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The Courier

by People! Just say Something! 11 months ago in Short Story
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A short story about a mysterious delivery person, giving people the things they didn't realise they needed. TW: F-Slur and domestic abuse are mentioned.

Once upon a time, there was a small town that had a peculiar mail courier. No one knew which company they worked for or where they even came from. All that was known about this mysterious deliverer was that their packages were all wrapped in the same brown paper and that they wore all black with a face mask and sunglasses, creating an unrecognisable being.

The Courier appeared regularly, knocking on doors, saying nothing as they hand over a brown parcel before running away out of sight. It would be addressed to someone who lived in that house, except the recipient would always claim that they never ordered anything in the first place. What the Courier would bring would differ from person to person, but no one complained. It was always something that would be helpful in some way.

Many have tried to find the Courier, but all have yet to be successful. Even when recipients attempted to tail the Courier after delivery, they would always disappear around corners without a trace. So, the town gave up on identifying this person and instead allowed their deliveries to continue.

In the same town, there lived a household of four that was everything but happy—a broken family with an abusive patriarch at its head. This man had entered the lives of a woman and her two sons as a surrogate father and husband before quickly revealing himself to be a monster. Beating down the three of them almost daily, the children lived in fear while the wife lived in denial. She blamed her boys for his anger instead of the alcoholism she caught from him.

The youngest, Leo, was a nine-year-old with long dirty blond hair. Leo was a quiet kid who liked to read; he wasn't interested in sports, especially not football. Which pissed off his stepfather incredibly. The ugly man would call him a pussy with no wit and smack the back of Leo's head as he tried to read his book. But his stepfather hated Leo's silence and only beat him further and further until Leo or simply replied politely to him or began to scream in pain. Even then, Leo often refused to speak to this man; he would just take the beating and cry.

The oldest, Roman, was finding it more and more difficult to remain quiet. He was thirteen, short, and had a problem controlling his temper. He would scream back at his stepfather, calling him a fat drunk and running away as he chased him around the house until he got tired. But as soon as Roman was close enough, he would swipe his hand across his face at a surprising speed. Like trying to swat a persistently pesky fly.

Their mother would shout at them for fighting at their 'father' as if these boys were nothing but ungrateful children. In her eyes, there was no abuse, only discipline. She even applied this delusion to herself. When she had met him just a few years ago, he had put on the mask of a nice person until the drink passed his lips. She believed that that nice person was somewhere beneath all the angered slurring, that he would get better the longer she tried to keep the family together. But he never did.

This man had been in their lives for only two years, but time had drawn out and grown stagnant. Roman was sick of watching his mother and brother being thrown around by such a bully. But what could a tiny weakling like him do aside from run away? He would never win in a fight with that brut; he could kill Roman. He had tried to tell his teachers at school, but they quickly dismissed his claims since he was known to be somewhat troublesome.

One night, the stepfather had gone out drinking with his work colleagues and came back in a particularly bitter mood after losing a few rounds of poker. He kicked open the front door and screamed to his wife to get him more beer. Leo stood in the hallway beside a cabinet filled with books looking for something to take to bed. But at that moment, he lay in the path of his callous stepfather. Roman stood watching from the top of the stairs as the drunk stumbled towards the living room, swatting Leo out of the way. But Leo fell into the cabinet, hitting his temple on its corner and slumping to the ground. His stepfather didn't seem to notice as he left to collapse into the couch and continued to scream for his beer. Roman had rushed to Leo's side, who hadn't moved since hitting the floor. Finding blood coming from his head, Roman shouted for his mother. She didn't come at first, not until Roman continued to scream for help. She appeared from the kitchen and dropped the beer from her hand as she saw Leo unconscious. Telling Roman to go it his room, their mother quickly scooped Leo in her arms and rushed him to the car. Roman tried to follow but his mother, but she told him to stay and watch his father. She left with Leo laid out in the back seat and Roman in the driveway.

Leo and their mother returned in the early hours of the morning. The drunk had fallen asleep on the couch and was still snoring when they came through the front door. Roman sat on the bottom step of the stairs waiting for their return, but his mother simply told him and Leo to go to bed as she went into the kitchen to pour herself a glass of something strong. Roman gave Leo a quick once over and asked how he was doing. Leo couldn't say much but without groaning, telling him something about painkillers? It was at this point; Roman's worry had turned to hate. A seething hatred for his stepfather and what he had done to them. Roman knew he needed to do something to get this awful man out of their lives for good, but he had no idea what.

