Author Archives: alanaicapria

October 1, 2015 – Excerpt

“Mother went into a rage. She swallowed sleeping pills one at a time and each time she swallowed, the action was violent. She heaved her hands towards her mouth, first the left, then the right, the pills somehow finding the way to her tongue without falling between her fingers. Mother finished two bottles of the pills and was more awake than before. She crouched in the corners and mumbled incoherently. Sometimes we heard spare words. Mother spoke endless about the house and its walls. She mentioned the hallway. She spoke of the bed. She said many things about the children. We kept our distance. We always stayed away from mother when she was like this. Each time seemed like the worst of the rages.”

September 19, 2015 – Excerpt

“The walls grew closer together. No matter where we went, mother was always there. She breathed over us. If we entered our rooms, mother lurked directly behind the door, her back to the shadowed wall. If we went into the bathroom, mother was already crouched in the bathtub, the curtains drawn around the rim, concealing her. If we thought it might be nice to take a nap in the middle of the afternoon, mother was in the attic, walking back and forth overhead, her steps falling so heavily that the floorboards seemed to crack. In the basement where we played hide-and-seek, mother stood on the clothes dryer, looming over us all. As we came up and down the stairs, she stood beneath the staircase so that we could glimpse her between the spaces in the wood. Mother bared her teeth when she grinned.”

September 10, 2015 – Excerpt

“I trimmed the man. I trimmed him like chicken, like steak. I trimmed at his fat, then at his hanging parts. I did the trimming slowly, while he slept. I took my time. I allowed the knife blade to travel around his curves and contours. I laid the knife against his skin and skimmed it across. The fat peeled away in little curls that were buttery. I hummed as I worked. The man snored softly, so that his body did not move. I trimmed his center. I trimmed what was beneath his center. I guided the knife with my fingers, then lifted my hands away so that I would not be trimmed along with him. I did the trimming so well, there was barely any blood.”

August 28, 2015 – Excerpt

“What was it the pills were supposed to accomplish? To make everything normal? To make me into an agreeable woman? A good mother? The children were still monsters. The neighbors were still missing. There was still a strange foam that seemed to go through the windows although the man swore the glass was never unlocked. The pills changed nothing. It did not matter how many pills the man piled on my tongue. There was no difference in reality. And the reality was that my children, the man’s and my children were beasts. They were rabid, feral little beasts that refused domesticity despite our keeping them in a house. They would not be house-trained. They would not be house-broken. They would not be potty-trained. They would not learn table manners. All they did was demand meat.”

August 27, 2015 – Excerpt

“I took my daily pill just as the man wanted. I woke in the morning, shook a pill onto my tongue, and swallowed. The pill settled in my stomach uncomfortably. There was a constant presence of acid in my chest. I could not breathe normally. The acid rush was too much. It was difficult to swallow. I chased the pill with several glasses of water. The end result was that my stomach felt swollen. I had to use the bathroom constantly. The man reminded me. He asked if I took my pill like a good girl. He always said girl when speaking about me. I was a good girl or a bad girl or a naughty girl. I was his girl.”

August 26, 2015 – Excerpt

“The children reached into shadowy corners and chewed. They hid various pieces of food in cracks and crevices, then fished them out at a later date. I could not see what the children were chewing. It was difficult to tell if they put meat in their mouths or various plastic-based objects. The children chewed quickly. They gummed the objects. They drooled while they chewed. They spat thick foam onto the floor. They left a little trail that went into the bathroom and out the window.”

August 25, 2015 – Excerpt

“The man came home in the middle of the day. He said the neighbors to our backyard called him at work to complain about the screaming coming from the house. They said it sounded as though someone were in terrible pain. They said they tried closing the windows and sealing the doors but the sound still came in. They were sorry to assume that the sounds came from the man’s house but we were the only ones with infants. They said they called around the block asking if anyone else heard the screaming and at least ten neighbors stated the same. The screaming was definitely coming from our house. And so the man was forced to cross the town and find out why there was any screaming at all.”

