Writing Prompt: There is an actual, literal, live elephant in the room and no one is willing to take about it.
“What’s for dinner?” Pique popped the question so suddenly that it made her younger brother, Oz, jump right on out of his high chair.
Pique slapped her cheeks in feigned horror, watching as Oz curled his face into a disgusted, saddened lump of mashed potato. He started to cry, and Mother had had just about enough.
“Right, that’s it. Back to the living room,” Mother was sharpening a knife, small sparks flitting freely with each fierce stroke of the metal, “I’ve had it up to here with your mischief of late.”
“But Mother,” Pique bit down on her lip, clutching the pleats of her tartan skirt, “you know we don’t like it in there.”
“What are you on about?” Mother snapped, “It’s a perfectly good living room. Your siblings seem to like it fine, and your father’s never complained.”
“Father’s dead.” Pique snarled, “And he’s been dead for that past twelve days. He’s starting to smell, you know.”
“Don’t be so absurd.” Mother waved the knife loosely at Pique, “Father isn’t dead, I’d have noticed.”
“There’s a lot you don’t notice.” Pique dove down to pick up her brother, narrowly avoiding the grace of Mother’s knife which went sailing through the air.
“Less of that lip!” Mother howled, “I won’t have it, not in my house.”
The living room was a rather dull affair. There was a television, a small, boxy thing twice as thick as it was wide, sat atop a trolley on wheels that squeaked as they turned. The television itself displayed only a static on account of the children’s father having the remote, and not one of them dared pry it from his cold, dead hands.
A parrot hung upside down on its perch, nervously eyeing the corner of the room. The lamp shade cast strange shadows on the wall, made from cut outs of frogs and ballerina dolls dancing with one another. On the wall itself was the most garish, patterned wallpaper you’d ever seen; a dense jungle decorated in the likeness of an eighteenth century palace.
The carpet was a horrible beige colour, coated in stains that the vacuum couldn’t quite handle (the vacuum itself was currently idling in the room’s closest, its hose snaked out into the hall). There were candle sticks above the crumbling fire place, cobwebs coating every corner (only in these cobwebs the flies ate the spiders) and a dog curled up before the couch.
On the couch there sat three children. Rookie and Wren were twins, pale haired, dark skinned little girls with bright yellow eyes. They watched the static screen in sheer fascination, caring only to murmur hello when in came Pique and Oz. Then there was Young, who, despite what the name might suggest, was the oldest of Mother’s children. Young sat on their dead father’s lap, restlessly toying with a pocket full of marbles that had recently become infested with beetles.
But of course none of this compared to the most bizarre of all oddities in this room, which happened to be lurking in the same corner that the parrot was eyeing so nervously. And that was…
“What are we watching?” Pique asked in hopes of stirring conversation.
Her father looked entirely uninterested in all things related to the mortal realm, including what was currently on the television.
“The fuzz.” Rookie grinned, tilting her head.
“The fuzz.” Wren agreed.
Pique sighed. She set her baby brother Oz down next to their dog and sat herself beside father and Young, “Might we,” she asked, “be able to change the channel?”
Rookie and Wren both turned in unison to glower at Pique, a glower that lasted but a second before they quite quickly returned to their fascination of the fuzz.
“What about you, Young, what do you think?”
Young mumbled some profanity, and threw a marble at Pique’s face, hitting her square between the eyes.
“Play nice in there!” Mother screeched as the marble rolled carelessly into the kitchen.
“How about you, boy?” Pique smiled at the dog who growled unsympathetically in return, on account that the family had neglected to name him and so he was simply known as dog.
“Right then, if you lot won’t talk to me,” Pique started to turn toward the corner which the parrot was nervously eyeing, “then perhaps…”
Pique jumped with surprise at the sudden twitch of her father’s dead head.
“I might be dead, but I’m not too dead to punish a prude for sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong!” their father started bouncing Young gently on his now undead knee, “Say, Champ, why don’t you keep Pique entertained?”
Young mumbled yet more profanity, fumbling with the marbles in his pocket, unintentionally crushing a beetle.
“That’s the spirit!” their father grinned, his jaw cracked and came half loose. Then he fell back into a slumber.
“Don’t worry,” Pique sighed, “I can entertain myself.” she rose from the couch to leave for her bedroom.
“Don’t you dare leave that the living room.” Mother cried, in a sickeningly sweet tone of voice, “Dinner’s nearly served.”
At that same moment Oz had started crawling over to the corner which the parrot was nervously eyeing. Rookie and Wren started crying from out the sides of their eyes, rocking back and forth in unsettling unity, silently praying that Oz would leave the poor corner alone.
Young threw a marble, and then three, at his younger brother Oz, but missed with each and every one (too small a target) and instead hit the knee… no, the corner, which the parrot nervously eyeing.
The parrot squawked.
Rookie and Wren buried their heads in their hands.
The dog ran and Pique ran after it.
“That’s enough!” Mother called in a guttural screech…
And the elephant started to laugh.
Copyright © K R Perry 2019