The Family – Grammar Ghoul Press

By Rennett Stowe from USA [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

***Warning: Mature Content***

The Family

Eadwyn cradled her week-old infant in her arms. She wrapped herself around the child, trying to hide both into the moldy fabric of the crumbling couch. The abandoned cabin was a terrible place to bring a baby, but she had little choice. It kept her hidden from Pastor Greaves and his inbred cousins. The remote location had seemed safe.

Then THEY appeared.

She could hear them climbing across the walls and atop the roof, looking for a way in. Their wood and stone feet clattered across the corrugated tin patchwork that plugged holes in the wood. Their claws scraped across the windows as they peered in. They pushed and pulled at everything, testing the feeble structure. Eadwyn knew they would break in soon, and then her flight from horrors would be over.

She’d learned long ago not to fight back. It only made the bruises larger, the gashes deeper. The Pastor had taught her that. Avoiding the inevitable lash simply meant more lashing, and more blood. As the wood of the door began to creak and give, she squeezed her eyes tight, praying the creatures killed quickly.

The door burst apart in a shower of splinters. The thump of their feet echoed on the rotting floorboards. She murmured quietly, begging for the pain to be brief. The thumps drew closer. She braced herself, covering her baby, hoping her body would distract them from the tiny life. She shivered, waiting for the end.

And she waited.

Did they leave? Slowly she turned her head and peered through slitted eyes.

It was there, a creature of found things. Its limbs were bundles of sticks tied together with dried cordage. Living vines served as muscles. Its skin was a patchwork of living leaves, moss, bark, and feathers. Eyes formed by chips of turquoise gazed from a head assembled from pebbles and roots. Two eagle feathers, aligned like a moth’s antennae, fluttered at the top of its head. She gazed at the centauroid. Its four legs shifted rhythmically while a humanoid torso grew from its front. “Makahili,” it said. “Why did you abandon us?”

The word itself triggered Eadwyn’s memories to burst forth. Her parents died when she was eight. Pastor Greaves and wife took her in, but they were no family to her. She becameΒ  a servant for the stern-faced couple. She lived on table scraps and slept on a rotting mattress in the cellar. Desperately lonely, she created little toy creatures, a new Family, out of moss and twigs. She gave them names and history and culture. She created a language for them. As the years passed, the creatures became more real in her mind.

In the silence of the evenings, she heard the skittering steps of her ersatz Family awakening.

At age twelve, the Pastor’s interest in Eadwyn changed horribly. She fought him at first, but that only aroused his passion. She bled for days the first time. Weeks later, his cackling, bible-thumping wife joined him. Each time they finished with her, they forced her to pray to wipe clean her sin of seduction. She fought back often, but the Pastor’s lash was unerring, the broken bones crippling. It became easier to disconnect herself, disappear from everything. This defense saved her mind, but shattered her bond with her Family of moss and wood. At thirteen she believed she’d given away the fantasies of youth for the nightmares of reality. The skitters of The Family disappeared.

Years passed like the death of leaves. “That wicked girl,” endured constant punishment. For her nightly sins of temptation, a day never passed without purple and yellow bruises roiling like plague across her skin. At age 15, she gave birth to a son. She heard the whisperings from the floorboards above as her child suckled. Her boy was sin incarnate and must be dealt with, they said. Eadwyn had learned to survive much, caring nothing for herself. Her son was another matter.

The creature reached out a hand of stick and vine, offering to lift her up. “We missed you when we first came here, Makahili. You give us color again.”

Her sleeping soul awakened, and she remembered the warmth of The Family.Β Her infant child grinned at the bright, crystal eyes of the creature. Eadwyn took the hand and stood up. The former child’s toy towered above her. “I don’t remember what Makahali means,” she admitted in a cracked voice.

“It means, ‘mother,'” it said and embraced her. “You’re safe now. Welcome home.”
Each week at the Grammar Ghoul, it’s time to meet a writing challenge. This week, the word to be used is, “Wicked.” The media prompt is a song. “Spectrum” by Florence and the Machine. The song includes the lyric, “When we first came here, We were cold and we were clear. With no colors in our skin.” Look here for more stories based upon the prompts:


About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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17 Responses to The Family – Grammar Ghoul Press

  1. britpref says:

    Wow, this was amazingly beautiful! I love the ending that emerged out of her suffering. πŸ™‚


  2. Danny James says:

    Now that was a good read!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. tnkerr says:

    Boom! Nicely done sir!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lyn says:

    I felt so many emotions through this…extreme anger at the evil forced on her by the so-called “pastor” and his wife. Pity for her in the basement with her imaginary family, then satisfaction and joy when her bundles of stick and moss from so long ago came to life and rescued her.
    I agree wholeheartedly with what Danny said, “Now that was a good read!”


    • EagleAye says:

      It is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. My wife had mixed emotions too. She had to gather herself for a moment before she explained her feelings.

      The Pastor and his wife were the true monsters in this story. So for the record, Eadwyn’s “Family” made sure the Pastor won’t ever hurt anyone again. I ran out of words before I could add in that part.

      Glad you enjoyed it, Lyn. Thanks so much for your thoughts! πŸ™‚


  5. Shannon says:

    Weird and awful and wonderful. I love the concept of her created family, come to life and pulling her back to love and safety. Now if only they can deal with her evil adoptive family before finding their happily ever after…

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      I had many emotions too as I wrote this. I’m glad to know that translated into the story as completely as I hoped.

      As I told Lyn, the evil adopted parents won’t hurt anyone else. Eadwyn’s “Family” are very accomplished hunters, and they’ve made sure Eadwyn is entirely safe. Later they’ll take her to four shallow graves for the Pastor and wife, and the inbred cousins.

      Glad you enjoyed this one, and thanks for the read and comments! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow – very much going on here in so few words. The story feels “dense” to me – which is a good thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Suzanne says:

    Wow. There’s so much in this. I loved her created family, especially because they found her and took care of that evil couple. And I hated reading about what was done to her, but I guess that’s good because it means you made it real.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      I did want to stick with the horror theme for the month. What was done to her was certainly horrifying in my book. I’m glad her “made” family was likeable in the end. The begin as another horror, but I hoped they would be acceptable as salvation. Thanks so much for stopping in, Suzanne! πŸ™‚


  8. DonettaS says:

    I enjoyed reading this. It’s filled with sadness, anger, cruelness, and then a peacefulness. I loved the ending, the word meaning ‘mother’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      That’s great to hear you enjoyed it. There are a lot of emotions there, but I wanted to save the best one for last. Glad the ending worked for you. Thanks much for the visit! πŸ™‚


  9. Pingback: Grammar Ghoul Press » GG Challenge #5 Winners and Challenge #6 Prompts

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