Family Reapers (a short story)

I am here to recollect the stories of one family. A family who must face judgment from Death, the decider of its fate. She has an ink-filled scythe, red eyes, and dwells in her sulfur lair, acting swiftly with no remorse. The members of this family live in dungeons; they are in hellholes that hinder their dreams and goals. Death makes it hard to sleep at times because she creates invisible background noises.

The family has been limited for some time and are constantly saddened by latent visualizations of rats and roaches that nibble at their bodies while they sleep. But, despite these torturous experiences, these asylums have kept them safe; tricking them into loving their homes. These homes are making them forget about their past experiences and molding their minds to do Death’s bidding.

Part 1

Setting: The Dungeon

A tall adolescent boy of fifteen approaches his mother, a short red-haired woman of thirty-seven, who appears to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The boy looks at his mother sternly and asks her a question:

Boy: Mom, are you ever going to stop drinking?

Mom: How dare you judge me you Devil child? You were born from Satan’s womb. Your birth was corrupt and manifested into a leech that ruined my life. How dare you turn against your mother?

Boy: No, Mom, I just want to make sure that you are okay. I love you and I hate to see you look like this.

Mom: Do not worry about me Demon.

Boy: Yes Mom!

A young boy of small stature approaches cautiously and attempts to contribute to this “pleasant” conversation:

Younger Boy: Are you okay mommy?

Mom: Yes my son! Go to your room! Both of your presences are a pestilence that rots my insides.

She belches.

Younger Boy: What will we eat mother? I am hungry and have been so for many days.

Mom: Didn’t I tell you to leave me alone? Maybe if you listened and did not disobey your mother you might have been fed by now.

Younger Boy: But Mom?

Mom: You disobeying little…

She strikes her youngest son in the face repeatedly.

Mom: Do you want some?

Boy: No mom

Mom: Good, now go away!

Both kids go into their own separate dungeon.

Part 2

In times of great discomfort, the two boys had to stiffen up and find comfort in themselves. They had no control over their upbringing—like most people—and had come to the realization crying would only resort to more pain being inflicted onto them. Their ability to find comfort during troubling times allowed them to ignore the depressing spirits which tormented them. This brotherly bond gave them hope that maybe when they woke up every bad moment they experienced would have just been a dream. Unfortunately, these children went to sleep every night only to be denied happiness.

They’d awoken from their nightmares the next morning and were welcomed to a ritual, their mother’s fetid breath and alcohol-induced hangover. She screamed every other minute in pain while she bled from her head. She cried out in a boisterous manner:

Mom: BOYS! HELP YOUR MOTHER! All those times that I helped you, and you dare not help me? I deserve it since I have been through the incessant pain associated with your birth. Pay me back.

Younger Boy: Yes mom. Let me grab a…

He is suddenly halted.

Boy: No! Every time we help you, we get nothing in return. Why should we help you?

Mom: You dare not come to your mother’s aid?

She accumulates her withdrawn strength and grabs a metal bar.

Mom: You insolent little…

She strikes him in the face and ribs for three minutes without mistake. She laughs as the bleeding skin of her son drips on the black carpet.

Mom: There lies your brother, young son. Be sure that you do not await a similar fate. I am the queen of this castle. Do you understand?

Younger son: Yes mom!

Mom: Now help your mother clean this floor. We have a visitor coming tomorrow.

Part 3

The eldest son laid on the floor in pain. He squirmed for hours until the throbbing in his ribs and face subsided. The pale skin on his cheeks and neck were drenched in tears. His mind was confined in solitude as his screams became mute.

He laid on the carpet for six more hours until his mother hoisted him up. This was ironic since her eldest son was typically her wall to lean on. She had another reason behind her generosity—Death was stopping by to pay her family a visit.

The mother always appeared happy when the Reaper came. The boys wanted to go with her but were denied by their mother. For months and months they pleaded, but received the same answer—a “NO” followed by a bloody beating. The children were accustomed to bondage because they constantly asked her, knowing the answer that they were given. They were trained to their mother’s whip—transferring the blood and tears for laughter and pleasure—constantly picking at the black and blue bruises on their arms and legs.

Death arrived the next day wearing a seductive dress suit. She entered the room with a somber aurora that diffused into the room. Her menacing look intimidated everyone in the house as she prepared for her series of inspections. First, she analyzed the furniture—seeing if it was clean and well kempt. Second, she interviewed every individual starting from the youngest to the highest. Both boys seemed dull and rehearsed as if they were being watched by someone. Death loved it; she was almost certain that this family would be spared. She did her final interview with the mother.

The interview was a huge success. Death was ignorant to the issues within the family and decided to let them live. She exited out the front door and never looked back. Meanwhile, a huge thump clamored inside of the house.


By James Fisher

James Fisher is Associate Editor at Abernathy. He is also a student at the University of Pennsylvania and a human rights + social justice advocate who uses his day-to-day interactions to influence his work.