Bogleech.com's 2019 Horror Write-off:
We All Dread Turning Into Our Parents
Submitted by Eromancery
Elizabeth Seraphina Stanburton awoke to find herself elbow-deep in a hobo’s ribcage. She was aware of none of this at the time, though. All she knew was that she wasn’t in her bed, she was uncomfortably full, and something sticky was covering her arm and dripping down her chin. She instinctively licked her dry lips (a morning habit she found inexplicably embarrassing) and tasted the salty-metallic tang of blood. That, if nothing else, jolted her fully awake.
The homeless man was dressed in a thick, motheaten sweater, a stained wool cap, and several pints of his own blood. Several bites had been taken out of his face, and Elizabeth noticed with horror that the teeth marks around where his nose used to be came from someone missing a left incisor, a tooth she hadn’t seen while brushing since a horseback riding accident at the age of 15. Anyone who had read a Sherlock Holmes – no, a Nancy Drew – no, an Encyclopedia Brown novel could have figured this out! That, and her hand was still jammed between his third and fourth ribs and she was having some trouble pulling it out. The dark fullness in her stomach turned to nausea, and she felt it roiling up as the dark undertow of unconsciousness dragged her down again.
“…And I woke up in my bed again but I threw up in the bathroom when I thought about it again and I swear I saw an ear!” Elizabeth cried.
Dr. Morton nodded in the way that all therapists do
when they want to look like they care but they’re actually wishing they had
gone the full distance and gotten the med degree they would have needed to dope
this crazy up with as many pills as is legally possible.
Elizabeth hadn’t had a great track record with psychologists.
“I see,” he said, stroking his long grey beard in a manner Elizabeth found uncomfortably Freudian. “A few sessions ago, you mentioned having a complicated relationship with your parents. Can you talk about that again?”
Elizabeth looked at the clock. 45 minutes to go in this session. She couldn’t stall this out. She ran her tongue over her missing tooth and began, “I know my parents love me and care about me but,” she paused, searching for the words. “Look, you know my parents are rich, right?”
Dr. Morton, who had gone from still paying off student loan debt to having enough money to retire comfortably within one year of having Elizabeth as a patient, nodded slowly.
“It’s weird knowing that the only reason they care about me is because I was born to them. Like, last week, one of Dad’s factories burnt down with all the workers inside. He didn’t care at all, just paid their families and went back to golfing.” Elizabeth wasn’t supposed to know about that, but her chef had been a little drunk that night and his lips were looser than usual. When she thought about it, the fact that she didn’t even eat with her parents was another thing Dr. Morton would probably want her to talk about. Well, fuck him.
“And your political views disagree with that?” Dr. Morton asked.
Rather than look him in the eyes, Elizabeth focused on
the doctor’s great, gleaming, egg-like head.
“Yeah,” she said through gritted teeth. “I believe in caring about other people.”
“Have you ever brought this up with them before?”
“I told my mom once,” she said. And she sent me to you, she thought bitterly.
“Well,” Dr. Morton leaned back in his chair. “I think it’s obvious what caused this dream of yours. You fear that your parent’s capitalist views are influencing you. Your brain contextualized that in the form of you mutilating and devouring member of the lower class.” He sounded very smug. “Don’t be afraid, this sort of thing is perfectly natural. We all dread turning into our parents. Why, when I was your age, I was terrified I would suddenly find model trains an exhilarating pastime when I turned 21!”
The only thing Elizabeth was scared of at the moment was that she may have murdered someone in her sleep and eaten their face. Of course, saying that would probably guarantee even more sessions with Dr. Morton, so she kept quiet and nodded along.
The next day, Elizabeth woke up to see her mother sitting on her bed. This was unusual. Her mother was almost always out, at some event or gala or whatever allowed her to show off her finest furs and pearls.
Elizabeth sat up.
“Mom? What’s going on?” she asked.
Her mother lifted up the package in her arms.
“Doctor Morton told us you were having a difficult time, so I talked with your father and we decided that maybe you needed a gift.” Her mother lifted the top off the box and slowly tipped it onto the bed.
Elizabeth swept the kitten up in her arms and clutched it to her chest.
“Oh my god,”
she gasped, breath whistling softly through her tooth-gap. “Thank you!”
Her mom flashed her a perfect, ivory-white, Vaseline coated smile.
“You’re welcome, dear. I know things can be difficult, but I just want you to know that your father and I love you. Now, I must be going. I’ll call you later.” Her mother said, getting up.
