Crazy encounter with a knife. =^.^=
|Daniel wants a sandwich. Maybe just a simple sandwich, he thinks to himself, as he walks through the front door and plops his backpack on the floor. Daniel’s shoes squeak across the newly washed off-white tile floor as he pads across the foyer into the hallway. Just some sliced ham, a little mayo and maybe some cheese…that sounds good. He brushes his slightly long, brown hair back and steps into the huge, highly expensive kitchen. Daniel doesn’t take notice though, it’s all he knows. His father is a doctor and his mother is a receptionist for a large company, so his family is always loaded. In California, though, most people are loaded, and his parent’s house doesn’t look too huge or too small compared to their neighbors. New, black appliances, dark cherry birch-wood cabinets, marble countertops and a sparkling, reflective tile floor isn’t out of the question, and is in fact what Daniel walks into from the hallway.
The enormous house is quiet. Daniel’s father is at work (like usual) while his mother is probably out shopping or gardening or something that doesn’t interest Daniel either way. His mother only works part-time so she has plenty of free time to spend all the money she makes and spend all her time away from the expensive, seven-bedroom house for three.
The kitchen is ridiculously meticulous. Everything is wiped down twice (at least), while Daniel can see his reflection in almost any appliance or surface. His grey eyes fall on the Wonder bread in the corner as he grabs a $60 plate and slaps two perfect, square white pieces on top. Daniel dumps the plate on the marble counter, hearing the circling of the moving plate as he opens the refrigerator and searches for condiments. No mayo, but Daniel can settle for mustard as he slathers it on the bread. Looking for sliced ham proves difficult also as Daniel pushes food aside and pulls out leftovers for nothing. A gigantic, six-foot refrigerator that can feed an army but has no lunch meat. Daniel grumbles to himself as he pulls out a block of cheddar cheese, bent on still making a sandwich. He opens the second drawer to the left of the sink and is greeted by shining, polished knives. Tiny blades, large handles, sharp tips, aggressive wide blades, and paring knives all stare back at Daniel like puppies in a store, hoping to be picked. Daniel’s teenager hand grabs for the most masculine knife, which also happens to be one of the biggest, chopping knives. A noise seems to emit from the knife, not quite a squeak and not exactly a sigh, but a noise. Daniel doesn’t seem to notice since his sandwich isn’t turning out like what he wants, like most of his days.
Daniel spins around the kitchen, looking for the suspect who spoke first in the empty house. He knows he heard the voice; it was close enough to him to hear clearly, and the voice is defiant, deep, strong, and male; a human voice, not a noise from an appliance resting or a dog barking. Nobody can be seen and Daniel has already started to deny everything. He takes the knife back toward the cheese and grazes the block once again.
“Don’t use me for cheese.”
Daniel drops the knife onto the floor, completely stunned and numb. He backs into the sink, grabbing on to the porcelain with force. He stares at the knife, waiting for it to speak again, feeling his heart beat so furiously against his chest. The knife lies on the floor. Daniel calms his breathing as much as he can in ten seconds and slowly reaches for the chopping knife, carefully brining it back up to the counter and places it next to the cheese.
“Thank you for picking me up.”
Daniel winces and pulls back from the counter as he hears that voice again. He examines the knife, sees no cartoon mouth or eyes from which it can see and hear and speak from. Daniel hurries for the first time through the kitchen, then the hallway, and all the downstairs rooms to make sure nobody is there tricking him to feel insane. Daniel slowly walks back into the kitchen, seeing the knife in the same spot he left it. At least he knows it can’t walk. Yet.
“Now, please don’t use me for slicing cheese.”
Daniel breathes heavily, almost ready to cry. Yes, a knife is talking. Why? Daniel exhales, stares deeply at the knife, and replies. “Okay, I won’t use you.”
“Thank you Daniel! You have no idea what I’ve been cutting.”
Daniel gets angry, forgets what’s going on at the moment (that he’s talking to a knife) and stomps up to it, asking defensively, “How do you know my name?”
The knife scoffs at him. “Well, you know you are thirteen years old, and I’ve been here before that. I hear your parents call your name.”
Daniel simply blinks at the knife, realizing that was a silly question. Of course a knife that lives here would know his name and everybody else’s. Daniel stutters a little, but is able to ask “Why are you talking to me?”
The knife is silent for a while, and Daniel is starting to think that maybe it is all in his head but then the knife quietly, although still with a strong, deep inflection, states, “I have bad news to tell you Daniel, and I don’t know how to say it.”
Daniel gives the knife a quizzical look. “What could be so bad compared to knowing a knife can talk?”
“Because Daniel….well…look at my blade. Do you see anything?” Daniel approaches half-heartedly. For a male teenager who loves comic books, he still isn’t quite enthusiastic to have something so out of the ordinary happen to him. He picks up the talking knife and intricately inspects it, looking for anything since the knife is so vague. He spots a tiny, red speck near the tip of the blade, but that’s all.
“Do you mean this red spot? What’s wrong with it?”
“Yeah, I mean the red speck. Your mother didn’t clean me completely.”
Daniel puts the knife back down defensively, offended by what the knife said, but still not fully computing what the knife is hinting at. “What are you talking about?”
“Daniel………your mother killed somebody.”
The teenager backs away, shaking his head slightly. “No, you’re mistaken. My mom wouldn’t kill anybody. She’s cool. Why would she kill anybody? Why wouldn’t she tell me?” Daniel starts to walk away, not wanting to listen to this mysterious knife any longer. Of course knives don’t talk. What was he thinking? A knife can’t talk and can’t possibly pin murders on people.
