Porcelain blue and white dishes clatter on the soft-sheeted table. The curtains cloaking the house from the dry paradise of crops and grass outside sway as the wind picks up its pace. It starts as a small stir, kicking up dust centimeters high.
The mother busies herself with a dish to prepare, one that she’s spent days on giving thought. Her knobby fingers splay out on the top of a bowl, and she counts as she spoons bits of items into it. The tornado gathers a fair radius, bumping against the house’s porch and testing the weight of the beams supporting the patchwork.
The mother continues to chant, the words spilling from her lips like a bottle of uncorked champagne. They twist and turn, slice clean between her teeth. The tornado scares off birds from branches, a flock skittering into the sky that captures the attention of cars on beaten roads kilometers away.
The mother turns to face the bare wall of the dining room, dark rectangular marks indicating the picture frames that had been nailed to the plaster for years. She marches to the oven, mind and mouth still whirring, and pulls out a steel pan. The tornado whirls, plants deeply rooted shaking as they are emptied of their homes.
The mother places the warm pan on the table. She leans forward and flips the switch of her battered radio on. The machine is her noise maker when her empty grunts and groans aren’t enough to fill the silence of a house meant for three. The tornado dips and dives, making trees quiver and root crops bend to its will.
The mother sits down, her back straightening as her chair holds her up. She pours a drink into the cup across her dining set. It is so full of shiny colors compared to her bare one, but she will not be eating tonight. The tornado responds to her impatience, peeking from a netted window and shrieking.
The mother cries out and her hair lifts and her lips are pushed back with the staggering force. Her padded fingers grip onto the table and her feet plant themselves on the polished floor. The tornado binds flesh with air, bones with gust, and soul with cyclone.
The mother weeps as her son sits on the chair opposite hers. His skin is pallid and stiff, his eyes dark and weary, but this is her son — an early grave and a shovel in the late. The tornado dies to the steady beat of her heart, pulsing and fading.
“Now,” she says, “Son, won’t you eat your cereal?”
The mother watches her son as he spoons his chipped, coffin-worn teeth from the porcelain bowl into his mouth, and drink his blood from his milk cup. He speaks.
Andrea Salvador lives somewhere in Asia, specifically a country with thousands of islands and constantly humid weather. She is a self-proclaimed writer with a liking towards creating lists, watching sci-fi movies, and rearranging her bookshelf.