she couldn’t tell which one was real. She took her chance and headed towards the one to her left.

Mother cried in agony and finally left her hideout, launching herself towards the daughter, who was going straight towards the Giant. The mother saw how the Giant drew his arm backwards, holding tightly the bizarre, macabre-looking object; then he flung it violently and astonishingly fast at the daughter.

The mother screamed painfully and in vain as the daughter was hit. One second, the daughter was still moving lightly and in her curvy course, due to dizziness, and the next she was hit by a heated net; an electrical wave traversed her small, fragile body for only an instant, but it was more than enough to fry her internal organs. The lifeless and unrecognizable body of the daughter was stuck on the surface of the object.

Mother remained still, unable to think or react, as she witnessed in helpless horror her daughter’s body thrown by the Giant, unceremoniously, into the same plastic tomb where the Father was laid.

The son had regained enough of his composure and senses to witness the murder of his beloved sister; more weight was added on his already crushed heart. Yet, with his stone-cold calculations and train of thought, he hurried to his frozen mother, who was still breathless and immovable.

The Giant threw a rushed, murderous kick towards the mother, who, at the last moment, managed to escape her saddened trance and avoid it. Yet, the tremendous airwave created by the Giant’s kick was enough to make her stumble wildly. If it wasn’t for the son, who came from behind her and shoved her away from the flung object, the mother would have met the same fate as her daughter.

Mother was still devastated by her losses and thus, when the son left her back in the safety of the corner, in order to return to the Giant and finally taste the precious liquid, she strolled outside the safety of the darkness without thinking.

The son, cunning and more determined than ever, moved along the lines of the tall wall that surrounded the area, almost undetected by the Giant, as he (the son) made sure to remain in the darkest spaces, getting lost within the black spots. At first, the Giant followed the son with his gaze, but then he (the Giant) noticed the mother, who had emerged from the safety of the corner, and was wandering about.

A sinister smile formed on the Giant’s face, which the son noticed and which caused his heart to fail; the Giant raised his left foot and, abruptly and brutally, stepped on the mother. The son, aghast, screamed in vain at his mother to move away, but she, seemingly, never heard him. When the Giant raised his foot, the son was unable to breathe or move, as he saw his mother’s body transformed into a black spot on the ground, a mere stain, which the Giant coldly wiped away with a white tissue and threw into the plastic object—the tomb of the son’s entire family.

Despite his utter devastation and the mourning (feelings few of his people had ever experienced so strongly), the son remained determined to hunt down fame and eternal remembrance. Therefore, and with the corner of his eye constantly staring at the plastic object, where his now-dead family lay, he approached the Giant once more; the smell was stronger, seducing the son even more, nearly forcing him close to the Giant.

The Giant, flushed and obviously frustrated, kept wildly flinging his weapon about, desperately trying to hit the zigzagging son. The son, despite his uncontrollable desire to taste the liquid, had enough clarity of mind not to attempt anything straightforward and, instead, approached the Giant from the side, trying to stay clear of the weapon’s range.

On the other hand, the son couldn’t stop pursuing the liquid, his entire body burning with the lust to finally taste it, his mind filled with images of the honors that would be his if he returned to his people with a sample. His family had been cold-bloodedly murdered, and he feared it was his obsession with the liquid that had been the main cause of it, but he hoped and wished to redeem himself by passing all the honors of the discovery to their loving memory.

Suddenly, he saw the long awaited opening. The Giant had been distracted by something else—a faint sound, which the son barely heard—and thus, the son landed on the Giant’s upper arm. He protruded his tongue hungrily, yet reluctantly, as he found himself surrounded by the slightly sticky and odorous liquid. He took a tiny taste, and was disappointed; the sour taste was nothing special and definitely did not live up to the hype promised by the strong smell.

A crashing weight fell on his small body, for the son never noticed the hand’s descent, being occupied solely by the disappointment of his discovery and the vain deaths of his beloved family. The pain from the collision lasted only a second, then the salvation of death and nothingness embraced the son, just as quickly as it had embraced the rest of his family.

“Fucking flies,” Gary, (the Giant) muttered angrily, as he picked up the dead body of the last fly and threw it into the garbage can, finally able to return to his computer in peace.

 

The End

 

 

George Gad Economou, sorensen385@hotmail.com, of Risskov, Denmark, who wrote BP #74’s “The Family F.” (+ BP #72’s “In Dreams There Is No Time,” BP #68’s “Angel of the Dark,” and BP #64’s “The Day I Started Believing”), is a 20-something horror author from Greece, whose first novel, THE ELIXIR OF YOUTH, was published in Greece in 2010. He wrote this first novel at the age of 15, and has since written more novels, as well as short stories, all in the horror genre. See www.facebook.com/GeorgeGadEconomou.

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