by Kimberly Raiser

A story of the relationship between a mother and daughter, their desire to make the world a better place, and a wonderful secret family recipe.

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So many times I have come to that place in my life where I question all that is and all that will be. So many times I have looked into the mirror and asked the age old question, “Who am I? What am I?” I stare and stare until the moment arrives that I am no longer familiar to myself, as if I have stepped out of my own body and see a stranger, then I go downstairs and turn on the television.

Today, as I wandered down the stairway, I found myself, as I do so often, enchanted by the pictures of my daughter that adorn the wall. One of them is from when she was five years old. It was Halloween. She had dressed like a little spit of a witch. "Spit Witch" I called her. Black stockings with little orange bats, velvet granny boots with satin black laces, and a hat with a brim as wide as her smile were donned, special for the occasion.

My eyes naturally progressed to the next picture on the wall, like elements of a fluid piece of art. Second grade, when she begged so very much to be a ballerina. She smiled for the picture with her little black leotard and white stockings and cute little soft dance shoes. She would smile for anyone who was willing to snap her picture, and then some. She never became a ballerina.

The next place my eyes rested was a picture so calm and serene that I always seem to measure my mood by the way it creeps into my psyche. A beautiful rocky beach on the coast of Ireland where we took a trip once. She was twelve. She had bent down to pick up a shell as I snapped the photo when a swift breeze caught her hair and the strands swam past her lips as she smiled. It was a moment that I often return to. It was one of those moments that a person could actually smell.

Such a moment as that was approaching.

Three more steps and I was at the bottom of the staircase. The sounds of pleading were faint and muffled, but it was enough to bring a wide smile to my face. I turned the corner at the bottom of the stairs and opened the door to the cellar.

A faint stench of fear was hanging in the air. It was like cotton candy at the carnival. I could almost taste it as my glands sprayed onto my tongue, watering with anticipation.

“It took me a while to really get to him. He’s a stubborn ass, but he's good and afraid now.” Ashley was wiping the sweat from her brow. “It’s your turn now. I’ve gotten him to plead with me, finally.”

I walked around behind Teddy Ruxpin. That’s what we called him, Teddy Ruxpin, like a big fat hairy bear that plays with little children. He was a bastard, and a molester, and he liked to make small children scream in terror.

“Teddy, you don’t look so good.” I had to cover my face; the stench was so ripe. “You need a bath.”

“Do you think it’s time? Can I bring out Mr. Toes?” Ashley was beaming from ear to ear. What an incredible little girl I had.

“I don’t know. Mr. Toes likes them fat and juicy. Have you used the new set of knives I bought you for Christmas?”

Ashley walked over to Teddy and lifted the hair that was hanging in front of his eyes.

“Wow, you did such a good job I could hardly notice.”

“It wasn’t easy. He wouldn’t sit still. He passed out as soon as I started cutting just above his ear.”

Ashley lifted the hairs from the front of Teddy’s scalp until the entire hairline was three inches above his skull. A few lines of blood began to trickle down and over his eyes. Teddy whimpered pathetically.

“Think he’s juicy enough?”

I walked over to the light switch panel on the wall behind me and flicked on one of the switches. The sounds of gears and pulleys began to bellow through the wall behind Teddy. His eyes widened in spite of the blood that was trickling into them.

“That’s better,” I said. “Get that blood pumping. It makes the meat so much more delicious." I leaned in to Teddy and quietly spoke, "Mr. Toes loves to chew the fat. It's his favorite part."

Teddy screamed through his gag.

The gears had halted and a breeze swept through the cellar from the opening that was now breathing into the dankness. A hissing could be heard, followed by the scraping of claws, or talons. Teddy could feel something coming. Terror coursed through his veins.

“Oh darling, don’t forget the salt.”

“How silly of me, Mother. Mr. Toes does have a palate for salt, doesn’t he?”

Ashley walked over to a small marble table and picked up a can of sea salt and generously sprinkled it all over Teddy. “This will do just fine.” She sprinkled a bit on her palm and licked it in front of him.

“Okay, time to let Mr. Toes have at it. Dinner is at six. Think you can be ready?”

“I think so, Mother. Will Father be joining us?”

“Absolutely. I told him I was preparing his favorite dish tonight.”

“Oh yeah, roasted pig with a light red wine sauce.”

We laughed and laughed all the way up the staircase.

I stopped and looked at my beautiful daughter. “You really have come a long way, darling.”

“I know, Mom. Now you don’t have to deal with all of those nasty little stragglers when you remove the scalp. Aren’t you proud of me?”

* * *

“Sweetheart, what smells so delightful?” Bob had just come home from work and was walking toward his wife in the kitchen preparing dinner.

“It’s your favorite, honey.”

“Roast pork? With red wine sauce?”

“Yup. Ashley helped me with it this time. She’s learning some terrific tricks with meat, sweetheart. You will be so impressed.”

Ashley came into the kitchen and gave her father a hug and kissed him on the cheek. “I’m starving. Is it almost ready?”

“Just a minute and I’ll have it on the table.” I was a bit starved myself. All that time in preparation really makes for a ferocious appetite.

“So, your mother tells me you helped with dinner.”

“I did, Dad. You are going to love it!”

“Here you go, sweetie. I put a special helping of sauce in a separate bowl for you, but you shouldn’t need it.”

Bob cut through his meat with great anticipation, almost as much as I had just watching his mouth water at the thought of that nice juicy pig going into his mouth.

Bob cut the first piece and reached for the salt.

“Honey, I don’t think you’re going to need that.”


“Try it first, then see if it still needs salt.”


Bob placed the first piece of moist dripping meat into his mouth. It was fantastic. He rolled it around his tongue over and over and made the most enticing sounds. His eyes even closed for a moment.

“Oh my god. This is the best you have ever made.” He kept shoveling the meat into his mouth with reckless abandonment. “This is so good. Did you tenderize this?”

“Sure did, Dad. I discovered a new tenderizer.”

“Really? What’s it called?”

“Mr. Toes.”

“Oh, is that like Mrs. Dash?”

“Not even on the same planet, Dad.”




Copyright © 2009 Kimberly Raiser

A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R:

Kimberly Raiser has been a longtime contributor to the Silverthought community and considers it one of her finest accomplishments. Currently a collection of her works is published in one volume titled Stranded. It may be purchased through Amazon and its affiliates. Kimberly is currently working on a thriller novel expected to be released in 2009.

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