Elizabeth spent twenty minutes trying to come up with a name for the kitten before she realized that Dr. Morton had reported her conversation to her mother. That snake! Doctor-Patient confidentiality her ass! She wanted to break into his office, crack open that great, gleaming egg and claw out the yellow, traitorous yolk! She’d watch as the albumen dripped down her claws, licking up stray drops, unafraid of salmonella. And the golden treasure! How that golden yolk would taste on her tongue, filling her mouth with flavor, thinking its traitorous thoughts no longer.
The kitten squirmed out of her grasp. How hard had she been holding it? She shook her head, the fantasy already fading to the depths of her mind. She had other priorities right now. Being mad at all the adults in her life failing her could wait, she had a kitten to name.
“You’re upset with me.”
It was a statement, not a question. Dr. Morton, as always, was sure he was right.
“Yes.” Elizabeth answered, just for the sake of filling the awkward silence.
“You feel my talk with your mother was a breach of your confidence.”
Ugh. He was doing the thing where he phrased statements as questions so she didn’t feel like she was being interrogated. Like she was 12.
“Yes, I do. Because, you know, you spoke to her without my permission about a talk I assumed was private. You know, because that’s typically how therapy works?”
“To be frank, I only talked to your mother because our
talk had me fearing for your safety. It was well within my right as your
psychologist to share my worries with your mother.”
“Just what did you say to her that her response was to buy me a kitten?”
Hearing herself mentioned, Nepeta poked her head out from under Elizabeth’s coat. Elizabeth absentmindedly stroked the cat’s head, relishing the feeling of soft fur under her hand. Nepeta began to purr.
“To be quite honest, I don’t know. Your mother likely decided you needed some more companionship in your life, and, being a busy woman, purchased you an animal.
It was bad enough having herself psychoanalyzed. Elizabeth needed to hear her mother’s prognosis like a hole in the head. Although, at this point she would have welcomed an impromptu trepanation. Instead, she sat through therapy for the last time.
That night, she dreamed of feasting.
Her tooth was back. She didn’t know how, but her left
incisor, the tooth she thought she would never see again after her equestrian
pratfall, had made its way back into her maw.
She stared at the bathroom mirror, giving the tooth a few more experimental pokes and prods before determining that, yes, it was real. Deciding not to look a gift horse in the mouth (even if said gift was a mouth that had never been marred by a horse), she turned away from the mirror and went back to trimming her nails.
Her stomach rumbled. She had seen neither hide nor hair of her chef since after her last visit with Doctor Morton, and she had been relying on prepackaged food. The stockpile, however, was beginning to run out. She couldn’t live on microwaved soup forever.
She awoke hungry. She felt her legs dangle off the
side of her bed, feet brushing the carpet. She stood in the dark, wincing as
she bumped her head against the ceiling. What time was it? She didn’t care. She
flexed her spindly fingers, testing the air. Something was moving around on the
She snatched it up in a flash and crammed it into her mouth. Flesh crunched under her jaws. Salty-sweet liquid rushed down her throat. She moaned, satisfied.
Satiated, she studied her fingers. Long, thin things, yet capable of such strength! She ran a nail under her thumb, testing its edge. She relished the feeling of the skin parting, muscle meeting cool air.
Her stomach rumbled. She was hungry again. She’d have to go out.
“You say you’ve been in a fugue this past week?”
Doctor Morton asked.
Elizabeth murmured an affirmative. She couldn’t harness the energy required for anything more. She hadn’t even been able to feed Nepeta, not that she’d seen the cat for a while.
“Can you speak up? I’m having trouble understanding you.”
Her fingers itched. Pins and needles ran down her arms and legs. Her teeth were singing.
It was so hard to think.
“I’m so HUNGRY.”
She leaped at him, grabbed his egg-like head and enveloping it entirely between her fingers. She bashed her head into the dome of the egg, cracking it open. He struggled and thrashed, bashing fists uselessly against her body. She opened her mouth and started licking up the yolk with her rough tongue. The thrashing stopped. She licked the egg clean, and started on the sausage below it. She ate her fill.
She shifted uncomfortably in the seat, listening to her
mother prattle on, and her father’s dismissive grunts. Why couldn’t she just have
stayed home? When her mother found her crouched over in the corner, eating the
remains of her chef jerky, she embraced her, sobbing about how “her baby girl
was all grown up.”
But grown or not, apparently she wasn’t old enough to get her meals by herself. At least she was eating with her parents now, though.
Finally done with her speech, her mother began to hand out pieces of the transient. Elizabeth dug in, fingers first.
She loved her family.