He lay in bed, the darkness surrounding him. It was morning, he could tell, but the darkness still surrounded him.
He lay in bed, with the darkness blanketing him, a cold embrace from which he could not leave. He had woken up hours ago, but it would not do to get up. Mother would be furious if he had woken before her. He had to wait for Mother.
He lay still in his bed until a bright light flooded the room, his mother’s silhouette at the edge of the open door. “Time for breakfast, darling,” She was smiling, her blonde hair perfect and neat; her clothes just a smidge discolored. “You mustn’t be late. Mother would be furious.”
He shuffled himself into the bathroom first; the bathwater tepid and cold but he loved it anyway. One must not ever be sad, for then Mother would not be happy. And they were a happy family, being happy was what they must do. He left the tub, water sluicing off his clothes but he gave himself nothing but a cursory wipe. It would not do to keep anyone waiting. Mother would be furious. Mother must be kept happy.
He stepped over his sister on the way down the stairs. She was lying face down halfway down the stairs, limbs spread akimbo. Mother had been furious with her yesterday; she had refused to play with puppy like a good girl and gotten her clothes dirty in the mud. She then refused her tea as well. Mother had thrown her down the staircase, and told her that was where she belonged. Naughty little girls who didn’t take their tea didn’t deserve their beds either.
His dog was waiting for him at the kitchen door. It looked at him with dead, glazed over eyes, tail never wagging, and body stiff: almost plasticized. He patted the dog perfunctorily before going over to take his seat at the table.
His father wasn’t at the table. His father was at the living room couch where he had been last night, watching the same still of the sitcom he had been last night. It was a hilarious still. He could not fault his father for staring at it. He himself had done it often enough.
Mother was there. Mother handed him a plate of eggs and sausage. There were precisely two yolks, sunny side up and just as bright. He loved Mother. He wanted to make Mother happy.
His mother was standing at the stove. There was no fire or the smell of cooking, but his mother was standing stiff at the stove, staring at her pan of sausages. He didn’t ask questions. If that was what Mother intended, then that was what it would be.
Mother must be kept happy.
He must not make Mother furious.
His father was still at the couch. He wondered if his father would like some breakfast. But in the end it was not his or his father’s decision. It was all up to Mother and what would make her happy.
Mother tried to push him closer to the table. His legs, long and gangly, ended up hitting the table leg, upturning his breakfast all over the table and the floor.
He kept smiling, but he could feel his armpits prickling with sweat already.
Maybe Mother would be generous today, maybe Mother would be merciful.
“Ugh, you can’t do anything right!” His mother was shoved aside, and then he was being lifted, and rammed straight into the open stove. He kept smiling even as he felt his body warm up in the candle flame in the stove.
If this made Mother happy, he would let it happen to him. Mother was furious, but soon she won’t be.
He let himself get melted.
“You are a sick human being.”
“I got angry.”
“I should tell mom you’re putting your toys into candles.”
“Don’t you dare.”
“I’m telling, I’m telling!”
“Get back here!”