“Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.” – Jawaharlal Nehru
Unless you want to be scarred for life like I am. Lol j/k but it’s seriously twisted!
Recently I read a short story on BlackBerry Kindle like 47 pages and it’s another kind of insanity. An insanity you don’t even want to think about.
It sucked me right in and reading it was thoroughly entertaining but then it just got insane. At the end I had one of those “DAFUQ DID I JUST READ?!?!?!” moments.
I’m going to write about it here, including the end so if you would prefer to read the short story before reading this then you know to click it off.
But like I said, unless you want to be traumatized forever, don’t. Lol
It’s a psychological thriller and in the reviews it is said to be dark and deeply disturbing. And it is!
It’s BEYOND disturbing.
It starts out with a mother helping her teenage daughter get ready for her prom, fixing her hair in front of a mirror in her bedroom, and her date is late showing up. The daughter is concerned that he’s standing her up and going with another person.
Her mother gets furious at this and spins the chair around that her daughter is in and yells in her daughter’s face that she is second to no one and the boy is probably just experiencing car trouble. Then in a split second the mother is back to her sweet self again smiling cheerfully at her daughter telling her that she’s the most beautiful girl in the whole county and everyone always knew it. That to me is a red flag right there that the mom may have some kind of issues going on getting furious in a split second to the point of screaming loudly in her daughter’s face then just as soon puts on a sweet smile and goes back to fixing her hair like nothing.
And the way she seems kind of obsessed with her daughter being “the most beautiful girl according to everyone.” It’s just weird.
The story switches scenes to where the girl’s dad is in a shopping mall. The wife is horrible to her husband and controlling and sent him out to find their daughter’s date or he would have to suffer her wrath.
So here the father is searching for a teenage boy to take to his daughter. I was confused at this point because the daughter seems to know her date, Josh, but it seems as if the dad is looking around for a random boy to take back.
Here, that’s exactly the case. Her father is looking for a random teenage boy to abduct!
And call him Josh. Even though he’s not Josh.
The dad gets the boy in a parking lot, drugs him with a needle and takes him home, forces him to dress in a tuxedo before going into the house.
The scene switches back to home where the daughter is getting ready for her prom. They live on a secluded farm in the middle of nowhere and don’t know anyone.
The mom answers the phone and is
relieved to hear that “Josh” just had “car trouble” and is on his way to pick up their little girl for the prom.
Here, the “daughter” is a mannequin! With a wig! Wtf?! And the mom switches roles. First she’s the mom and the daughter is the mannequin. Then the mom takes on the role of the daughter and the mannequin becomes the mom!
The mom put on the wig and became the daughter and was conversing with the mannequin who is now the mom.
Then the dad came home with the abducted boy who they call Josh. The boy is utterly confused (as am I at this point..)as the dad tells him to wear the tux, answer to Josh, and do whatever his “daughter” (who is really his wife) says. The dad says he’s not explaining anything to just do as he says because he has a gun and will use it if the boy resists.
The “girl” walks down the stairs calling for Josh and she’s wearing a dirty pink dress that is too small. She’s clearly not a teenage girl but a middle aged woman. At first the boy thinks it’s a twisted joke and smiles then quickly realizes it’s a nightmare of reality.
The “prom” takes place in the basement of the house and there’s no other guests. Just the abducted boy and the husband and wife who is pretending to be the daughter. The husband and wife act as if there are other kids there though but they focus mostly only on “Josh.” They have punch and music and decorations and dancing. They pretend there’s a room full of kids and talk on a microphone to the audience.
The boy begins crying because he’s so scared but the woman/girl assumes/acts like he’s just so happy and moved over the whole prom thing.
The husband is relieved at this because if the boy doesn’t cooperate, the husband will suffer his wife’s abuse for him not doing a good job.
Then they go into a small room and the girl/woman shows her date a photo album and in all the photos is a mother and real daughter. The mother in the photos with the real daughter is clearly the woman now pretending to be a teenage girl. The photos are mostly of them at beauty contests.
The little girl who is the real daughter wins the beauty contests every year, she’s holding a trophy in every photo. But soon she comes to look very much like her mom (the lady now pretending to be the daughter) who is considered less than pretty and overweight.
So she starts getting second, third, last, then no winning place. The mom is obsessed with beauty and being/looking perfect. She tries to force this on her daughter. The woman pretending to be the teenager tells her “prom date” about how her mom was obsessed with physical beauty always trying to force her to live up to impossible standards, claiming that the judges of the contests were just jealous or something.
Then she puts the photo album away and forces the abducted boy to engage in sexual activity with her. He doesn’t want to but the dad has a gun and threatens him.
So here’s a husband forcing a teenage boy to get it on with his wife! Who is pretending to be a teenage girl! Can you say, TWISTED?!
