”Have you spoken to her?”
The two parent were wispering to each other so that their daughter wouldn’t hear.
Father glanced over at the daughter. No, she didn’t seem to have heard. She seemed busy trying to fish out her left eye from the bowl of cornflakes in front of her. The father leaned over, took the spoon from his daughters remaining hand and fished out the eye and gave it to her.
“Now, put that in place and don’t drop it again. If you loose it you won’t get a new one you know.”
The mother gave the father the evil eye, and in a state of more or less fear for what she would do to him if he didn’t inform their mutual daughter of the state of life and what’s beyond that, he cleared his throat.
“Hrmmm … HRMMMM…”
“Go on, you promised” the mother whispered.
“Hrmmm, Louise. There’s one thing I need to talk to you about. It is important. Now when you’re not a child anymore …”
The daughter looked up from her breakfast and sighed.
“Oh, dad, it’s not that thing about ‘birds and bees’ is it? Since we already have spoken about that in School. How life is created and so on”.
“No I promise. It’s not that. It’s not about how life starts. On the contrary to be honest.”
“OK?” She looked at him with something that could pass as interest. “What is it about then?”
“Well”, the father started. “Well, you know, I’ve told you before about Grandma? And how I said that she was away on a trip?”
And that I said that she wouldn’t come home from that trip?”
“Yes, I remember. It was your way to say that she was dead”.
The father looked at the mother who now had tears in her eyes.
“Do you really want me to tell her?” The father asked.
“We must, it’s not fair to her”.
The daughter now seemed to lost her interest in her father, rose from the breakfast table, picked up her backpack and walked towards the front door. She opened it, shouted a ‘Growlbrooud’, that was supposed to be ‘goodbye, I’m off to school’ if it hadn’t been for her jaw hanging loose from the rest of her scull, and went outside.
“Now see what you’ve done!”
“Me? What did I do?”
The mother stomped with her foot on the floor, gave up an “OOOOH!!” Then she stormed out of the front door aswell. Left in the kitchen, alone with cornflakes, milk and an half-eaten cinnamon bun left over from last Tuesday, he sat down on the floor and crossed his legs. Oh, if only I was young again, he thought to himself.
After a minute or three the mother returned, with a firm grip of their daughters hand. A few steps behind her came the rest of the daughter. She didn’t look too happy, not being able to go to school. And the phrase “lend someone a hand” seemed like a bad joke at the moment, with her mother parading in to the living-room with a firm grip of her left hand.
She used her right hand to lock her jaw to the scull, and said:
“Mom! Can I please have my hand back? I have an exam today and I need that to write with”.
“NO YOU CAN’T! NOW SIT DOWN YOUNG LADY! Your father has something important to tell you.”
The mother looked at the father, who once again cleared his throat.
“Yes well, my dear Louise…”
She stopped him there.
“Dad, if you are going to hold a speech I need to get my hand back first. Mom, please?”
The mother muttered something about ‘that’s what you get for bothering’, and without any pun intended handed the hand to her daughter.
The father, now that the daughter was almost in one piece, started all over.
“Well, Louise, you see, it is like this. Just as your grandmother wasn’t really on a vacation, neither are you. You are just as dead as she is to be honest.”
The daughter looked at him. She shook her head.
“Naah, I don’t believe you. How can I be dead? I’m here, ain’t I? Alive and kicking!” Just to show how alive she was, she made a kicking movement in the air. As a result her right leg below the knee flew away across the room.
“Oh, don’t mind that”, she said to her parents, “a loose leg isn’t really a big bother. Wait, I’ll just go and fetch it.”
And with the support of her one-and-a half legs she managed to get across the room and get the part that was loose. She tried to attach it, but with no success. It was a very loose leg indeed.
Louise abruptly woke up. Her sheets were all wet of sweat, and she felt as if something really bad had happened. Oh what a terrible dream! She looked at her hands. No, they were both there. She clutched them and opened them again. No they worked just fine. She folded her sheet and blanket to the side, and yes. Both her legs were there, totally intact. A quick check with her hands proved that her eyes seemed to be in the right place. And both worked just fine. She sniffed herself in her armpit. OK, a small odor of sweat perhaps, but no cadaverous smell at all. More of a rosegarden than a churchyard.
She got out of bed, went over to the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror. No, she was totally alive and looked fresh and healthy. She sighed from relief. This was the worst nightmare she had ever had. The mother of all nightmares.
She went out of the bathroom, and went downstairs to the kitchen. She looked around to see if she could see her parents. Phew, what a relief. They were still there, right where she had killed them. She took a bottle of mineral water from the fridge and went back to bed.
(Also published at Medium.com)