American Gothic

American Gothic

Brownstone house. White picket fence. Neatly cut shrubs lined up the way to the front porch of the house.

Welcome to the house of Mr. and Mrs. Q. A perfectly quaint little home in a quaint little countryside. Mr. and Mrs. Q lived alone- they spoke to no one, they didn’t step out of their compound, the kids of the little town will even swear that they never smiled- extra stress on the smiled bit, mind you. There were no kids in the Q household. Except a dog- a black mongrel that no one ever saw move- it only sat there by the steps- a ferocious growl permanently fixed on his face.

There were only two things every human being witnessing the Qs from the outside has ever seen them do- Mrs. Q cooking, stewing something in the kitchen, day in and day out. And Mr. Q contently cleaning away his slender aluminium pitchfork, day in and day out. There stood Mrs. Q, over the huge pot hanging over the huge fire, stirring and sniffing. There sat Mr. Q on the front porch, wiping away the pitchfork with such beloved dedication.

No one knew why one always cleaned the pitchfork and what he used it for. No one ever knew what the other cooked away with such religious delight. No one ever knew when the dog was up and running.

One day a traveller walked in at around tea time. He stopped outside the gates of the Q cottage and stared at it. He needed a place to rest and there were no motels in the town. All the other homes seemed too small and well, shut. Except this one. It was business as usual at the house. Everyone was exactly where they were supposed to be. He looked at the neatly cut shrubs, the white picket fence, the little dog sleeping, the old man…

Perfect”, says the traveller.

He enters. Mr. Q doesn’t lift an eye, neither does the dog. The traveller is a little unnerved by the silence. He looks at the fence, it’s rotting away from the inside. The shrubs are dying out. The dog doesn’t show signs of breathing.

He’s almost at the steps. He clears his throat and asks, “I was wondering if there was some rest and food here?” Mr. Q looks up, says brightly, “There is now”.

The traveller looks down, his foot touches the dog. Not even a hair moves. He looks up at Mr. Q, and that’s the last thing he ever sees.

Mr. Q gently but swiftly pulls out the pitchfork from the traveller’s belly.

What’s going on?” Interrupts Mrs. Q.

Nothing, honey. Dinner’s here” Mr. Q smiles as he lets Mrs. Q take over and resumes cleaning his pitchfork.

The dog stays there. Unmoved.

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