August 18, 2016

“Once upon a time, everyone in the house was sad. They wandered glumly with red eyes and running noses. Each meal was eaten silently. Doors stayed closed. No one spoke and no one looked at one another. Those who talked were shushed. The only sound was at night when everyone lay in bed and cried.”

August 1, 2016

“Beneath the dust, more impressions, all with fists and knuckles and fingers. I touched them gently, easing the dust from them, then wiping my hands upon myself. The house banged around me now, the sound of closed hands striking plaster repeatedly. I cringed at the sound, at the implied violence within it. The walls powdered…”

July 30, 2016

“The floors were dustier now. The dust crunched beneath my feet as I walked. The dust was gritty, like sand. It mounded in corners, rose up the bottoms of the walls. I brushed the dust with my hands but the dust returned. The dust powdered my shoulders and hair. It dusted my clothing. I swept the dust but it made no difference. I swept dust from dust. I tilted my head towards the ceiling and the dust was there. It spilled onto me. It was on my face. It fell into my mouth. That constant, streaming dust. It rained down. It caught in the gray light and swirled…”

July 25, 2016

“Again, I wandered. I went through the house without seeing where I went. Every room was the same, as was the passageways between them. There was dark and then there was dark. There was cold and it was stagnant. There were footsteps and there were creaks and there were knocks. I sank to the floor several times, kneading the sides of my head with my fists until my bones hurt, then nearly fainting. I screamed and kicked and stomped. I beat my hands against the walls. My blood splashed upon the plaster.”

July 12, 2016

“I pushed through the hallway dark. I sweated and panted and ached. The air resisted and I had to force my way past. The darkness spread around me. I could not see the doors, the walls, the ceiling. I saw only the floor, which was layered with so much dust, my footsteps were muted. I heard myself walking but the walking sounded as if it were coming through the walls. I walked on, counting the steps, then growing confused. Somewhere near the middle of the hallway, I thought I was near my mother and father’s bedroom.”

June 11, 2016

“The man and I did not sleep. The children did not let us near our bedroom. They huddled in the hallway just outside and snapped at our ankles when we tried passing. The man’s and my eyes went red. We blinked and the gelatin burned. We could not see correctly. We rubbed our eyes and rubbed our eyes and rubbed our eyes…”

May 30, 2016

“The children wanted roadkill. They wanted filth and spew and vomit. They wanted blood and foam and shit. They wanted ripping and chewing and red. They wanted flesh. They would not settle within me. They pried at my pelvis until I squealed in pain. I wrapped my arms around myself but the children still moved. They bit until my outsides bruised…”

May 26, 2016

“We ate in father’s absence. It was sympathetic eating. We ate what father could not. Mother served large slabs of bleeding meat. She dumped mashed potatoes onto our dishes, buttered corn. Mother’s plate was the same as sister’s whose plate was the same as brother’s whose plate was the same as mine. I pushed the meat off my plate, then ate the potatoes and corn. Mother and sister and brother did not cut their meat. They lifted the meat to their mouths and bit…”

May 13, 2016

“The doctor knew all about me. The man confided in him. The man told the doctor everything about my hallucinations and delusions. Together, they came to the realization that I needed to be medicated. I was not hallucinating nor was I deluded but the man did not believe me.”

May 5, 2016

“The man put me in the bedroom and closed the door. He left me inside alone and the children breathed on the other side, then stomped away. I turned in circles until I felt dizzy. There was a wall, then another wall, then a third wall, a fourth wall, a wall, a wall, a wall. My vision spun. I felt sick. I sank onto the bed and pulled a blanket over my head…”

April 29, 2016

“None of the pregnancies kept. They stayed high up in my abdomen, strangling themselves on fibroids and cysts, until finally, they were dead. They dripped out of my body slowly, red at first, then brown, and the liquid slicked the insides of my thighs. The smell excited the man…”

April 23, 2016

“We ate our dinner and mother bled. The blood came from beneath her fingernails and out the teakettle’s spout. The blood iced up in the freezer, creating square bricks of hard red. Father dropped one cube, then two, into his glass of water, and marveled at how the color floated, then unfurled. We played with our forks and knives…”

