Fragment – Heart of stone

Without further deliberation she picked up Ida in her arms. Carrying her over to the draining board, she brushed aside the breadcrumbs and laid Ida down on her back on the granite. Choosing a butcher’s knife from the knife block, she began whetting it with long, powerful strokes. She felt a charge of strength and self-assurance surging through her. She was one of the chosen. She was the instrument of Ida’s will. The knife gleamed dully. She ran the blade between her fingers. Then she raised it up high, pulling Ida’s jumper up to her chin with her other hand. It would be an Easter celebration like no other. Behind her, on the kitchen table, lay the materials to make the Easter chicks and the bunny. And there were the eggs to be painted too, the children and she would do that together this evening. Suddenly she caught sight of herself reflected in the windowpane, poised with the knife in her hand. She gasped for breath. She covered her face with her hands, overcome with horror.

The knife clattered to the ground. Dazed she collapsed into a chair. She couldn’t keep her teeth from chattering.What had made her think that Ida’s death would be enough, did she have any sort of guarantee that her death would suffice to ward off the Evil One?
The devil himself had planted this heinous idea in her head. Satan was trying to trick her into taking some bogus half-measure in order to keep the rest of her family in his clutches. She began to sob desperately. Only when Frits and the rest of the children were dead, wrapped in the sanctity of martyrdom, would they be saved from the fires of hell.At first she balked, thinking, But I’ll never see Micheal lose his baby teeth. Kester has been saving up for a moped for nothing. Sybille will never marry; Ellen won’t go to university. Then her defiance evaporated, because weren’t those mere trifles in the larger scheme of things? Wasn’t it just her selfish mother’s heart talking here? Love – what a horrendously possessive thing that was. For what was the sacrifice of their life on earth anyway, compared with the dazzling eternal glory that awaited them?

Translated by Hester Velmans