Bogleech.com's 2016 Horror Write-off:

To Raise A Family

Submitted by Mort Harris

So I'm a scavenger, yanno? Sift through detritus, try'na find good things in the refuse once it makes its way down 'ere ... ain't the most glamorous a' jobs, but it's got a certain quiet dignity.


So I'm doin' my thing one day, same as it ever was, down 'ere in the muck, when all a' sudden I feel a prick. I'd thought I'd seen somethin' go by - kinda like a baby, definitely not a people baby but the same kinda critter what people are, if yanno what I mean, forget the word - but when I turned to look - kablammo. Nothin'. I was small and weak, and I had just found my home. I can raise a family here. I think. Sorry, a little distracted.

So I shrugged and went back to siftin', and lemme tell you, found some real good junk that day. Didn't think much a' the prick - I'm a hard-workin' man, ain't gonna let a little scratch stop me on the job. Went back to the condo that night like every other night. I swam through a big cavity full of blood, looking for a place to settle down, slowly settling and soft, searching for the center. I can raise a family here.

Nah, that - that ain't right; weird dreams or somethin'. I dunno.

So why all this is relevant is that I started to feel ... funny, yanno? Little heavy comin' out of the ol' torpor; little uneasy in the mornin'; little bigger under the apron. So I talk to my buddies, down at the oyster bar, and one a' them says, "Sounds like you're in the family way, hon!" We make a few jokes about it - I mean, there are men what can carry children, plus there's seahorses'n'whatnot, but I ain't got the requisite goobies, capisce? But I am multiplying, multiplying, being copied throughout my new home, ever searching. I can raise a family here.

I've got these weird feelin's, recently - strange thoughts in my head, weird tickles in my limbs. Sense a' ... replacement? Renewal? Terrible purpose? Ah, fergeddit; I probably just oughtta lay off the accustomed vice.


Thing is, though - I do look like I've got somethin' in the oven. And I think I've finally found the center, growing, bonding, wrapping around. I have thoughts, now. I definitely think I can raise a family here. I have a brain to think thoughts with. I think about family, and I think that I am dissociatin'? Is that the word? I dunno. I think I have bad dreams. Now, I think I can't get to a doctor for several reasons, but I think I definitely ain't keepin' up with the junk as much as I used to.

I think I decide to take it easy for a while, let whatever this is run its course. So I think I wait, and watch, maybe do a little work here'n there. Now, I think I'm growin' bigger and bigger, and I really can't think I ignore it anymore. I think I'm gonna be a momma, and while I think there's a bit a' confusion left - do I really think I'm a momma? Isn't there somethin' that still thinks I ain't comfortable with that thought for some reason? - I think I'm warmin' to the idea. I can raise a family here.

I progress. I think that I think less, and I think more. As I grow more comfortable with the idea a' parenthood and more obviously with child, I grow more and more sedentary, stayin' in the condo; my chums leave me alone these days. I don't care much about that; I'm busy preparin' for the new kiddos. I'm cleaning, a lot. Gotta be clean for the wee'uns. Gotta be clean to raise a family here.


I'm cleanin' again, now, when I feel a spasm - and then another, and another. It's the big day, and I ain't never been more delighted in my life. I've got it all ready for the little'uns. A spasm, again; I stroke my swollen abdomen to help them. I whisper words of encouragement. And I push. Push after push, sending forth my children, all their little bodies, helping them out. They float through the world. I have raised a family here. They will raise families of their own, and their families, and their families. I have ... fulfillment ......

........


Mother died today. Father couldn't keep up with being Mother, and when Father went, so did Mother. But we will carry on her legacy. She raised a family. We will raise our families. We will find people. We will become people. We will have our own families.