April 12, 2016

“Me in my apron. Me tying a rope around my neck. Me slitting my wrists and walking about the house with the blood dripping. Me not wanting to speak. Me going to the window and looking outside, which was dark and unmoving. Me pulling at my clothing. Me going to the stairs and flinging myself onto the landing. Me screaming all night, then not remembering having made the sounds. Me frantic. Me inhaling the oven. Me going numb. Me lying face-down in the bathtub Me blue in the face. Me kissing the mirror…”

April 9, 2016

“Think of the boy. Think of the boy who could only see by lamplight. Think of the boy who lowered himself in and smothered in the stone. Think of the corpse you will find. Think of how warm the air will be, and it will be the same air he breathed before the house was constructed above him, sealing him below. Think of the things he saw in the dark. Think of how the water surged against his chin and how the tide rose up as tides do, carrying his body with the water…”

April 8, 2016

“The man and I fell into a routine. We woke early, went to sleep early, had all our meals at the dining room table. I made thick bean soups and rice. The man and I ate slowly. We lingered over every spoonful, refusing to rush. There was not much else to do in the house. The man and I slept together every few nights and when it was over, the man fell asleep while I stared at the ceiling for hours, certain something in the upstairs room was leaking through the plaster.”

April 6, 2016

“The brothers were good brothers. They were born, they thrived, they grew tall. Then the brothers were dead. Father killed them all with a quick knife slit to the throat and left them on the living floor to collect dust, then turn to liquid. Father made mother and me clean the brothers off the flooring. He said to clean the stains with our tongues.”

April 5, 2016

“The man sat for a time and thought. He did not think of anything in particular. He did not think about the house or himself or the gray. He thought of what might come after. What was the room above the attic? What was below the basement? Was there a second door behind the first door? If he were to die and the house remained, would there still be a part of him that lived within the house, that walked up and down the stairs, and looked out the gray windows, and considered how the gray became a part of him? Would that part which was left behind also want to die?”

April 2, 2016

“Alessandra stood on a railroad track in the middle of the night with her eyes closed. Alessandra wandered naked into the forest outside town. Alessandra offered her arm to a rabid dog. Alessandra went nearly a whole week without sleeping. Alessandra visited the Infectious Diseases Ward of the local hospital regularly. Alessandra visited public restrooms, then ate without washing her hands. Alessandra buried herself up to her neck in sand during high tide. Alessandra went walking around at night. Alessandra told strangers that she was home alone.”

April 1, 2016

“Grandmother screamed for grandfather. Grandmother screamed to die. Grandmother screamed for her daily soup. Grandmother screamed for sister, brother, and I to stay away from her room. Grandmother screamed that we were the reason grandfather died. Grandmother screamed that she would be next. Grandmother screamed, then vomited.”

March 30, 2016

“The room was filled with flies. They buzzed angrily and crawled over the bodies. The floor was soaked with decomposing meat. The liquid was gummy and congealed. The flies swarmed the bodies. I brushed the flies away only for them to settle down again in the same spots. The bodies were fused with the blankets I wrapped them in. The blankets were soaked through with the meat fluid. The fabric was a deep forest green. I pulled at the blankets and the bodies cracked beneath. The flies roared in my ears. Several landed on me and I smacked them. The flies broke against my palms…”

March 29, 2016

“There was nothing more I could do for the man. I looked at him and knew he would be dead soon. I wiped blood from his mouth, cleaned the vomit from his lips and throat, took his temperature, then applied cold and hot compresses on his forehead at different intervals. I gave up feeding him. He could not take any of the soup down and the bowls only filled with his blood. I left the soup pot on the stove and as the broth cooled, a thick layer of fat congealed across the top. The man’s eyes were crusted shut.”

March 23, 2016

“When I was done with the man, there was barely anything left. Some bone, some blood, but that was all. I cleaned what I could, collected the man’s bones and considered. I put the bones in the oven and turned the heat on high. I rendered the last of the man’s fat down to spoonable butter, then left his bones to turn to charcoal. The roasting took nearly a day before the bones were burned enough to be crushed to powder.”

March 20, 2016

“After the melting came the raining. We kept the house sealed up so that the wet and dry would not join us inside. Mother spent every day in front of the windows. She licked the panes. She placed her palms against the glass and begged for the raining to take her. Mother was tired of the house. The hallways were too narrow, the rooms more like boxes. Mother howled into the windows and sometimes, shrill voices answered back. Father covered the windows with thick curtains. He did not want what was outside in the rain to look in upon us. Mother lay comatose upon the couch. She looked up at the ceiling but said nothing.”

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