Welcome to our very first Slice of Light column — our new column about writing, genre, and family
Slice of Life:
by J. F. Posthumus
As a parent, your life is full of unusual and unexpected occurrences. Sometimes, it’s so unexpected you have to later immortalize it in writing… after telling the story to all your family, friends, and the kids’ teachers.
Our two youngest children are Ky and Ollie (nicknames, admittedly). Although two years apart in age, they are often mistaken for twins. Kyis was born small, and Oliver may have been a bit larger than average at birth, his body grew larger rapidly. From the ages of 3 and 1, respectively, to 6 and 4, there’s only been around an inch and five pounds difference between them. We often joke that Oliver is always trying to catch up.
In many ways they are opposites. Even now, Ky is the “spotlight” child. Loud, deliberate, attention-grabbing, loves an audience. Olie is quiet, enjoys playing alone, prefers his personal space. Ky resembles his mother, Olie looks like the toddler years of his father.
Given their similar sizes, matching strawberry blonde hair, and identical noses- the latter two being gifts from me- it’s not difficult to understand why people think they might be twins. They have very different temperaments, though. Olie is often referred to as “the happy child”, since little upset him from early on. There’s a reason his brother was nicknamed “Kaos” before his first birthday. Temper, meltdowns, imitations of tv characters, and more.
The first indication of a temper in Olie came soon after he learned to walk. He had a mouthful of teeth and loved eating. It was no surprise that he learned a love for pizza early on. We let him and Ky eat in the living room back then. The coffee table was the right height for the boys to stand at and eat from a plate, so we let them.
Not long after Olie was able to eat food, Ky made it a habit to help himself to his brother’s servings. We scolded Ky when he did, certainly not encouraging such behavior. Often he was warned that “one day, Olie is going to come after the food you steal from him!”
On one Friday evening, Ky decided to resume this habit. It was pizza night, he’d eaten everything off his slice of bacon, mushroom and extra cheese, and he was eyeballing his little brother’s portion. At the moment, Olie had barely touched his slice. Deciding that his brother’s toppings were easier to obtain than a fresh slice from the dining table, Ky snatched the slice and stepped away.
Olie went straight at him. Moving with a stronger and more intense stride than ever before, he went for his brother. More accurately, Olie went for Ky’s bright purple eyes! Scowl set on his lips, fingers out like talons, the youngest went for those orbs to either side of Ky’s nose.
We, the parents, leaped into action, putting our bodies between the lads. One parent backed Olie away, the other scolded Ky and reclaimed the stolen provisions. A fresh slice was offered to Ky, which he accepted. The boys continued eating without further incident.
We laughed about it, but made numerous comments and observations about what our “little cub” was planning to do about that stolen slice.
Not too long after that, in the middle of a short story revolving around a family of magical (supernatural) beings that appear human, the incident was nodded to for literary immortality.
**A little background: this scene occurs in the short story A HUNTING WE WILL GO, found in Supernatural Streets. Chris and Curtis are out searching for a creature that buried a griffin femur in a local cemetery. This exchange happens after the creature runs off with Chris’ keys, which were used to distract the monster so Curtis could free Chris from a large, smelly hairball. The fellows are talking while searching for the creature and are horribly lost in the middle of a local national forest.**
Curtis chuckled, then said, “I bet that teacher is still in recovery. She looked like her whole world got flipped and said ‘boo’. That was wild.”
Chris felt his face drain a little, and his voice was a bit louder when he retorted, “The teacher? I’m more concerned with the little brat that took Olie’s snack and nearly got eviscerated! Bad enough that Oliver managed to pop fangs and claws in daylight with a waning moon. But he went for the kid’s eyes, first! When the teacher intercepted, he growled at her and then started slashing at the brat’s stomach! If the teacher hadn’t grabbed Olie, despite being freaked out, the kid’s guts would have been on the floor!”
Despite the serious nature of the story, and Chris’s tone, Curtis had gone from smiling to soft giggles. By the time Chris had stopped his review of events, Curtis was laughing hard and holding his stomach.
“The brat had it coming,” Curtis gasped.
A snort of laughter burst from Chris. He covered his nose and mouth with one hand, and giggled for a moment. Curtis pointed and laughed harder. Chris gave in and laughed with his friend.
Wife and a mother of five, J.F. Posthumus is an IT Tech with over a decade of experience. When she isn’t arguing with computers and their inherent gremlins, or being mom to the four younger monsters (the eldest has flown the nest and doing quite well on his own), she’s crafting, writing, or doing some sort of art. An avid gamer, she loves playing Dungeons & Dragons, and a variety of other board games with her family and friends. She’s also a hopeless romantic, thanks to all the fairy tales she cute her eyetooth on. They were what J.F. Posthumus learned to read before she discovered the Boxcar Children Mysteries. From there, she fell into the rabbit hole that’s reading, where she discovered a love for mysteries, fantasy, and the occasional romance. Since writing was a favorite subject, she naturally incorporated her love of murder, mysteries, and fantasy into her works.