Jack

“Step 1: Dissect”

Mary moved the instructions out of her way and set to work. The knife was efficient; serrated on both sides. She liked the way it felt in her hand; the way the handle vibrated against her palm as the sharp teeth grinded along the tough skin and flesh. She went in from the top, just as the picture instructed. When she was done, she looked down into the dark hole she had created and gave a satisfied sigh.

“Step 2: Gut”

This was the part Mary was less anxious for. She knew though, that it would be worth it. She rolled up her sleeves and plunged her arms deep into the freshly cut hole. She used her fingers to massage and grab and yank out the unnecessary junk inside. She even clawed around the edges with her fingernails until it was nice and clean. Then, referencing the instructions once more, she inserted a scalpel-esque tool to smooth down the interior walls. Afterwards, she rubbed them gently, admiring her work.

“Step 3: Carve”

Now, for the creative part. Mary had spent weeks plotting her design and had about 12 tools to accomplish it. The thought of it made her giddy, butterflies flapping away in the pit of her stomach. She couldn’t help but giggle as she worked the tiny, handheld saw back and forth. The eye holes would be spirals. The nose, two slits. The mouth, a frankenstein-inspired production, complete with real stitches! This year would be her best yet.

Buried wrist-deep in her work, and all of her attention focused like a laser on her creation, Mary didn’t hear the footsteps pulsing up the stairs or the door creaking open. But she did hear the gurgled, wretched cry that poured out of her mother as she dropped to her knees.

“What did you do, Mary?! What have you done to Jack?!”

Mary, stone-faced, let her head drop. Lamenting, she eyed the pool of blood she was sitting in. No one ever understood her art.

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen

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