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Nursery: A Short Story

by Paige Osaroth about a year ago in literature

Johnathan was born in a nursery like any other child.

Jonathan Sommer was born in a nursery, a home birth. It was all the sommer family could afford. He had ten sisters and twenty brothers, all of whom were born just like Jonathan, in the nursery. The day Jonathan turned two years old, his mother and father knew he was different. Each of the boy’s siblings had their own delicate airs about them, like they could float away like angels instead of children. All born with smooth, translucent skin showing off the healthy veins in their faces. But Jonathan was not as delicate and lovely as his Siblings, he could not swing from the mobiles in the nursery like his sisters and he could not see the beautiful lively veins in his skin like all the other boys could. Jonathan's complexion was peachy and soft, a genetic anomaly in the Sommers family. Too, the little boy was much fatter than his siblings. Only two years old but still much too heavy to sit in a hanging basket like his siblings. Jonathan cried when he found out he was not allowed to play with his brothers and sisters anymore, he was simply too rough with them. The boy’s incredible strength would tear the other children’s skin and stain the boys skin with greens, reds, purples and yellows. Eventually Jonathan was moved to his own bed to avoid crushing the other children under his weight. Everyone else shared large soft beds and perfectly laid side by side leaving their neighbor unharmed. But Jonathan had to sleep on the big sacks of soil his parents could provide for him. Even at four years old, Jonathan was bigger and stronger than any of his siblings. The Sommer family fell behind the boy, unable to keep up with his massive appetite. “The boy’s eating us out of house and home!” His father said, Jonathan's mother could only weep, exhausted of options and without any idea of what to do with poor Johnathan. Through tearful sobs Jonathan's mother proposed to her husband the only thing left to do, the boy had to go but to where? His mother pondered what kind of respectable person would take such a burden onto them, none came to mind. It was then that Jonathan's father took his frail wife to the tool shed. “A Hammer to break the skull” he said to her, “a saw to sever fatty limbs” His words bringing about more tears from mothers' eyes. “And thirty hungry children '' this caused his wife’s head to shoot up and stare curiously into his eyes. “It isn’t right! No there must be some other way!” Her eyes are holding more anger than sadness. “There is nothing else we can do! It be us or him! In due time the boy will eat our thirty children and then us!” His father was shouting now. Frustration boiling in his blood, he grabbed his best hand saw off the rack and shoved it into his wife’s shaking hands. Before ushering her out, he chose his heaviest hammer for himself and the two set off to their beloved nursery. Mother’s tip toes felt like stomping feet as she inched her way closer to the sleeping children. Father held no hesitation in stepping hastily up to the soil sack bed his son lay on, on a silent count of three, Jonathan's father swung his deathly hammer down upon the sleeping boy. Jonathan’s mother screamed a wild banshee scream but was unable to turn away. The other children did not wake, too immersed in sweet dream land to rouse to the guttural scream of their mother or the wet blunt sounds of their father’s best hammer colliding with their brothers head. Mother stifled her sobs on the sleeve of her warm nightgown and slowly stepped toward her youngest son, knowing it was her duty now to sever each of the boy’s limbs. Limb by limb she crunched through bone and squelched through bloody muscle. First she squeezed the blood from the left arm onto Jonathan's sisters, then using her long fingernails, scraped tissues from the right arm onto his sleeping brothers. Then finally buried both legs in a bed of new soil to bring new life to the nursery. The deed was done, the boy gone and out of sight. The next day was peaceful, quiet, as mother and father ate their minuscule breakfast of eggs and toast. Johnathans siblings awoke and stretched taller than ever before. Though it was no mystery to their parents, “must be the boys doing” mother mused “I always knew he’d be good for something” she bit into her boiled egg but felt a rotten familiarity in the squelch it made. “Indeed my dear, a worthy sacrifice to see our children so happy and healthy, not to mention the quiet is quite nice, don't you think?” Father added. “Yes, indeed” mother spoke but her mouth held the flesh of the egg in her mouth, eventually spitting the remnants of it into her napkin, a glob of white and yellow though all mother saw was red pulsing muscle. Excusing herself from the table, mother made her way to the nursery for some fresh air and happy smiles from her children. They had all gotten so big just overnight! At first mother was pleased but remembering the deed they had done to achieve such a prize left her feeling sick. She sat on the bench next to her eldest daughter and shut her eyes, hoping to catch a glimpse of clarity rather than foggy guilt. It was only then that her children seemed to speak.

Paige Osaroth
Paige Osaroth
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