Chapter 1 – Slaughtering Day Monday, November 20th, 2023 Father says that being thankless is a sin–the worst sin, but I haven’t found much to be thankful for this past week and I’m trying really, really hard. I promise I have been and I’ve been praying too. Zygomar is usually the loudest so I started by invoking him–this all started in his name after all–and when that didn’t work I even prayed to the lesser gods Yogtroth, Trula and Vaneshka for help or guidance. For bravery, retribution or wisdom anything at all they might bless me with too, but I haven’t heard a single one of them since all of this started.
“Thank you for coming,” he said, “I didn’t think you were going to.” “I almost didn’t. You’ve been in a spiral and I was afraid of what you might do to yourself. You sounded really out of it on the phone. I’m worried about you.”
“How’s she doing?” The concern Jake had for Kyle’s wife was genuine so it was always the first thing he said as Kyle mounted the steps to Jake’s porch in the afternoon. “Catch,” was the next thing he said as he tossed Kyle a beer. He and Jake had developed a sort of tradition these past few weeknights.
My husband Daniel is the type that keeps to himself. He doesn’t talk to any of the neighbors whereas I’ve always been outgoing. Even as a kid, I liked to get to know people so I could understand them better. Understand what they’re feeling better. I can learn so much about people by striking up a conversation…occasionally, I’ll meet someone I’d be best off avoiding…
When the window tapping began, Daniel grabbed the gun from the nightstand drawer. We both sat on the edge of the mattress staring at the curtains, drawn closed for the night. “Scott!” I recognized the voice outside calling my name. I’d never forget that voice. I took the gun from Daniel’s hand and told him to hide. He looked surprised and began to protest but at the look I gave him, he stopped. I must have looked so profoundly broken. Lost. Or maybe he saw something else in me that I didn’t know was there. A strength I was unaware of. Without a word, Daniel nodded, then hid. I crossed the room to the window and opened the curtains to face my ex-husband once again.
This all began when I was a kid — back when I used to think that the Moon followed me. I’d watch it pass through the clouds as my mother drove her aging sedan down the dark highways, always keeping pace with her erratic turns and speed changes … never falling behind. I’d watch it through the rear window, bouncing from treetop to treetop in time with my bounces in the backseat. Tagging along as the car leapt potholes and divots on the midnight country roads where we sent gravel and dust billowing out behind us.