My chest grows warm seeing him smiling like that towards me, because of me. No one has ever been this happy to see me before and the tears threaten to start back up again. I quickly wipe my eyes with the dress sleeve and try my best to hide half my face with my flowers. Crying in front of all these people, I'd feel embarrassed.
We reach Kyle, his dressed in a dark brown suit with a little black bow tie. He looks handsome in it, it's an older style so I assume that it belonged to his father just like this dress belonged to his mother.
"Here, Son" his mother smiles and places me in his waiting arms.
"You look so beautiful, Izzy" He whispers pulling me tightly for a hug before we hear a cough and I look up to see a very old couple standing in front of us.
"We will get started now, everyone finds your seats if you haven't already expected for those who are handling the meat" chuckles the older man.
"We are gathered here today to witness the bond of these two young people, being in love. I'm so happy to be able to see another person join our family. The family just keeps growing and it is so amazing. This is exactly what we had in mind when we first started it many, many years ago. Our friends would be proud to see this place now, I know we certainly are." The older woman ends her speech, with a huge smile on her face.
"All of you already know how this place came to be but I still want you to listen, it's always good to have a reminder and dear Izzy here needs to understand the reason we choose to live here," the older man says.
"About 75 years ago, my wife and our friends lived in a small town a few miles from here. My wife and I owed a little family grocery store and we were making it just fine until some hotshot from the city came wanting to buy up all the land to make a vacation place. Most people sold out easily and went off with all their money, which to me, my wife, and our dear friends just wasn't enough to give up our family values. It was like selling your soul to the devil and we wouldn't budge, but that came with a huge price. The more that moved away the less we had to visit our stores or companies that my friends owned. Our businesses were all taking a huge hit and so was our home life."
For someone that's struggled my whole life, I understand that, so many times I went to bed hungry only being able to eat at school. I always had to make sure I was on time for all the school meals to have enough time to eat everything on my plate. I never wasted food.
"The bills were getting heavier and heavier till we couldn't possibly make enough to pay them, we ended up having to close them all day to survive, but keeping our businesses going so long drained our bank accounts and that didn't leave us much to survive on. One day a young man came onto my farm where we had all gathered to come up with a plan, the boy was rude and laughed about the way we were living so my son who was a teenager at the time picked up a hammer and slammed it into his skull. "The man pauses, looking around the other members of the family.
Jeez. Why do I feel bad for this old couple and their friends, part of me thinks they should have just sold and all of this wouldn't happen but another part of me understands. They didn't want to give up their lives to a rich man rubbing his money around thinking he was better. My two friends used to do that all the time. Each birthday and Christmas they made sure to always show me what they got rubbing it in my face each time because they knew I wasn't getting anything.
"My friend, his name was George, some of you may remember him. He suggested we try to cook the meat, he had lost his daughter because they couldn't afford the proper food to keep someone healthy and he didn't want to lose his son and wife. I agreed with him and I was the hunter in our friend's group, started to strip the skin of the boy and we barbecued the meat for the first time. We were nervous. What if it made us sick? Could we possibly eat another human being? All of that was running through all of our heads while the meat was cooking." The old man's voice trails off.
When I first tasted human meat I didn't even know the difference, to be fair I was sick but it kinda tasted like chicken to me.
"Of course we ended up liking the way the meat tasted, and we were so relieved that us and our children got some proper protein that night. That's when our tradition became a must. We knew others in the town wouldn't understand, we knew we could get in trouble for doing that. A few months later, we were only killed when necessary but the police started asking too many questions. Another friend of ours and his family owned the land to this mountain. We all moved up here, took everything we could pack up and moved to the mountain.
That must have been tough having to leave everything you knew behind, that's how I would always be feeling growing up with foster family's. I would get used to one and then suddenly have to move to another. Never knowing where I was going or if it was a better or worse situation than I was previously in.
"We started in just tents, those days were tough, in winter those days were almost unbearable. We did everything we could to do to stay warm, lit campfires all around us. We would hunt and skin wild animals for the furs to keep us warm, that summer though the men made a difference. They started to cut down trees to make us log cabins, they started very small but throughout the years, we added to them. It was a very rough start indeed but, just look around at how far we came. Look around you, my family and see how free we are. Look around you and see how safe we made this place for you all" the older woman gushes out as the women and men in the clan clap loudly for the older couple who look so pleased with themselves.