Jason watched in fright as his parents prepared to leave for the evening. Tonight was another special showing at his mother’s gallery which meant that he would be left alone until the early morning hours; well, not entirely alone, and that was the problem. So, he watched nervously as his parents pulled their winter coats on over their elegant formal wear and prepared to leave. As usual, his father was in a surly mood in response to being dragged out on such as wicked night.
“I don’t understand why we always have to host these things,” he hissed, “After all, you took on a partner for a reason didn’t you?”
“I’ve already explained this to you a thousand times Harold,” his mother snarled in response. “Caroline isn’t good at the interpersonal side of the business. I brought her on strictly for her exquisite taste in art and for nothing more.”
“Exquisite taste in being useless is more like it,” his father snapped under his breath.
Jason was used to such exchanges and knew that it was best to remain quiet while his parents discussed things. Eventually, their attention would turn his way and that would be the time at which to strike.
“Hurry up, Harold,” his mother tersely prodded, circling her husband. “You’re dragging your feet and I can’t afford to be late to this opening. This is a very important night for both the gallery and a significant new artist, Jean Rene Roseau.”
“It’s more like I can’t afford this gallery in the first place,” his father countered, “nor the exquisite artist himself.”
To this his mother simply rolled her eyes and bit her tongue. She knew from experience that it was better to wait him out, until he’d had a few drinks and she was amongst her pack to push the attack for whatever it was she was after this time, for she was always after something. Jason had seen her probe her father for vulnerabilities in the past and show great patience in waiting for the proper time to spring upon her prey. And from this experience he recognized that his own time would soon arrive.
Donning their hats, their outer skins for the evening were complete. With this accomplished they turned to little Jason to provide false assurance that everything would be fine this evening.
“Now Jason, you’ll be fine this evening,” his mother began, bending to pat him on the head as if anticipating what was about to come from him. “You’re Uncle William will be coming to look after you for the evening and I’m sure the two of you will have fun together if you’re a good boy and simply obey him.”
At the sound of his uncle’s name, Jason nearly lost control of himself, his words lodging in his throat. But with an extra force of will he was finally able to force his plea from his lips in a mighty burst of words.
“But Mommy and Daddy, can’t I come with you this evening? I’d so much love to see the show and be with the two of you.” Jason begged.
Jason had planned his words carefully ever since he heard of his parent’s plans to leave him this evening. From his parents he had learned that words were weapons, and these words were hurled with the intent of striking his parents at their vulnerable points. By displaying an interest in the gallery and in being with them he had hoped to demonstrate his adult character and the degree to which he adored his mother and father. And by the look in his mother’s eyes, he could see that his ploy had almost worked, but that he had somehow fallen short on both counts.
“Don’t be silly, Jason,” his mother purred, a huge false smile spreading across her lips. “You’d be bored stiff and only get in people’s way. Besides, we’re late and must be going posthaste.”
“Please let me come,” Jason blurted, now becoming desperate, “or if you must leave me, let me stay home alone. I’m nearly old enough.”
“Don’t be silly,” his father responded in a trance like voice intended to sooth. “You’re nowhere near old enough. And besides, my brother William is already on his way and should be here any minute,” he continued, at which point he was interrupted by a tentative knock at the door. “And here he is now,” his father concluded, opening the door.
His uncle Willy slid through a small opening in the doorway and stood nervously in the foyer fondling his hat while exchanging pleasantries with Jason’s parents. Jason froze at the sight of him and his words once more became trapped in his throat. Then Willy cast his rheumy, yellowing eyes toward Jason, smiled and said “Hello Jason, good to see you looking so fit.”
This was all that was required to break Jason loose from its paralysis. As Uncle Willy shot a tongue out of his mouth to wet is dried, cracked lips, Jason launched himself at his father’s knees wrapping his arms around his legs to keep him from leaving.
“Why Jason, what’s gotten into you?” his father asked, attempting to uncoil his legs from his son’s grasp. “Your uncle has made a special effort to be here this evening and here you are acting the ninny. Now, why would you want to go and hurt his feelings this way?”
“Yes, Jason,” his uncle said, bending at the waist to hover over him. “Why would you want to hurt me, especially after that nice long talk we had the last time I was here?”
With these words Jason came to realize that he was only making his situation worse by resisting. He freed his grip from his father’s legs and remained on the floor, sitting back on his heels, leaning against the wall with his eyes cast down.
“Silly boy,” was his father’s only response as he wrapped a scarf around his neck and opened the door to a chilly snow filled night. “William, remember to call us if anything goes amiss,” his father said clapping his brother on the shoulder. “Especially with this one,” he concluded looking down at Jason and shaking his head in disappointment. He then slithered out the door into the night.
“Jason, you must cheer up,” his mother barked. “We’ll be back by morning and in the meantime you and your uncle will have such fun together, I’m sure of it.”
Before she could turn to leave, Jason looked up with tears streaming down his cheeks and mouthed the word “please”. But it did no good.
“Silly boy,” was his mother’s simple reply. “We’re late,” she snapped wrapping her fur more tightly around her neck, and then she bounded out the door and disappeared after her husband.
“Yes, silly boy,” Jason heard as the door closed, at which he quickly turned on his knees to find his uncle Willy frowning down at him. “Why must it be this way little Jason? Why, every time? We talk about it, but it just doesn’t seem to sink in,” his uncle reasoned. “Perhaps I must take more severe action this time to get my point across,” he continued causing Jason’s blood to run cold.
