Tag Archives: family

Please don’t let them purge us

Please, this just can’t be happening. Please just listen.

They took my neighbors four days ago. I don’t know how many others they took already, but they keep coming.

I’m from Furtwood, Alberta. We have at least four hundred people here, but there’s not much else around. If you look on the map, we’re just a few miles North of Pelican Lake and Northeast of the 813. But we’re being purged. I swear to God, we’re being purged. A month ago we were on Google Maps everything, but now we’re just gone. They’ve photoshopped the satellite image. Fucking hell, you can still see the beginning of the roads, but our town is just gone.

There were lights in the sky three weeks ago. Nothing really spectacular, but a lot of people here saw them. It was a formation like an arrow, at least twelve or so, but they were too far to see the shape of the individual ones. They flew by around 9pm and it was dark as hell and it’s freezing here, so there were not many people out, but they were bright and blinking, so some people saw them and told others and at least a hundred people saw them. There was even a discussion on our amateur radio channel, that it might be aliens or military and one of the guys on air said he was sure that he saw one of them going down; that one of the lights broke formation and went down.

We’re all scared. We’re so fucking scared. People don’t dare to admit anymore that they saw them, but before they came I talked to several of my neighbors and they all saw them. My sister called me from the other end of town when they were in the sky, her son had seen them. And now my sister’s family is missing too. Continue reading

“We went for grandpa.”

It’s now been two months since his father died. We had been to the funeral and I knew that losing his father must have been painful. Still he just held our son’s hand and sat there silently. No tears, no sadness on his face. Just a calm face with a hint of concern. A few times he looked down to Ian and nodded to himself.

We watched as they closed the casket and walked in the first row when they carried it out to the grave. They lowered it inside. There was another speech. I threw a flower and my husband and son threw soil.

On the way back he didn’t say a single word.

Josue had never been the type to show his emotions but he had been close to his father, closer than any other father-son pair I can think of. They had spent many weekends on camping trips and their “men tours.”

Of course it all makes sense now.

I wanted to give him the space he needed. For a week I waited for him to make a move, for him to let his grieve out. Then I asked how he felt.

He never screamed at me before, at least not like that. Not with so much anger. Continue reading

15 Years in the Woods

It was more than fifteen years ago and still I feel guilty. Still I sometimes cry myself to sleep. Still I wonder what in heaven I could have done differently.

It was a hiking trip. Laney loved the outdoors and I wanted to help her love it more. Laney was already in the girl scouts and loved that too but our local group wasn’t very active. I felt like it was my fatherly duty to grow my daughter’s passion for nature and exercise.

Just for the long easter weekend. I carried the tent and sleeping bags and Laney proudly carried our cooking utensils in her small dark green backpack. My then wife wanted to do the family tour with our two year old son.

I think that’s why we broke up – because she couldn’t look at me anymore without seeing Laney. She couldn’t look at me without blaming me.

The first two days everything was wonderful. We hiked mostly along a small river and sometimes through stretches of wood. Along the way I taught Laney about edible mushrooms and how to recognize fresh bear tracks and how her mother had always hated hiking. Continue reading

One week ago I lost the only person I ever loved

There are two golden threads running through my life. The first is that I was always the unluckiest person I knew. The second is that everybody always hated me.

It started even before I was born. My mom said my father beat her when he heard she was pregnant. Then he left.

When I was a toddler other parents refused to let their children have play dates with me. Mom said they always cried when they were brought to our house or when mom or I came there. They always cried, every single other toddler, without exception.

My only memories of preschool are of me playing alone in a corner of the colorful room. I was the outcast. The others avoided me. They hated the food I brought to school; they hated the way I was dressed; they hated the way I played games. If you ever thought that there is no bullying in preschool – there is. And even the other mothers avoided me. They cuddled each other’s children, picked them up, cuddled them, played with them – but not me. Never me. Continue reading

“I need to be put down.”

“Put me down,” he said.

I closed the door behind me.

“I’m here to ask a few questions,” I said. “My name –“

“Put me down!” he shouted.

“What do you mean?”

“You know,” Andrew said. “Like an animal. Put me down. I shouldn’t live.”

“Andrew, you’re not an animal.”

“I’m like an animal. I shouldn’t live.”

He pointed at his bandaged eye.

“You see that?”

“You injured your eye.”

“I didn’t injure my eye.” Andrew laughed. “I grated it.”

“You grated your eye?”

“That’s why I need to be put down.”

“Because you grated your eye?”

“No, because I’m insane. I need to be put down because I’m not human anymore. I want to eat other humans. Do you understand? I’m a cannibal! I just can’t control myself anymore.”