August 24, 2015 – Excerpt

“I did not want a life with the man. To have a life with him was to slowly cut off pieces of myself, thick chunks that bled spontaneously and left noxious black splotches on the dining room floor. It would be no better than giving birth again and again, my body weakening with each fertile incarnation, until finally, my spine snapped and my uterus ruptured, became prolapsed, went falling from between my legs only to be caught in his cupped hands. What kind of life was that, his holding my sex parts in perpetuity when I was capable of cradling myself?”

August 22, 2015 – Excerpt

“The children hobbled to the front door and banged their fists against it. They hissed like snakes. They asked where the man was. They asked why he had to leave. They asked what they would do without him. They asked if they could go outside. They asked if they might visit the neighbors. They asked if I would play a game with them. They asked if we could burn one of the houses on the other side of the backyard down. They asked if they might chase the neighborhood cats. They asked if I would feed them breakfast and lunch simultaneously. They asked if the windows could break without a hammer. They asked how long until the man came home.”

August 19, 2015 – Excerpt

“The children were gnawing their thumbs. I felt so lonely. Every day, the man went to work. Every night, he returned, demanding mashed potatoes and gravy on his plate. He smelled of women’s perfume. The perfume smelled nothing like the perfume I wore. It had a more citrusy quality and I hated it. My perfume smelled like flowers. I like fragrances that smelled like jasmine and gardenia and rose. I knew floral scents were often confused with old women smells but I loved them. I wanted to smell like I spent all day sitting in a garden.”

August 11, 2015 – Excerpt

“I was a mother. That was supposed to mean something. The man said so. A mother was woman most mighty. She was human to the umpteenth reality. She was what all others aspired to be. I was supposed to be happy. I was expected to place my hands upon my stomach and revel in the children’s occupancy. Each time I touched the meat, I felt ashamed that I could not stop the pregnancy. It was disheartening. I tried to end the children through various means but none worked. The children triumphed, I lost. I felt that I could not be saved. The children had teeth and too many bones. The children already knew the ways of the world and that worldliness was intimidating. How was it possible to give birth to something that knew more than you?”

August 10, 2015 – Excerpt

“The man insisted on watching me bathe. He pulled a dining room chair up the stairs and set it in front of the tub. He would not let me close the curtains around myself. I stripped as he watched, then bent over to turn on the water. The man leaned past me and held his wrists under the stream. He adjusted the faucet accordingly. The water could not be too hot in case it boiled the children inside me. The water could not be too cold because then I might risk hypothermia. When the water was to the man’s liking, he sat back in his chair and gestured for me to continue.”

August 6, 2015 – Excerpt

“The time had come for the man to return to work. He was given one month to enjoy the children and then it was time to leave the house. The man kissed each child on the head. He did it quickly, placing his lips against their foreheads, then stepping away. If he lingered, the children would bite his face. And so he kissed rapidly, one kiss after the other until he reached the fifteenth, and then he turned to me. The man wanted to kiss me. He opened his mouth to me. He told me to touch my tongue with his. He said to kiss fast, the children were looking. I could not stop staring at his mouth. It was so dirty. The children’s germs were on his lips like dirt. The man pulled me close.”

July 30, 2015 – Excerpt

“During my pregnancy, I suffered from constant nightmares. Every nightmare took place in the same long hallway. The hallway was dark and when I stepped, there were vague spotlights that illuminated the wood just in front of me, so that little by little, I could make my way to the end. There were always children screaming in that hallway. I knew they would scream but each time, I was taken by surprise. Their screams were so loud, so high-pitched. They came spreading through the air. Putting my hands over my ears would not block out the sound. There were numerous voices, the screams piling up so that the mass voice was deafening. I could not see the children but knew they were just behind me, their mouths open and hands grasping. I was so afraid the children would bite my back.”

July 26, 2015 – Excerpt

“The children never seemed to sleep. Eventually, as the day grew later, they all fell quiet but their eyes remained open. The children stared into space. They looked at the walls. Their eyes rolled from one end of the room to the other. In those moments, they seemed like contemplative children. They were the sort of children any parent would want, fifteen little ones all with closed mouths and wide eyes. Whenever I saw the children that way, I felt almost fooled. These children could not possibly be the monsters I thought they were. But the quiet was a trap.”

