“This was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives,” Mother says over the phone. She has been on the device for the past two hours, gossiping and receiving information on today’s incident. Today was the wedding anniversary of our neighbor. We had known them for 5 years since they had first moved here. Nothing out of the ordinary surrounded them. Their twin boys, Mark and Matthew, both attended preschool with my little sister, Diane, before their sudden change to home-schooling. She often spoke of them as very quiet and uninviting of anybody in their friendship circle. Besides that, nothing alarming was noticeable around them. The Cuments have always been just that, private and deeply reserved.
“It’s the ones you don’t know that cause all the troubles in today’s society,” the woman over the phone, supposedly Mrs Winter, says to my mother who nods her head agreeing. Do I agree? Maybe - was the only answer I could give. It was true that the Cuments have always kept a low profile and never took part in the neighborhood activities, but some could argue that they were just introverted and didn’t want attention. Mr. Winter - who had worked for the same company as Mr. Cument - had told his blabbering wife that the Cuments were heirs to a large sum of money and had special connections to their CEO. Anyone would distance themselves from people who only noticed them because of their wealth. But for today’s incident, I didn’t blame society, I blamed them.
“To think they spent so much money on the wedding anniversary,” Mother exclaims as she slumps into the recliner. The Cuments had thrown a sudden anniversary party. As far as I knew, nobody from this town thought they would be invited. Those, most like our family, were in disbelief when the posh-looking invitation arrived. Mother had described it as the biggest and most expensive event this town will ever experience, even ordering new clothes just for the occasion. But as most could imagine, not everybody was invited, including the Winters. It was strange but became visibly noticeable when Mrs Winter pointed out that the Cuments had invited a limited number of people from this town. Her exact words sounded more like jealously but had made enough sense. Mother had then minded her own business when it came to the Cuments, hoping to possibly end up on their good side. So yes, this anniversary meant our family had to dress and behave as royalty. Even Diane had dressed up superbly, making it obvious that she had the hearts for one of the twins, which mother highly encouraged. Both me and dad had looked decent enough wearing our church shoes to match my branded new dress and Dad’s rented suit.
“And your family had been one of the early guests, which meant you must have seen everything from the beginning?” Mrs Winter’s words revive the obscure memories of today’s event. Our family was among the first guests to arrive. We helped with the arrangements as things were running late but mother had opted out claiming her knee pain was acting up again, but I knew she was making excuses not to move chairs in her $1000 Louis Vuitton dress. Mr Cument had been silent throughout the entire process. Constantly staring at his wife and making idle conversations with those who approached him. Even dad had tried making small talk with him, but it lasted for less than a minute. The more guests arrived, the more distant the Cuments became. Their twins either sat down quietly or talked with limited children at the party. Mother had praised them openly, even suggesting Diane join their home-schooling program. It wasn’t the fact that Mrs.Cument rejected the offer, but rather the way she said it. Nothing about it was polite; very unlike the cultivated Cuments. Her words were plain insulting, “I don’t want my twins just around anybody’s family. I have trained them well and I will not tolerate any corrupted child around mine,” she said nothing after that and walked away, leaving mother at her verge of tears. If not for Diane falling into the water fountain, mother would have had no other reason to flee as she did.
“That I had followed the woman around and even helped her get dressed still sends chills down my spine,” the way mother addressed her as ‘the woman’ brings another question to mind: Did Mrs Cument even deserve to be called by her name?. After mother had brought Diane back from the bathroom, she immediately suggested we go home. Her quivering lips, runny nose, and cracking voice were proof she had been crying. Dad was hesitant to leave. The food here had been unlike anything we have eaten. Diane had voted to go home too and broke into tears when she was opposed. A minute had passed before she composed herself, wiping her tears with her small hands. An uncomfortable atmosphere lingered around us before Dad reluctantly agreed to leave.
