Daddy said it would be fun tonight.
It was my sixteenth birthday. Daddy said it's finally time to make my dress. Daddy said tailors always made their daughter's dresses on their sixteenth birthdays, and their daughters get to help. I was shaken up, finally getting to help make my own dress. The vibrations of excitement going through my spine were nerve-wracking. The dresses made for the family were of a traditional value - Daddy was super-religious. We had to do things just right.
In the meantime, I sat in my bedroom, doing nothing but sitting on my bed boringly playing with my doll. Daddy came into the room, opening the door gently. He had his sewing kit in hand, a leather bound case containing the various tools he used in his craft. Scissors, needles, thread... all but the fabric. That's why tonight was going to be so much fun; Daddy said there was a specific fabric we needed.
"The rest of the stuff is in the trunk. Are you ready, my little girl?" he asked, ever so softly as he came up to me, stroking my hair.
"Yes, Daddy." I smiled.
He put his hands around my head gently, kissing my forehead.
"Let's go, then."
I followed Daddy out through the house. Mom was washing the dishes, doing her normal work. She wore her dress. The kind of dress I was going to get. So smooth and pretty, dyed a light red color over the pale of the original fabric. Thin straps held it on her shoulders, and it flowed so smoothly to her knees. Daddy said it took six months for Grandpa to make it. Grandpa was a good tailor; and so was his son, Daddy.
My brother waved at me, practicing with his own sewing kit. He was the next person to become a tailor - Daddy said he was catching up to him. Daddy kissed him on top of the head and gave him a noggin rubbing.
"Keep practicing while I'm gone, son," he said. "And some day, you'll get to do this for your daughter as well."
We left the house, passing through the gate into my dad's old Pontiac. He put his sewing kit in the back seat, and opened the driver's door. I went to the passenger side, buckling myself in with so much excitement. He turned the key and the car began lazily piping up. He looked behind him as he pulled the car out.
We were a few miles down the road.
"Can I have a cat mask with my dress? I love cats."
He smiled, stroking my hair, while still steering the car. "Of course you can, sweetheart. It's your dress. Nothing in Scripture said it had to be a certain way."
We finally stopped after what seemed like hours, driving through the snowy pines of the forest. We unbuckled and exited the car. I shivered; not just out of excitement, but from the cold snow that was deep enough to go into my boot. We went around the car as Daddy opened the trunk, and pulled out a small bottle of yellowish-colored liquid.
He opened the bottle, pouring a small amount into his mouth and handing it to me. I did the same. The liquid tasted salty; almost grainy. It almost made my mouth feel dry.
"Gorgle et a liddle bid," Daddy said. "Lite dis: lalalalalololo."
I almost choked on the liquid when I giggled. He swallowed and smiled as I gargled the liquid, sloshing it around my mouth. I could hear the bubble of the liquid as it went up and down in my mouth, touching and then moving away from my throat. The grainy texture started fading away, and it began to taste sweet, almost tolerable. I swallowed it with a big gulp and breathed out. My nerves settled, and I stopped shivering. I found myself more focused upon the task at hand.
"Put these on." Daddy handed me a pair of gloves. "We don't want to leave any prints."
Daddy pulled out a pair of scissors and a tanning knife as I put the black pair of leather gloves on my hands. He handed them to me, placing the black handles into my hand gently. I gripped them and smiled widely, still focused on doing what needed to be done. I was going to get to help Daddy.
"Do you know where to go?"
"Yes, Daddy. You told me yesterday."
He smiled softly and kissed my head again. "That's my girl. Happy birthday, baby."
"Thank you, Daddy."
"You know where to meet me."
I went ahead of Daddy as he prepared his supplies. There was a small two-story cabin behind the pines. I wondered who was all there; there were three cars parked outside. But that didn't stop me. My nerves racked up again as I approached the window to the basement of the cabin. I calmed myself and slowly opened the small window, squeezing myself inside.
