Short Story Sunday: That Which Remains

Franklin Pierce was president of the United States when James was born. Pierce has been considered one of the worst presidents ever. Maybe there would be a new one to take the title from him.

A pale white scar, barely visible, ran the length of his face, from his left forehead down to where his jaw met his skull. It was one of the few reminders of his former self, the child who he’d been born to be.

When James was four years old his mother began to act strangely. She’d be found outside on the great lawn of their mansion in her nightgown, covered in blood, her honey blonde hair tangled and dirty. Her maids would clean her up, put her back to bed, and everyone would pretend that nothing had happened.

His mother grew cold to the touch as if she was dead. When she held James he’d laugh because she’d make the retched heat of the summer go away by making him cool too.

Then one day his father came to tell him that his mother had been taken away to a place where she couldn’t harm anyone. She was a threat to the family. She was insane.

He remembered when Father told him that his mother was dead. He thought about when the pretty new bride moved in. There would be a new family. There was also a new uncle.

Over the years Uncle Randolph delighted in tormenting the young James. Randolph would call James weak. He’d taunt James with the fact that his mother had been insane. He’d tell James that he would die a pauper while his five younger half siblings would get everything one day.

James was a cocky, self-confident child so he’d take none of Randolph’s bullying. Randolph would beat him but James never cried. He’d just smile and throw insults at Randolph. Father would be fed lies about the willful nature of his eldest child so little was ever done to stop the beatings.

When James turned fifteen he was to be sent away to a school far away. It was at the same time that his sister Naomi stopped speaking to anyone except James. Her mother wondered if she too had gone insane. Randolph said she was insane, and everyone knew he was never wrong.

The night before James was to leave the home he’d always known his mother showed up in his bedroom late at night. She wasn’t dead. In fact she was still as beautiful and alive as he’d remembered.

Mother looked at the ugly cut on his face and asked who had hurt him. James told him that it was his Uncle Randolph. Then James told his mother why it had happened. He’d been trying to keep Uncle Randolph from hurting his sister Naomi. At night Randolph would go to Naomi and hurt her again and again. Naomi’s mother would not listen. Their father would not listen. Naomi suffered in silence and stopped talking. She stopped fighting. She just wanted to stop everything.

Mother put her cold hand on his face and suddenly the pain went away, along with the fear.

James packed his bag, then he went down the hall and got Naomi, the second of his younger half siblings.

“She is my sister. She is the one Randolph hurt. I will not leave without her.”

Mother looked at the girl and hugged her. “You are my son’s sister. That now makes you my daughter. No man will ever hurt you again.”

In the morning Randolph was found in a pool of blood, castrated and speaking of demons. The New Bride (as James called his step-mother) was screaming that James and Naomi were missing.

James looked in the mirror at the faint scar on the side of his face. He turned at the sound of a car door, then his front door bell. Then he heard her voice, “James, we’re here.” Then he heard them laughing. They were always laughing.

His sister Naomi and his friend Andy had arrived. James smiled. Life was good, even among the scarred and undead.


~ end


Note: This is just my 20 minute quick post about my brother Andy’s friend James and his backstory. Not exactly thrilling but hey, now you know.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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