Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 53: To Honor All

The prompt this week was to choose a title from the list, and then write a story. The titles to choose from were:

1. Last Rites
2. Broken Dreams
3. To Honor All
4. The Invitation
5. Footprints

I chose #3. The genre was paranormal. Please enjoy.

To Honor All

Mr. Raymond was a good man. My mother had worked for him as his housekeeper and cook. My family and I lived in a small house in the poorest area of the village. Between my father’s sporadic income as a carpenter and my mother’s, we managed to keep our heads above water. When my father was killed while repairing a neighbor’s roof, my mother’s income alone could not keep our home from foreclosure. Mr. Raymond came to our rescue, and invited my mother, my sister, and I to take up residence in his house. A formal education was a luxury not afforded to me, and Mr. Raymond taught me how to read, and encouraged me to discover the stories contained between the covers of his vast book collection.

Shortly after Mr. Raymond died of old age, my mother was notified that his nephew and his nephew’s wife would be taking possession of the house, and they requested she and her children remain in their employ. Mr. Robert and Miss June began the abuse on the day they arrived. Miss June berated my mother and spoke to her in a crude and vulgar manner. Mr. Robert repeatedly struck, and defiled, my younger sister on a daily basis until her mind could no longer cope with the constant trauma. On the night before her tenth birthday, my sister used a carving knife from the kitchen to open both her wrists. Not to be inconvenienced by this act of what he saw as rude defiance, Mr. Robert dragged her lifeless body out to the woods behind the house.

My mother took to her bed shortly after with an unknown malady that rendered her weak and disoriented. I cared for her as best I could with the small amounts of food and water allotted to me. I was beaten, forced to care for the house, and prepare meals for Mr. Robert and Miss June. My mother was physically incapable of joining me in an escape, so I did my work, and prayed for her recovery. She died one evening following a violent seizure. I felt a sense of relief for her; at least her suffering was at an end.

Following Mr. Robert’s disposal of my mother’s body in the woods, I had no desire to flee to save myself. I knew in my heart that they both must die. I decided I would kill Miss June first. Once she was cold and in the ground, I would kill Mr. Robert. The pain and loss they both had inflected on me and my family was unforgiveable. One Friday night, Mr. Robert was asleep downstairs in the drawing room. Miss June called for me to come to her room. When I entered her private bedroom, she invited me to share her bed for the evening.

Mr. Robert’s missus told me she had envisioned my becoming her lover ever since the day they had arrived. I was a young man by then, almost 17 years old. I walked over and stood at her bedside, planning to place my hands around her throat and press them together as tightly as I could until she could no longer draw breath. As I raised my hands, she began to laugh, and I did not see the gun she had been holding in her right hand under the comforter. She pointed the gun at my chest and pulled the trigger. As I fell to the floor, my thoughts became a prayer that I may be permitted, in some manner, to avenge the cruelty that had been visited upon my family. My corpse was also placed in the woods to become a feast for the bears and coyotes.

I could feel myself rising above my earthly shell and went to search for the souls of my beloved family. I found the spirits of my mother and sisters hiding in a small cave deep in the forest. I reached out my hand, but they cowered in fear. I told them, somehow, I would bring peace to us all. I knew I would be unable to physically interact with the living, but wondered if I could be seen. I returned to the house and entered the kitchen where the newly hired cook was preparing luncheon. I placed myself in front of her, closed my eyes, and strained hard as if to push myself through a wall I could not see. She looked in my direction, dropped the dishes she was holding, and ran to the front room where Mr. Robert and Miss June were waiting to be called for their noon meal. She screamed that she saw something evil. She explained she did not see an entire ghost; but saw the light surrounding its form. She told them she could not stay because the house was haunted. She ran from the house, leaving her belongings behind. After the cook, I was able to frighten away the gardener and the stable boy. All the help were now gone, never to return.

And I smiled.

The time had come to bring those responsible for our misery and deaths to justice. One spring day, I followed Miss June to the stable. With no staff, it was left to her to saddle up the steed for her morning ride. I waited until she reached for the gear that was toward the back of the narrow stall, and used that moment to appear before her. She made a high-pitched whining sound and as I moved toward her to force her behind the horse, she put her hands on the creature’s hindquarters and tried to push it in my direction.

Mr. Raymond had instructed us children never to stand behind a horse, this skittish one in particular. He also made sure we understood never to grab and pull on a horse’s tail. Miss June did both as she tried to back away from me. The horse first kicked her face, then followed with blows to her head and chest. She ended up in a slouched sitting position in the corner of the stall, with blood pouring from her eyes, ears, and a gaping wound in the middle of her forehead. She was dead.

And I smiled.

After his spouse’s demise, tumblers of whiskey became Mr. Robert’s mealtime staples. One evening, he filled his glass to the brim and was on his way upstairs to spend the night in his dead wife’s bed, a habit he acquired since her funeral. My timing was perfect. Just as he placed one foot on the top step, I allowed myself to come into view directly in front of him. He gasped briefly, and stepped back. Mr. Robert slipped, lost his balance, and fell backwards down the flight of stairs. I knelt close to him and saw bruises around his face and on his hands. His left leg was bent back beneath him, and his neck appeared broken. His eyes were open, yet his gaze was an empty one. He was dead.

And I smiled.

The house and grounds were readied again; this time, for the last of Mr. Raymond’s descendants and his family. He was called Mr. David, and his wife was called Miss Marie, and they had a young son called Master Jonathan, who appeared to be approximately five years of age.

Mr. David found the journal that had been kept by Mr. Raymond, and continued by Mr. Robert. Mr. Raymond’s script related memories of good cheer, faith, and hope. Mr. Robert’s entries spoke only of degradation, murder, and desecration. I observed Mr. David and Miss Marie weep together for the atrocities that had been committed with the walls of their new home.

Mr. David arranged for three coffins to be built, and three headstones to be carved. There was one for my mother, one for my sister, and one for me. Since our remains had been scattered by animals, the coffins were empty; however, Miss Marie placed a cross into each one before they were sealed. Mr. David arranged for them to be buried side by side in the graveyard behind the church on the hill, and each headstone placed to mark our final resting place in that holy ground.

Mr. David was a good man. His wife, Miss Marie, was a loyal and devoted wife, and a loving and caring mother. Their young boy was a happy and secure child, and filled the house with joy and laughter. The house was thoroughly cleaned, and all the possessions of Mr. Robert and Miss June were discarded. The house was redecorated, and was now filled with bright colors and much love.

I shall let these good people live in peace, because I shall be able to rest in peace.

We shall all be able to rest in peace.


And I am smiling.


  1. I must admit you surprised me with a happy ending, but I do like this story. A carefully plotted revenge and finally a true 'rest in peace'.

    1. Thanks, Mike, I'm glad you liked it. Stories of revenge usually end badly for all concerned, as in life. But this time, I thought, a sort of justice had been served, and there had already been enough suffering all the way around. Let the good live, and rest, in peace.