“It’s true Daniel. Your mom killed somebody. You don’t think I notice when I’m used?”
Daniel stops moving, but is still skeptical. “Well, I guess not. But my mom cooks. Kinda. She makes food; she could have just used you to cut up meat, like pork or something. Yeah….right?” Daniel looks at the knife pleadingly, wishing it would go away or simply stop talking.
“No, that’s not true. I’ve been used many times, Boy, and I know what people use me for. This last time I was used for anger, malice, hate. It wasn’t pretty.”
Daniel turns away from the knife, resting his body on a nearby stool. He thinks hard; Mom has been acting strange the few times he’s seen her. He doesn’t really talk to her that much but could tell something was off by the way she’d move or speak. She seemed absent minded and more irritable. But murder? Suddenly Daniel realized he didn’t ask the next vital question. “Who did my mom kill? Tell me.”
The knife was again silent for a moment, but soon relented. “Your father.”
Daniel pushed off of the stool with a force, sending the wooden mass to the floor with a reverberating crash. “Now that’s bullshit! I know my parents fight but that can’t be possible! My mom is not a murderer, and definitely wouldn’t kill my own dad!”
“Daniel, I’m not trying to fight with you,” the knife is way calmer than Daniel, trying to reach out to the boy and help. “But I know what happened and I’ve seen it coming for a couple of days now.”
“You lie! You’re a freaking knife! How can you know these things? Why are you telling me these things!?” Daniel is in the kitchen, but is as far away from the knife as possible, not quite sure of what to do or think.
The knife has gotten angry, blurting out loudly, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! You don’t think I’ve seen things? That I don’t know what goes on in this household?!” The knife stops yelling and the whole house is quiet. Daniel has a sharp glare on the knife, waiting. The chopping knife continues.
“You aren’t here all day like I am. You haven’t seen your mom in this kitchen, slicing tomatoes and meat, alone, crying. You haven’t heard your father walking around in here, on his cellphone, talking to some other woman while you and your mom are in the other room. You haven’t been alone with your mother. See her frustration and anger at finding shirts with lipstick and bills from hotels. You haven’t seen the way your father treats your mother when you’re asleep.” The knife seems out of breath, tired.
Daniel quietly stares at the floor, realizing the knife is right. He has heard his parents fight before, but just brushed it off. Parents fight all the time, don’t they? He didn’t know about his dad and this affair but it seems reasonable. His dad works long hours and sometimes Daniel doesn’t even see him until the weekend. Actually, Daniel realizes he hasn’t seen his dad since Sunday. He looks at the knife differently now, like a confidant. “When did she do it?”
Silence almost seems to interrupt their conversation, taking over the whole awkward scene. “Tuesday.” The day of the week echoes into the hallway, up the stairs. Daniel feels weak, fragile. “Why did you tell me?”
The knife’s tone changes dramatically to one of tenacity, control. “I know your mother knows that you haven’t figured anything out, but she’s not the same. She’s changed and I fear for you. It’s not safe to be around her anymore. She’s lost it.”
“You think?” Daniel bitterly scoffs. “But what am I supposed to do? I’m just a kid. She won’t hurt me, I’m her son.”
“I don’t know about that anymore, Daniel. Like I said, she’s changed and I don’t think she’s stable anymore. I think she forgot why she killed your dad in the first place. I think you should run for it before she gets back. I wouldn’t trust her.”
Daniel lets his head droop in defeat. He doesn’t really know what’s going on, despite what the knife says. What can he believe anymore? What is real? The knife is right about one thing, though: his father is dead, and his mother isn’t much better off. But what is he to do? He’s not going to tell on his mother, but he’s certainly not going to wait around for her to come home and see a shiny chopping knife laying around for her to pick up. Daniel runs upstairs and grabs a gym bag, stuffing it with clothes and tossing his MP3 player in for good measure. He quietly heads back downstairs and stops in the kitchen, seeing his half-completed sandwich and a chopping knife on the counter. He approaches the counter one last time, still wondering what the hell just happened.
Nothing. The knife doesn’t say anything back. The stainless steel simply lies there, waiting to chop and slice. Daniel feels even more confusion; either he’s simply hallucinating or the knife has done its job and will forever remain silent. Daniel hears his mom’s SUV pull into the driveway, and he bolts to the screen door, slides it open and runs out, never looking back.
A woman in her late 30s walks into the front door, holding a grocery bag. The wrinkles and slight dark circles under her eyes make her appear older, although she’s still fairly fit. She just looks aged. Daniel’s mother walks into the kitchen and sees what he’s left for her. She appears confused at first, but not fazed. Taking out the groceries one by one, she places them in the wrong spot; milk in the oven, eggs in the sink, Windex in the freezer. A slight sigh emits from her, as she struggles to regain what her household once was. She carefully rights the thrown stool and sits down, glancing at the food on the counter, looking utterly repulsed and mortified. The tears start to run down her cheeks, followed by mascara. Daniel’s mother knows what has happened. She knows she lost everything, even though she never really had a grip on it to begin with. Her eyes are guided to the knife, that same, dreaded knife. Her hand trembles as she reaches for it and discovers that it weighs heavier than it did when she plunged it into the chest of her husband. There’s nothing left now, though, she realizes, thinking that maybe the knife won’t feel so heavy any longer if she used it just once more…..
“Please don’t use me to kill yourself.”