“We, Their Sons” | By Jeff Isacksen
This is an excerpt of Jeff Isacksen’s short story “We, Their Sons”. The full story will be available on October 25th on Amazon!
The past is the only way to make sense of the present, but sometimes it’s in so many pieces—that so many parts of it happened to someone else or didn’t happen at all—that my head hurts trying to put it all together.
Or maybe that’s the mountain air. Getting a breath of it feels laborious.
Built high above the city, the Retreat is a massive house of hard, wood walls and soft carpets, staffed by attendants with mild voices. They slip in to bring me food and change my bandages, and they turn two locks every time they leave. At all other hours, only the hiss of steam breaks the silence, pumped quietly through heating pipes that lace the ceiling.
Every fiber of my being calls for me to throw myself against the door, screaming and kicking and scratching, but I’m just too damned tired.
As I lie in bed and watch the shadows crawl along the walls, I wonder if I’ve always been insane. But then I remember my mind being chiseled away by too-hard blows, desperate to cleave me down to something perfect.
Everything breaks if you hit it hard enough, and that’s what my family did best—hit or break or both. Every last one of us.