“Her husband was no better,” Mrs Winter remarks, but this time mother shakes her head, disagreeing. Our family was about to leave, and then it happened. Screams and gasps escaped the guests as Mr Cument held his wife at knifepoint, the blade inches from her neck. His words were a dark fury as he yelled at everybody to step back. His wife was the opposite of scared. Instead of panic, her eyes held irritation as she pushed his armed hand away before stepping aside, “Don’t be a nuisance, James, people are watching,” she said. Her husband hadn’t budged, rooted in place, he had pushed his wife into a corner. Plunging to the ground, she glared at him. “You always do this, Kimberly. All you care about is your image and your reputation. Doesn’t it bother you that you have killed Kimberly; killed actual people!!,” his voice was pure rage as he spoke. The whispering had grown louder over the clicking of people’s phones. Sirens had been within earshot before she spoke again, “I have done so much for us and this family. James, let’s not ruin it.”.
Mr Cument chuckled yet his voice carried sadness as he spoke “You have turned this family into psychopaths, Kim. I can’t watch my kids grow into monsters, I won’t let it happen”. Mrs Cument then busted into laughter at her husband’s words. Subdued into giggles, she stared at him, “but you are not so innocent, Honey,” she said before her husband lurched at her, screaming as he pierced the knife into her chest, stabbing her multiple times before the police dragged him away.
“But those poor twins. What will happen to them?” Mother gasps at the phone. The twins had seen everything, yet hadn’t reacted like most would expect. They had simply stared at their mother’s corpse until a police officer had taken them away from the scene. Mr Cument resisted as they took him into captivity, stole a gun from one officer, then held himself at gunpoint. “Tell my twins that daddy loves them,” were his last words before he pulled the trigger. Paramedics rushed to the scene, attempting to revive two lifeless bodies. Investigators questioned everybody present, then had instructed a therapist to all the guests before they were allowed to leave.
“Oh my, today has been a long day. Sleep is what everybody needs,” mother says before cutting the call. She looked over at me, then at Diane, who had refused to sleep alone tonight. She calls Diane over and sits her on her lap.
“Are you okay, sweetheart?” she asks her. Diane reassures her by nodding her head. Mother then sings her a bedtime song.
Diane, reluctant to sleep, questions mother, “Mom, why did Mr Cument kill his wife?.”
Mother looks at me for an answer before improvising on her own, “Because she was a bad woman, remember how she had shouted at me at the party.”
“But mom, I think he killed her because of me.”
Shocked at her words, mother sets her down, “never say that sweetie, it’s not your fault Mrs Cument died.”
“I think it is. When I was at the water fountain, I talked to Mr Cument and asked if I could marry Matthew. He said he would talk to their mother about it, but in the meantime, I could go propose to him.”
“But that has nothing to do with their death,” mother says while stroking her hair.
Diane pulls away, “But it does. I asked Mr Cument why he needed permission from his wife and he got angry at me.”
“People get angry all the time Diane,” mother says almost shouting.
“No, but this time he was super angry. He called Matthew over to me and just walked away. Matthew even asked me why his dad was angry. And when I had told him, he pushed me into the water mom and Mr Cument saw him do it.”
“Oh, honey, come here. You did nothing wrong, and It’s not your fault. That family had problems of its own, and it was about time they all dealt with it. Diane, you are a good girl, so please forget about what happened.” She comforts Diane with a hug as she sits on her lap again.
Title: The Cuments
Genre: Fiction, Suspense, Drama
Age range: 13 - Up
Word count: 1549
Author Name: Saraphin Yamba
Why your project is a good fit: My story talks about society and their views and how expectations can sometimes be deceiving.
The hook: “It’s the ones you don’t know that cause all the troubles in today’s society,”
Synopsis: Seen from a third-person narrative, the story talks of a so it seems perfect family called the Cuments. The Cuments host an anniversary which ends deadly as the Cument’s dark secrets come alight, revealing their broken family to the society that once praised them.
Target audience: Parents and Teens
Your bio: I am an aspiring author who has only ever written on sites such as Wattpad...etc.
Platform: Social Media
Education: Junior in High School
Personality/writing style: Narrative
Likes/hobbies: Reading, Writing
Hometown: Cape Town