DescriptionEleven year old Vanessa comes home one day to find her parents are back from a trip. Something seems strange as they are acting rather odd and have brought home a new and especially sweet meat.
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Vanessa felt herself dose halfway between consciousness and unconsciousness as she rode in the back of the bus from her junior high school. It had been a long day and she couldn't wait to arrive home and hang out with her best friend who had stayed home, sick. Vanessa is an only child living with her parents whose marriage is falling apart. They left on a short vacation together two weeks ago. They will be returning home on this day. Vanessa's aunt has been tending to the place during her parent's vacation. After what seemed like hours, the bus finally rounded the corner onto her street where it abruptly stopped in front of her house. Vanessa got up and left the bus, feeling the heat of the sun immediately hit her face on this hot summer day. She quickly walked up the stone path to her house. As she climbed the stairs onto the porch, the door to her house opened. There stood her mother, smiling and welcoming her in with arms stretched out to hug. “You guys are home early. Didn't you say it would be after dark?” Vanessa asked walking over to embrace her mother. “We decided to come home a little early. How have you been?” Her mother asked as they entered the house and shut the door. “Okay. Is aunt Jeanine still here?” She asked her mother. Her mother seemed to hesitate a little before answering. “No, she went home as soon as we got here.” Her mother said before swiftly turning away and walking into the kitchen. “Hey Nessi!” Her father suddenly appeared in the foyer. He smiled and looked much happier than usual. “Hi, Dad. You seem happy.” She said as she started to remove her backpack. “Vacations will do that to ya!” He said with much more enthusiasm than the phrase required. This struck Vanessa as odd but found it some what amusing as she couldn't help but grin. “We brought home a surprise from overseas. We're gonna have it with spaghetti tonight. Hope you're hungry!” He said and walked briskly into the kitchen. Vanessa walked into the hallway next to the door that led into the basement. Heading straight for the phone in the living room. “Get your homework done before anything else!” Came her mothers voice from the kitchen just as she reached for the phone. “Okay.” She yelled back and then sighed and turned around. She completed her homework in her room after a couple of hours and then headed back into the living room only to find her dad sitting on the couch watching TV. As she entered he turned to her with a smile and said, “Hey dinner is just about ready. I haven't seen you in a couple of weeks. What did you do while we were away?” “Nothing. Just went to school and hung out with friends and aunt Jeanine.” She said which followed a conversation with her father about what she did while they were gone until she decided to turn the conversation and asked, “What did you guys do?” To which she noticed for a brief second that his smile faltered slightly and quickly returned. “Oh, we went to a bunch of places and did lots of sightseeing and did mom and dad stuff.” He then looked at the floor for a second before her mother called from the kitchen, “Dinner is ready!” Her dad stood up quickly with excitement as he waved Vanessa forward saying, “Let's go, let's go. I'm starving!” They quickly walked into the kitchen where spaghetti was on the table. Vanessa sat down as her mother gave her a large helping. The food hit the plate with a splat as Vanessa looked up to see her mother with a huge smile. Her father sat down on the other side of the table and he was also served a large helping of it. “Are you guys okay?” Vanessa asked as she picked up her fork and started to prod the noodles in front of her. “Of course, Sweetie. Just happy to be home and we're hungry is all.” Her mother said as she sat down to her own plate eagerly picking up her fork and going straight for a meatball. Vanessa watched both of her parents hungrily eat and talk about how tasty the spaghetti was. After a few minutes, Vanessa had only eaten the noodles around the meatballs as she didn't like meat as much. “Eat your meatballs, Nessi. They really are great.” Her dad said as he was piling a second helping onto his plate. Vanessa looked down at her plate, which now contained 3 meatballs and a bit of noodles. She cut one of the meatballs with her fork, finding the ground meat to be a little tougher than hamburger. She stabbed the piece and put it into her mouth. Immediately, she noticed a sort of sweetness. It reminded her of pork but she couldn't be certain. She did find it somewhat enjoyable as she