Story inspired by the following prompt: One of the hardest things parents have to teach their children is that they can’t bring things back from the dead. And no time-out, punishment or serious talk about the matter will make your daughter stop.
“What’s wrong, daddy?” Asked Erin, peering at me beneath a layer of blond curls and babyfat that stubbornly clung to her six year old frame. She sat on the carpet, jiggling a set of keys in front of Laz, our cat. Laz watched the keys, but his eyes seemed glassed over, his figure diminished, and even his shadow seemed lighter that it ought to be, as if some light passed through him. He raised a paw to bat at the keys, but stopped halfway, losing either the willpower or interest to carry through with his actions. He looked confused. Battered. Completely unlike the energetic cat he had been six months ago, before it had started.
I stood in the doorway, my breath coming in short gasps, and my heart skipped a beat- something I was used to, due to a genetic condition I’d had since childhood. Yesterday, I had buried Laz in the backyard, during Erin’s nap. I thought this time, she wouldn’t find him.
“Erin,” I whispered, my eye twitching as it had ever since I’d discovered her power, “You have to stop this. Can’t you see you’re hurting him?”
“He’s ok, daddy. See?” She threw the keys, and Laz tried to chase them, but his bony back legs seemed to work at a different pace than the rest of his body, causing him to collapse. He shook, his eyes round and staring at me. Pleading.
Every time she brought him back, his condition worsened. As if each time, there was less of him.
“Erin, he’s not ok. How do you think he feels when you, when you- ” I paused, my thoughts struggled to come clear, my brain unwilling to function, which I attributed to shock, “When you pull him back?”
“Silly daddy, he never remembers. They never remember when I bring them back. It’s like waking up from a nap.”
“Just because they don’t remember, doesn’t make it right, Erin. It’s wrong.” On the ground, Laz struggled, pawing his way towards me, and I knew I had to put him out of his misery.
I took a step forward, but my knees buckled on their own accord, and I fell forward into the carpet. Something didn’t feel right. It was as if the part of me that controlled my legs was temporarily half plugged in, or missing.
Erin smiled as she stood above me, and touched my nose, her blue eyes looking into mine.
“Silly daddy. You didn’t seem to mind all the times I did it to you.”