I. Am. Alive.
Author: Raven Productions

Chapter 13
Restless Cruelty

And as they marched, the army of the living dead, their feet barely touching the ground, silence engulfed them all around. They came to a rest in a large kitchen of the massive house they lived in. They all sat themselves on the ground with their backs against the wall. One by one, metal bowls half filled with tasteless porridge were dropped by their feet. They continued sitting, not even moving a muscle, staring ahead, without a glance towards the cold food. Fifteen minutes passed until finally, the Mother raised her hand, signalling the start of breakfast. The children dug in, using their hands, slowly eating and making sure that they don’t drop even a tiny droplet of the textureless mixture on their clothes or the clean floors. This was done carefully, not only because of the fear of a beating, but also because their hunger forbade them to waste any of the nutrients it gave their fatless bodies.


Once Amelia made sure that the Mother wasn’t watching them, she poured some of her porridge into the younger kids bowls, as she knew that she could live with less. She had formed a habit of it after one of the young children had died 3 years earlier. She knew the importance of the nutrients food contained and also was aware that she needed less than the younger children that still had much to grow.


Once the bowls were spotlessly clean, every single drop of the porridge gone, they all raised their heads and once again began looking ahead. It was almost like a ritual, they all knew what they had to do and did it without uttering a word. Everything was done with careful precision, almost in a mechanical manner. The breakfast was over and they were waiting for the Mother to give them their next order. With an another lift of the hand, the children all stood up and as the Mother left the room, in a single file they followed. Not one of them missing a step, soon they found themselves outside in the garden.


That day, all of them were on the garden duty, except a couple of younglings that were to polish all of the wooden surfaces in the house. Amelia loved working in the garden and spending her day around plants. It gave her mind the necessary passage that allowed it to form fantasies of expeditions in the wild among the great creations of mother earth. All of them were lucky because the sun was out that day and the weather was as comforting as mother’s arms around a crying child. It wasn’t like Amelia knew how that felt, but she could imagine that it felt as good as the man’s arms around her, if not even more special.


They had been working in the garden for 6 hours straight when they first noticed commotion on the other side of the fence. There had been a car collision and as much as Amelia could gather, one of the drivers had died. Later she knew that the driver had stood back up and attacked the other people around him. But as she was trimming the rose bushes, she could only hear the screaming of two women and a man, then silence. She was curious, but knew better than to stop working, in case the Mother was observing them through one of the windows. She could sense that the other children were afraid and she couldn’t blame them. She wasn’t frightened by the screams because she knew that even though they were miserable on their side of the fence, they were also safe. But she was worried about the people on the road and sorry for the ones that had gotten hurt.


Around two hours had gone by when the Mother finally called them inside. Even though they had been working for 8 hours straight, it was unusual for her to allow them to be done this early. There were many hours of light left and she never had problems with forcing them to work at night. Amelia was glad to rest, but was very suspicious of the Mothers’ motives.


The Mother appeared to be uneasy and frightened by something, Amelia noted, though it was visible that she was trying to hide this fact from the children. It was not like any of the children, even Amelia, the bravest of all, could ask her what was wrong. Speaking to the Mother or speaking at all without her permission earned them a beating. Every one of them knew better than to displease her, especially when she was unpredictable.


She was pacing in front of them all, unable to contain her emotions. Amelia didn’t know what was going on, but if it made the Mother actually show any sign of being human, it must be big, she thought. As she was walking by them once again, the Mother cursed under her breath and suddenly stopping, kicked one of the older children in the stomach. He went down with a thump, gasping for breath. Amelia wanted to run towards him to see if he was okay and help him back to his feet, but she knew that it would put them all in trouble. Fortunately, after 5 minutes of intent staring at the whimpering boy, she turned around and stormed out of the kitchen, leaving them all alone. Amelia rushed to the injured boy and knelt before him. While trying to calm him down with soothing words, she checked him for any outward signs of trauma around the affected area. She found none, so she helped him sit up and found her way back to her place against the wall.


They had been waiting there for a half an hour, when the boy finally tried to stand up. Suddenly, the boy started screaming like a swarm of bees had covered his body and were stinging him at the same time. The sound was so painful to her ears; she ran back to him and covered his mouth, trying to silence him. She knew that there was no way that the screams were not heard by the Mother and that when she would return, they would all pay dearly.


As Amelia had predicted, soon enough the Mother stormed into the kitchen yelling profanities, grabbed the boy by the arm and putting her other hand up. She dragged the screaming boy across the floor towards the hall as the other children quickly, but silently followed. In no time, they found themselves outside the bedroom door and watched the Mother throw the hurt boy through the doorway of the room. She gave the rest of them a deadly look and they all ran inside. Once they heard the familiar click of the lock, they all rushed in aid of the unfortunate family member. A moment later, he fell silent.


The boy had been unconscious for a couple of hours when he finally stopped breathing. Amelia had been sitting by his side for the whole time, brushing his hair back and talking to him in a soft voice. The other children were scattered around the bedroom, quietly weeping. It was very dark as always and Amelia didn’t notice him pass until she made one of her regular pulse checks. She didn’t tell any of the other children what had happened and slowly pulled the thin blanket over his head. A single tear rolled down her cheek as she gave the boy a last kiss and moved over to her own cot.


Amelia was unsure of the cause of the boys’ death, but guessed that he had a pre-existing illness that was made fatal by the kick. She bit into the skin of her arm and tried to get her emotions under control. The rage that had been gathering within her for all those years was becoming hard to contain. As she closed her eyes, she saw herself stabbing the Mother over and over again. It was one of her most frequent fantasies and she was very ashamed of it. At that moment, though, she wished she could make it into reality. Every single time the whip had made contact with hers and all the children skin came flooding back to her. She knew that something was going on outside the fence and she was going to use it as a way of bringing the Mother down.

 

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