One week after my mom died, I cried. Tears felt strange, otherworldly, warm and wet on my cheeks. It had been years since I had cried; too long ago for me to remember. The heart that I had kept locked away for so many years was suddenly free. Freefalling. Alone in the emptiness. It hurt. Yeah, it hurt. I wasn’t able to stop crying. Eventually I fell asleep, and when I woke up, the locks and chains were back in place, keeping tears far away and distancing every feeling but cold, hard anger.
I never was scared of dying. Compared to life, death looked like freedom. Hell couldn’t be worse than Deeproad, could it? Hell didn’t have life. Hell didn’t have possibilities, options, choices. Hell didn’t have hope to snuff out, or dreams to crush. Hell was safer.
Nobody else cried for my mom. The family actually celebrated, the night after her death. She was always the weakest, in their eyes. Her lack of commitment to their plan had always been a wedge between her and the rest of the Deeps, driven deeper every time they saw her mentality reflected in my actions. They kept her around because she was the only one that had ever been to Hell. She was the only one who had seen the King Himself. My mother was central to their plans, destined to show them the way there. No matter how many times they asked, how hard they pressed her for answers, she couldn’t remember the way.
When Uncle caught the demon, they killed her. Grandfather ran her through with his butcher’s knife and left her for the hounds to eat. The dogs started with her face and stomach, digging for the softest parts. It took a few days for them to get bored of her body, and they still hadn’t eaten everything. Just mostly everything. Her clothes were unrecognizable scraps, just like the bits of flesh still hanging onto her ribs. The pool of her blood dyed the concrete brown and scarlet, a flower on the floor, reaching weakly outward as if running from something. Small paw-prints faded away from the many places where the dogs had wandered from the corpse. Finally, seven days after her murder, one of the cousins complained about the smell and Uncle let them clean up the mess, but only after he traced the outline of the blood with his paints. As soon as the blood was washed away, he set to work, creating a replica of the scene out of reds and purples. Sprays of pink and slashes of black. He even copied the paw-prints.
When he finished, he called me over. I stepped into the room and felt something inside me break. The picture was brutal, hellish, grotesque beyond description. I stared at it for a whole minute before anyone spoke. I could feel myself choking up already, and a single tear trickled down the side of my face.
“Well?” he asked me, grinning.
I refused to speak. The blood and bones and flesh had been replaced with a drawing. My mother had been replaced with a drawing. Uncle gave up on me, moving across the room to appreciate his art from a different angle. Even in my peripheral vision, I could see his giddy satisfaction. His grunts of approval fit perfectly with the twisted painting. I could have done anything to him at that moment, if my body could have remembered how to move. My fingers could have dug into his stomach, like my grandfather’s knife; my teeth could have ripped at his throat like the hounds had ripped my mother apart. I wanted to.
That's when I cried. Not when my mother was killed, not when I was forced to watch her be picked apart by Uncle's brutal animals--not in any of the six days without her. No, that painting was what broke me. After all the years of torment, hunger, and abuse, a drawing--
I felt strangely distant from myself as I left the room, listless. Deaf to the taunting cries of my cousins, I passed through the house, body on autopilot as my mind tried to hold on to the slivers of reality that still made sense.
I was fire, frozen fire. I was filled with an anger paralyzed by indecisiveness. Or maybe by caution. I couldn't decide. How could I know?
I found my room, and collapsed on the cold metal floor, too exhausted to move a single step more.
I've already told you about the rest of that night.
In the morning I left Deeproad before sunrise, heading straight for Heaven, the last place I would want to be on a normal day.
There was someone I needed to visit.
Author Notes: Please, brutally tell me if this is good or not