“Now, I should be very cross with you,” his uncle began anew, showing a smile in place of his frown. “But I’m not. Instead of fighting here in the foyer, why don’t we go into the living room and watch some television? Come on, just you and me, a couple of buddies, hey?” he concluded, sticking a hand out to Jason.
Slowly, Jason uncoiled himself from his cowering position against the wall and stood as tall as he could before his uncle. He then started to walk in the direction of the living room figuring that watching TV wasn’t the worse thing his uncle could choose to do together. His walk brought him near his uncle and he almost screamed when he felt his uncle’s hand fall upon his shoulder. However, remaining calm, he allowed Willy to guide him the rest of the way into the room to the couch facing the television.
“Have a seat young Jason,” his uncle said pushing him down on the couch. Jason fell back into the soft cushions, and then slid on his butt until his back was against the rear support of the couch. He then raised his feet onto the cushion on which he sat and wrapped his arms around his knees thus assuming a protective stance. It was an old family philosophy that he’d learned well from his parents; protect yourself first, then consider attack.
Of course, Uncle Willy plopped himself down on the couch beside him. Placing a hand on Jason’s knee he said “Now sport, what’s it to be?”
This opening statement made Jason nervous, but he felt himself calm when he saw his uncle lean over and reach for the TV remote sitting on the coffee table. Turning on the TV, his uncle restlessly shuffled through station after station, allowing each one to play barely long enough to recognize the programming before again switching channels. Finally, his channel surfing alit on an old monster movie which Jason vaguely remembered having seen when he was younger.
The movie his uncle had selected was called Frankenstein. It was about a scientist who created a terrible monster that went out of control. In the current scene, the monster was playing a flower game with a little girl. Jason didn’t remember any happy scenes from the last time he’d seen the movie, so he suspected that things were about to go very wrong between the little girl and the monster.
It was at this moment that Jason recognized that his uncle hadn’t removed his hand from his knee. What had drawn his attention to his uncle’s hand was the fact that the hand was beginning to move, kneading his knee. It then began to slide up his thy. Jason tried sliding further down the couch, away from his uncle, but soon encountered the corner of the couch and found he could move no further. The hand, as if possessing a mind of its own, had meanwhile become more insistent.
“Now, now Jason,” his uncle chided. “Just be a good little boy and watch the movie,” he said as his hand approached the top of Jason’s thigh.
Jason could stand the feel of his uncle’s hand no longer and kicked out with his legs to turn his body and face his tormentor. Looking his uncle in the eyes, he noticed that they had turned a bright and angry yellow. He then saw that his uncle’s face seemed to have extended into what resembled an animal snout. The snout then opened to set loose a lolling tongue and Jason saw long, sharp canines dripping with saliva inside the gaping maw.
Jason screamed as the beast pounced. From past experience, he knew what it was the monster wanted. He also knew that fighting was no use, nonetheless he fought his hardest to try to keep the beast off of him. The beast began by tearing at his clothes, always desiring first to disrobe its prey before devouring the flesh.
“Stay still you little bastard,” the beast roared. “Otherwise this will go very badly for you.”
Jason was now being smothered under the tremendous weight and ferocity of the attack. Feeling his will and ability to fight ebb, he eventually stopped struggling, preferring a fast death to a slow one. It was at this point in the struggle that he heard a scream from the foyer.
“Willy, what are you doing?” Jason’s mother howled.
At the sound of the unexpected voice, Willy sat up. Jason saw that he had once again assumed his human form. Turning, Willy simply stared at Jason’s mother, apparently not knowing how else to respond. Noticing that Jason’s mother was still looking at him in shock, Willy looked down to see that his hands still assumed the aspect of a beast’s and that he held Jason’s underwear in one of his claws.
* * *
Jason’s parents had been in their bedroom for almost an hour. Willy had been sent home, and several calls had been made to arrange for their absence at this evening’s gala. As this was all happening, Jason learned by listening in that his parents had raced home early to pick up the keys to the gallery which his mother had left behind in her haste to leave. After Willy was gone, they did little to console their son, opting instead to enter their bedroom, slam the door, and commence an argument which had grown steadily ever since in its fury.
Jason sat at the foot of the stairs leading to the bedroom portion of the house and listened to his parents argue. He sat holding his knees and rocking in an effort to comfort himself. He was dressed in his pajamas which he had put on after his mother had virtually dragged him to his bedroom to get dressed. While putting on his night clothes, he heard an angry exchange between his father and uncle at the front door concluding with threats of getting law enforcement involved. The parent’s bedroom door was slammed soon afterward and Jason wandered down the stairs to assure himself that Willy was indeed gone and that all was now well.
As the fight upstairs escalated, Jason began to feel every screamed and hollered word pierce his heart. He clearly heard his parents belittle each other’s families, move on to debating who contributed the most to their small family of three, and finally come to a discussion of breaking that family apart. When the furniture started to fly, Jason felt as if every piece was crashing against his own body. No longer able to endure the fighting, Jason rose to his feet and stomped up the stairs to his parent’s bedroom.
“Stop it!” Jason screamed, throwing open the French doors to their bedroom. But as his parents turned to face him, he saw too late that he had made a terrible mistake.
There, poised and ready to strike were two horrible monsters, hints of which Jason had only glimpsed in his parents in the past. One was a six foot tall snake that dripped venom from long fangs between which flicked a slick, red, forked tongue. Before the snake stood a vicious she bitch, standing on her hind legs and snarling, which caused saliva to fly from her exposed canines and milk to spurt from her multiple tits.
At the sight of Jason, the creatures pounced. Jason barely had time to let loose a scream before he disappeared amid their savagery.