A Short Story by Richard Bleil
“Still, it seems weird.”
“Judy and I were just talking; dad is…well, we’re at his funeral, and mom is…she’s just not…”
“It seems like she’d be more upset is all,” Judy cuts in.
Noelle looks at her mother. “It’s just shock,” she says. “The first stage of grief is denial.”
“Just because you’re older than us doesn’t make you smarter!”
“No, Janet, but my degree in psychology might count for something!”
“STOP it!” Judy interjects. “This isn’t the time or the place.”
“Are you going to mom’s supper?” Noelle asks generically, aimed at nobody in particular.
“We’re going,” Judy says. “It’s odd that she wants us kids to go, but not our spouses.”
“I guess she wants family time,” Janet says. “I’m not really surprised.
“Is Steve going?” Judy asks.
“I don’t know,” Noelle replies.
“Steven, will you go down into the storage closet and get my crock pot please?”
“Next commercial break, mom.”
“Aside from not wanting our families here,” Janet says, “it’s just like our regular dinner. Do you suppose mom has dessert planned for us?”
“She always does,” Judy replies. Shouting into the kitchen, “Mom! What’s for dessert?”
“I’m doing the dishes,” comes the voice from the back room. “We’ll have it when I’m done. Steven, still waiting on the crock pot.”
“I forgot, mom,” Steven yells back.
“It’s a nice day,” Noelle says. “Let’s go out on the deck.”
“Sounds like a good idea,” Janet replies, as the three daughters get up. “Steven, are you going to get that crock pot?”
“Probably not,” Steven replies, not budging from his position as he watches the game. “Dad never did.”
“Come on,” Judy says, “give mom a break.”
The sound of cleaning dishes continues to come from the kitchen as the three head out to the patio.
Thinking for a moment about what Judy said, Steven, with a great sigh, begrudgingly gets up and goes downstairs to the storage closet off the family room.
“Are you doing okay, mom?” Janet yells into the kitchen.
“Everything’s fine,” she yells back. “Dessert in a bit.”
Janet heads down the hallway towards the bathroom. Passing the couch, she thinks to herself that Steven must have finally gone downstairs to get the crock pot. It’s about time, she thinks to herself, as she’d been outside for about half an hour.
Heading into the bathroom, her thoughts are filled with her father. She looks around the kitchen, at the decorative soaps, the guest towels, and thinks about how her house had always been so clean, and proper. Finishing up, she stands and flushes the toilet.
At that moment, the plumbing lets loose and sprays water suddenly onto the floor. As she is standing in the puddle, a spark from the cut cord that Janet did not notice was plugged into the wall flies as it shorts out, electrocuting Janet, whose body falls to the floor as the lights go out.
In the kitchen, mom calmly goes into the pantry, and flips the circuit breaker back on.
“Mom, what’s for dessert?” Judy asks as she enters the kitchen.
“Just putting the finishing touches on it,” mom replies, taking a piece of the cream pie that she had just cut out of the pan. She places it on a dessert plate, and hands it to Judy with a fork. “What do you think?”
Judy takes a bite. “Mom, this tastes a little bit odd. What is…”
She can’t finish her question, as she begins to choke.
“Oh, damn, It’s the first time I’ve cooked with rat poison. I guess I used too much,” mom answers as Judy’s last breathes are spent coughing up blood, as she collapses onto the kitchen floor.
“Where is everyone?” Noelle asks herself as she walks into the house. She looks over at the couch and sees that Steven has finally gone to get the crock pot. Heading down the hallway, she sees the bathroom door is closed. It strikes her as odd, thinking that Janet has been in there for a long time. Gently, she knocks on the door.
“Janet, are you in there?” She listens at the door, but there is no answer. She knocks again. “Is anybody in there?”
She slowly opens the door. Almost as soon as she notices the water on the floor, she sees Janet’s body. “Janet!” she screams, and rushes to her. Checking her neck for a pulse, the body is already cold. She looks over and sees the cord that had over heated and blown out of the wall.
Standing up, she runs to her mother. “MOM!” she shouts running into the kitchen. “JANET’S DEAD!”
She stops cold, looking at the floor, seeing Judy’s body, blood dripping from her mouth, eyes open with a horrific expression on her face.
“I know,” mom says, casually picking up the large knife. “So is Judy.”
Noelle looks frantically at her mother as she begins walking towards her. She turns to run, heading down the stairs into the family room, hoping to escape through the garage. Mom casually follows.
At the garage door, she sees there has been a padlock installed. Hearing her mother come down the stairs, she runs into the family room, panicked, since she doesn’t want to meet her mom on the stairs. She sees the open door, and Steven’s body on the ground. She gasps, and pauses. She takes out her phone, and quickly dials 911, and quickly turns to try to flee, but it’s too late as the blade enters her abdomen. She cannot speak, as she hears her mom say, “Chloroform. I left an open bottle in the storage closet. By now, he’s brain-dead, and if not, I’ll finish him once you’re done.”
Noelle looks into her mom’s eyes as she slumps to the floor.
“So, you killed all of your kids,” Detective Brass says. “And your husband?”
“He was the first,” she answers. “He had too much to drink. It was easy to hold his face into the pillow.”
“They didn’t help,” she answers. “Holiday meals, family get togethers, camping trips, they never helped clean, they never brought dishes, they just assumed I would do it all. They NEVER…helped…”