Zero Naught learns puppeteering

Dave Mallisk By Dave Mallisk, 11th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Horror

An infant boy deserves at least an appropriate name after being born prematurely to a pair of alcoholics, Mr. and Mrs. Naught. The baby's life begins badly when they name him Zero because he's so small. As mean drunks, the Naughts frequently beat one another. Fortunately, they don't start hitting Zero until he's a little older than five years. By then, Zero knows he's a mental puppeteer.

Using my fear

My parents love to ridicule my stupidity (quietness) and weakness (thinness), but they cannot hit me as hard as they do one another. My fear protects me from all but the slightest bruising. When I'm extremely afraid, I can visualize an attacker's mind and control parts of it. For example, I am able to diminish any punch or slap from either parent. I don't consider my ability extraordinary, but I know to keep it secret because I want to stay alive.

Avenging my kitten

A neighbor gives me a kitten, whom I know cannot protect himself. Therefore, I keep him away from my parents. However, one night while I am sleeping, they kill him. Next morning, laughing at my tears, they show me his little, broken corpse. To soothe my rage, I immediately begin planning vengeance. When they are next drunk enough to scare me, I stare into Mother's mind and help her decide to shoot first Father, and then herself. I cry at their funeral only because I grieve for my kitten. Ignorant of my ability, the authorities place me in the orphanage.

Liking the orphanage

I like the orphanage because it's usually quiet, due mostly to the lack of screaming drunks. The food is bland, but I'm almost never more than slightly hungry. I stay away from the other kids because I know I must avoid anger. They ridicule my stupidity and weakness, but I simply stare at them blankly. Most soon grow bored and walk away. The one exception is a big, mean bully, whom I think of as Fat Breath. Sometimes, after the other kids walk away, he corners and threatens me. He usually frightens me enough that I can distract him by placing an image of hidden food into his subconscious. After he goes to the desk in another classroom, he finds no food to steal. He thinks the kid has already eaten the food, or moved it.

The kids have one another for company. The teachers confide in other teachers. Fortunately, I have the delightful maintenance people with whom I can have intelligent conversations. With them, I need pretend neither stupidity nor weakness. I can never commune with teachers because I must avoid the kids. I'm sure if allow myself to talk with my teacher, she will eventually demand I start participating in class discussions. I know I am dangerous to others, and ultimately to myself.

Rehearsing the play

Teacher walks in carrying a large, canvas bag. "Good morning children, today we prepare for tomorrow's New Year's play." She removes a cardboard scythe and a false white beard from the bag, walks over to me, and then places those props upon my desk. "Zero, I want you to play Old Year. Very easy. You say nothing. Simply walk onto the stage, and then stay until New Year orders you to leave." Without giving me a chance to protest, she returns to her desk.

Fat Breath snorts his nasal laugh and says, "Great idea to have Zero play Old Year. Only a retard can play a stupid old man correctly." The kids laugh with Fat Breath, validating his nastiness. Teacher needs to regain control. "Quiet! Try acting like little ladies and gentlemen! Zero cannot help being different." Teacher, you have no freaking idea how different. I can feel her looking at me, but I try to protect her by not looking back.

Teacher removes a cardboard clock from the bag, and then asks, "Now, who wants to play Clock?" The kids respond as their true selves, greedy little brats, whining "Me!" "No, me!" "Me!" "Me, Teacher!" "Me!" "Me!" "Me!" This nauseating farce repeats each time she asks for a volunteer for another part, such as Mayor, Band Leader, or Waiter. She dispenses appropriate props for all.

After threatening all other hopefuls, Fat Breath seizes the best part, New Year. Wearing his paper top hat and "New Year" sash, he speaks his lines correctly, simply ordering me off the stage at the end of the rehearsal. He does not ridicule me, but I see evil hatching behind his eyes. Teacher says, "I'm so glad to see you two are becoming friends." Are all adults so blind?

Presenting the play

Next afternoon, at the end of the actual play, Fat Breath departs from his official New Year script. Instead of simply ordering me off the stage, he gathers my shirt under my throat with one hand, lifts me into the air, starts shaking me, and bellows, "Old Year, you are dead! Time for New Year to bury you! Do you want me to kill you first, or bury you alive?" Finally, Teacher yells "Put him down! Now!" I detect he plans to throw me down violently, so I make up his mind to set me down gently. I then make him stagger backwards and apologize. "Sorry, Mr. Zero Naught. Also, I beg everyone to forgive me. I cannot help myself because I'm only an ignorant, obese, filthy rat. I'm too fat to bathe, but not to stink. I always speak, but never think."

As Fat Breath moves and speaks against his will, I sense he is attempting to break loose. If he succeeds, he will kill me before anyone can intervene. Remembering how well he responds to images, I project myself into his mind as an eight-foot Father Time. As I advance and raise my dull, cardboard scythe, he begins to sob because he sees it as sharp steel. I swing it at his head, but miss because he is already collapsing. He thuds onto the floor and remains motionless.

My first truly Happy New Year! The coroner says Fat Breath died of a stroke. Rare, but not unknown in obese children. I manage to cry at the funeral because I still grieve for my kitten.


Mental Puppeteering, Protection Through Fear, Psychic Abilities

Meet the author

author avatar Dave Mallisk
As a semiretired technical writer, I enjoy creating fiction and poetry that focus on potential variations in our known cosmic reality.

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author avatar Carol Roach
11th Feb 2015 (#)

wow what a story, it is really gruesome but well done

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