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TRUE TALES OF THE SIDE SHOW: In the Blood - Trickle of Consciousness
jkason
jkason
TRUE TALES OF THE SIDE SHOW: In the Blood
From a collection of letters in the estate of one Mariah Glantz, comes this compelling letter from her sister, Josephine Grosso

Dearest Mariah,

It is with a heavy heart that I must relate to you sad news as concerns the loss of my husband.

I have written before of the troubling effects his drinking has had on life here at the farm. Pray as I might for his salvation from the demon in the bottle, however, again and again he would fall. Eventually, a full three months passed without a single dry evening. He spent the dark hours indulging in spirits, only to sleep past the cock's crow and leave me alone to tend the pigs and chickens and cattle.

Mornings were a solitary, tiring time, as he slept off his night's debauchery while I toiled at the chores for two souls. Each afternoon, he would wake with apologies and promises that he would change, and as I had vowed to honor and obey him in health and sickness, I would allow that this time, perhaps, he might succeed in his endeavors to become the man he had once been. Or so I told myself.

I admit here to my own weakness, dear sister. After so long in this dark place, there came a dawn, as the chickens mobbed me in their always-ravenous frenzy for morning feed and my husband snored and drooled through the morning, when I reached my wit's end. I smashed his still, and mixed all the liquor that remained in the house into the chicken feed. The fowl never noticed the difference.

By the time he woke, there was no liquor, and for that day and into the dry evening, sister, I truly believed we had reached a turning point. My loving husband thanked me for my courage, and together we had a laugh at the stumbling of the cock and his hens. As the next morning would be Sunday, I pressed his good suit before I retired to bed, and of his own accord, my husband joined me there. His easy breathing lulled me into the most restful sleep I could remember in years.

So restful was my sleep that I awoke with the sun well and fully risen. I had, it seemed, entirely missed the cock's crow. As the space beside me in our bed was empty, I smiled to realize my husband must have chosen to tend the morning chores on his own. A penance on this Lord's day, surely, and a blessed sign. With a light step, I wafted through the front room, where I was mildly puzzled to discover my husband's Sunday best missing. Surely he would not have gone on to church without me? 

I wandered outside, looking for him, and found my gaze drawn to the chicken coop, where only a single hen wandered about. I worried that a fox or coyote might have made its way inside. Perhaps that was where my love had gone, to hunt the creature down.



Mariah's crude drawing of the nightmare her sister conveyed...



I tell you, sister, the truth was much more horrifying. As I stood, before I could call out, a man rushed from the coop. No, I cannot in conscience say that the monster which charged the solitary hen was a man at all. For what man would act as he did? I can barely relate the details, but only in knowing them can you fully understand my loss.

He snatched the hen in his bloody fingers, broke its neck with a fierce efficiency, and then, Lord help us, he tore open the poor creature's neck with his own sharp teeth. As the head fell to the ground, he slurped the chicken blood as if it were the most delicious nectar to be found on this earth. The blood of the fowl trickled down his chin, over his neck, stained his suit which was no doubt torn by the struggles of the other hens and the cock (whose demise I was now certain to be the reason there had been no crow to wake me).

This was not the only realization I had in that moment. For as the blood further stained his suit, I recognized first the suit, and then, with a horror I cannot relate, the man who wore it.

Yes, dearest sister, it was my own husband. Driven by his demons to find the spirit which had come to define his nights, he had fallen to this.  He drank bird blood for the merest taste of liquor, and became himself something apart from man. By that evening, when I finally unlocked my door to allow his pathetic apology, he did nothing of the sort. Rather, he admitted to a new and deeper pleasure to be gained by the fresh blood of fowl. There was now, he claimed, nothing he craved more.

That was the last I saw of him, sister, as he wandered into the night to seek liquor and chicken blood, a man lost to his vice by my own petulant choices and blind hopes. I may only now pray for both of our souls.

Where will The Geek's quest for booze and blood lead him? Find out now through May 5 at The Players Theatre!

Previous entries in the series:
The Fortune Teller
The Cannibal King

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