Macabre Family- Reagan Tao 9K

The wind whistled sharply, sending sand flying in every direction. His surroundings were barely discernable through the sand and dust blanketing the area. His eyes were gritty from lack of sleep, most of his clothes reduced to rags from his trek across the desolate wasteland. However his trench coat was sturdy enough to withstand the harsh climate so he continued, hoisting a sack which rattled with each step. The work had to be finished and apart from that, nothing else mattered. However, his mind did dwell on three figures despite his efforts to forget. His beautiful daughter and son were remembered with love and affection, but that woman filled him with a far different emotion. It was at that precise moment, with the rays of the blazing sun beating down and the sweltering hot air howling around him that an old memory gradually engulfed him like a thick fog, obscuring everything but the feeling of nostalgia that overwhelmed him, and these memories were tinged with the flavour of bitter hatred

The day off like any other, with him heading off to work after bidding the family a tense farewell. Life had always been peaceful for his family and they had been happy together. This was why he could not fathom how a single quarrel had turned into this. He had rarely lost his temper back then, but occasionally there were… incidents, which he would awake from without any memory of, as if shaking away a nightmare. But the fact was that this nightmare did not end.

Even now, he could recall little of the events of the night, but one thing was clear. When he had awoken from his stupor, fear was present in the looks of both his wife and children as they nursed a bloody wound on the side of her face. Despite all this, there was nothing which could have ever prepared him for the sight that awaited him at home. Work had continued late into the night and when it was finished, he returned home to find an empty house. His wife and children were gone and anything which would have shown they existed had vanished without a trace.

Anger tore through him like a hot blade, slowly plunging him into the depths of despair. His whole life had been unravelled by an event which he could not even remember! However, after he had gathered himself, he sold his house and all his possessions, ridding himself of the weight of the past. Work became more than just an outlet, it became his life. As a puppet-maker, he had always had passion for his work, but now every one of his creations was not a mere object, it was a person. The losses left scars in his heart which he did not mend. Instead they were used to put more humanity into his work. When the money he had gained from selling his possessions ran dry, he turned to friends to provide him with the funding necessary to continue his craft.

However, it was only when you were at your lowest point that people showed their true colours. They had turned him away with excuses about money, or family troubles. However, he had seen the looks in their eyes. It was the same look of fear that he had seen in the eyes of his wife before she left, taking away everything that held any meaning in his life with her. As for why, he could not imagine. Anger had merely been a response to his loss, and before the tragic incident there was nothing he had done to deserve such treatment. Showering her with gifts and affection now seemed foolish as she had taken them with her but left him behind without a thought. There was nothing which would stop him. They would soon come back to him and before that inevitable outcome; he would finish his masterpieces. As long as his creations were completed, friends, lovers and even family were but bumps on the road to perfection. After all, what he did now he did for his children and they would soon thank him for it.

Coming to an abrupt stop outside of his workshop he smirked. Fate had truly smiled upon him when gifting him with this workshop. The structure was flimsy, resembling an average shed while the inside was spartan and dank, but it had been cheap and it was robust enough to hold all his work so he was content. Frowning at the sudden headache that had taken a hold over him, the man withdrew a tube of medicine from his grubby pants and shook a handful of the pills into his hand, not even bothering to look at them before tossing them into his mouth. The doors to the workshop slowly creaked open.

The sack was dropped onto a work bench as he looked around marvelling at his own work. The faces of the puppets mirrored the faces of people in almost every way. Indeed, had he not crafted them himself he would not have been able to see the difference. In fact, they were almost better. They did not feel pain and they could never betray others like that woman had to him.

Whenever one was finished, elation would surge through him, but in truth, they could not yet be called perfect as they were but paltry imitations of his final goal. The masterpieces that stood in the back of his workshop were his crowning achievement. What were humans or puppets when separate? The two could only shine when put together into something that could truly be called mechanical perfection. Combining the beauty of humanity and the passion of puppetry could only be achieved by him: the one who had stood on the precipice between them and survived. This was why these magnificent dolls could not be matched by any of their predecessors.

The door of the cupboard slowly swung open without a sound, silent as a grave. Inside it stood the three wonders which had taken him so long to complete. A mother and her two children, more lifelike than anything he had ever imagined. They were held erect by wires that were threaded through their joints, but their skin was pale and their figures too thin for his liking. Oil leaked out of where the wires were threaded, which shone a dark crimson and their expressions did not reflect any of the bliss he had felt while forging them. Nevertheless, they would still change expressions when needed and their realism could not be doubted. He sighed heavily.  It could not be helped. They would have to be improved. The doors closed with an ominous boom which was accompanied by the barely heard sound of weeping. A satanic smile lit up the man’s features. After all, they were his family.

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