"Mommy and Daddy live in a suburb of Chicago, Mount Prospect to be exact. They have three kids; Martha, age nine, Donnie, age seven, and Dolly, age five. All three of the children have sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. All three children have baby fat covering their bodies, plumping their faces. They have well fed frames. A white fence wraps around their front yard. A small gate swings both directions allowing people to walk through easily on their clean walkway to the front door. Beside the gate is a mailbox, which has the appearance of a birdhouse with barn red sides and a miniature shingled roof in dark blue. The grass of the front lawn is a perfect lush green and manicured to a T. Their two car garage contains a minivan and a classic restoration car that Daddy works on in his spare time.The house is brick with a front door made of warm oak. They have a brass doorknob, a fashionable small knocker with the letter ‘C’ engraved on it, and a brass plated doorbell. A mat rests before the entrance of the door, it says in large font “WELCOME”. When pressed, the doorbell sounds out in a peaceful manner; a hearty tone fills the house non-invasively, but adding to the atmosphere that there is someone to greet. When stepping through the threshold of the front door into the front hall, burgundy walls and rich wood floors soothe the eyes and comfort the soul. Gold accents stitched through the dark red furniture brighten up the place while lamps hanging from the walls provide light. To the left is the living room in a very similar manner as the front hall. The walls are the same burgundy, and the couches are dark red with deep purples and gold trim working together to make a lovely collaboration. A fan with three lights hangs from the ceiling, providing a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day. That was not today. Today was cool on its own. In one corner of the living room stood a china cabinet made of mahogany and old glass; it held the various wedding dishes that Mommy and Daddy had received and collected over the years. All a matching set. White dishes with gold braided along the trim and pastel flowers painted in the center of each one. Crystal glasses sat next to each set of dishes, three different sizes for different kinds of drinks. In the corner across the room sat an entertainment cabinet made of similar mahogany as the china cabinet. It had glass doors on the sides which held receivers and various movies that the children liked to watch. All were tidy and kept in their proper alphabetical place. There was not a single smudge on the glass of the doors. It was all very pristine. On top of the entertainment center rested family photos: the children as babies, Mommy and Daddy’s wedding pictures, group photos of the family all wearing white against a blue-lit background and smiling fakely. Small statues of angels were systematically places amongst the photos. Their kitchen is impeccably clean. The stove is white with no stains. The oven is scrubbed every day by Mommy. She makes dinner in the kitchen every night serving exact portions to her family. A cupboard is filled with perfect stacks of Tupperware that has never been used, all of it pristine and untainted. The dishwasher is filled and run each night and in the morning the dishes are placed back in their spots. Every meal is served in the adjoining dining room under an elaborate crystal chandelier. The Mahogany pedestal dining table sits solidly with five chairs set around it, one chair for each of the family members. There are never guests.Mommy and Daddy keep their children on a schedule. Everything always stays in order. The children wake up at 7:00AM to get ready for school. Daddy drives them to school on his way to work at 7:45AM. Mommy works around the house all day between watching her soaps. She makes a snack for the children to enjoy when they get home at 3:00PM. The children are free to play until 5:30PM when they must be in their spots at the dinner table. At 5:45PM Mommy brings the food in and Daddy sits down. At 6:30PM dinner is finished. Everyone brings their own plates to the kitchen where Mommy loads them all up into the dish washer. At 7:00PM the children do their homework. At 8:30PM they huddle around Mommy and Daddy so they can pray with their children.“Thank you God for the food we eat, the friends we make, and the things you allow us to do.” Mommy recites.“Thank you God for brothers, and sisters, and mommies and daddies.” Daddy finishes.The children then give their parent each a kiss and Mommy and Daddy bring them up to their rooms. They each have their own rooms. They have their own twin beds each covered in the child's favorite color which they are tucked into. Then Mommy makes sure that all of the toys are off the floor, and that the dirty clothes from the day are put in the laundry chute. The children have their clothes for the next day laid out on a chair. Mommy tells the girls a story while Daddy tells his son a story. Lights are shut off and nightlights with stained glass are turned on, casting colors and beautiful patterns across each room. Everything is perfect in the family. All is immaculate and clean down to every last corner in this house. The children lay falling asleep while Mommy and Daddy walk back down stairs where they sit watching a single show together. It lasts from 9:00PM to 10:00PM.At 10:15PM Mommy and Daddy each put on a pair of surgical gloves. They put on face masks and caps to hold back their hair. They slip into scrubs and grab a key hidden on the top of the cabinets in the kitchen, right above the Tupperware. They go to the one door that the children aren’t allowed to go through. They unlock the door to the basement, flip a switch for the lights to turn on, and descend down the steps. The basement is quite a different place than the rest of the house. It’s musky and smells terrible. The door is sealed completely to keep the smell from escaping and the whole basement is soundproofed. There are no windows to offer any light in the day down here. The cement floor holds stains from many different sources. It is opposite to the comfortable, clean place above. Mommy and Daddy keep their toys here; sets of surgical knives, stainless steel tables, children who were alone for just a moment in the park.The age of the child that is in the basement is differs depending on the day or week. It depends on how Mommy and Daddy feel at the time. Usually the child is between the ages of 8 and 12. They are rarely from the same place twice. Mommy might drive to a city 2 hours away to find a good pick, while on other days they can find a child chasing a rogue ball down the street. Daddy has brought home children he has found while on business trips.Today’s child is a ten year old boy. Mommy found him in Lincoln Park. He wasn’t supposed to be there. He hadn’t told anyone he was going to be there. He had wanted to go see an event that was going on. Mommy had found him first. He is 81 pounds heavy and four foot two inches tall. He is classified as overweight. He is strapped to one of the tables and has been for two days. He has soiled himself and reeks of filth. He starts crying as he notices Mommy and Daddy coming near him.