Something in the punch made it so the boy can be aroused enough to get it up even though he doesn’t want to.
Then they go outside and have some thing where they are elected prom queen and king.
Throughout the story the dad keeps reassuring the boy when he asks, that he will be let go and can go home at the end.
It’s a lie. They are planning on killing the boy.
It’s clear throughout the story that the husband is distressed over this whole situation and doesn’t want to participate but feels he has little say in it; his wife is emotionally abusive and forces him to do stuff.
It also becomes clear that this whole “prom” thing happens every year where the dad reluctantly goes and abducts a random boy, brings him home, he’s forced to engage in a “prom” and sexual things with the wife, then they kill him without anyone ever knowing.
Since they live in the middle of nowhere they’re less likely to get found out. No one ever thinks to look for the missing boys there.
I kind of guessed the end but got a couple things wrong. I thought it would turn out that years ago their real daughter was killed on prom night, I thought maybe a car crash going to the prom. And that the mom got so messed up over it she does this shit every year.
That’s kind of what happened but not quite.
At the end the boy wants an explanation since he’s going to be killed anyway.
So the husband tells him.
Five years ago on prom night his real teenage daughter was supposed to go to the prom with a popular boy named Josh. His daughter was unpopular and horribly bullied for her physical appearance and body weight. So when a popular boy asked her out it came as a shock but the girl was thrilled. She got all ready on prom night and Josh never showed up. So when she called him, he laughed at her and said all insults about her, said it was all a joke, that he would never go out with her, he was going with someone else.
She was devastated. Her mom showed no compassion and said it was all her daughter’s fault for not being good enough, for not being pretty, for being second to other girls.
So the girl ran outside and her dad went to run after her but his wife demanded him not to and said let their daughter think about what the mother said, that it will do her good or something. The dad reluctantly listened to his wife as he always does. Then later he found that his daughter hanged herself off the rafter things outside. He had to cut her lifeless body off the thing and watch her fall to the ground getting her pink dress all dirty. The pink dress the mom wears now for this freak show.
Then every year after that the mom set this up.
As the dad is telling the boy how his wife destroyed their daughter, he’s crying and says he misses his daughter terribly and how his wife couldn’t even show her some sympathy after her ordeal with the boy on the phone. He doesn’t even know why he goes along with this every year. He suspects it may have something to do with his own feelings of inadequacy that no one would ever want him, that he will always be alone. Years ago he always felt like that and was relieved that the girl who became his wife, wanted him forever. So he always did everything she told him to out of fear of losing her and being forever alone.
At the very end, the boy promises he won’t tell if the dad let’s him go, he says out of respect for his daughter he’ll keep it quiet. The dad is holding a gun to the boy.
Then the husband gets up, goes inside to the wife where she’s still pretending to be the daughter. And he tells her he misses their daughter so much. The wife looks confused since right now in her twisted head she is the daughter.
Then he points the gun at her and blows her away then does away with himself.
Bizarre ass shit, isn’t it?!
It’s sad and tragic and bizarre.
The whole thing.
Not an uplifting read.
And some things you just can’t unread.
No matter how desperately you want to.
My heart breaks for that poor girl who died, feeling as if that was the only way out, like she was worthless and not good enough. My heart breaks for the dad who lost his little girl who he loved. He was wrong for killing the innocent boys he killed all those years and for killing his wife. But his anguish for his tragic loss is clear. It’s only fiction but it’s still sad. And unfortunately, stuff like this really happens(suicide, bullying, abuse…hopefully not the prom thing as well).
I believe the wife knew exactly what she was doing. That’s why she had to get a mannequin and keep making it a point to reverse roles, switching wigs and all. She knew to keep switching and to have to get a physical figure in place of a mother/daughter. She knew to relentlessly criticize her husband if he did not do exactly what she wanted. She knew to keep the thing a secret so she wouldn’t be in trouble.
While mental illness and feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, being verbally/emotionally abused are not the person’s fault and no one can just make them go away, when a person struggles with these things, that person has a choice. A choice to seek help, to overcome, get better, pro-act. The man couldn’t help it that his wife was abusive to him and that he had low self-esteem but that is no justification for abducting people, drugging them, and aiding in sexually assaulting them.
It’s not the wife’s fault that she had unhealthy views about body image but it’s no justification for forcing her own standards on her daughter, emotionally torturing her ’til she killed herself. The woman could have worked on herself to shift her views to more positive ones. She was projecting her own insecurity onto her innocent daughter. She could have chosen love over the abuse and bitterness. It’s not her fault she felt the need to have a fake prom every year, maybe she had some kind of mental illness(???) but she could have got professional help or worked on herself with self-help techniques to help this. So it wouldn’t have all ended in tragedy. There may be real people out there somewhere with something like this, people who dress up mannequins and pretend they are real for whatever reason. If that’s just a hobby for fun it’s ok even if people think it’s strange, but if it’s the result of serious emotional problems I think they deserve some compassionate motivation to seek help of some kind and deserve some sort of understanding. This is just a horror story but maybe there’s real people with these sorts of disorders or something. And if there are, it doesn’t mean they’re all dangerous like the people in the story.
