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The Journal of Nathaniel Stout

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I have little time to say certain things. Haha... He cut my tongue out. I have little time to WRITE many things. When I was born, they named me Nathan, Nathan Jeremiah Stout precisely. My father is my worst nightmare, my mother is (maybe was) a homemaker, my sister a model in her own world. She never really existed where the rest of the universe seemed to be though. Those few who lived near our large estate had suggested various diseases of the brain, but I knew she had chosen to be that way. I was there when she carved the deep lines over her flesh with Mother’s kitchen knife. I was there when she claimed to free herself from this life. In fact, I was to be her sacrificial lamb. The knife glinted as it inched without tremble or hesitation towards my jugular, but it wasn’t nearly as bright as the fervent light in her eyes. A single bead of blood slid down my pale neck, I never screamed once. My sister would have killed me had Mother not walked in. Since then, my sister, formerly Mary, has disappeared entirely in the conventional sense. She is physically present in the room, she talks and eats and sometimes sleeps, but I have yet to see her show any signs of connecting to Earth and her once family.

She changed us all, Mary did. Mother became quietly violent, more so than Father. Father... I wish he were just that, a father to me, not a sadistic monster. They would tear each other up. I’d see it late at night, when I would steal downstairs on the cool wood floors to get myself a glass of water, only to find dark blood splattered on the walls, my parents with their chests heaving and circling each other, their eyes sharper than any blade. The other’s blood would be slithering down their fingers, forearms and chins, while more red liquid slowly lugged itself out of deep scratches and teeth marks on their bodies. Father would stare straight through me. “Go to bed, Nate.” He would wipe his hands on his ripped pants, giving me a plastic smile, which only caused my mother’s blood to slip further down his face. Mother just snarled. In the days leading up to this one, she failed even to recognize herself in the mirror, shattering the glass with her perpetually balled fists and embedding slivers of reflective light into her flesh. Mary would strut by, flipping her hair, pause to stare at my mother’s yellow sun dress, smeared with blood and rage, and walk on, maybe performing a twirl for her own otherworldly audience. Mother was always silent about her insanity, like Mary, but Father screamed, he threw things, he dragged deep lines in the maple wood of the table with his fork at dinner. I began skipping meals. Amongst all the destruction that was ripping my family apart, I watched, feeding my fear with images of macabre violence, like I used to feed our dog table scraps. I woke up one morning to see Racer the Labrador hanging in the light breeze outside my window, his long tongue like a blue snake in his loose jaws.

Now, that dog is close in my mind as I flash through the scraggly bushes of our estate. My feet are cut to ribbons. Escaping my father’s madness is pulling me closer to death with every step I take to run from it. I remember only that all that had mattered was the pounding of ruthless, bloodstained dirt under my feet, the violent rasp of air through my lungs. This type of horror only happens at night? No, it was noon- thirty when he chased me into the ditch. I was running, running, eyes closed, as fast as I could. Then the sickening dark drop as I remembered the ditch. Grass tore at my hands. I felt the calloused ground looming in my future. I slid, out into the open, connected to nothing, and it felt like I was hovering, no, FLYING in that second-turned-ages before I met the Earth with a roaring crunch in my ears. I clutched ravenously at my leg, now filled with sudden, scorching agony, tearing a sinister gash in my hand.
Hot tears ran down my face, magnified in the hot air, with the warm blood flowing freely from the pulpy hole in my leg and the white hot glare from the sun behind my father at the top of the ravine. I held my breath as his face disappeared and I began do drag myself to the meager strip of shade at the edge of the small cliff, scraping and grinding my injuries into the dirt in order to avoid moving my leg. My breathing was labored and shallow, but I knew my imminent death could not be left at a simple accident. Someone had to know that my father had tried to kill me. My fingers trembled uncontrollably as they dragged over this paper, the back of our family photograph from years ago. Mother was smiling and holding Mary’s hand, my little sister beaming at the camera with a toddler’s patchwork grin. I was an infant, a mound of cloth in my father’s arms. Dark circles had formed under his eyes, due to his recent introduction to alcohol, but he still smiled. My lip trembled and I sobbed. So many things unsaid, so many things undone. How is it possible for people to change so much, for a whole lifestyle to be turned inside out? A few pebbles stoned my face and I looked up past the sun’s glimmer. Father is back. He has the family’s revolver in his hand. I am writing frantically. Wordlessly, he takes aim and fires. I die almost insta-





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