I knew I was in trouble when I saw the house. It looked like something straight out of a Hammer ﬁlm! It was dismal and forbidding, and worst of all it was terribly isolated with ugly, dense woods full of twisted trees that surrounded the place. I thought of the menacing landscape in the House of Usher. Christopher laughed.
“Home sweet, home, eh Barbara?” I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out, only pathetic stuttering. “Let’s meet Mommy and Daddy shall we? I told them about you, and they can’t wait to meet you!”
An innocuous statement so why did it feel like a threat? He led me out of the car as if I were a sleep walker. A person really can be too horriﬁed to react to their surroundings. Three sharp knocks and the door whined open.
Oh yeah, Hammer all the way. The mother had a face that could stop a clock and the father looked like an evil Gomez Addams. “Charming!” he said as he leered at me. He kissed my hand but just before he did, he smiled broadly and I thought I saw what looked like a double-pronged tongue, like snakes have. I shrank back in horror. The mother grinned. Why did her teeth look so terribly sharp?
“Come, do not be afraid.”
My knees buckled but Christopher held me up. He and the father half-dragged me inside. All I could do it seemed was watch my feet as they dragged along the blood, red carpet. “It’s bleak but we call it home.” Bleak wasn’t the word.
It was Dracula’s Castle and Ed Gein’s kitchen combined. What were all those artifacts I saw, strange-looking things that looked as though they were made out of body parts? “Chris does like his art.” His mother said pointing toward the curtain rods. “Those are human heads along there, see? They are small but so were the children…” I fainted then. When I woke I found myself in a bedroom.
It smelled of dust and rot, the sort of rot I could not identify. Before I could think of anything to do, I heard them in the hall. Suddenly the door opened and they all walked in. “It’s not like you think.” The mother beamed, licking her lips. “It’s alright Barbara, we won’t hurt you. You’ll come to like it here with us. We like you, you see.” Then turning toward Christopher, she added: “my son wants to marry you and well, if that’s what he wants, then I want it too.”
“No! No!” I screamed as I dashed toward the open door. Surprisingly, no one made a move to stop me. “You’re welcome to look around!” the father shouted after me. I just ran, hoping I would ﬁnd a way out, but the hall seemed to go on forever. There were doors on either side of the corridor, and they were open. I was afraid to look inside. I did ﬁnally. That’s when I screamed the loudest.
There were girls—hanging on meat hooks. They had been gutted. There were pools of blood beneath them but no sign of entrails or organs. “No!” I shouted. I turned to ﬂee but ran right into Christopher.
“Nothing is wasted. We eat them. Mother makes the best pies…” I screamed and didn’t stop. The father held up a syringe. “Just a sting and you’ll sleep. It’s really better that way.”
I was unconscious in the midst of a shriek! They spoke to me for days, each taking turns. I wouldn’t know until later that they were trained in brain washing. The father had trained them. You see he had worked for various intelligence agencies. “I’ve been employed all over the world. You name the country and I would venture to say I have advised them on terrorism and all sorts of problems they were having, most of which were internal.”
Mrs. White was beaming. “I’m so proud of you, darling,” she said.
Mr. White looked delighted. Then turning to me he said: “I can help to make you understand, come now. Let me really kiss you!”
I was right about his tongue; it was like that of a serpent. I sank into a kind of stupor I guess you could say, and then everything changed. Of course it was all due to our endless ‘little talks,’ the father and I. I soon found I enjoyed listening to the sound of his voice. By the end of the ﬁrst week I was having my meals with them.
“Your pies are delicious, Mrs. White. I do enjoy what I am eating here.” Yes, that’s right I sounded like a robot. I was a robot. I realize that now I didn’t realize it then. I was even letting Mr. White into my room at night. He really had the most remarkable way of kissing…! Christopher didn’t seem to mind either. He said it was important for me to appreciate his father in every way. “Love and truth, Barbara. They go together.”
It wasn’t long before I was sharing their insane life style. Mr. White still worked as a campaign manager for some politician. I don’t remember which one. I only know he was out a great deal of the time. “He is so good at his job. You wouldn’t believe how much he helps various people get elected, people who wouldn’t normally have attained ofﬁce!” Christopher interrupted her. “Mother, really. Now, you promised, no politics.” She had indeed promised but she was something of a political animal and always managed to bring the subject up again.
It’s been ten years since I’ve been with the Whites and it hasn’t been bad. Christopher never cheated on me. I’ve given him eight children, four boys and four girls. Each and every one of them is a White in every way—tongues and all. Yes, we did marry. A couple of highly placed politicians came to witness the ceremony. As a matter of fact, a very famous minister married us, too. No, I cannot tell you who they were, you’d recognize their names.
Sorry. I think the most important thing I can tell you is my trouble turned to happiness when I accepted my fate, for it called to mind that age old saying: here there be monsters—! I suppose you could say my own humble addition to that saying would be ‘and they might very likely become your family.’ By the way, in case you’re wondering, Chris is in every way like his father, just thought I’d add that.
© 2010 Carole Gill