Rice and Meat

The twins were born in the kitchen, while my mother and her older sister slaughtered a chicken for lunch. I heard my aunt screaming all sorts of foulness at her husband. And when my cousin and I tried to find out why, my mom shouted at us and sent us to clean the yard.

“Your mom’s hands were all bloody,” my cousin said.

“Babies are born messy,” I told her.

“Santiago, Jaime, Elias and Magdalena were very clean when they were born.” My cousin crossed her arms and threw all her disbelief into my face.

I got nervous. I had never seen a baby being born. I didn’t even have younger siblings, and my cousin had a tribe of them. “That’s because your mom licked them clean before you saw them.” I had seen cats clean their newborns. And to make sure my cousin was completely outdone, I added, “And she has to eat the bloody stuff that comes out of her, like the goats do. Maybe she’s screaming at your dad because his is supposed to help her eat it, but he doesn’t want to.”

My cousin shot me a horrified look before running back towards the kitchen. I followed.

One of my older cousins stopped us right outside the door. “Come on,” he said. “Auntie wants us to go to the river. Grab some oranges and mangoes. We won’t be back until after lunch.”

At the mention of river and fruit, I forgot about everything else.

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We were starving when we got back from the river. We walked through the quiet kitchen and into the living room, where covered plates waited for us on top of a large wooden table. My aunt’s husband was standing over the table, eating from a huge plate of rice and meat.

My cousins and I walked past the food. We wanted to see my aunt and the babies before we sat down to eat. But as we reached the threshold that separated my aunt’s bedroom from the living room, an empty chamber pot flew out of the bedroom and struck my aunt’s husband in the chest.

“How can you eat?” my aunt yelled from the room. “Animal!” She began to sob. “You, damned animal. I want you out of my house, away from my children. You’re an animal, an animal…”

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After my aunt felt better, we were allowed to see one of the babies. But whenever we asked an adult for the other twin, my aunt would resume her crying and we would get a glare or a smack. We never got to see the second baby.

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That night my cousin and I lay in bed shaking in each other’s arms. She cried because one of her brothers had been born dead, and her mom had thrown her dad out of their house. I was terrified because my young mind had concluded that my aunt was angry at her husband because he hadn’t wanted to eat the afterbirth, but went ahead and ate one of the babies with rice.

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Years later, after I was almost an adult, I learned that my aunt had gone into premature labor after her husband came home to sell some of their land, in order to leave her and their children for another woman.

I still wish someone would have explained the truth to us. I’m certain I would’ve had fewer night terrors growing up, if I had known that my aunt’s husband was just a soulless bastard, and not the rice-eating cannibal I used to see in my worst dreams.

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for Sanaa’s Prompt Nights – Truth is stranger than Fiction

Sitting by the Window with TeddySitting by the Window with Teddy”, by SunshineShelle
(Clarice and her dear Teddy have always looked a bit terrified to me)

41 thoughts on “Rice and Meat

  1. This is absolutely incredible Magaly, you have infused truth into this daring fiction piece so seamlessly and depicted a reality which so many people face in their lives. Powerfully expressed! Thank you so much for participating 🙂

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

  2. For a child with a very active imagination, the truth is always less horrifying than what they see on their mind screen. What a great tale! Rice eating cannibal!

    • I’ve never understood the habit of some adults of not telling children the truth. I understand the need for using soothing words and a lot of care when sharing certain events, but outright omission or deception are never a good idea. Children can imagine so many horrors.

  3. Magaly, I feel your piece here really suited this week’s Prompt Nights theme. Of how the truth is always hidden through our own imaginations or that we try to cover up the truth with our fictions. Nice write.

  4. Love the thread of reality entwined with imagination that created a glimpse into the cogs of a child’s thought rationalisation process…
    and Clarice & Teddy seem to understand too 😉

  5. This is so real, absolutely interesting good fiction. I luv the innocent reasoning of the child’s mind. And the sin of eating rice and meat, was so stark

    Thanks for dropping in to read mine.

    Much love…

  6. Awesome! This story was so good that it had to be true. I saw the entire scene in my mind’s eye as I read with anticipation for each upcoming word that would allow me to see it all! And I agree Shelle’s painting of Clarice and her Teddy just add to the pictures in my head! Hugs, Robin

  7. Truth IS stranger than fiction. I have always maintained that you cant make up the stuff that goes on in real life. If you submitted real life stories to an editor, he’d say it isnt believable……….LOL.

    • Indeed! There are so many things out there, so many people… that if we put them in a story everyone would think we’re making them up. It’s so strange that at times we must fictionalize reality a bit, in order for the weirdness not to make real things too fantastic, lol!

  8. But if your imagination hadn’t been free to run riot through your childhood, we probably wouldn’t have such glorious stories to read now 😀 XXX

  9. The strange fancies children get in their heads! I had to laugh a little at the innocent ghoulishness that comes naturally to some young ones, as I’ve had experience with it. And the way that fantastical imagination can run wild when confronted with a bit of real life awfulness. I hope the guy didn’t see a dime from any sale of land.

    • The things that grow in a child’s mind will horrify the most lived of all sages. And I kind of like that. Does that make me horrible? Probably not, since I’m awesome *cough*.

      And the guy… He did all kinds of damage, the land was the least of it.

  10. Great story. Poor misconceptions we live with. Adults leveling with kids probably would have been better but we always want to spare them never thinking that their imaginations are so crazy. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

    • Misconceptions indeed. But you are right, adults want to always preserve the magic of the world for as long as possible in the eyes of their children.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the tale. 😊

  11. whew…now i wonder what is true, is fiction true or is truth fiction…omg…you’ve given quite a shake Magaly…and i feel some situations truly demand truth to be known logically even to children to save them from nightmare….could really feel your pen’s might…wow…

    • I’m so very glad you feel it. And thank you for your words. I love stories that leave me wondering about their truth and fiction, and trying to figure out which might be scarier… Knowing that I wrote one that left a similar feeling in your mind is very pleasing to me.

  12. What a perfectly crafted story – and yes the picture is definitely scary – if only we were given the truth – sometimes it may well be less scary than what we imagine happened – fantastic write

  13. I was trying to think, if I thought of anything so terrifying like this, when I was young. And, I don’t think I did? This would have brought nightmares to me! I have to admit, when I was reading this, I thought, gross!
    The only thing I remember, are two dreams, that I had many of times, one was somebody running after me at night and then I would always trip, and the other was almost like being trapped by the devil. He kept sucking me in.

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