Instinctively I pushed my chair backwards on the rubber floor.

“Why is that, Andrew?”

“I don’t know! It just started like that. One day I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like it. I felt this taste on my tongue, like iron, you know, like raw meat. I went to the fridge and bit in a raw sausage, but it tasted disgusting.”

“And then you decided to eat other humans?”

Andrew shook his head.

“I didn’t decide that. I just felt this desire. The sausage tasted like a piece of moist bread; it was disgusting. And then I saw this picture of my sister on the shelf and I just felt that she looked delicious.”

“Delicious?” I asked.

“Like – delicious, tasty. She just looked like she had tender and soft meat.”

“Okay, for a moment I thought you meant –“

“What, no!” He shouted “I’m not some rapist or pedophile. She just looked like, just delicious! Like, such tender soft meat.”

“And you did something to your sister?”

“Well, I went to her room.”

“She was home?”

“Of course.”

“And you went inside?”

“I stood outside for a bit, and then I opened the door. I looked at her sleeping, how her chest was heaving under the blanket. It was really hard to stop myself from going in.”

“So you went inside her room?”

“No. I stood there for maybe five minutes; I felt my jaw aching; I so much wanted to bite in her arm or neck.”

“But you didn’t.”

“I didn’t. I closed the door and punched myself. I actually punched my own face because I was so disgusted of myself.”

Andrew clenched his fist and slowly pressed it against his chin.

“Like this,” he said. “But a real punch.”

“And you didn’t feel this ‘urge’ anymore? The one to bite your sister?”

“I still felt it,” Andrew said. “And I still feel it. But it’s not about the biting. I just really want to chew her flesh. I just feel like I should swallow such soft flesh. And it’s not just her; it’s for a lot of people.”

I felt my body tense up.

“So you want to eat different people?”

“I don’t know. I just want to eat flesh. It doesn’t even matter who it is, just nobody disgusting.”

“So there are some kinds of people you wouldn’t eat?”

“I don’t know. I guess I would, but I’m not really feeling the urge. I just feel it with young people, particularly when they are pale.”

“As a warning,” I said. “If you admit any serious crimes I might need to report them to the police.”

“What exactly?” He asked.

“Did you ever follow through on your urges? Did you ever attack another human?”

“Other – no. I mean I thought about it a lot. I’ve been feeling this thing for months and it’s just not going away; if anything it’s getting worse. And a few times I followed people for a bit, but they always got nervous and walked faster and then I got nervous and walked the other direction.”

“Those were random people?”

“Pretty much; mostly from the bus, and a few times from the mall.”

“A few times?”

“I don’t know how often. I’ve been doing this far too many times. You know, the security guards even started to follow me.”

“Okay, but you have never attacked anyone?”

“There was this one girl that I knew back from school. I met her in the mall and we talked and I walked her home. And then when we got to her house I grabbed her arm and leaned over to bite her neck; but she pushed me away. I tried again and she said ‘No!’ and then ‘I don’t think of you that way.’ And somehow that threw me off track.”

“So you were trying to bite her?”

“Yes.”

“And she thought you were trying to kiss her?”

“I think so.”

“But you didn’t hurt her?”

“No. I mean, I might have pressed her arm a bit hard, but I didn’t bite her or anything. And she just went inside.”

“Did you try to contact this girl again?”

“I texted her to apologize; she didn’t even reply.”

“And you didn’t see her again?”

“No.”

“So you never actually harmed anybody? You just feel the urge to taste human flesh?”

“I don’t just want to taste it. I want to eat more.”

“More than what?”

“I mean, I tried a piece of myself.”

“You ate a piece of your own flesh?”

“Two times; once from my arm and once from my ass. I would have done it more often, but it hurts like hell.”

Andrew rolled the sleeve on his left arm back. There was a bandage around his biceps.

“I can take it the bandage off, if you want to see.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “I believe you.”

“It looks really good. You can see the color and everything.”

“Really, it’s okay.”

“Fine,” Andrew said.

He unrolled his sleeve again; then pulled it back once more to expose his armpit. Andrew pointed at small blue and red marks in his armpit.

“Oh, and here I drew blood a few times. But blood doesn’t really taste that good.”

I nodded.

Andrew paused, looked at me, and finally unrolled his sleeve again.

“You see now,” he said. “Why I need to be put down?”

“I think we have some excellent therapists –“

“No!”

Andrew slammed his fist on the table.

“I can’t use a goddamn therapist! I’m not human! I will hurt people!”

“Andrew, it seems to me that you have it quite well under control. With the right therapy you could be normal again.”

“I don’t want to hurt my sister. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

“Andrew, you can control this.”