July 24, 2015 – Excerpt

“I hid in a little room beneath the stairs. It was a cramped room, the way I liked my rooms, tight spaces with four walls and only one way out. The room was rarely used. The man often forgot that the room existed at all. He rarely went downstairs and so any spare rooms in that subterranean dark were barely given a thought. I had a lock to put on the door latch. The rule of the house stated that who so locked a door was given ownership over the corresponding room. I had the lock and therefore, the room was mine.”

July 22, 2015 – Excerpt

“Eventually, the time came that the children needed to meet family. Everyone wanted to visit immediately after the children were born but we forced them to wait while we tried to understand why our children were not children. The man and I placed many phone calls, inviting our parents to the house, then our siblings, then our various other relatives: grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. We invited family friends and then those strange distant relations that were neither friends nor family but some strange hybrid of the two, those people whom were never quite clear on whether or not there was any blood connection. The man and I told everyone to arrive at our house during a weekend in the early afternoon. When we opened the door, our family members were arranged in a long line stretching down the sidewalk.”

July 16, 2015 – Excerpt

“At night, I asked the man if he thought our having children was a mistake. The man turned over in bed so that his back faced me. He mumbled something into his pillow about our duty to the progeny. His words unsettled me. I could not stop thinking about the pregnancy. The children ran back and forth on the other side of the door. They stormed the hallway. They sprinted this way and that. They were too young to be running but they did just that. That was another problem with the children. They were too formed to be neonates. From the womb, they could stand and chew. They had an inexhaustible craving for meat.”

July 11, 2015 – Excerpt

“I sat in a room with an old mannequin named Phil. Phil was the remnant of mid-20th century atomic testing. His clothing was mostly burned off and he wore the remnants of a suit and tie. He was a sad mannequin in a depressing marriage. I found Phil sitting on a bed with his back so straight, the posture seemed unnatural. He never moved. When I finally sat beside him, he lost his balance and fell onto me.”

July 9, 2015 – Excerpt

“There was a shadow outside the curtained bedroom window. It looked distinctly like half a person. It was so clear. There was a head, a neck, shoulders. I saw the slump of the arms. A man and I stared at the shadow for some time, trying to understand what it was doing there. We were confident it was a person but who? There was no one else in the motel. We were alone. We could barely remember the last time someone came prowling across the dunes. The man and I were afraid to pull the curtain back.”

June 30, 2015 – Excerpt

“There was always a chance that a corpse might be stored within the mattresses. Plenty of motels were plagued by cadaver storage. The bodies died in the middle of the night and were rolled into the bed-frame, then covered up. It was easy to sleep upon a body without noticing. The meat just sunk down into the coils and the once putrefaction set in, the bones sank down even more. It often took months before the bodies were noticed and that was only because of the smell.”

June 24, 2015 – Excerpt

“Before the desert, a series of terrible things occurred: a cluster of mouths lay before me, each one wired to the others, all with cramped jaws snapping. The mouths were open wide and I thought of them as lily pads. I tried balancing upon them but the mouths collapsed inward. Their flesh filled their throats. They consumed themselves while I watched. Sometimes their tongues got in the way and they chewed through the meat. There was no blood. There was just a purple trickling that looked like grease. It was moldy grease, furred across the top of each droplet. I left the consumed/consuming mouths to reach a highway cracked in half.”

June 12, 2015 – Excerpt

“I stood amidst the meat men. They were humanoid forms but made of solid meat. There was no skin over their muscles, no breaks between their teeth. They blinked but the blinking consisted of thin meat pieces sliding down over fatter meat pieces indented in their faces. The men watched me for some time. They blinked slowly. Sometimes, their tongues pushed free of their mouths and ran around their flayed lips. It was beautiful, the licking and the blinking. It was almost an oral dance.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I was going through the last draft of my current project and managed to salvage another 12,000 words. There was a good deal of tinkering involved (I’m still tinkering) but the word count is now at around 74,000 words. When I do the first editing sweep, I’ll probably end up adding a few parts here and there but as it stands right now, I think the story is progressing nicely.


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