Family

Lucas lifted the last of the large, black garbage bags from the back of the pickup truck and walked after Tomaz, the nude old man, as he made his way into an old wooden cabin. He had fallen right into the part of Jeb Waller, youngest son of Titus and Maria Waller. The simulation software, of course, smoothed out any minor incongruence in his performance, constantly bombarding the Wallers’ dreaming brains with soothing, suggestive messages.

It had been only a day or so since he began this assignment, but within the simulation, weeks had elapsed as he carried out atrocious killing sprees with the Waller family. Lucas never once had wondered what it would be like to be a human monster, but now he had donned the mantle of one, albeit in a virtual environment, and was not sure he would come out unscathed from the rollercoaster ride of psychotic emotions he had been subjected to in the name of the greater good.

He placed the garbage bag, its hideous contents well concealed, on the floor of the large, one-room cabin. It had never been meant for habitation, he could tell, by the fact that what furniture there was simply did not serve to make living in that space practical. The old man’s pale, naked form now rummaging through the bags the rest of the Waller clan had already brought in.

Lucas thought the simulator might be glitching, as two big rats, as large as small dogs, scurried across the cabin’s wooden floor and stopped next to the old man, who spoke to them out loud as if conversing with the rodents. The Wallers were nonplussed by this, he noted, and so he simply suppressed his initial surprise and fear. He had become quite adept at that in the past few simulated weeks, as the female members of the murderous clan were quite fond of playing sadistic games, both physical and mental, with their kin. Gillian, the eldest daughter, a full grown woman in her early twenties, was perhaps the most frightfully sadistic of the three girls. Her games usually involved manipulation, primarily of the her two younger sisters, still in their mid-teens, persuading them to perpetrate sexual atrocities upon themselves with strangers, after which they would kill the persons involved, but not before intricately torturing them. He still failed to understand if Maureen and Bella, the two younger sisters, were victims of their older sister or willing participants. They would initially require goading and persuading, but would display apparent mirth when engaging in the machiavellian tasks Gillian concocted.

The sisters would turn on the male offspring, as well. Both Jeb, whom Lucas was masquerading as, and Lyle, the eldest just after Gillian, were often the targets of the most cruel games. The costume he wore, Lucas found with great horror, was of a eunuch courtesy of little Bella’s penchant for amputation. Love, for the Waller family, carried the visitation of fleshly horrors, especially for family.

Offal stench wafted up from the opened garbage bags; innards and now-unrecognizable human parts spilled over after Tomaz had picked his choice morsels. He had placed the bloody pieces of flesh in a pouch and set it on a shelf atop a large stone fireplace at the back of the cabin.

Father Titus spilled the rest of the remains near the fireplace and set to hacking at them with a machete, throwing the smaller chunks into the fireplace. Lucas had witnessed with both awe and disgust the physical prowess of this imposing figure of a man in the murderous horrors he had helped to bring upon the human simulacra; the man was a modern day warrior and he was glad the man was deep in a coma.

Mother Maria busied herself with stoking a fire there, the flesh becoming a conflagration with surprising quickness.

Patience was beginning to wane for Lucas as he stood, waiting, just as the Waller siblings did. The silence was almost reverential, as the siblings looked rapt at what their parents and the old man were doing.

Soon, he thought, his assignment would be complete, the Wallers’ burial site’s location would be revealed and he would exit this nightmare. The whereabouts of their countless victims’ remains known so that the relatives thereof could have closure.

Something was off, however. The smoke was filling the cabin. Black and thick and smelling of burnt fat and blood. The siblings appeared to grow agitated and the old man, monstrous rats at his side, began to chant what Lucas could only think of as glossolalia.

Tremors could be felt shaking the cabin, their intensity slowly ascending. Lucas found that the smoke was making him feel dizzy but could not move. He looked around in a helpless panic and noticed that his siblings – Jeb’s – were looking straight at him. Father took a knife out of his back pocket as the siblings grabbed Lucas and forced him with very little effort to lie on the ground where they held him. Mother sang a soft yet haunting lullaby into his ear.

One by one, Father slit the throats of the siblings, each standing above Lucas’ supine body, bleeding into his mouth as Mother held it open. He felt himself choking on the blood. The knowledge that this was a simulation did not make the situation any less horrific.

Then only Mother, Father and Tomaz remained. Lucas could not move, his weakness had claimed his body for itself. Father kissed Mother tenderly and slit her throat. She bled out into Lucas’ mouth. Father then gave Tomaz the knife and embraced him before having his own throat slit in turn.

Having swallowed the blood of an entire family, Lucas lay there, feeling blood drip on the sides of his face. Tomaz leaned over him and spoke quietly.

“You belong to us now. You cannot hold us inside our bodies, inside this dream. We will be free, through you”.

Lucas could do little else but blink. He had no will power in him.

“Wake now and walk with us”.

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