swallowed bite after bite, noticing the aftertaste was especially sweet. “It's pretty good. What is it?” Vanessa asked as she finished her meal. “Boar meat from Peru. We tried some while we were there and knew instantly we had to bring some back.” her father said. “It is pretty good. I'm going to go call Vikki. She was sick today. Gonna see if she wants to come over.” Vanessa said as she got up. “Okay, Sweetie. There's plenty here if she's hungry.” Her mother said as she returned to her plate. Both parents consuming the spaghetti with delight as Vanessa walked out of the kitchen and towards the living room phone for the third attempt to call her friend. Vanessa sat on the couch and picked up the receiver. She quickly dialed Vikki's number and held the phone to her ear, listening for the familiar sound of the ring. On the third ring, Vikki's mother answered. “Hi Vanessa. Do you want to talk to Victoria?” “Yes, please.” Vanessa said, then heard the sounds of movement and walking until Vikki's voice came over the phone. “Hey, Ven. What's going on?” Nikki's voice was raspy and low. “I wanted to see if you want to come over since we just started Summer break.” “I can't tonight. Feeling really awful. I'll come over tomorrow.” “Okay. Well, feel better.” “Will do.” Nikki said with a scratchy voice and hung up. Vanessa set the phone down and after a few minutes of boredom, decided to go to bed. On her way to her room she passed by the kitchen and noticed her parents were still seated at the table. They continued to eat and still didn't notice her as she said, “Good night.” And went to her room. Vanessa shut her light off and laid down. She fell asleep shortly after. Vanessa woke in a panic as a loud crash filled her room. Her father came running in - the door now knocked off its hinges. “Get up!” He yelled with a frantic look in his eyes. “Hurry up and get to the basement!” Vanessa didn't know what to say so she immediately did as her father commanded. Vanessa jumped from out of her bed as quickly as her groggy state would allow. Adrenaline pumped and dazed, Vanessa found herself operating almost entirely on autopilot as she saw the clock on her nightstand read 3:12am. From there she found her world to be chaotic with her parents yelling and the sounds of what she suspected were explosions and gunfire coming from outside the house. Now fear drove her to keep up with her parents as they quickly made their way to the basement. As Vanessa and her parents entered the basement and down the stairs, her father quickly closed the door and locked it. Then quickly and quietly ushered the family down stairs. Vanessa’s mother pulled her over to an old couch and sat down. Her mother asked, “What is happening?” to which her father gave a gesture that indicated he didn't know and then put his finger over his lips to tell her to be quiet. From above, the sounds of muffled explosions came through and sent vibrations through the floor. Vanessa sat by her mother, in her arms and terrified. They waited in silence for hours as the hell above raged on. Her father stood and fidgeted by the stairs, always looking up at the door at the top of the stairs. Finally, the sounds began to die down. Gradually over sometime, a silence fell over the basement. The power had gone out sometime during everything and they found a flashlight and a small battery operated lantern which now barely kept the darkness at bay. Days passed. Vanessa's father had stocked plenty of water back in 1999 when the Y2K scare was everywhere. The false alarm however, never made her father motivated enough to take back the water and instead left it in the basement. Food was not something he had stocked so well. As such, they ran nearly dry within just a couple of days. They had not heard any more noises since the noises had stopped days before, but they dared not tempt what could still be happening. Ideas like World War 3, North Korean invasions, Terrorists, police shootouts, and even the ridiculous idea of a fireworks party gone wrong, was carried on whispers while the family waited. “I have to see what's going on up there and find help.” Vanessa's father said abruptly breaking the silence in the barely lit basement. Then walked to a chest in the corner and took out his hunting rifle and skinning knife, as well as a backpack loaded with water. “When will you be back?” asked Vanessa's mother. “Soon, I won't go far. Just going to see if I can find food and maybe help.” He replied as he walked to his family and gave them both a hug and kiss. “I love you both.” He said as he walked up the stairs to the door. Vanessa felt worried the moment her father's hand touched the door knob. Her and her mother watched in uneasy silence, clutching each other as he opened the door and gave one