The Ritual – Short Story

He sat there crouching down in the wet grass, waiting for his dad to say go. A bead of sweat ran down his back. He followed it in his mind as it made its way between his shoulder blades and down the small of his back. He tried to move his knees to regain some feeling in them. He felt the damp grass soaking through.

Everything over the last 21 years had led to this one moment. His dad had assured him that this New Year he would start with a new regime. This year, his resolution was to become a better man and follow in his father’s footsteps.

He remembered how he had panicked three weeks ago when Dad had discovered the animals. His beautiful zoo. How he panicked his dad would take it away and worse still send him away. Instead, his father had put his arm around him and called him, a chip off the old block. Now here they were father and son, side by side about to embark on their first joint venture.

David knew that this was his opportunity to make his father proud. His resolution, to pay his father back for all the faith he had in him. Again he shuffled to gain some warmth into his bones.

Laying in the grass watching the family move around their home David’s excitement grew. He could feel it in every fibre of his body. He felt himself start to get hard at the thought of what this evening was going to provide.

Tonight was the night he would make his dad proud. Tonight he would show him that all his teaching over the last three weeks had not been a waste. Tonight was the night that he would become a man.

Short Story

After his father found the animals, all sewed into their clothes like a scene from Wind in the Willows. He had smiled and walked his son into the study. Dad’s study was the largest in the house. It had oak bookcases round three of the walls. In the bookcases was a treasure trove of classics and first editions. The fourth wall held a huge window with shutters. In the centre of the room stood his fathers oak desk and chair.

Once in there his father had shown him his collection. His father explained how much more fun it was to torture people, than animals. He showed him the videos and the range of equipment he used. Last he showed him his amazing collection of teeth. All had been extracted from the victims before they died.

David stared at his father’s collection with awe. The secret he had been keeping for all those years had finally released itself. He no longer needed to be afraid of his true personality, because his dad was exactly the same. They were two identical souls living in different bodies.


Dad waited a further ten minutes making sure everything was quiet. He then tapped his son on the shoulder and sprang across the lawn. The boy followed his father, trying to work the feeling back into his legs. His father charged through the front door without stopping.

short story

The couple looked up surprised, they were sat at the table eating a romantic meal. In one fluid motion, the father hit the guy hard in the head and grabbed the woman clamping his hand over her mouth. Fear showed in her eyes, which made the father and son duo come alive.

It took the father ten minutes to get both of the couples taped to a chair. He secured them in separate rooms, all the time he talked through the steps like a manual. His son followed him around making mental notes of everything his father said. He had done well at school, but on this subject, he was going to excel

Once the couple were subdued the father went over to his son. Placing the bag down in front of them both he opened it.

 “Pick three son.”

The boy chose three tools he had used previously with his zoo. A stick, a screwdriver and a blade. His father took him into the study where the woman was tied. The chair had been moved to the centre of the room and now contained the struggling female.

“She is for you son, you will never forget your first so have fun. Make sure you take your souvenir and watch for the moment when the pain gets so bad her soul leaves her body. Then you know you have mastered the torture.”

“Where are you going?” David asked.

“Next door to have my own fun with her husband,” he chuckled as he walked out of the room.

As the door closed the boy look at the instruments in his hands and smiled. A man in so many peoples eyes, but an apprentice boy in his fathers. Now was his time to make his father proud.

He selected his first tool, the screwdriver. He walked towards the woman throwing it from one hand to the other. He thought that this would make him look cool. Hearing the woman whimper and cry he felt his excitement grow.

He started to touch her knee with the screwdriver and he saw her try to force her legs together. The boy chuckled to himself, he didn’t want that.

“I’m looking to go a little higher than that,” he said.

He raised the screwdriver to her eye. He was pleased to see his hand didn’t shake. He could feel his heart racing and hear the blood flowing through his veins as he put pressure on the screwdriver.

At this point, he was interrupted by screaming and tortured cries.

The woman recognised the sound of her husband and started to cry. His father had started to play. The screams and garbled cries echoed around the house. Every new one was louder and more intense.

short story

The boy loved the sound and bathed in it like it was a fine orchestra, he swayed to the music. Standing stroking the screwdriver over the woman’s face he listened. He listened to the screaming from the other room and the whimpering woman in front of him. The boy got higher and higher.

As soon as it had started the sound seemed to stop from the other room. The boy awoke from his trance and looked at the now petrified woman and the screwdriver in his hand. It was his turn to be the conductor of his own orchestra.

At that point, the door opened to the study and in came his father. He was covered in blood and smiling. In his hand, he carried three teeth.

Walking over to the bag he took a jar out and added the teeth to it. He looked at his son and then at the woman sitting in the chair crying, but unhurt. The father raised the pistol out of the bag and put a shot straight between the woman’s eyes, silencing her for good.

“Come son, not everyone can kill on their first time. We have to go. Never spend more than 30 minutes in a house, that’s the rule.”

“But Dad, I could have done it I was distracted.”

He was angry with himself for mucking up his first trip with his father. His cheeks glowed red with the shame of failure.

“Next year will be better, it takes time son.” His father smiled down at him putting a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “We have to go, get your stuff.”

At the time the boy didn’t believe what his father said.

Every New Year’s Eve this would become their new ritual.

Every New Year the son resolved to do better.

Ten years later he mastered the torture and the apprentice boy became the master.

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