“Do you know how many times I already stood in her doorway while she was sleeping?”

“Andrew –“

“Do you?”

“I don’t.”

“I can’t even count it anymore. The way she smells, it just draws me to her room. And during the day, when she walks past me, or just when she sits on the couch – I just can’t control myself anymore.”

“You told me that you didn’t touch her, so it seems you have a lot of control over your condition.”

“I don’t know,” Andrew said. “How long I can control it.”

“That’s why I would suggest therapy.”

“You know, I’ve been smelling her. I try to get close to her, just to smell her. And then, whenever I’m close, I can feel my jaw itching and this tension; I just know that I want to bite in this soft flesh of hers.”

“Andrew, with the right treatment –“

“Do you even know why I’m here?”

“The police told us you hurt yourself.”

“I didn’t want to hurt myself. I wanted to hurt my sister.”

“But you hurt yourself?”

“I did. I stepped into her room and I saw her lying there. And her meat looked so damn delicious and I stepped closer, but then I saw this photo of us on her shelf.”

“And the photo stopped you?”

“She looked so happy on that photo. I just didn’t want to hear her scream.”

“And so you went back to your room?”

“I just ran out and sat in the corridor. I had the cheese grater in one hand and the knife in the other. I didn’t even think about it; I just placed the grater on my eye and pulled it downwards. Twice.”

“You grated your eye?”

“And then I ate the pieces.”


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

A Bond of Blood

There is no force in the world that is stronger than the bond of blood. The bond of blood is that of parent to child and that of sibling to sibling. And of all the possible bonds the strongest is that between twins.

That’s why it’s so damn hard to even lift my fingers to write all this down. Because all our bonds have been broken; every bond of blood has become a blood-drenched bond.

And all of it is my fault. My parents warned me not to violate one of the unwritten rules of German culture – that if your last name begins with ‘S’ it’s first name cannot begin with ‘S’. SS, one of the initials that stands for the eternal German sin.

I thought that was folly. I thought if my child grew up outside the country nobody would mind.

“You are ruining his life.” Said my father.

I laughed.

That’s how the bond between my father and me broke.

Sammy and Jimmy. We chose the names because we liked them and because they sounded alike; they sounded like brothers that would be a team for life.

And they were a team. They did everything together; they even had their own secret language for a while. Sammy and Jimmy always took the fall for each other – a missing cookie? Both claimed to be the culprit. Someone forgot to write their homework – both claimed not to have done theirs. Ripped pants? Of course both wore it during the day.

Watching them made me proud. Watching them reassured me that I had done right.

They were smart. I say that with pride, but also because it’s true. They learned reading faster than any of the other kids in their class; they excelled in every subject.

We had a ritual for their birthday. We went to the bookshop and each could choose the smartest and thickest book they liked. Not the books for children or teens – the real, expensive, solid books; the ones they could stack on their shelves with pride.

They always chose the same type of book; they coordinated their purchase just like they coordinated the clothes they wore, the sports they played, and the friends they made.

On their thirteenth birthday we went to the bookshop again. I wanted to help them be more independent and sent each in one direction – Sammy to the left, Jimmy to the right. At first they didn’t want to; they wanted to stick together like always. I wanted to be a good father, to help them be independent and mature.

That day, without my knowledge or intent, I committed my second sin; I broke the second bond of blood.

Jimmy came back with a book on economics. Sammy came back with a book on philosophy.

Each read their books and then they exchanged and each read the book of his brother. But somewhere through that first book they changed.

Since the divorce, at the time they were just ten, I always made sure that we my sons and I had dinner together, just like I hoped that my former wife and my former daughter too had dinner together.

The all-male dinner table was the place where they asked me the questions young boys ask and told me the worries young boys have. And it was also the place where I first notice that they broke apart, that they had different opinions.

Jimmy began to lecture us on economics – price points, demand curves, later even game theory.

Sammy began to bombard us with philosophical thought experiments – if you shoot a man that would have died anyway, but in the process save ten others, are you still a murderer? In a world without color, could you understand the concept of red? And of course, his favorite: If your brain was exchanged with another man’s brain and then one of your bodies would receive a million dollar and the other would be killed – would you rather like your brain receive the money and your body to die, or the other way around?

We argued about the body switch experiment. Sammy said it was fantastic and everybody would choose to kill his own body and give money to the new body with the mind. Jimmy said that all this was nonsense; he said that none of that would work and any reasonable person would give the money to himself.

In my memory that’s the first real fight they ever had; the first real issue on which they disagreed.

At first I liked these changes and the variety in conversation they brought. I thought it was healthy that they had become separate – and, after all, they still worked together most of the time.