last look back before closing the door. They waited in the basement under a single bulb of light. No windows lined any of the walls, creating dark areas in every corner. The concrete was cold and cobwebs could be found in any direction one looked. They sat on the couch under the blankets they found and waited for her father to return. About seven hours later, they heard footsteps from upstairs and also a scratching and dragging sound accompanying the steps. Vanessa's mother quickly stood up, eyes fixed on the basement door at the top of the stairs. Her hand behind her giving a “stay” gesture to Vanessa. The footsteps reached the door and Vanessa felt a wave of anxiety as she stared intently at the door. The door knob began to turn and the door opened. Her father stood in the doorway with a huge grin on his face. He quickly entered, dragging a large sack behind him and shutting the door. He dragged the sack down the stairs making a squishing and wet sound as it hit every step. “Found food!” he said as he caught his breath when getting to the bottom. “Daddy!” “My Love!” were said simultaneously by both Vanessa and her mother as they ran up to hug him. “I couldn't find help. From what I could see, much of the city has been abandoned and I could hear explosions on the horizon all around us. Fortunately, I came across an elk who seemed to of been scared into the city by whatever war is being waged around us. I managed to hit it and skinned it on the spot.” He said as he gestured towards the sack. “So we have food for a little bit. We have power, but for how long, I don't know. I'm going to head back upstairs and grab the camping stuff from the garage so we can cook it.” Vanessa's mother nodded and begun dragging the sack to a corner while her father went up stairs. Vanessa hadn't realized it until now but she was very hungry. She was happy to have her father back and couldn't wait to eat with them. She wondered what was happening outside and if they would have to stay there much longer. She wondered about her friends as well and where they might be. She went back to the couch and covered back up as the basement was quite cool at this time of night. Her father returned a few minutes later carrying a camping stove, some propane, and a few other supplies. He went to the far corner of the room where her mother had dragged the sack and placed the stove down. He then got a chair to stand on and reach the roof where a vent was. He opened the vent and hit a switch that turned on a fan. Then he lit the stove and placed a pan on it. As he prepared to cook the meal, Vanessa wondered what venison might taste like as she had never had it before. People told her it was good but had an acquired taste. She knew that more than mostly likely, she would be acquiring that taste. The smell of the meat almost instantly began filling the air as she watched a large chunk of meat hit the pan. It smelled a little like pork, but with a hint of something... sweet. As eager as she was to eat she noticed her parents were huddled around it, staring with wide grins. They seemed almost trance-like, like on the verge of hysteria. She chalked it up to how long it's been since they had eaten and waiting as patiently as her own grumbling stomach would allow. When the meat was ready, her father cut it up into bits and then split them up amongst the family. The meat was as sweet as the meatballs from when they had spaghetti. After swallowing her first bite, she said “This tastes just like the meat from Peru! Is there venison in Peru?” To which both her parents looked at each other and then back to their daughter and smiled. “Yes, Honey. Now eat up.” Her mother said as she ate more of the interestingly sweet meat. Days passed. Her father had gone out every now and then and always brought back more venison. Vanessa found that she loved the taste after a while and craved it very much when she became hungry. Her father even raided the nearby stores and brought back seasonings, soda, more water, and bread with which they made sandwiches. They played board games, talked about memories and the parent's recent trip to Peru. Vanessa was taught how to cook, told how to kill and skin and even how to be very quite about it to avoid attracting other predators in the wild. While she missed her friends and her school and what not, she deeply enjoyed her time spent with her parents and loved them very much. A loud cracking sound startled Vanessa from her sleep. Dazed and confused but unnaturally alert, she immediately sat up to find the source of the noise. It had come from above them. Her parents quickly got to their feet. Her mother ran to an old desk in one of the dark corners of the basement while her father went straight for his hunting rifle. Her father commanded