And there, the child slept peacefully. I pulled out the scissors and the tanning knife, and quietly approached the bed. I crawled on top of him, barely bouncing the spring matress that lay on it.
I slammed my hand on his mouth to keep him from screaming. He fought hard; attempting desperately to escape my grip. The child found himself unable to move, as I had propped my legs upon his arms, locking them in place to keep them out of the way. I slowly dragged the tanning knife across his throat. He fell, limp.
I pulled his pants off and flipped him over. I ripped a small piece off of my shirt and used it to wipe the shit off his ass. Daddy was going to come at anytime; I had to do this quickly. Using the tanning knife, I cut two lines across the top and bottom of his asscheeks - just like Daddy showed me in the past. I cut four more lines through with the scissors, as not to damage the fabric - Daddy would not be pleased. I removed the squares of skin, placing them gently beside me, and flipped him back over.
I did the same with his legs and arms. Daddy said we needed as much fabric as possible.
I cut across the top and bottom of his chest, and connected the two lines using another line through the middle. Opening the skin, I revealed his ribcage. I put my gloved hand under the rib cage and reached through, grabbing the child's heart and ripping it out, reaching with the knife in my other hand to cut anything that got in the way. Then, slowly and carefully, I removed the pieces of torso skin from the child, placing them in the same pile as the skin from his hide. I carefully wrapped the child's heart in it, and completed the first part of the ritual.
I went up stairs, opening the door and looking in on the living room of the cabin. A woman and two other people - a man of about twenty and a person who looked like her husband - sat around a table, talking and smoking their cigarettes. On the table was a transparent glass bowl full of pills, and on occasion one of the adults would remove anywhere from two or three of the pills to an entire handful and swallow them down. They seemed incredibly relaxed; unconcerned with the situation at hand.
The front door opened. Daddy walked in and stood there for a moment with his own tanning knife in one hand and his sewing kit in the other. On his face was an open-mouthed leather mask, stitched in the shape of a cross. The twenty-year-old stood up.
"Umm, sir, can I help you with some-"
Daddy put the knife to his throat when the man walked up to him. He winked, having seen me looking through the door to the basement. I had to wait and bide my time. I knew when it would be time to reveal myself.
"Sir, please..." the man said, a sweat drop falling off of his brow. "Calm down and please put the knife away."
"From the thirty-third chapter of the Scripture of Jark-hul," Daddy began. "We shall take the sinners and kill them, and make dresses for the women of their hides. For the prophets have decreed that the world must be punished by the Sacred Family in His name."
"What the hell..."
The other man stood up and began walking towards Daddy. "Alright, enough of thi-"
He barely made it up to grab Daddy's hand before I ran out, one hand gripping the knife and the other hand holding the bundle of skin. I jammed the knife into the back of his neck as hard as I could. He began to bleed as he fell to the floor, directly in front of Daddy. Daddy kicked the other man in the balls, bringing him to the floor as the woman stood in shock. The twenty-year-old groaned as Daddy bent down and quickly cut his throat.
"Jason..." she said. "Jason... Are yo- Are yo-... Are you... okay? Michael? Answer me, Michael!"
The older man didn't answer.
"Oh my god... You psychopaths..."
Suddenly, the woman screamed, having noticed my bundle of fabric.
"Is that... is that skin?!" she yelled. "Where's Timothy? Timothy! Timothy, answer me!"
The woman went pale with shock. Tears began flowing from her eyes and her face contorted as the realization of what was going on hit her like a ton of bricks. She began screaming almost incoherently - my ears hurt from the sheer loudness of her voice.
"What have you done with my little Timothy?! Where is my baby boy?! What did you do to him?!" she continued screaming and bawling before quickly attempting to run to the basement. Daddy quickly intercepted her, getting in front of her and punching her diaphragm. She crumpled to the ground in a teary-eyed mess. Crying and coughing, she attempted to crawl away as Daddy pulled her up by her hair and held the knife to her throat. She looked him in the eye, afraid for her life.