The days passed, and it seemed as though the stepfather had become more light-handed with Leo while his head was bandaged. But it was Roman who got the brunt of his bad mood. He had taken to calling Roman a 'little faggo' to rile him up; half the time, he was looking for a fight to excuse his rough behaviour. One morning the four of them sat at the table eating breakfast when the doorbell rang. The stepfather glared at Roman, who sat across from him, nodding his head towards the door with a grunt. Roman reluctantly answered the door to see an unrecognisable man wearing all black with a face mask and glasses obscuring his features, but Roman knew precisely who he was. The mysterious man held a tall rectangular box wrapped in brown paper. Then as if presenting a gift, the man handed over the parcel and tipped his cap at Roman before jogging off out of sight. Roman stood shocked for a second as he attempted to comprehend whether that was indeed the Courier.

"Who was it!?" He could hear his mother shouting. He quickly returned to the kitchen with the parcel, which was immediately snatched from his hands by his stepfather.

"What's this then?" he asked, shaking the box to hear for some sort of clue.

"Who's it for, love?" his wife questioned gingerly. The man checked for some sort of label to find it addressed to Roman. He looked to his stepson and shoved it back into his hands.

"It's for you. Open it then!" the man demanded, and Roman did what he was told. Ripping through the paper revealed a plain brown box with arrows pointing out which side to open first. Roman pulled open the package from the top to reveal a potted plant with tiny white flowers blossoming from the ends of rather stringy stems. "Flowers? Who the fuck is sending you flowers? Your boyfriend?" Roman shook his head and tried to tell him that the Courier was the one who gave it to him. "Oh, so you need this then? Going to start a gay flower shop with your bumster-friend? Man up, you little faggo." Roman bit his tongue and ignored his stepfather's taunts and instead took the box to his room and blocked his door with a chair. Tossing the box to one side, Roman dropped onto his bed with a heaving sigh. His hands were shaking with hot rage, he was finding it harder and harder to hold back his anger, but he knew that he would only end up like his brother had.

Eventually, his mind began to wander back to the Courier. Why had they given Roman such a strange delivery? He wasn't interested in gardening and wasn't sure how this helped his current situation either. But he decided to unpack it properly, patting down any loose soil from the box back into the plant's pot. He had never seen a plant like it. After he had cleaned it up, the plant didn't look so bad. Roman took a step back to look at it and thought it was actually quite pretty. The flowers looked like exploding fireworks against their green foliage. Roman heard a soft rapping at his door and quickly recognised Leo's gentle knock. He opened his door to let Leo in, quickly closing it behind him.

"What kind of flower is it?" he asked simply. Leo liked to read about lots of different topics, and horticulture was one of them. Roman showed Leo the newly presented plant hoping that Leo might know what it was. "Ooh! That looks like spotted parsley! I didn't know you could grow it in a pot!"

"What's spotted parsley?" Roman queried; he knew Leo was very smart for his age. He could be an incredible scientist with the right encouragement that Roman was determined to give him.

"It grows in the wild by streams in the northern hemisphere. But it's not good for people to eat because it's poisonous." Leo informed him with an innocent smile. Roman couldn't let anymore happen to Leo that could affect his chances of getting far away from this abusive household. But it was Leo's knowledge that had given Roman the crazy idea to kill his stepfather. Was this the reason behind the Courier's delivery?

Roman didn't want to wait; he was determined to end their suffering at the hands of this awful man. He asked Leo what would happen if someone ate the spotted parsley, to which he replied with a list of symptoms like vomiting, seizures, confusion, and death. Leo also knew that there was no antidote to the plant's poison. The more Roman learnt of the plant, the more he was convinced that the Courier was giving him the opportunity to take control.

Later that evening, Roman was helping his mother make dinner, and as she left to set the table, Roman quickly sliced up a handful of the spotted parsley's flowers. He hovered over the row of bowls filled with steaming hot chilli before taking a deep breath and tossing his cut-up flowers into one. He mixed them in vigorously with a fork before taking it in his hands and placing it in his stepfather place at the table. The man said no word of thanks to Roman as his mother bought the remains of dinner.

This was it. After the meal, this man would be out of their lives. Roman knew what he was doing was morally wrong, but he didn't care. He wanted peace and to live free from fear, even if that was from within a juvenile correction centre. The Courier knew what Roman needed, and they delivered.

Short Story

About the author

People! Just say Something!

Quirky articles on various subjects to pass the time! Don't stay quiet people, Just say something!

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