It’s quiet around here again. Nobody wants to talk anymore at the dinner table or have family fun days in the living room, Monopoly money littering the wood floors.
Everything is dreary and dull, lacking in high spirit. It’s disappointing to witness the change within the atmosphere of what I am forced to call home. Everyone seems to be emotionally detached, walking around resembling living zombies. My own brother and sister avoid one another as they walk down the halls of our home, glancing abruptly in the other direction shall they make eye contact. I haven’t had a conversation with anyone within the house in days, and there is only one thing to blame for this.
Before the visit, everything was perfect. My siblings had their friends over daily, munching on delicious pizza, watching movies all night, and indulging in bountiful amounts of candy. Sadly, there is no more candy, pizza, or friendly visits. Every shred of happiness has been ripped apart violently, charred in the fire of destruction. Our years of happiness, our cheerful laughs, have all dissipated from thought. In place of happiness was our uncle.
His visits are always unwanted. Though I tell myself that his visits are temporary, I can’t help but remember the last time he showed up at our doorstep. Though he is family, though he is a part of us, no one can really stand him. Still, we endure him as long as we can, abiding by his strict rules and policies. Just as us children have done, my parents abide by his orders with no exceptions.
I have to tell myself that every family has an uncle that never seems to fit in with the rest. I have to tell myself my uncle is a part of our bloodline, eliminating any hatred of him from my thoughts, but it’s so damn hard. I mean, if you knew what he does to us… it’s just not right.
As I sit across from him now, watching on as my mother prepares our dinner, I cannot help but want to lunge across the table, grabbing ahold of whatever I can on him. His expression alone is enraging. Though everyone else is terrified of his devious smirk, I want nothing more than to rip it off of whatever it is he calls a face. But, as my mother approaches the table with the steaming pot in hand, my eyes glance towards the kitchen she derived from. Like every visit from uncle, the countertops were stained red, oozing crimson remnants onto the floor. Though my eyes know not to look further, I can not resist the urge to. There, dangling lifelessly off of the cutting board, are my friend’s legs.
I try to hold back the tears as my uncle looks upon me, his glare burning through my skin. Somehow, I manage to suck the tears back within their ducts as my mother spoons Alexandria soup into the bowl placed before me.
“Eat,” Uncle says.
I stare down at the bowl, catching a glimpse of what appears to be a tongue within the browned concoction. Immediately, I get the urge to vomit, but I swallow it down, erasing all traces of fear from my mind.
“Eat!” he repeated.
From my peripheral, I see my mother’s horrified expression. Her head nods frantically, as if to insist I correspond with Uncle’s twisted rule. I shake my head in refusal, standing abruptly as I throw the bowl into the wall where Uncle had stood milliseconds prior. It didn’t take long for me to feel the hot breath upon my neck. It didn’t take long for those freezing hands to wrap ever so delicately around my neck. It didn’t take long for my lungs to struggle for the smallest fraction of air.
“You will eat,” Uncle mutters, licking my face with his sandpaper tongue.
The satisfaction I’m giving Uncle is not what I want. I can’t allow him to feast on my fears, tears, or pain any longer. So I tap out, patting his leather like skin aggressively. Immediately, his grip lessens, and I can once again breathe. Almost instinctively, my mother fills another bowl with my friend, and places it before me. Once the bowl is stationed within its rightful place, my mother takes her seat and begins eating.
Though I want to escape, I know there is no escaping Uncle. My late brother attempted that, and he took place of our friends at the family dinner. So, instead of drawing out my own demise, I sit down, pick up my spoon, and begin eating. There is no escaping Uncle. Uncle controls us, feeding on what remains of our sanity with each visit. Uncle is us.