Chilly relations

TRIGGER warning – physical violence, verbal threats.

This is out of context unless the blog has been read in a chronological order.

Giselle:

I feel Guinevere and Bianca leaving me. They’re tired, can’t take anymore. Were they real? I always wonder that when the other two go. I’m the newest one. I was created in spring and it’s already early autumn. I’m a Silent – it means I can’t talk, or they’ll kill me. I don’t believe in the silence spell, but I do believe they’ll kill me. It is fear constricting my throat whenever I try to make sounds. Eric has a Silent, too. Is it him who’s here now? Eric’s not saying a word.

”Out! Out into the Sun, everyone! You heard Harry: it is Day!” Grandmother shepherds us out into the sunlight. She has a relieved look on her face: finally, Night is over. Eric tries to get up and I support him. His father and his siblings want to help as well, but Eric shakes them off. He doesn’t want anyone but me to touch him and he’s crying soundlessly again. Eric’s father hurries up to Uncle who is carrying the huge video camera. 

”I’ll take that”, he offers, hands reaching for the camera. Uncle quickly sidesteps.

”We’ll have to delete this!” Uncle hugs the camera close to him.

”Why?” Eric’s father asks innocently. ”Nothing happened.”

”Exactly!” Uncle exclaims. Then he adds, a little more fervent:

”Today never happened! Today never happened! Today never happened!” If you say the same thing three times in a row, it’s a spell. Uncle has worked himself up to hysteria, his voice cracking when he screams:

”It never happened! Today does not exist! I delete this day and everything! With the power of my Word, I erase today!” While screaming, he’s hopping around with the camera, shaking it up and down.

”It’s still today, daddy”, Marcus states. ”If it’s still today, and you erase it – what shall we do for the rest of the day?”

”ARRRGH!” Uncle roars, aiming to launch the camera at his son’s head.

”Careful with that!” Eric’s father cries out while simultaneously jumping to snatch the camera from Uncle.

”I demand you stop! Stop now! As your leader, I say stop NOW!” Harry is shouting, waving his walking stick in the air, but they don’t pay him any attention. Uncle is howling like a madman, ripping out length after length of tape from the video cassette. Eric’s father attempts to gather up the tape and when Uncle sees this, he attacks him.

”Gotta free mother”, Lucio reflects and he runs off to the barn. Eric, Camilla, Victoria and I sit down one a big stone by the road, silently watching the drama unfold. Eric’s mother walks out of the building, massaging her wrists. When she sees the fight she starts laughing a high pitched laugh she’s unable to stop.

”You gotta help Daddy, or Uncle will kill him too!” Lucio is pulling on his mother’s sleeve, trying to break through her laughter. Uncle starts banging Eric’s father’s head against the ground, shouting:

”Thought you’d put me in prison, did you? Thought you’d betray the Society? Well I’m not letting you!”

I’m not letting you kill another member of my family!” With that, Eric’s mother throws herself into the fight and she’s vicious.

”Help! What kind of a wife are you!” Uncle complains when his own wife ignores his plea for help.

”Girls don’t fight”, Uncle’s wife answers with a shivering voice.

”You killed our child! You killed him!” Eric’s mother shouts.

”You did it on purpose!” Eric’s father roars.

”Leave my brother alone! It was not his fault, it was just his job and it was an accident!” Auntie has been screaming for quite some time now, but since they don’t seem to hear her, she joins the mayhem. The adults are rolling around. On the ground, getting caught up in the tape of the cassette. Grandfather Harry has given up. He’s brought a beach lounger from his car and is pestering Grandmother for cold ale. 

”Aaah”, he sighs, reclining in the lounger as if it was a throne. He’s positioned it at a safe distance from the wild wrestling and is now calmly sipping on a beer. Marcus comes to stand at his left side. Harry leans over and says something, to which Marcus nods. A little later they’ve lifted the lounger closer to the fight and Harry starts entertaining himself with whacking the combatants with his walking stick whenever they roll too close to him. Marcus takes his cues from Harry and gathers a pile of rocks, which he starts throwing at the heap of struggling people. I see Philip limping out of the barn, supported by his mother. Philip’s eyes light up when he beholds the brawl, but his mother decisively steers him towards us on the stone and helps him sit down. 

”I hope they kill each other”, Philip comments once his mother’s out of earshot. ”If they do, it will be the best day of my life, instead of the worst.” He looks as if he’s about to throw himself into the chaos any moment. Eric gestures for Philip to stay seated with us. 

”I can see you’re hurting from the way you move”, Camilla notes. ”Philip please stay here!”

”My teeth itch!” Philip clamors. ”I can’t take this anymore!” He lunges forward and soon enough we hear the screams of people he’s bitten. 

”Gotta help our parents”, Lucio remarks. ”Back soon!” 

I have no wish to fight, for once. I just want to stay here in the sunlight, hugging Eric’s arm. They almost never let me out in the sun. It’s always Bianca or Guinevere, I’m only allowed to come out in dark places. The world is beautiful and now Eric is here, I want to stay in it.

Grandmother is the one who ends the fight, in the old-fashioned way: with a bucket of ice-cold water (but this time it takes more than one pail). The adults lie gasping on the ground. Harry takes advantage of the silence to proclaim:

”I demand you make peace, this very instant! Or we will never have Night again! No whores! No drugs! Nothing!” He is so upset he forgets to say ’little goodies’ instead of drugs. 

Uncle and his wife take their children and go home. I’m very worried about Philip who has to be carried to their car, but his mother swears he will come to no harm. I cry after them:

”Philip! Philip! They will make Philip dead now”, I sob. 