“Please let me go. I promise I’ll be good! I’ll never do anything bad ever again! I won’t even chase the cat!” The boy sobbed. “He seems in desperate need for this operation doesn’t he?” Mommy asked rhetorically.Father nodded. “I believe we can make him more comfortable if we take a look at his lungs.”“Yes," Mother agreed, "his lungs.”Mother and Father split up and each stood on a side of the boy. They each had a set of their own surgical knives resting on rolling carts. Mother picked up a pair of scissors and started cutting up from the bottom of the boy’s T-shirt to its neck. She removed his shirt from his body in shreds. “Please! No! I’ll be a good boy!” The child bawled.“Don’t worry; you won’t be uncomfortable after the operation.” Daddy reassured as he picked up the first knife he had decided to use. It was a smaller knife with a very sharp blade. “No! Don’t!” The boy screamed.Daddy ignored the boy and made his first incision into the boy’s abdomen from above his sternum through his navel and stopping at the lower waist. This was a messy midline incision. The small knife that Daddy was using didn’t manage to cut all the way through the boy’s layer of fat that covered his body. Daddy had to repeat the cut to make it all the way down to the level he wanted to reach. The boy had been given no anesthesia and was screaming rather loudly, but Mommy and Daddy knew that their basement would keep in the sound and were not bothered by it. Daddy followed his first two cuts with lower quadrant incisions that ran perpendicular through the first under the naval. Daddy’s final cuts were the two upper quadrant incisions which started about 3 inches from the top of the first incision running at about a 45 degree angle with the ribs. He folded back these flaps of skin and opened the boy’s chest up. Mommy pinned the corners of the skin to other parts of the boy’s body. The top two flaps were pinned to his shoulders with small pieces of metal. The bottom flaps were pinned with similar pieces of metal to the boy’s hip area. The center flaps were pinned to the boy’s side. He was now completely open for Mommy and Daddy to play with.Mommy surveyed the boy’s insides as they moved and swelled and blood flowed over onto the table. The boy himself looked down and saw what very few people get to see, his own organs. His screaming became weaker as blood gushed onto the floor. He started to hyperventilate. Daddy pushed away some of the organs so he could reach up under the boy’s ribs. Mommy was poking and prodding various parts of the boy’s insides.The boy was a picturesque model of human anatomy. Only plastic models ever get made to look like this, but they don't scream. The boy wasn’t being a proper model for them. His breathing was hard and he struggled against the braces that held him to the table. He was growing very weak. Finally he stopped screaming and his head fell back down against the table. “I think we are losing him.” Mommy said with a smile.Daddy pulled out the boy’s lungs and held them in his hands. He watched as their inflating struggled. He took out another knife and severed the lungs from the boy. After a moment the boy finally went limp. Daddy placed the lungs he had removed back inside the boy's chest."All better now." He sighed with a smile and a feeling of accomplishment.Mommy and Daddy pulled out a length of the boy’s intestines to feel. They were slippery against her blood covered gloves. She rearranged his organs in a fashion that she felt was better, alphabetizing them in his chest starting with the appendix. She carefully detached each of the organs and replacing them into his body. Once she was done Mommy and Daddy unpinned the boy’s skin and sewed him back up. His body was stained with blood.Mommy and Daddy unstrapped the boy. With one on each side still they both lifted him up. Daddy took grip under the boy’s arms. Mommy held the boy’s legs. They took him over to their pottery kiln. It was cold to the touch now, but once they turned it on it would be a raging incinerator. They tucked his body inside carefully. They pressed his legs up to his chest which had sunk in quite a bit. His arms were set on top of his knees as he was hid away inside the kiln. The tattered remains of his bloodied shirt were also fetched from the table and tossed in beside him. He sat inside with the top of the kiln open, a doll in a box. Mommy and Daddy closed the lid of the kiln and set it on a mid fire level. In a few hours the boy’s body would be nothing but dust. Which they would sweep out and toss in the garbage right with the remains of tomorrow night’s dinner.“Next time we should find one with less roundness than him. He’s going to take a while more with all that thickness on him.” Daddy suggested.“It would be nice to find one with more sensible skin. Something more playful and tanner would be nice.” Mommy added.“Yes. It would.” Daddy agreed.They busied themselves with sterilizing their toys, organizing them back into neat orders on their trays. Mommy sprayed down the table and floor. There was only so much that water could do though and signs of past blood remained. The pink water flowed across the table, off the edge and onto the floor. It seeped into the drains and out of the house. It joined all the other water from the neighborhood hiding its source.Mommy and Daddy went to the stairs. They stripped off their scrubs, face masks, and caps then discarded them in a bag. They ascended the stairs, opened the basement door, turned off the light, and locked the door back up again. They hid the key back in its spot. They went and took showers, Mommy first then Daddy. After their showers they each put on flannel pajamas. They brushed their teeth and walked together to their bed. They got undressed, got in bed, and both said, “I love you”, and went to sleep. Tomorrow they would have to start looking for a new child."I told my son this story as he lay in his bed. He shivered under his covers and looked up at me with eyes filled with tears. His knuckles were white, grasping his blankets, pulling them up to his chin. I swept his brown hair from his forehead and gave him a kiss."I love you son. Good night." I closed his door behind me. I walked down the stairs and found my wife. She handed me my gloves and cap and mask. We grabbed the key from the kitchen and walked down one more flight of stairs.