And the poor daughter. She was emotionally abused her whole life by her peers and her mother. But suicide isn’t the answer. It’s a tragic, senseless choice. There’s always hope.
Being bullied, humiliated, abused, depressed and suicidal is not a choice but acting on it by killing herself is.
She could have worked on herself to realize her worth and know it’s never dependent upon her physical appearance, her body weight, or what her mom or anyone else says or thinks of her.
There’s always hope. Where there’s life, there’s hope. There’s always a way.
None of these people took responsibility for themselves. They let other people, unhealthy views, situations control them into doing tragic and twisted things. I think this is a great reminder to take responsibility. No situation or other person has the power if we don’t let them. We have the power over ourselves.
I think this story isn’t meant to be thought provoking like this. It’s probably just supposed to be dark, twisted, insane, disturbing, thrilling. And that’s ok! Some people are into that kind of thing. I like some stuff like that too. But I still found some insights in the story that serve as great reminders. I’m happy I read it. Lol
We must know we have choices. Not realizing we have a choice can be almost as bad as really not having one but it’s not quite as bad as really not having a choice. We can learn we have a choice, be reminded, realize, see the light.
I think the only character in this story who really had no choice is the boy who was abducted. He had a gun held to him so basically he had no choice if he wanted to not be killed or threatened.
But he has a choice how to handle the situation and his attitude, and reaction when it’s over.
People who have a choice but don’t yet realize it or are scared and act/think like victims deserve compassion but also deserve to be firmly reminded that it’s all up to them to change their lives and selves. Depressed people, homeless people, unhappy people, financially struggling people, suicidal people, addicted people, ones in abusive environments, ones letting a situation or other people dominate them, people working dead-end, life draining jobs…they all have choices. Positive, healthy choices. They don’t always know they have choices but they do, even if right now the only choice is something as simple as working on their attitude or taking small steps to get out of the situation. Small but significant steps.
Maybe they don’t always know what decision to make but they can seek guidance along the way.
Not everyone has a choice to change something significantly right this very minute.
Not everyone is making conscious or intentional choices to get where they are.
But we can all make the decision to plan to change, our attitude or situation or both. Starting now. In small steps. Small steps are still significant.
And then we can work on that. For some it will definitely be more difficult than others.
Some people have more obstacles and disadvantages than others.
But we all have this life and twenty-four hours each day to do something. Something. Anything.
No matter how hard it is, people can change for the better. Even if it takes longer than desired. Even if it takes a lot of work. Even if it’s painful and seemingly impossible.
We can’t help how we grew up, the people we have been surrounded with, the things they do or say, disabilities or illnesses, job losses or rejections….but we can always make the choice to do something to better ourselves and our situations.
Even if that choice for now is just meditating upon or planning to live up to a positive philosophy of life, quote or affirmation.
Even if that decision is planning in our heads to develop certain positive qualities we don’t yet have or strengthen ones we do have.
Even if that decision is to make a phone call, send an e-mail, walking into a building to ask for help.
Many people feel that it’s cold and callous to say that certain struggling people have choices, that it’s not true, that it’s not being compassionate but none of this is true. It is being compassionate to help empower people to know they can get better, can take action, responsibility for their own lives.
To help people know that we are all dependent in some ways and can be independent in some ways if we really work for it.
There’s a healthy balance of gentle compassion and firm reminders of taking responsibility.
Some people really are cold and not understanding and and do criticize people in a toxic way when they have a choice but act like they don’t. But that’s not what I’m promoting.
We can be firm in reminders but still compassionate and loving and express deep empathy.
The choice to do nothing is still a choice.
Sometimes we can find ourselves in places we are unsure how we got there. It’s like we just ended up there with no say of our own.
But often it’s because of choices we have been making all along. Not always but often. Choices to do nothing, to settle, to take no action, to give in, to succumb to limiting beliefs. Choices to let other people and situations drag us down.
I have found myself in situations I was so sure I had no say in, no control over, I was a “victim” of sorts. But I later realized the roles I had in situations and what I can do now to begin getting out of it. If we realize we made choices that contributed to unpleasant situations then we can be empowered knowing that means we have the ability to make new choices that contribute to more positive situations.
If you make choices that contribute to unpleasant things then you can make choices that lead to positive things.
And it’s true we don’t always have choices for everything.
But whether or not we had control all along, right now the choice is ours.