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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Dark · #1962702
Find your way home. (Winner of The Daily Slice horror contest 11/14/13)
What possessed me to steal the old book from the library on that gloomy, late-autumn afternoon I cannot say. Maybe it was the promise that it held. Promises can always be broken, but this one felt different to my young eyes; it was open and engaging, primal yet hopeful. Hope was a word back then for the other children I saw reading, after all they had real homes to go back to. Friends that didn’t think they were dead. Parents that hadn’t buried an empty casket.

There was freedom in its leathery bound pages, a promise that was as fantastical as anything written by Tolkien, yet I believed in its whispers. The living words of a story where I could be the dragon slayer for once upon a time.

Freedom was a promise that I wanted to believe in then; an ensemble of choices that I’d never had before, an idea that did indeed make me finally believe in hope.

The thing that had taken me finally brought me home that night. He laughed at the book as I knew he would. He believed that I was still his to torment, as did I, so he did.

Later that night, I sat down in my basement and read back to the words I had found so empowering within it. I stared at them, and absorbed them over and over again; a simple collection of letters that promised autonomy as long as you believed in their power...

Upon these words you will find your dreams fulfilled.

You are destined to be boundless, the master of your desires.

Visualize then actualize the real you.

I read these words all night long, over and over by candlelight, until I could no longer keep my eyes from betraying me.

I dreamed of an open door, sunlight flooding through it upon the pale white tiles of a kitchen floor that I didn’t recognize at first. There was a crimson streak that led across it towards a dining room. I followed it out to find my parents sitting at a large table filled with a Thanksgiving feast; mashed potatoes, cranberries, corn, and pumpkin pie all surrounding a large silver platter that was covered in gore, with my burned body lying at it’s center. My mother was eating my eyes, while my father was chewing on what was left of my right arm, and they looked so happy. When they finally saw me they smiled with bloody grins that leaked on to their plates, pooling into crimson lakes that I wanted to drown in.

I woke up with a scream in my throat, but I kept silent in fear of being heard. My fear turned to anger as I remembered. I still hated them for giving up on me. I was often shown a newspaper article with an interview with my mother who had finally given up, my father merely a shadow beside her. That was five years ago, and all I wanted to do was to prove them wrong now. Not to hug them, not to cry in their arms and tell them how much I missed them but to show them how wrong they were to give up on me. There had been a picture of a small casket being lowered into a hole at a cemetery along with the article, and I had been shown it an awful lot from then on. A whole lot.

But then the monster upstairs above me began making mistakes. Mistakes like taking me to the library that night. I guess I was given more freedom because I was no longer as youthful as he desired. Maybe he wanted me to run away, maybe that’s why he left the basement door unlocked that night. But I wasn’t leaving that easily.

I found him asleep on the couch, a silent sitcom playing out on his beloved television. I kept repeating the words I’d memorized as I plunged the knife into him over and over again. When I finally finished, I fell to the floor covered in blood, and I sat all alone and cried.

There was no one left who knew I was alive. No one who knew I existed.
No one who gave a damn about me.

But that would change.

I still remembered my affirmation and how to get home.

I began to smile while I visualized my homecoming and the Thanksgiving feast that would follow.
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