Broken China

 The echo was deafening and my nostrils burned from the acidic aroma wafting from the revolver. Even from point blank range, the bullet sailed over my right shoulder and struck the china cabinet in the corner. I looked deep into his weathered gray eyes and watched his fear dissipate as my claws clamped on his neck and he grew ever closer to death. The roar of the gunfire left me unable to hear his cries or moans, I felt unsatisfied. I needed more. I needed him to pay for what he had done. Mutilation had to ensue, but it was far from over. The bloodletting did not satiate my appetite for the kill. I wanted him to pay. As I stripped the last tendon from his bones, everything went black.

  As a boy, I was a bit on the frail side. In my dreams, I longed for the heroic feats of the mythological heroes I read about. However, in reality, it took me two hands to open our front door and a struggle to lug my blue canvas book bag from school. My mother always said that eventually I would grow big and strong like my father, but I just needed to be patient. I never knew my father, he died before I was born. My mother would tell me tales about him. She would go on and on about how he was a late bloomer like me.

  “Be patient my son, in time you will grow big and strong like your father. He was small, like you and then one day he wasn’t. It runs in the family you know”, she would say.

  Five years after I was born, my mother remarried. She felt obligated to provide security for me and thought that an adult male figure in my life would provide structure and responsibility. Unfortunately she chose a miserable soul. I hated him. My stepfather, the Captain, was rather unimpressed by my small, anemic structure as he was a large strapping man with thick bronze hands and a sturdy back. Even at a young age I could sense his disappointment. He blamed my mother for my inadequacies as there was no way a child from his bloodlines could ever be quite that insubstantial.

  Most nights, when his boat was ashore, he would verbally assault my mother and I as he scarfed down whatever food that she had worked hard all day to procure and prepare. Nothing was ever good enough. I’m sure at one time they loved each other, but those days seemed to have passed. Other than the ritualistic berating at dinner, the Captain rarely spoke to us. We were elated when he was out to sea and depressed upon his return.

   My mother was a good, decent, and hard working woman. She spent her mornings, hours before any of us awoke, working for the local fish monger. She didn’t earn much, but without that income, we would have starved. The Captain spent more than half of his earnings on gambling, booze, and whores. My mother knew of his carousing, but felt somehow obligated to hold the family together.

   It was my sixteenth birthday, which is significant because in most of the homes on the shore, it was a right of passage for the boy to join his father on his ship when he reached that age. However, as an undersized and frail teen with a penchant for books, the sea was the last place I wanted to be. Unfortunately the Captain saw it differently. That night he arrived home enraged and in a drunken stupor. My mother and I were having a piece of strawberry cake by the fire and talking about the tales of Poe that I had been reading.

  “Where is the boy! Where is Sam!”, screamed the Captain as he slammed open the kitchen door wielding a revolver. He grabbed me by the collar, knocking the dish of cake from my hands which crashed into the cabinet in the corner, breaking the glass. My mother began to cry as the plate that was knocked from my hands was part of a family heirloom set of china that was handed down for generations in her family. Her tears fell to the oriental rug as she picked up the broken pieces and wiped the pink frosting from the cabinet window.

  “Pack your suitcase we’re leaving tonight!”, said the Captain as he shoved me towards the staircase and scarfed down what remained of my birthday cake.

  “Go on boy! It’s time you become a man!”, shouted the Captain as my mother begged him to leave me be.

   In tears, I bolted upstairs and gathered my things. I didn’t want to go with him, but I was terrified of the consequences upon my refusal. I soon finished packing my belongings into my tan suitcase and headed back downstairs. As I turned the corner to head into the living room, I could see my mother pleading with the Captain to leave me alone, but he wasn’t having it. He grew angrier and struck her in the head with the butt end of his nickel plated revolver, rendering my mother unconscious.

  “Mother!….Leave her alone, or so help me I’ll…”, I shouted at him as I dropped the suitcase and lunged towards him.

  “You’ll what…just what is a frail little weakling going to do!”, said the Captain as he knocked me across the room.

  I was dazed, but I grew even angrier. I could feel all of the years of mental and physical abuse building a profound sense of rage inside me. Suddenly a horrible pain radiated all over my body. It was a piercing pressure that felt like I was going to burst. I screamed in agony as I ripped the shirt from my body and tore at the flesh on my face. The Captain’s eyes grew as huge as if he were staring at death itself . I could feel the pain turn into a heightened feeling of power and agility. I screamed and howled as I saw my reflection in the china cabinet glass. I had become a hideous wolf-like beast with the carnal need to gorge on flesh.

  The Captain’s hands began to quiver as he lifted his revolver and pointed it in my direction. He tried to speak, but I couldn’t wait. I wanted him dead. I bared my newly developed canine-like fangs and lunged at his face with the full intention of killing, when the Captain pulled the trigger.

  In the morning I was awakened by my mother humming and scrubbing the floor underneath the oriental rug where I had mutilated my stepfather. I could smell sausages cooking in the background and cinnamon apples. I was groggy and had a hard time remembering exactly what happened. It had to be a dream.

  “Good morning sunshine! I hope you’re hungry. You should be, you worked up an appetite”, she said as she smiled while picking up her pail of blood stained water and headed into the kitchen.

  “Mother, what happened last night? Where is the Captain?”, I said as I followed her in the kitchen.

  “Oh honey, you’re just like your father. Could you be a dear and grab some of our good china and set the table, we’re celebrating”, said my mother as she turned the sausages cooking in the cast iron skillet.

  I didn’t know what to think or what had happened. I walked back into the living room to get the china, when I noticed there were several pieces missing and the glass was broken. At that moment, it all came back to me. It wasn’t a dream. What have I become.



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