Placing the candle on the floor, I step into the flickering darkness of the attic. The wooden floor creaks. I tread lightly, confident the howl of the storm outside will mask the sound.
The painting is as I left it. I could not destroy so valuable a work of art, but neither could I have it in my study. The day I inherited the house, I tucked it here never intending to see it again. Now I remove the cover and, even from there on the floor, the man in the portrait looks down on me. That fiend, my father. Those evil eyes. So telling of his wicked soul. Having satisfied my troubled mind, I take the candle up again and leave the attic.
Two years ago, Adam was born. So happy I was, certain this was a beginning. A new family tree apart from my wretched father’s. But I have watched my son become a terrible, screaming, demanding beast. So like him.
In his room my son now sleeps, having finally worn himself down with his tantrums. His window rattles from the turmoil outside but he does not notice. I clutch the candle as I softly approach. It must be done.
This evening, as my son screamed, I saw on him my father’s eyes. I bring the flame closer to my son’s face. People will understand. Maxine will understand. It must be done.
I must never see those eyes again.
Patrick D Ryall, the D is for Snack