Chapter OneI like my corner. It's good to sit in when I'm keeping the Incompletes company. It has a worn out blue and red-striped rug, a faded green beanbag, and a lamp. I usually keep the lamp on, even though it doesn't do the most of the Incompletes any good. That's because a lot of them don't have eyes. Usually, the eyes are the first thing Dad takes. He knocks them out, and then he takes his special scoop and soon, they don't have eyes anymore.
The few Incompletes that DO have eyes, well, they're missing some other feature. Like Joey - he's still got eyes, but Dad sliced his tongue right off. Or Martha - Martha's eyes are still there, but none of her fingers are. Dad chopped them off first thing.
Joey, Martha, and all the other Incompletes are tied up, lashed against the wall. There's a rope around their waist, chains around their ankles, and cuffs on their wrists. The walls are covered with them. Dad needs to stop collecting, but from the way he explained it to me, his collection will be complete soon; he just needs one more pair of everything. But that's what he says every time. He's like a child. "One more pair, Mommy!"
His collection needs to be complete, he says, and everyone else can be Incomplete.
I remember when he first started collecting. He was driving in town, and he cut someone else off. The driver that he'd cut off gave Dad the middle finger.
"Fingers are not meant for that," Dad had muttered. "He's misusing his fingers. Fingers are a privilege, and he abused that privilege! He doesn't deserve fingers anymore." When he said that, a queer look came over his eyes. "He doesn't deserve them..."
That night, he left for an hour. When he came back, he was dragging the unconscious body of the man who'd flipped him off. Dad had taken out his trusty knife, and ten little chops later, the man was fingerless. Dad tied the man up in the basement and left him there. After that, if Dad saw anyone that was "misusing" a body part, he made it so that they couldn't use that body part anymore. It was mostly children that he captured. Children, Dad said, were the most likely to use a body part in a bad way. After the first guy that gave dad the finger, Dad brought home the unconscious body of a little boy that had bitten his sister. When the boy came to, all his teeth were gone and he was tied up in our basement.
The next day, he explained it to me over breakfast. "I collect bad body parts, Kiara," he'd said, sipping his cup of coffee. "I collect body parts that have been used in a bad way, making them tainted. I like the feeling," he paused to think. "The feeling that I have power over all these body parts that have been naughty."
He had smiled at me. "Well Kiara, sweetie, we don't want them using any other body parts in a bad way, do we? They've done it once, and they'll do it again."
I believed him for a while - until one day, when I was 8, I was hanging around in the basement when I saw a young girl that had gotten her feet cut off. She was bawling. "All I did was step on an ant!" she sobbed, rubbing her eyes with her cuffed hands. "Just one ant! Mommy sent me to my room and then I saw Daddy outside, but when he turned around, it wasn't Daddy, it was somebody else! And he held up a lollipop, and lollipops are my most favorite thing, so I climbed out my window and then.. and then my arm hurt and suddenly I was asleep and when I woke up my feet had disappeared and I'm cold and hungry and it hurts!"
That's all she'd done? Step on an ant? Her mother had sent her to her room as a punishment. And she only looked to be about six years old. I suddenly felt a stab of anger at my father. "Well, I'm sorry you're hurt," I told the girl. "What's your name?"
"Jenna," she'd wailed, and I could see that she was shivering, so I'd snuck upstairs and brought her a blanket from the closet. She'd whimpered when I put it around her, and then I'd had an idea. What was that she said? Lollipops were her favorite thing in the whole world? So I went back upstairs and brought her a big fat cherry lollipop from Dad's bait stash and she had eagerly yanked off the wrapper and stuck it in her mouth. Watching her that day, sucking on the lollipop and shivering under the blanket, that's what made me decide to rebel.
That's why I'm sitting in my corner right now, keeping everyone company. The number of Incompletes has grown over the 7 years since Dad first started his collection. Now there are over twenty Incompletes down here, ranging from Brent - the guy who'd flipped my dad the bird - to Laura, the newest addition, the tongue-less 3 year old who'd stuck her tongue out at her older brother. Jenna, the girl with no feet that I'd talked to that night, is 12 years old now. She's become my best friend in all these Incompletes.
And I think she's the one that's going to help me free all of them...