January 25, 2019

FAIRY TALE FLASH - What Happened by Roppotucha Greenberg

Our ancestors didn't quarrel much,
but their child was a monster...
Our ancestors, transparent, caring, wracked with old pains, were at our wedding. They came to bless us, had a sniff of the champagne, slow-danced, fell in love and moved in together. I didn’t mind sharing with them at first. They kept a dog and a few chickens. You could hear the faint clucking on summer mornings. They didn’t quarrel much. She let a few mugs fall, and he made the air tingle a few times, that’s all, but their child was a monster.
It was not its fault. His parents had suffered too much injustice when they were alive. My husband’s ancestor was an illegitimate son of a rich landlord. There’s a song about it, the one with winter, and a small cold child, and the mother crying at the closed gate. My ancestor was worn out by war; in her village war came every year; people spoke about it like a season. To avoid conscription, you could try to change your name or chop off your finger, but it didn’t always work. She never complained. Their child, the monster, inherited their black anger. It rattled the walls, pulled out the plants from the flower beds and blew up and down the chimney. Late at night it whispered into my husband’s ear, and it made him mad. When he shouted at me for not doing the dishes on time or for burning the roast, I felt frightened. Our home became a dark and chaotic place.
I didn’t realize what was happening soon enough. The ancient spirits were too fond of their child to help me. Besides, it really wasn’t its fault. The old house is long gone, so the monster is outside; you can tell by the way the branches shake. We have split up, so I wonder: is there any point in looking to placate it and address the old wrongs? I have so little time now, because the monster ate up a lot of my years, but maybe I should make an effort: look for recipes in old folios and secret websites, leave out a saucer of milk perhaps? Or some toffee to ease the pain, even for a short while, just to stop shouting, take a look around, and begin to half-dream of other things.
Roppotucha Greenberg writes micro-fiction and flash fiction.
Follow her on Twitter @Roppotucha
and check her out on Amazon HERE

Cover: Amanda Bergloff

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