Below is the submission, Family, by Aurora Torchia. The work was only edited for spacing and is Aurora’s work. I hope you enjoy this submission for the Halloween week on the blog.
“Family” by Aurora Torchia
The history of that house , huh?
I will tell you, as old Joe once told me …
They had arrived two months earlier.
An odd couple, according to everyone: young, but already gray-haired and with deep eye wrinkles.
It was a wonder how they could give birth to such a lively and lovely child: a black haired angel who did nothing but run here and there. You could not imagine anyone more at odds with those two pale and insipid parents.
It took only one week for all the neighborhood to start grumbling about the strange screams and chants that could be heard coming from the crumbling walls of the house.
Witchcraft, they said .
The gypsy who lived in the cabin east of the river had hung strange pieces of cloth on the tent that served as a door, and had stopped going out of the house after dark. She said that evil had come into the valley. She said it was their fault if animals died and children fell prey to fevers.
And that was not all.
The wife was always on the front porch or in the kitchen: when on the porch, she stared into space stroking her cats and when in the kitchen she kept staring into space but … cooked the cats.
Or at least that was what kids in the neighborhood said.
They rarely saw the husband. Nobody knew what kind of job he had, but he went out every morning at dawn, dragging bags that smelled of rotten meat.
The children told their mothers their new friend had always strange bruises around her neck and burst into tears every time she saw a cat. She was afraid .
People were terrified, but first and foremost they felt sorry for the poor creature. How could they move that innocent child away from that sacrilegious house?!
Old Joe, who lived right across the street, kept thinking about it every night. Pipe in his mouth , sitting on his porch, how many times he had seen the little girl sneak out in the middle of the night to escape screams and beatings?
He had to do something!
Finally, one night, the man’s cries had become high to the point that old Joe took courage – and his rifle – and went toward the house, determined to stop that crazy couple. Once the door was opened wide, he saw a scene that froze the blood in his veins: the little girl, standing on the table, was beating her mother on her back with a long stick.
From the oven, a nauseating smell and pathetic moans came.
“How dare you try to kill me again? You… Stupid warlock!” she screamed with that childish voice, mad with anger, towards the oven. “I am the servant Satan gave you!”
The woman then grabbed her by the arm, enduring the beating.
“Kill her!” She begged old Joe. “Burn everything!”
When, in the morning, the flames had been tamed, next to the woman’s charred body, they found a giant rat’s corpse: it had a bullet hole in its skull.