A Short Story – Initiation

We lived in the middle of nowhere.  But Dad still made us glamour each morning to prepare us for the real world.  I was the youngest, so I learned the glamour last.  We all looked the same naturally.  That’s why Dad taught us separately to glamour.  So we’d look different while glamoured.  I liked my glamour more than my natural self.  Dad understood.  My brothers didn’t.

But this lesson was different from glamour.

A family always had only three.  I was third.  Dad liked to say that having a girl third was good luck.

The front door of our house stood open.  Flecks of snow spun and spiraled in to melt peacefully on the carpet.  Dad stood there tall and lanky.  His glamour made him a look like a lumberjack, a man of the forest.  He smiled at me, and at my brothers.

“Ready?” he asked.

“Where’re we going?” my oldest brother said.

Dad smiled.  He flipped a can of soup in his hand and smiled bigger.  “Soup.”

“In the forest?” I asked.

“Of course.  Look at it out there.  It’s beautiful!”

Dad stepped out into the snowfall, revealing the pristine white covering to the three of us.

“Do we have to, Dad?” my other brother asked.

“Let’s go kids!”

My brothers grumbled, but I followed Dad quietly.

We lived in the middle of nowhere.  The forest maintained constant peace.  And when the snow would fall, muffling the already silent forest, it was like being in outer space, I would imagine.  Silence for us was serenity.

We didn’t talk as we trekked through the forest, churning up a single file line in the snow, leaving the rest untouched.  My brothers didn’t even grumble any more.  They knew the value in the silence.  It was like a drug to us.  I felt my body shimmering in the silence.  The less sound going into my ears, the more I flourished.

Eventually we lost track of time and distance.  And then Dad stopped.  We sat on logs around a fire that Dad built without trouble.  He cleared a circle in the snow and ignited a pile of sticks and logs with a spit, fading the glamour on his face for a moment.

We sat around peacefully, holding our hands to the fire for warmth.  Dad produced a pot that he sat on the fire.  He gestured for each of us to add a small handful of snow, which we did in turn, oldest to youngest.  When I dropped my snow in, Dad took out the Campbell’s soup.  Chicken Noodle.  He unglamoured his hand to cut the can open and pour it in the pot.

We sat in silence once more.

Only the fire crackling and the soup bubbling permeated the veil of snowy silence around us.  I took a deep breath to enjoy the cool calm.  I always thought this was the real reason for living in the middle of nowhere.  My brothers enjoyed TV and video games.  I enjoyed silence and books.  I caught Dad’s eyes as I came out of my internal contemplation.  He winked at me with his glamour smile.

We sat for minutes, enjoying the quiet.  When tendrils of soupy aroma started rising from the pot, Dad sat up straight.

“Ready, kids?”

We nodded as one.

Dad smiled.  He brought a pouch out from his pocket, small, brown, tied with a yellow string.  Dad opened the pouch, being sure to keep it away from his face.  He put a vertical finger to his lips.

“We must stay quiet now,” he whispered.  Then he dumped the pouch.  Dust puffed out into the soup.  Dad quickly went about stirring the soup to incorporate the powder.

“What is it?” my older brother asked in barely a whisper.

“Bones.  They’re attracted to the bones of their own.”

We all nodded in understanding before falling completely silent once more.  I watched the soupy aroma drift into the cold air and dissipate.  As the powder dissolved, the tendrils rose in different colors.  Soon I stared through blood-red steam, the powder now part of the soup itself.  I could see Dad in his natural form through the steam, the red color betraying his glamour.

Then the smell arrived.  I nearly keeled over at the stench.  My brothers moved to gag and run and complain, but Dad kept them in line.  Dad sat bravely on his log, breathing in that acrid odor.  He gestured for us to wait.  It would not take long, he assured us.

And it didn’t.  Soon they came.  A man and a woman.  Hiking through the woods.

“Aw yeah, that smells amazing!” the man cried.  All four of us had to hold back at the belligerently loud squawking of the human man.

“Wow, it does,” the woman agreed.  They came up to our fire, smiling at us as if we were just like them.

“Making soup?” the man asked.  “Smells great.  Is it your own recipe?”

“Sort of,” Dad said.  “Are you guys hungry?  Do you want some?”

“Oh, that would be awesome.”

“Thank you so much for offering,” the woman said.

The man sat on an empty log between my brothers.  The woman sat between me and Dad.

“Well, kids,” Dad said.  “We’re almost done.”

“Why didn’t you tell us this was our first hunt?” my older brother asked.

“I enjoy surprises.”

I smiled.  Dad smiled at me.  The woman was now terrified.  I looked over at my brothers.  They let the glamour fade to reveal their natural selves.  My other brother looked at me with completely white eyes.  A hiss escaped his long sharp toothy grin before he snapped around on the man and sunk his teeth into human flesh.

I looked at the now screaming woman.  Dad skewered her with his claws to hold her in place while I slipped off my own glamour.  I looked down at my long. clawed fingers for a moment before slowly pushing them through the woman’s stomach.  Blood poured over my hand.

I felt the hunger boiling up inside me like the soup boiling over on the fire.  The woman continued to scream.  Her partner was long dead, unable to utter any more sound.  I tore my fingers out of the woman’s belly, spraying the pristine snow with her insides, painting the forest human red.

And then I bit into her flesh.