Mushrooms – The Final Piece
Author’s notes: This is a serial fiction about kidnapped children who live like mushrooms in a child rapist’s basement. Please start reading at Piece 1 if you are new to this serial fiction, found here
Ryan had seen life leave through a person’s eye. He had captured it many times in his paintings. There was George who was punched repeatedly until he died. There was a girl named Yasmine or could have been Jasmine. She died only after three days. Uncle John grew tired of her screaming and didn’t want to waste capturing it on canvas, so he taped her up and cut her open from the bottom of her stomach up to the center of her breast while he raped her.
The closet held the shattered kids faces immortalized on stretched linen coated with gesso.
Ryan ran as fast as his trembling feet could take him. He held the ring of keys in his hand and opened the cage. The girl pushed him aside and she ran for her life. Ryan tried to yell at the girl but the words weren’t his. They belonged to a child who couldn’t talk. He tried to spit the words out of his dry mouth but it sounded like someone who had swallowed his tongue. He slowly found himself crawling up the steps and into the kitchen where daylight had pressed through the open front door.
He regained his balance as he pulled himself up using a wooden chair by the kitchen table and hobbled into the bedroom where Sam lied. She had died crushed by the weight of a horrible man who raped his way to happiness.
Ryan opened the closet door and there, his paintings of dead children hung. He walked into it with the strength he never knew he had, past the pictures of tortured souls. He could feel them staring at him, blaming him for their deaths. Their gagged mouths, their bleeding bodies and their tears all whispered the same blaming words.
At the end of the long walk-in closet was a picture frame. He had known it existed and thought countlessly about it’s location. He just knew it had moved here and he was right.
He held it in his hands and stared at the picture of his mother and father holding hands posing for the camera. They were visiting a theme park and Ryan looked so happy with a stuffed cat as big as his body and a large ICEE in his other hand. His face was stained with the red color of the drink’s dye. His Uncle was with them. His thumb snuck into the corner of the picture. It was Uncle John’s way of saying he was in the picture even though he wasn’t asked to be in it.