"I want you to watch this," he said to her, softly. He looked at me with a gentle smile. "You know what to do, baby girl."
He reached into his sewing kit and pulled out a plain metal plate. I unwrapped the child's heart and placed it on the plate, before using an exhaustive amount of strength to flip the dead men over. I repeated what I did with the child, cutting open their chests and pulling out their bloody hearts.
The plate's dull gray was now a shiny blackish red.
"From the Scripture of Jark-hul, chapter 34," Daddy began. "And the daughters shall consume a piece of the sinner's heart, and thus thou fabric shall be cleansed. Thou shalt begin with the youngest, and end thou feast with eldest."
I picked up the child's heart, and bit into it. The taste was like that of raw beef and jerky. The chunky piece tore off and entered my mouth. I chewed it up, gnashing on it with my teeth. Red blood dripped down my face as I swallowed and repeated the process, picking up the twenty-year-old's heart and the husband's heart, respectively. I put the bitten hearts back on to the plate.
Daddy whispered in the woman's ear: "You would be wise to stay here."
She stayed, too shocked to move.
He stood up, and began carving the skin from asscheeks and torsos of the men, as well as their thighs and forearms; placing them in piles on top of the hearts. He flipped them back and forth with ease - Daddy was far stronger than I am, because a Tailor knew how to do his job. He motioned to me to place the bundle of skin I had gathered from the child on top of the Plate of Hearts, and then he proceeded to grab the woman. She bawled softly as he motioned to me to come here.
"Hold her," I did as he asked.
He forced open her eye with one hand, bearing the scissors in the other. "From the Scripture of Jark-hul, Chapter 35. And then, the fabric of the Tailor who will make his daughter's dress shall be blessed with the eye of a living sinner, and then they too will be carved as fabric for the dress."
"No... Please, don't!" the woman cried.
Daddy ignored her, pricking the open eye and holding her head over the plate. She screamed in pain and horror as I held her arms and her eye bled on the fabric. Daddy rubbed the blood into it softly, muttering the ancient language of Jark-hul in prayer.
"After the Blessing of the Sinner's Eye, shall come the Blessing of the Tailor's eye." Daddy held his eye open, pricking it with his knife. He groaned in pain, holding back a scream as his eye bled upon the fabric. He let the close, bleeding, and looked at the woman with his other eye.
"It is your turn, baby girl. You know what must be done." Daddy winced in pain, holding his eye. "Kill her."
I raised my knife.
"No, please! He's ruined you! Let me help you! Please! Just don't do this!"
The woman tried desperately to plead her way out, to save her own life. I felt nothing but pity for her. She was nothing but a sinner - nothing but a sinner attempting to escape her fate. "You're too young for this! I can get you help!"
I stabbed the back of her neck as she went limp and silent to the ground, and as Daddy watched, I carved her hide, chest, thighs, and arms in the same way he had done with the men. It was slightly more difficult due to the breasts, but I was able to get the fabric from them. He took a plastic bag from his sewing kit, opening it up. We placed the fabric inside of the bag precariously, and he tied it shut.
"You did a good job, baby girl. Happy birthday." He kissed my head gently.
"Thank you, Daddy."
We exited the house and went back to the car. Daddy opened the trunk and put the plastic bag and his sewing kit into it, and we got back into the car, driving off into the night.
I loved my dress and the cat mask. Daddy was a good tailor. So carefully sewn, dyed a light green, my favorite color. When I finally got to see it, I was happy. Daddy laid there, his throat cut by his own hand, and beside him lay a note.
To my baby girl,
Your dress is finished. Now it is time for me to pass on the role of Tailor to my son, as per Scripture. Do not weep for me; just know that I am so proud of you, and I love you dearly.
Now, I sit in my green dress and cat mask, holding my pregnant belly. And soon, my brother will get to make a dress for our daughter as well.
Written by Senjumaru Shutara