Family Tradition. Flash Fiction.

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a good night last night!


Stacy glanced up from her phone and rolled her eyes, Andrea, her mother was still butchering the corpse. “Can’t we do this later? I’m tired and I’ve stuff to do.”
Andrea paused, she pulled the knife from the body and gently rested it on the table, “do you think I enjoy doing this? That this is something I want to do? No. This is a chore, like cleaning the bathroom, no one wants to do it but it has to be done. You know the rules, maybe I’ve been too easy on you. I’ve been letting you sit back and relax while I do all the work. So, your choices are to either pick up a knife and get to work, or you can just keep me company, because if I don’t do it now, you’re going to be doing it alone later.”
Stacy shrugged, “I’ll keep you company I guess. I just don’t like interrupting you when you’re working. I’m afraid you might cut yourself or something.”
Her mother smiled at her, her teeth were bright white and slightly too large for her mouth, “don’t worry about me honey, I’ve been doing this since I was four, I’m not going to cut myself.”
Andrea went back to slicing, upstairs she heard the door slam, “your fathers home.” there was heavy thudding, “Oh and I think he brought some more meat. He’s probably going to want you to help him.” Stacy scrunched her face.
“I know you’re squeamish about it honey but you know what your father’s like. It isn’t that bad once you get used to it, you just need to practise some more.” the footsteps reached the door of the basement. Stacy stood from the stool and slipped her phone into her pocket, she grabbed an apron from a hook on a wall and quickly tied it around herself, then she grabbed the knife and moved beside her mother. The door opened and her father entered the basement, taking his time as he went down the stairs. By the time he descended and dropped it onto the ground his breathing was only slightly heavy. He stood up and let out a long breath, “Phew! He’s fatter than I thought he was. I almost broke my back trying to heft him up.” he walked over and kissed Andrea on the lips, then kissed Stacy on the forehead, “it’s always nice to see you helping your mother.” He didn’t remark on her spotless apron or her clean knife. Stacy sighed and turned, her knife cutting easily into flesh.

When they were done butchering they packed the meat up carefully, portioning out what would be eaten in the next few days and what would be frozen. Their large chest freezer was almost completely full, the sight of it sent a flood of relief through Stacy, a full freezer meant there wouldn’t be any more butchering for another couple of months. Unless her dad got the urge again of course. Stacy left the basement and headed straight for the shower, as usual, she always felt dirty afterwards and the only cure was a long, almost scalding hot shower. She stripped out of her clothes and carefully bundled them up before putting them into the special laundry basket. She tested the water with her hand and seeing it was hot enough she stepped into the spray. It wasn’t exactly pleasant work, but there were worse things out there, besides she was eighteen in another few months and her parents promised she didn’t have to continue helping if she didn’t want to, though she knew she most likely would. They had also promised that if she continued to help they’d take care of college for her, and give her a generous monthly allowance, the offer was just too good to pass up. She was the youngest of the family and the most squeamish, ever since she’d been a girl no matter what her parents had tried. It wasn’t like that for Bobby or Carol, they had no problems mucking in with the butchering whenever it was required but Stacy always felt dirty and slightly sick afterwards.

Stacy stepped from the shower and wrapped herself in a warm, fluffy towel, “Dinner is in ten sweetheart! I made spaghetti!”
“OK Mom, I’ll be down in a few!”
Stacy’s stomach rumbled, she loved spaghetti, her mother always ground the meat fresh.

About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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