The sand between my toes is warm and soggy; relaxing in a cryptic but soothing way. I say cryptic because it reminds me of things I cannot forget.
My normal has eluded me for some time now. Where had it all gone wrong? This is a continuous question, as of late. I dig my feet deeper into the sand. Trying to recollect the moment normal went out the window.
Screaming comes from the basement every night. I watch TV as loud as it will go, sitting with my hands over my ears to further muffle the screams.
“Stop it!” I yell at my father, from the basement door.
He doesn’t. He never did.
He only looks at me, with evil encrypted eyes, waves me away and continues his ‘work’.
It’s always the same type of girl. Blonde, long hair, and beautiful.
Their fates are all the same; a tombstone in our dark basement.
Sometimes he keeps one for days. Torturing her, he makes her think he will let her go, but he never does. Others he kills right away.
Keeping only one thing from each; their souls.
I watch as life around me continues without knowledge of me, and no cares in the world. So easily mislead by their daily lives… by me.
I assume I appear normal to passerby’s, why wouldn’t I? I’m wearing a bright bikini. My hair is pulled up in a ponytail, and my skin is golden, healthy.
I continue thinking about the exact moment I had changed, the exact moment when killing seemed normal to me, not the other way around.
The storm outside takes on an eerie presence of its own, as the screams from the basement sing in harmony with it. I no longer feel the urge to cover my ears.
At fourteen, I don’t have friends for obvious reasons. Boys seem like a dream in someone else’s life. I knew I’d never have one with him around.
“Chrissie! Come down here now,” my dad yells up to me.
He never calls for me. He was meticulous not to involve me in his murderous streak in the basement.
I hang at the basement door not wanting to go further. “What?” I yell.
“Come down here,” he said.
I creep slowly down each step. Hoping he would change his mind… hoping.
I reach the bottom step hanging onto the banister.
“Come… I need you to take this,” he said, holding out a large knife. Behind him, shelves of jars hold his victim’s hearts, what my father calls their souls.
I shake my head in rejection and start to back out of the basement.
I know he means business; his tone is filled with venom.
I walk to him slowly, shaking violently. Taking the knife from him, it feels… normal in my hands. My nerves calm as I look to him for further guidance.
“Her soul is here,” he points to her chest under her left breast. “I want you to cut it out,” he said as if this has always been our normal.
I bring my hands up over my head readying myself. Adrenaline courses through my body. My father’s eyes urging me on when I glance over at him.
The first cut under her left breast I make with ease. The smell of iron fills my nose. Screams fill my ears, but now they seem distant and not so loud.
My new normal has begun.
A smile comes to my face.
So there it is I was fourteen, maybe even all my life.
Getting up I walk back to my beach house. I had a job to finish, and a soul to collect.
Inside sits my father tied to a wheelchair in front of my living room TV. I’ve turned it all the way up to make it more uncomfortable for him.
His eyes widen when he sees me approaching him. He doesn’t make a noise because long ago I cut out his tongue and vocal cords. The scars on his body are evidence of each and every time I took a knife to him in penance for every ‘soul’ he collected.
I bend down in front of him. Gazing into his eyes I say, “Tonight we finish it. Tonight I collect your soul.”
Tonight I also salvage what’s left of my soul.