Vanessa to get behind a bookshelf in a far corner. Without hesitation she got up and ran to the bookshelf. She ducked behind and her father told her to not make a sound. Vanessa kept herself out of sight but could see around the bookshelf. Her mother went to her father's side. She now had a revolver in her hand. Vanessa didn't know about the firearm until now. Vanessa then heard footsteps from above, several voices called out as they seemed to fan out around the house. Her parents were fixed on the basement door, guns trained on it. They were wide eyed and shaking a little bit. Her mother looked toward Vanessa and mouthed the words, “I love you.” As soon as she finished the last word, the basement door caved in, splinters from where the door met the frame went flying into the basement. Vanessa watched as her parents opened fire on the doorway. The loud booms from the guns pierced Vanessa's ears and caused her to reactively cover them. Tears formed at the corners of her eyes and she watched gunfire being exchanged between her parents and the attackers. Her mother was first to be hit. Vanessa watched as her mother's chest seemed to explode, spraying blood and gore behind her, covering the couch Vanessa had come to enjoy sleeping on. Vanessa could do nothing but watch as her father screamed and fired back. Tears formed in his eyes as he pulled the trigger to hear a click and looked to Vanessa one last time. The last time she saw her father was with a look of longing and fear in his eyes only to watch half of his head explode in a cacophony of gore. The remaining half wore a blank expression as the one remaining eye stared lifelessly at Vanessa. Her father fell to the floor in a crumble of himself, limp and lifeless. Vanessa couldn't register what had just happened and didn't know what to do. She stayed there behind the bookshelf cast in shadow, not making a sound as her father had wanted. A few moments later, people began coming down the stairs slowly. Vanessa began to experience a sort of panic induced anxiety but she kept herself silent. She dared not peak around the bookshelf and hoped the attackers would go away. She heard what sounded like radios and one of the men spoke, “Suspects down, no sign of the child.” Vanessa heard a thud like a boot hitting something and then another man said, “Fucking bitch.” then the sound of handcuffs clicking into place and the men began walking around the basement. She could hear one of them coming closer to her position and she shut her eyes, expecting the worst. The footsteps grew closer and closer until she could hear the man breathing. Then through her closed eyes she knew a flashlight was on her. “I found the child.” The man said as she began to shake uncontrollably, still making no sound. “It's okay, sweetie. We're here now.” Vanessa was carried upstairs where she finally dared to open her eyes. She was carried out of the house and into the morning sun. Her eyes adjusted to the brightness and she saw people everywhere. It was police that had her now. Police vehicles lined the area and many neighbors gathered around the area, watching. News reporters were held at bay by a barrier of police. Vanessa was brought to an ambulance where they laid her down on a stretcher in the ambulance. She didn't know what was going on. She had expected to see abandonment all around and fires on the horizon but instead, everything around her was as it had been before the night it all started. Later that day, many people had tried to get her to speak, but she stayed silent. They brought her to a psychologist to ask her questions but even they couldn't get her to speak. A few days later, while she was being silent in her room, a couple of nurses, who didn't know she was in the room they stood by, were talking about what had happened. “They killed so many children. How could they do that?” One said. “I heard the father would play old World War movies on his computer to make the kid think it was war outside and was taking the children to a fake birthday party of the girl's. He would then knock them out with chloroform and would cut them up in the garage. They were eating them like steak.” the other nurse said. “They were feeding it to her.” “That is so disgusting. Is that why she won't speak?” The first one asked as they began to walk away. Before the other nurse could answer, they had walked out of range to be heard by Vanessa. Vanessa sat on her bed, wide-eyed and hugged herself. She could only think about her parents and the fact they had been feeding her human flesh. She rolled onto her side and slowly drifted to sleep. A few weeks later, she was relocated with an aunt far away. She started school again and after a few months, began to have cravings. Cravings that needed to be satisfied...