Maybe they would have found neither economics nor philosophy – maybe together they would have chosen books about something altogether different, like medicine or law. Either way, I can’t change the past. No matter how much I would give to be able to do it, even if I would give my own life for it – I can’t change the paths on which I pushed each of them by sending them in different aisles.

Sammy went into a downward spiral. His passion for philosophy led him to a passion for magic and then one for alchemy. He spent days and weeks hunched over old books, silently laughing to himself. He barely paid attention to school or friends anymore.

Jimmy seemed to become more open and social but mostly stayed similar in character to how they both had been. Then, shortly before their sixteenth birthday, from one day to the next they seemed to have become different people.

Whatever I tried, I just couldn’t help Sammy get back on the path. While Jimmy aced every test he tried, Sammy failed the first test of his life, then a second, then a third.

I asked Jimmy to help Sammy and as far as I could see Jimmy tried very hard to help. But all their tutoring sessions ended with fights; with Sammy shouting at Jimmy that it was all his fault and that he should go away.

Despite his efforts I think Jimmy helped even less than the two tutors I paid and the many hours I myself tried to help Sammy get back on track. Honestly, if anything, I think all those efforts made the situation all worse.

Sammy was bitter and angry most of the time – while Jimmy was cheerful and helpful in every respect. Sammy gained weight; Jimmy gained muscles. Sammy failed exams; Jimmy jumped through them with ease. Sammy locked himself in his basement, rereading old books; Jimmy went out and made new friends every week.

With 19 Sammy dropped out of school – while Jimmy went on to university. Sammy was fired from job after job – while Jimmy, a few months into his second year of studies, founded his first company.

Jimmy sent money and books for Sammy, he wrote letters of reference, and called in favors with old friends – but Sammy was on the wrong track and nothing Jimmy or I tried made Sammy any less angry or unsuccessful.

I remember the phone call I had with my own father, shortly after Sammy had lost another job because of ‘laziness.’

My own father said that it was my fault, that I had made a mistake by giving Sammy the initials SS. He thought that that’s how I destroyed Sammy’s life; that the shame and guilt had driven Sammy to failure; that I had set him up to be an evil and vile person.

I have to admit, nothing ever got to me that much; nothing ever hurt me more than to have my own father tell me that I ruined my own son’s life.

It hurts as much to admit that, in one way or the other, my father was right.

With 22 my son Jimmy sold his first company and founded a second.

With 22 my son Sammy got into a pub fight and lost one of his eyes.

With 24 my son Jimmy found the love of his life; with 25 they got engaged.

With 24 my son Sammy found a girlfriend that screamed at him for the tiniest things; with 25 he got a criminal record for beating her.

With 26 my son Jimmy sold his second company for more than 300 million dollar.

With 26 my son Sammy steered his second hand car into oncoming traffic.

Jimmy and his wife came to the funeral; so did Sammy’s mother and sister and I. Sammy’s girlfriend didn’t even send a card.

The women went to bed early. Jimmy and I sat at the dinner table that seemed too big for just two.

We sat silently for most of the time while one gin after the other disappeared in my throat.

“I miss Sammy.” I finally said.

“I miss my brother too.” Jimmy said.

“I guess your grandfather was right. I messed him up. It’s all my fault.”

“You didn’t mess Sammy up.” Jimmy said.

I shook my head.

“You remember,” Jimmy said. “All my alchemy books?”

I emptied another glass of cold liquid in my mouth and enjoyed the gentle tickling burn it left in my throat.

“They had some interesting stuff about twins; that we are connected by a bond stronger than anything else; a bond that is strong enough to even allow you to switch your bodies and to change fate. We had that bond.”

“You loved each other.” I said.

“Jimmy and I tried a technique from one of the books,” said Jimmy. “When we were fifteen.”

“What?”

“Promise not to hate me.” Jimmy said.

“I could never hate you.” I said.

I didn’t know that was a lie.

“Do you remember how I always told you about the philosophical thought experiment? The one where you have to imagine that you can switch bodies?”

“That was Sammy, not you. You didn’t believe in it.”

“Right.” Jimmy said.

There was a thin smile on his lips.

“One of the alchemy books said that the fates of twins are linked; they are connected and they can influence and balance each other. And it gave instructions.”

“Instructions for what?” I asked.

“Do you remember the outcome?” Jimmy asked. “The outcome of the thought experiment?”

“Instructions for what?” I repeated.

“What’s the outcome?” Jimmy asked.

“One gets rich and one dies.”

“Right.” Jimmy said. “Instructions for that.”

He smiled.

“As said, twins have this bond. I proved that to Jimmy when we were fifteen.”


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.