The Children of the Killing Jar .pdf

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Tahlia  McKinnon  
The  Children  of  the  Killing  Jar  
 
The  children  of  the  killing  jar  live  in  a  vacuum  pack.  They  are  the  double-­‐glazed  
generation,  brains  basking  in  the  heat  of  best-­‐suite  splendor.  Their  bodies  are  made  up  
of  stale  bread  and  curdled  coffee.  When  they  smile,  their  grins  are  like  a  plague,  their  
sunken  eyes  advertising  ideologies.  They  spend  their  lives  selling  their  money  and  
making  a  profit  –  but  on  this  day,  as  they  sit  before  their  screens  in  silence,  all  of  a  
sudden,  they  hear  a  voice.  
   
A  voice.  
   
The  resounding  voice  of  prayer  and  it  rumbles  through  the  murk,  like  the  whump  of  a  
whip,  growing  more  and  more  impatient.  Like  salt  to  a  blaze,  like  zest  to  a  wound,  it  calls  
to  them.  The  air  grows  sharp  as  their  souls  dissipate.    
A  strong  vibration  fills  the  ears  that  no  longer  exist  in  the  physical.  The  landscape  begins  
to  shift  around  them,  the  cold  concrete  vanishing  from  beneath  them,  and  they  cannot  
move.  The  children  begin  to  burn  at  the  core.  Their  sunken  eyes  surge  with  tears  as  they  
attempt  to  squeeze  them  shut.  Like  fire,  they  snap  and  crackle.  Like  rust  and  bone,  they  
rot.  
   
Of  all  nightmares,  this  is  the  worst.  
   
Their  bodies  begin  to  swell,  ballooning  into  big  languid  limbs,  bloated  crusts,  prodigious  
husks.  Like  rust  and  bone,  like  rust.  This  must  be  a  test,  they  chant.  Maybe  we  are  
dreaming.  They  plead.  They  hope.  Hesitantly,  they  peel  back  their  imaginary  lids,  the  
unmanifested  flesh,  and  finally,  the  children  can  see.  
   
They  wish  they  could  not.  
   
The  children  of  the  killing  jar  are  standing  upon  the  beach,  the  sand  unwelcome  
between  their  toes.  This  is  the  first  time  that  they  have  seen  the  sea,  and  it  is  a  
treacherous  monster,  trying  to  grope  them.  The  water  bubbles  and  broils  underneath  
the  heat  of  the  sun.  The  children  stare  at  the  tawny  titan  as  it  turns  the  sloping  horizon  
into  soup.  
   
Here  they  stand,  alone  with  the  waves,  feet  sinking  into  the  sediment,  and  now  they  feel  
trapped  inside  this  killing  jar,  this  vessel  of  contempt,  drinking  in  their  own  fictions.  But  
they  do  not  cry.  They  do  not  scream.  They  are  used  to  dying  in  the  most  violent  of  ways.  
What  is  their  purpose?  Nobody  knows,  as  they  wear  so  many  faces.  
   
Their  bodies  begin  to  flake,  and  their  brains  begin  to  drip  through  their  noses  in  
violaceous  noodles.  But  they  are  stoical.  They  are  unwavering.  They  yearn  for  human  
touch,  but  as  the  unfamiliar  air  becomes  closer  and  closer,  their  skin  begins  to  pucker  
and  blister.  
   
They  will  never  grow  up;  they  will  never  get  older.  They  will  turn  to  ash  but  will  not  be  
scattered,  and  they  will  not  be  mourned  for.  Instead,  they  must  plant  their  truths  into  
the  soil,  and  then  coil  up,  like  little  slugs.  
   
And  in  a  flash  of  suburban  dust  –  they  are  gone.  


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