(One of my recent examples of using word prompts to practice setting up scenes!)
Around the formal dining table they all sat divided into four quadrants scowling at one another. Deflated casseroles and wrinkled potatoes crowded around the regal centerpiece – a twenty-pound turkey perfectly bronzed and still intact. A gleaming carving knife rested at its side like an old friend who waits to stab you in the back when you the moment is just right.
The meal had been served by the help an hour ago, but no one touched the food on a matter of principle centered around pride. Each unit considered himself (or herself) right and the others wrong. They would sit there in a silent stalemate until the rest bowed. With no parents to neutralize the war and scold their insolence, the maids surmised it would be hours before one tossed his napkin on the plate and ordered his troops home.
Would it always be like this? Or were the fresh wounds of tragic loss simply too raw? Over time, sutures might stop bleeding and heal their broken hearts, if they possessed them at all. From two of the most generous, kindhearted souls had spawned four stingy, self-centered brats who bickered over whether the ocean was blue or green. To see the daggers in their eyes, one would think the waters ran red.
This family was out for blood. They tore each other apart, ripping and clawing until nothing was left but shreds of flesh.
“No restraint,” one of the maids muttered to the sous chef. They have to make every occasion absolutely miserable.”
“You know if the General were here, they wouldn’t be acting like this.”
“God rest his soul and the Misses,” sighed the maid. “There’s nothing to stop them from killing each other now.”
“Maybe then we’d have some peace around here.”
In the dining room, no one batted an eye. Even the grandchildren glared at their cousins to make their parents proud. But the aunts and uncles were too embroiled in old sibling rivalries to care what examples they set for their younger selves.
The cause of their strife came down to who held the knife while another muttered grace, and the two with no roles couldn’t let that go because they, too, wanted center stage at the family table. Who would fit the shoes of their elders when none were fit to lead themselves? This holiday would be the first of many where the family fought for that undeserved right.
– Written by Miss A on November 19, 2012