The Leaf Snake
As a child, one never has much say. Especially when it comes to family decisions.
Perhaps some lucky ones do, but you weren't one of those lucky few.
And as the day neared, your dread grew more and more.
Which, in all fairness, was odd. It wasn't like you hadn't moved before. But unlike before, you got to see this house when your parents went to inspect it prior to buying.
And no matter their efforts to hype you, you didn't agree to the arrangement one bit.
What could you say? Something was just plain off about it.
Your parents had blamed your nerves on 'fussy child nonsense.' And once back in the car, they exclaimed to you that your behavior had made them look bad.
It was dumb to you how they felt the need to explain anything to the young lady selling the house. It was more than clear she didn't have kids thanks to how she treated you; 'child nonsense' meant nothing to her. Such was apparent from her small smile, the very same many wear to be polite and to hide their annoyance. Something adults never seem to notice when talking about their children.
You were strapped into your car seat on the day of the move and watched out the window as what was actually the fourth house you got to call home grew smaller and smaller.
It didn't really hit you 'till later that you'd never see it again.
You didn't mind much of course, as the third house was your favorite anyhow. Sitting by its bay window in the winter months, watching the snow fall. Such a wonderful way to spend cold, December evenings.
Like all the times before, you were unpacked from the car first, then the boxed-up belongings, then a larger car rolled up, and strange people pulled out more belongings to shove into the house that were pulled from the other. And life went as life does.
Your parents unpacked, some fights broke out, a plate broke, another fight. You played with your orange toy car - your favorite toy - and fell asleep on the fluffy carpet in the den.
You had no memory of carpet in the other houses. Especially not this nice. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad?
But sadly, you were wrong.
After only a few weeks of living in the new house, you noticed something strange.
The vents seemed odd.
You knew a friend from the park who also had odd vents. But you hadn't seen them in some time.
And child-mind did what child-mind does - pieces began to click.
You became nervous of the vents.
They simply didn't sound right. You knew it was silly, which was why you never told your parents. They wouldn't get it, never would, and never will. As that was just the adult way. It'd do no good.
But then you heard sounds coming from the basement, and once you saw something move under the door, your judgment left you. You told your parents.
They, of course, told you just how foolish your claim was. And to show you, they took you to the basement.
Against your will, they took you by the hand and led you down with them. Complaining the whole time about all the things the young lady had left and should've taken with her. Of how they'd now have to pay to dispose of her trash. Yet you didn't notice any of the things they fussed over, as you were captivated by one thing, and one thing only.
A lone floral basket.
The further your parents went, to 'show you there's nothing to fear', you could've sworn the basket moved. From afar, it looked as if alive.
Shaped similar to the head of a snake, with an eye-like hole where a flower or leaf had been plucked, you grew positive it had a soul.
It was unnerving. You didn't like it one bit.
Now fussy, they finally - albeit begrudgingly - led you back upstairs.
Many of your nights were spent in fear of the basement, the vents, and any closed doors.
Without fail, the minute it became dark, you worried.
This worry did everything but ease when you began to see imbalances of light under the basement door, accompanied by hissing when all was quiet.
One night, after countless weeks of terror. You decided something had to be done.
Your procrastinating parents were never going to take care of anything within that basement.
You were in danger.
They were in danger. Just too "grown-up" to realize it.
So, with a flashlight, your teddy bear, and a blanket tied around your neck as a cape, you snuck out of bed and went to face your fears. All for the sake of a better tomorrow.
And you admit, you cried.
With each step you took - out of your bed, out of your room, down the hall, and so forth.
You softly cried in fear of what awaited. Yet you didn't dare be loud enough for your parents to hear, oh no. "Nightmares of flowers again?" They'd mock, they'd tease.
They didn't take you seriously, never did. Parents were supposed to love you, listen to you, and keep you safe.
Like with the children at the park, whose parents were their best friends.
A life foreign to your mind, a life blind to your eyes.
You wiped at your face knowing, that even though you were going slow, if you happened to make any sound that awoke them, and they saw tears, everything would turn for the worst.
With that thought in mind, you stood a little taller. You saw monsters every day, so you could easily overcome the one 'all in your head', as the real monsters had called it.
Inching along, shaking and clutching at your bedtime felt-friend, you took a deep breath and prepared yourself for a battle.
You decided you were going to kill this beast that flicked its tail under doors. That hissed and roared in the night. Scaring you unnecessarily each and every waking hour, as well as the ones when asleep.
Once in the kitchen, you grabbed a knife before approaching the basement's door. You were forbidden to touch practically anything within the kitchen for 'safety reasons', but you knew where everything was despite it. And this was a matter you were willing to break rules for.
As you shuffled towards the basement door, reaching out for its handle, it happened.
Its itchy, poorly made, fabric, faux-leaf-painted tail had wiggled through the abnormally large gap between the old door and hardwood floor.
It curled around your ankles - far faster than your foggy, late-night brain could even process that something was touching you. Without time to even manage a single sound, it pulled you hard to the floor, knocking the wind from your lungs.
A smart hunting tactic when your prey is loud children.
The fall had caused you to drop hold of everything you carried, including the knife, which slid out of reach along with your light. Yet this didn't stop you from trying what you could to retrieve them between your gasps for air. You clawed away at the floor and cabinets beside the door, doing anything to boost your reach.
The poor drawers did nothing to aid you; rather they parted from their tracks, spilling their contents to the floor, making your get-away even harder.
Regardless of whether measuring cups and various other kitchenware littered the floor or not, your attempts would've been in vain, and they were.
The leaf snake pulled harder and held tighter than anything you'd be able to escape.
The pain was worse than any scraped knee.
It wasn't long until shock set in.
You watched as your blood pooled around you.
Once you realized your pain had a cause, and that both the blood and pain were connected, you were too out of it to really feel anything at all.
Your mind went numb, and all you could hear was a faint buzzing alongside your heartbeat - rapid and scared - until it began to slow.
It's funny, really. How could you feel so calm when you were once so scared?
You watched your items slowly grow further away as the creature dragged you closer to the door. As your blood pooled thicker; deeper. Its taste only made the demon hungrier.
You watched the world fade as your body and mind began to falter. The kitchen laid in a state of mess; thinking of how angry your parents would be over its condition was one of your final thoughts. Still being far more scared of them than the floral-abomination skinning you.
But to you, it had always been in disaster; the whole house was. With its crumbling ceilings and water-damaged walls. Why did your parents even move here anyhow? They cared so much about appearance and order; why didn't those deemed precious values consistently matter?
Random appliances you knew neither the names of, nor uses for, littered the house always. And they never seemed bothered. All because it was theirs you assumed. Everything was a mess - was trash - unless it was theirs. Just one of the many things that felt unfair and was.
You had never been treated fairly. To them, your age gave them all the reason in the world to invalidate and belittle you.
You were never shown equity, and now,you never would.
Sharp pains bit at your shins; the feel of warm, red liquid that shouldn't be, running down them. Seeing the world spin and fade away, hearing only your heartbeat, as you stopped breathing long ago. Not long after feeling the prickly itchiness of fake leaves and the jolting pain of being slammed to the floor.
You closed your eyes for the last time in your life, and let the world calm; stilling itself around you.
You were a Delicious meal.