Third writing assignment! No theme this time, just the beginning of an idea I’ve had for a long time. This month has been pretty busy with rehearsals and whatnot, so I didn’t write quite as much as I would have liked. More for next month :) Happy March!
(Also, I have spent WAY too long trying to format in this godforsaken software. . . so please excuse the inconsistency of the spaces between paragraphs. I have no idea why they won’t stay where I tell them.)
My great grandmother was a conqueror. History has recorded her as an exceptionally ruthless barbarian, cleansing her hands with the blood of her enemies. Victims of her horde’s atrocities numbered in the thousands and that is only taking into account the dead. Villages disappeared. Bloodlines ceased. She was thorough — I suppose that is the glib way to put it. The Horde War, though decades ago, echoes painfully in the minds of my fellow countrymen. My peers have relatives who still hide food under the floorboards and sleep with daggers under their pillows.
She was never brought to justice or trial, but instead murdered by her daughter, my grandmother. My grandmother was murdered by her brother, my great uncle. My aunt killed him, eventually. Family tradition, you might say.
It is hard to gauge how strange your own family truly is until you meet someone from the outside. My bloody lineage made this very difficult. I never knew my great grandmother, or my grandmother for that matter, but our family has carried their legacy. Changing names was tried (and refused by some), but it is pretty easy to track us down, given both my family’s predilection for over-speaking and the acceleration of technology. No more does one have to wait for a stranger in a pub to hear news.
In perhaps a futile attempt to distinguish some relatives from others, I have taken it upon myself to write out my family’s history.
I apologize in advance for any liberties I may have taken. I think they were not on purpose.
– Mia Fox, daughter of decent people, descendant of monsters
I Join My Family
I am seven, I am the youngest. The lightbulb has not been invented yet. I am sitting on the edge of the bed I share with my sister Saga. She is three years older than me. She has my writing folder, my special folder. It has everything in the world to me — poetry, stories, drawings, lyrics. She’s holding it in front of me and talking in that calm voice she gets when she’s about to do something horrible. Whatever is on her mind at this moment will be nothing compared to what it would be if she read its contents. . .
“So Mia, what do you have to say to that?”
“What?” I cannot focus because all I can see is the folder, waving back and forth, a page peeking out.
Saga rolls her eyes and exhales loudly. “You do all my chores until my birthday, including the chickens-” I hate chickens – “and I will give you your folder back when I turn eleven.”
“Saga, I need it before then.”
“Well then I guess leaving it out for all to see wasn’t very smart, was it?”
“It was under the bed in my box, Saga, you took it-”
Saga opens the folder and holds a single page above her head. Staring at me with dead brown eyes, she crumples it and drops it.
If I were anyone else but me, I would scream. If I were anyone else but me, I would jump at her and claw her face off. But I am me. And so I am obedient. Quiet. Small.
“Go ahead and apologize to me.”
“I am sorry, Saga.”
“For leaving out my things.”
“And talking funny.”
“And talking funny.” It is true. My mother says I taught myself how to speak from reading so many books. I suppose I have always over-enunciated.
“And for arguing with my sister, who is smarter than me.”
With a sigh she takes out another page.
“Wait! Please!” I stand, reaching out my hand. My face flushes and I feel tears in my eyes. “Please, Saga, I will do whatever you want me to do. Please do not hurt my papers anymore. Please.”
She smiles and calmly replaces the page. “I’ll go tell Mama that you’re sick and aren’t coming to dinner.”
“But I feel-”
I should have known that she was going to punch me in the stomach. She always punches me. Doubled over, I can hear her skipping from the room. I sink to my hands and knees and cry silently. Crying silently is a good skill in my family. When I finish, I focus on regaining my breath. Saga has been my tormentor for many years, but never before has she gone after my writing, the thing I love most in this world. I sniffle and stand resolutely.
Here is the moment when I truly become a part of my family. I know what I need to do. I need to see Kesh.