Never Tell

I'll never tell.

{Entry for the first option of the Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines competition: write a story about a family secret}

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1. "What Happened?"

 


•••

"What happened?"

•••

"What happened?" 

That was the first question they asked me, as they sat me down on a plastic chair, and handed me a sloppy cup of tea to drink. 

Now, on any other day, at any other time, I could have answered that question perfectly fine. Well, I could still have answered it then, but that's not the point. I didn't want to. I didn't want to tell them.

And so, I sat there in silence, and I didn't answer their stupid question. 

They didn't like that. Still, they told me it was okay, that I didn't need to be frightened. 

I wasn't frightened. Well, maybe a little bit - but not of them. I wasn't frightened of the guns in their pockets, or the guards at the door. I wasn't frightened of their steel-capped boots or the doctors they kept consulting with. And I wasn't that frightened of the truth. 

Meryl was. She kept stammering, and blubbing, and at one point I was worried she might tell. But she didn't. None of us did. She just wet her pants instead. 

They really didn't like that. It went all over the floor, and it took them ages to mop it up. I would've laughed, but then they might have thought I was mad. Which I'm not - none of us are. Apart from Freddy, maybe. Sometimes, he gets really crazy; that's what started Meryl's pant-wetting off. She's ten now. She ought to get over it. 

Normal kids get over stuff like that. 

I'm normal. 

Well, ish. 

I guess what we did wasn't normal. Saya said it wasn't, but she did it anyway. We don't back out, our family. That's not how it works. 

Me, and Meryl, and Freddy, and Eline, and Saya, and little Patch. Our family. Oh, and Dad. Sort of. I don't think Dad really likes the family much. He definitely didn't like Mum.

Freddy's like a dad. Or at least, he tries to be. That's how it works for us - Freddy looks after the family, runs the house, pays the bills. He's sixteen. He isn't old enough, but it's okay. We're okay.

Well, we were. 

But Freddy's still my brother. He's our brother. We're all siblings; we all stick together. And like I said, no' one backs out. 

Well, apart from Petra. But we don't talk about Petra. 

Anyway, whilst Meryl was busy pissing on the floor, I was still sitting there, on the plastic chair - which had gum on the underneath of it, by the way - not answering questions. And they were still there, with their guns and steel-capped boots, still telling me it was okay.

Which, to be honest, I don't think it was. I don't what we did was as okay at all. Petra-

Ahem, nothing. Petra doesn't matter. 

And nor do any of those stupid kids. The other kids, not my family kids. I love my family kids. In a way. Especially Eline. She's my favourite. 

She's very small, even for a seven year-old. She's the youngest apart from Patch - he's only five - but she's the best. The best at everything. Her funny little teeth stick out in this weird, wonky way, and when she speaks, occasionally, she always tells me about which ones are wobbly, and which canine is the sharpest. It's kind of boring, but it's good. 

She doesn't talk about the stuff we don't talk about. 

Nor does Patch, but then, he never says anything. Saya's older than Eline, and so she thinks she's allowed to talk about everything, anything she wants. 

I had to teach her for ages to keep her mouth shut, but she does. She keeps her mouth shut about the right things. As does Meryl. And then I'm the next kid up. 

I'm Katt. I'm the one who had the sloppy cup of tea, remember? The one who was keeping quiet and not answering the stupid questions? The one who likes Eline best?

Yeah. 

I'm second-in-command. Freddy's favourite - he told me. I follow him; I don't back out; I never tell. 

I certainly wasn't telling on that day. They tried for hours to make me talk, putting the TV on, asking me mindless questions about my favourite characters in random shows.

We never watched TV, our family. Not because we didn’t have a TV. Just because the one we had broke. Well, Dad broke it on top of Mum's head. I didn't tell them that though. Then they might have tried to look for Dad, and if he ever found out I told...

I don't know if there is anything worse than death, but if there is, it would probably happen. Not that death bothers me. I quite like it. Especially when it comes to people I don't like.

That's normal, isn't it? Wishing death on other people? On stupid people?

Stupid kids.

But they don't matter. Nothing matters, not anymore.

I didn't tell them that either though, because then they might have asked me why, and I couldn't tell them that, because that's why I'm here.

They gave up on me after about an hour, leading me along a corridor and into a bland cell. It didn’t smell very nice. They told me they were just keeping me for a little while, to make sure things were sorted out. 

I wanted to go home. 

I wanted to see Eline again. They told me that she was somewhere else. That I couldn't see her. 

I didn't like that. I tried to keep calm, and to prove that I was normal - because I am - but they just wouldn't let me see her, and I just so wanted to see her, and I kept my mouth closed so tightly it hurt, trying not to say anything, but there was so much anger inside me, and I had to clamp my teeth together until my tongue was burning, until I could calm down.

Except I didn’t.

I am normal. I am - I just sometimes get a bit angry. That's all. I don't like the taste of blood or flesh or anything, I just like the feeling of letting that anger out.

Although, don't tell, but their hands tasted quite good, actually. Sort of like...meat, I suppose. Nice meat. Strong, soft meat. And their blood was quite metallic. Rather tangy. 

Rather good.

I bit them very hard.

They screamed, and I screamed, and then they carried me away and I'm afraid that's where the tale of the first question ends, because I frankly can't remember what happened next.

Apart from the injection. 

Oh, and I do remember them telling me I was crazy.

I'm not crazy.

I'm normal.

I am; I am; I am. 

Normal people have secrets. Only crazy people tell them.

And they could have asked me a thousand times, ‘what happened?’, but I would have sat through a thousand more.

They couldn't touch us. Our family.

They could force our lips open, shoot bolts through our tongues; they could batter us like cod pieces, and bash us to bits; they could torture us until the sun burns up the sky.

 

But we'd never have told.

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