All You Can Eat is a scary story about a young boy and his father.
When I was a child, my father always used to say, “If you kill something, you eat it.” I suppose that sounds reasonable enough, but my dad always took things a bit too far.
I remember the first time it happened. I was only 3 years old. I was stomping on ants. “Scrape them up and eat them, Son!” he growled. I wouldn’t do it. I cried and tried to run away, but he grabbed me and shoved the ants into my mouth, one by one. Afterwards, I threw up.
One day, when I was 4, my father caught me pulling the wings off flies. “You can eat them now or eat them later,” he said. I started crying, but he picked up a fly and made me open my mouth. Then, he dropped it in and forced me to swallow it. For weeks afterwards, I thought I could feel the fly buzzing around inside me.
When I was 6 years old, I made a bow and arrow out of a stick and a piece of string. I was running around the backyard, shooting arrows into the bushes when a bird flew by. I accidentally hit it and it fell to the ground at my feet. My father was watching at the window. “Bring it inside!” he yelled.
My dad made me watch as he plucked off all the feathers, cleaned the bird and gutted it. Then, he tossed it in a pot of boiling water. When it was cooked, he put it on a plate and set it down in front of me. It looked like a tiny little chicken. “Now eat it,” he ordered. Tears rolled down my cheeks. My father stood over me and made sure I ate the whole thing.
My dad wasn’t all that bad. He bought me a puppy for my 8th birthday. A few months later, he decided to teach me how to drive a car. As we were backing out of the driveway, I heard a crunch and hit the brakes. We got out of the car and when I saw my beloved pet dog, squashed under one of the rear wheels, I fell to my knees and burst into tears.
“You know the rules,” my dad said.
I started shaking my head and crying, “No! No! No! No!”
My dad picked up the dead dog, but I took off running into the fields. I spent the next two days and nights sleeping rough in the woods. I was cold and hungry, but I didn’t want to go home.
On the third night, I waited until it was late and all the lights were out. Then, I climbed in the kitchen window as quietly as possible and looked in the fridge.
All of a sudden, I heard my father’s voice coming from the darkness. “Your dinner’s on the table,” he said.
He flicked on the lights and nodded to a big platter on the table. There lay my pet dog, roasted to a crisp, with an apple in its jaws.
I tried to run, but he grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and pushed me down on a chair. I couldn’t stop screaming and crying, but he didn’t care.
Picking up a knife and fork, my father carved pieces off the dog and put them on my plate. He made me eat until I felt my stomach was about to burst.
Something inside me snapped that night. I couldn’t take it anymore. Then and there, I began plotting to run away.
Early one morning, just before dawn, I got dressed and packed a bag. Then, I quietly opened my bedroom door and tip-toed into the hallway.
Standing at the top of the stairs was my father. He had been waiting for me.
“Going somewhere?” he chuckled.
I tried to run past him, but he stepped in my way. I accidentally slammed into him and he lost his balance. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. I watched my father fall backwards and I reached out to grab him, but I missed.
He tumbled down the stairs, hitting every step on the way down and landed at the bottom with a dull thud. I ran down the stairs to try and help him, but it was useless. His neck was twisted at an odd angle and his dead eyes stared up at me. I started crying uncontrollably.
I was still crying as I switched on the oven and went out to the shed to fetch the axe.