“Demon Children” by Frederick K. Foote Jr.
Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.
This week, Frederick K. Foote Jr. comes home to nine-year-old twins.
“Honey, I’m home.” Home to sulky silence, the absence of pounding footsteps, and the discordant music of two contentious nine-year-olds. I move through the eerie, foreboding silence toward her. Her—the mother of our children, and my wife of choice on most days.
She’s sitting in the swivel chair with her back to me, rigid as a statue and sober as the judge she is. I stand over her and look at the silver threads among the rich chestnut of her hair. I lean down and kiss the top of her head. I breathe in the smell of her shampoo, the body wash, and her own essence. It is a heady mix.
I start to massage her stiff, hostile shoulders. She shrugs my hands off with an angry, “No!” I move around in front of her and sit cross-legged on the floor. She crosses her arms and glares at me.
“Honey, I don’t mean to impose on your, um, meditation, but when I left for work this morning we had two loud, active, and sometimes annoying fraternal twins. You know who I’m talking about? One light-skinned boy and one dark-skinned girl about this high.” I hold my hand about five feet off the floor.
“We? We? No, not we. You, you have two truly devious, delinquent, felonious offspring.”
“Mine? Are you sure? I was in the delivery room, and I swear there was a woman in there that looked and screamed just like you.”
“Counselor, even if it was me—and I’m not saying it was me.” She leans down and whispers, “They switched babies at the hospital. They gave you the bad seeds from some demons’ coupling.”
“Damn, I thought there was something funny when the doctor said their tails were fairly common and that they’d out grow their split tongues.”
“Hmm, we should have known when they started sticking pins in their dolls and wanted their rooms painted black.”
“Well, not to be pointing fingers, but you’re a superior court judge and, Your Honor, you let that one—no, those two—slip by you.”
“Indeed. Indeed. I blew that one big time, but I have them this time. They’re upstairs stripped of their electronics and barred from communication with each other and the outside world.”
“Good. I hope you also confiscated their book of spells, potions, and pitchforks.”
I lift her foot and slip off her shoe. I kiss her toes, hold my nose, and turn my head away in mock disgust. She takes a halfhearted slap at my head. I massage her foot. She sighs with contentment and has me turn around with my back to her chair. She massages my head as I massage her feet.
“What did they do this time?”
“Honey, work the instep. Mmm, that feels so good. We can talk of kids and kingdoms and other weighty matters later. Much later.”
I agree. I agree 100 percent.
FREDERICK K. FOOTE JR. was born in Sacramento, California, and educated in northern California and Vienna, Virginia. He started writing short stories and poetry in 2013. He has published numerous stories and poems and will have a collection of his short stories published this year by Blue Nile Press. You can find his work online at: spectermagazine.com, akashicbooks.com, pikerpress.com, everydayfiction.com, Short Fiction Break, Cooper Street Journal, The Fable Online, so glad is my heart, birdspiledloosely, Sirenzine, the Blue Falcon Review Vol. 2, CMC Review, Freedomfiction.com, Across the Margin, Literally Stories, and in the print copies of the 2014 and 2015 Sacramento City College literary journal Susurrus, in The Way the Light Slants by Silly Tree Anthologies, and in Puff Puff Prose, Poetry And A Play Vol. III.
Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:
—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission [email protected] paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: Aug 18, 2015
Featured: Music/Popular Culture/Art
- Primus, Over the Electric Grapevine: Insight into Primus and the World of Les Claypool
- Spoke: Images and Stories from the 1980s Washington, DC Punk Scene
- Silent Pictures
- Go Fish
- From a Basement in Seattle
- The Plot Against Hip Hop
- Rock Star Digit
- Demons in the Spring
- Hairstyles of the Damned
- Artificial Light
- What Is Punk?
- Drawing Autism