”No no.” Eric’s father has been standing by our side for a while, silently watching us children. ”No”, he continues, ”no one will kill Philip. But I don’t want to live anymore! I should have listened to Philip when he warned me. I let my son die! I don’t want to live anymore!!” He stands up and screams at nobody in particular: 

”I DO NOT WANT TO LIVE!” He casts a disdainful look at the adults who are left. ”I’M GONNA KILL MYSELF NOW!” Then he runs off, searching for a weapon:

”A GUN! A GUN! GIVE ME A GUN! I’M ENDING IT NOW I’M ENDING IT ALL!” Lucio and Victoria follows him, begging him to come to his senses. Some of the remaining adults wrestle Eric’s father to the grand and sedate him. 

Eric and I go to look for my mother. He is hesitant to enter the barn again. Mother is still sleeping on the floor, it seems she’s peed herself in her sleep. Auntie and Grandmother enter and start arguing about who shall drive my mother home. They decide to use Grandmother’s car, but Auntie will go with her to help cover the back seat in plastic bags and carry Mother. I signal I want them to take me and Eric too, but they won’t let Eric enter the car. The car has five seats and with Grandfather, Grandmother, Auntie and Mother there’s only one seat left. They push me towards the car entrance. I call on Guinevere.

Guinevere:

They’re trying to push me into a car and Eric is left behind! He is standing, sad and forlorn under the swaying crown of a birch tree. I dig my heels into the forest soil and scream. Grandmother and Auntie cover their ears.

”I’m not riding with this little monster”, Harry gestures at me with his stick. I duck under Auntie’s arms, reach Eric and hug him. Auntie sighs.

”Maybe she could go with them?”

Eric and I ride in the minivan with his family. Eric’s mother is driving, her husband snoring in the front seat next to her. I’m allowed to sit in the middle back seat – my favorite spot, because then you can see the road through the windscreen. I lean on Eric who sits next to me. But I do not look at the motorway at all. I watch Eric all the time. I have to make sure he’s breathing. I remember when I held him and he didn’t breathe. His body was there, but he wasn’t. He wasn’t sleeping either. This was different. I feel tears emerging. 

”You can’t stop breathing”, I tell him. I start sobbing unconsolably. ”NO STOPPING BREATHING! No stopping! No stop!!” And then I cry so much I’m not able to say anything coherent. Eric hugs me very patiently and I see he’s crying too, albeit silently. Eric’s mother is also having a breakdown, while attempting to steer the van straight at the same time. She’s eyeing her husband who slumbers on peacefully.

”He’s useless”, she cries. ”He’s useless! I have to do everything by myself! Everything! He’s useless! And now he wants to kill himself. They will kill everyone, they will take everyone away from me! There will be no one left, none but me and my father’s ghost!” 

Eric’s father wakes up when we’re almost home. We all watch him like hawks to see if we need to stop him from harming himself, but he acts normally if very subdued. Lucio says he’s hungry and Victoria looks like she’s about to faint.

”I’m not eating again in my life”, Camilla declares.

Some time later we’re seated at the table. 

”Don’t you say it. Don’t you dare say it!” Eric’s mother bursts out.  

”What?” Eric’s father asks. 

”What you always say”, she explains. ”Don’t say it. Never again.” 

”Oh”, Lucio asks, ”You mean ’We all…’” 

”Shut up!” His mother shouts, tears in her eyes. 

Eric’s father isn’t saying ”We all survived this time too!”, not for a long time. Later on, Eric’s parents tell me that Eric left his body and came back. That is what happened today: Eric left his body and then he came back. Just a small instance of leaving one’s body and then coming back. Words like murder, kill and torture are forbidden, or the Society might decide to end us all.

Giselle

In the late afternoon Eric’s mother drive me to my Grandparents house. Guinevere and Bianca are not allowed to go, they’re not Silent. Eric rides with us in the car and follows me inside. Mother is lying in a bed in her nightgown. She’s waking up, but I can’t speak with her. 

”Did we go swimming?” Mother asks. ”Were we all going swimming? I had a dream…”

”You had a nightmare”, Grandmother soothes. ”It’s the fever – it was quite high!”

”I was with Anna, we were going shopping”, Mother mumbles. ”Or we were gonna go shopping?” ”At least you had good dreams while you slept!” Grandmother says cheerily. Auntie is nowhere to be seen, it seems she left before Mother woke up. 

”It didn’t feel like a dream”, Mother counters.

”That must be because you were planning to go shopping with Anna”, Grandmother explains. ”Such a shame you got sick instead!”

Guinevere

I can’t stand this, I take over!

”Mom I was afraid I was so afraid Eric left his body! He left and he didn’t come back and I screamed and I wanted him to take me with him and then he came back!”

”It seems Bianca also had a nightmare!” Grandmother chuckles. ”She’s had a fever too but she’s better now. Anyway, it’s possible you have different viruses and you should wait with spending time together until tomorrow, so that you don’t make each other ill.”

”What happened with Eric?” Mother seems confused. ”Why is Bianca crying?”

Grandmother ushers Eric into the room.

”Look, here is Eric and all is well with him. Bianca has a very vivid imagination”. 

Eric waves at my mother with his hand.

”His throat is hurting”, Grandmother laments. ”It seems you all made each other ill! I’ll have to be careful so I don’t catch this cold”. As she passes me by, she pushes on my waist, hard.

Giselle

I’m back. I’ll have to be careful and not say anything or they’ll kill Eric. They told me so. I’m not allowed in the bedroom where Mother rests. Eric hugs me and cries when they separate us at the door. I cling to him. I want to scream, but as usual I can’t make a sound. Grandmother gives Mother some hot tea and I hear Mother asking confused questions. I have to sleep in another room and can only see Mother in the morning. She wakes up content to be rid of her fever.

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