A picture of the Mill

A young child, no more than eight years of age, born in the late 1800's was out one night working the graveyard shift to put food on the table for him and his family.

He was the man of the house now. After his father committed suicide, he has to step up as the breadwinner for his three sisters. His father was once the main supply of food, he worked at the old grain mill by Betteman's Creek.

He was a very normal child. He has long, dirty locks of matted hair, and never took off his pea coat. Where he lived, it was cold all year long and this was the only thing he had to keep him warm. But his sisters, they were not so normal.

The way they moved, the way their eyes, their jet-black eyes, scanned the area. The way they looked. Their clothes were all ripped and tattered. Their ribs poked from their skin like daggers.

Their skin, was hued purple from the cold and was matte and broken. A tangled nest for the local birds grew from their scalps. Their unholy eyes wandered and jumped around the room as if they were lost.

They were deathly ill. It seemed as though they were stricken almost immediately after their father's death. Medics were hard to come by, and the money needed to pay for one was even harder to come by. Their mother, once a sweet loving woman, was now evil and conniving. She went off with a man who showered her in luxuries and wealth. She hadn't mentioned her children at all to him, and she never would. She left them without a second thought.

She was a vixen, with a heart made of cold steel, who was as beautiful as a spring rose, but with the soul of Satan himself. When she was with their father, she was a goddess. A shining example of a woman and a wife. But after his suicide, something changed. The entire household now acted differently. It was as if a gray cloud blew over and loomed over their small city.

The suicide wasn't a usual case. After a few months of working the graveyard shift at the mill, their father began to change. He began drinking. A man who had been sober all his life was now picking up three bottles of wine a day. Soon three turned to four. Four to five. He began to become angry.

One morning, after coming home with a bottle of wine in hand, slurring his words, his eldest son began to lose it and weep. The winces of his child had set him off. He cocked back the bottle and cracked it over his son's head. An indistinguishable pool of blood and wine coagulated under his son as he left the house.

It only gets worse from there. As the life and support of his family, they needed to keep him around. The next morning, the family awoke to the sound of laughter, a sound not well-known to them. It was quiet. The house was blanketed with silence other than a faint chuckle coming from the corridor. A menacing laugh now, with faint hints of sadness and despair. The boy got out of bed and followed the eerie noise to find its source. It was his father.

Sitting in the corner with a twisted smile his face, was his father. Blood was everywhere. He was splashing in a pool of his own gore. His calves and stomach were shredded up with skin hanging off. His eyes, clawed out, were smashed on the floor in the middle of the pile. His throat was opened up with his trachea exposed. With his last breath, he reached into his throat and whispered, "It cannot be unseen..." and ripped out his insides.

The boy screamed, a spine-shivering scream. It crawled up the backs of all the people in the house. They all came to find the source of the shriek. His mother started to cry, but not out of sadness. It was out of the fear that she would not be able to care for her and her children. How could she raise them with no money?

So that's how this little boy got a job at the grain mill. On that night, he went to work. Nothing too strange, or out of the ordinary. Just the occasional rustling or howl, which was common considering that time of night. He worked late into the night, toiling away for a few cents an hour, and got in early the next morning.

His sisters were growing hungry and he wasn't sure how long he could keep them alive. He had tried to pick up more work just so he could feed them.

Finally after much hassling with the owner of the mill, he was offered a three-day shift of non-stop work, which promised twenty loaves of bread. "Do we have a deal?"

Twenty loaves of bread could feed all four of them for a week. He had to make the sacrifice, and he reluctantly agreed.

His father had done this a lot while he was alive. Picking up compound shifts was common practice for him. So he took the last of his money, bought a loaf of bread, and gave it to his sisters. He had hoped that it would satisfy them for the time being.

He left, kissed his sisters goodbye, and assured them he would have plenty of food when he returned.

The night was harsh, colder that usual. He worked hard through the night, and on the next morning. The second night was a little warmer. He'd liked to think God was smiling on him, but he was wrong. It was actually Satan, sneering at him.

The third night was the worst of them all. Icy snow had begun to fall harshly on the plain. He had to muddle through it. He had thought he heard a noise but he let the thought of it leave his mind. Until he felt something warm breathing down the back of his neck.

Paralyzed with fear, slowly he turned to reveal that nothing was there. But upon closer observation there were tracks. Indistinguishable from human and animal. They were large, bigger than any he had seen in the past. Deep impressions in the snow led him to believe that whatever this was had a tail.

But there were many. Long, sliding tracks with no trace of a monster in sight. Also, there were human footprints mixed in with the other tracks, that surely were not his. Shaken now, he tried to get back to work and ignore his fears. He thought of his sisters and how much they needed this sustenance.

He got back home with his bag of bread, excited to see the look on his sister's' faces. What he saw would scar him for life.

He walked in and went to find his sisters. What he found was two of his sisters, still very thin but with protruding bellies, as if they had just dined on a feast. As his eyes adjusted to the dark surroundings, things slowly started to appear to him. The room was soaked in blood. Bones were everywhere. And as he was finishing up looking around, he noticed his third sister's body, a hollow corpse with its chest ripped open and picked clean. There was nothing he could do. "We were hungry".

He fought back the tears, and gave each of his sisters their share of the bread. "Here, I've brought you food" he said, broken and monotonous.

Sadly, he had to go back to work, so he shoved off to what would be his last shift at the old grain mill.

It was warm tonight almost as warm as the back of his neck that night before. Lost in his work, he had not noticed the thing that was creeping its way up behind him. He heard a soft whisper. "What you will see tonight, will never be unseen".

Behind him was the ghost of his father. His body restored for all eternity. "I was long gone before you found me. It killed my soul" He ominated. As he faded, he whispered, "Get out..."

Dropping his tools, he had to make a sprint for home. As he ran, he tripped on the root of a tree. As he lay broken on the ground, a mass arose from the landscape. A large, tattered jet black trench coat. From its body protruded tentacles and inside where his face should be, swam a thousand souls , screaming for mercy in one collective, ear-shattering moan.

The hum of energy surrounded the figure as it grasped the body of the child and brought him close to its face. What he was looking at was a thick concentration of fear and pain. Too much for any mortal to withstand. It felt as if his soul left his body.

Drained and frightened, he was dropped back onto the ground. His legs were broken but he could feel no pain. He got up slowly, and walked home. Breaks and snaps emanated throughout the city as he wandered back home to his sisters.

Once he was home, he crawled into the corner where his father once lay. He felt a sensation of things, trying to break out of him. He clawed at himself, trying to release his inner monsters. He shredded himself to the point where his stomach and legs were annihilated, and the evil that was left after his soul departed could finally leave.

He had seen the evils that are to be locked away, never to be viewed. Too much for him, he began to remove his eyeballs. He also felt that he should never speak of what he saw that night, and the only way he felt could make sure that, would be to reach into his throat and remove his insides. He swiftly did so.

His sisters had found the dead body of their little brother. The little man who had only dreamed of feeding his sisters, could now do exactly that.