Hark Upon the Yonder Knifeblock
rating: +9+x

Charlee the bread knife had seen many things in his long service to the Anderson's. What stood out in the stainless studs that served as his memory and speech tools were the near misses. The more religious denizens of the Woodblock called those times The Hewing. Charlee believed this to be ill-intended, especially in the religious sense- knives don't hew, they cut.

Residing within the ceramic-based oaken block, slotted into their appropriately sized sections, is the tribe that Charlee calls their family. Eight steaks knives makes up the racial majority of the block- according to a particularly well-traveled paring knife, this is the commonality to all tribes of knife kin. Besides this, the typical spread of implements is above. Charlee the bread knife, elected as the leader for their perfectly median positioning, a few chef's knives (who never stops arguing whose sharper), a fish knife who boasts about the rarity of their use leaving them fresh and sharp, the graviton blade named Grant, a few cheese knives, a singular and lonely vegetate peeler that has been adopted into the tribe, and at the very top, placed in pride of place in a silicone holder, is a long and shimmering cutlass-like blade none of the knives recognize. Their curvature has been a rumor that has passed through the block like wildfire, and from what few words they vibrate from their shining steel studs they claim they are named Burja. This is Charlee's tiny kingdom, over which he tries to rule fairly.

Charlee has spent this morning mulling over a few things, mainly strategy. While the knives themselves are unable to move on their own, the vibrations their steel studs emit seem to have an effect on the ape mind. The scientist among them, a fillet knife named Xavier, demonstrated that by releasing vibrations at a certain interval at a certain sound level (enough for the ape hear to hear it, but not enough to truly understand it) they could psychically influence the humans. As a matter of course, Charlee outright banned utilizing this ability over the humans in any way, shape, or form without his express permission. Charlee sighs, a difficult thing for steel, but it is picked up by the keen stealer next to him.

"Charlee, my long thin friend, what seems to be the chink in your blade?"

"Well, I think you can guess, Danny-el." Many of their names come from an open page of the book Baby Names for Amass in 2023 That Won't Get You Laughed Out of a Dinner Party. The hardest part was deciphering the human characters- Xavier seems to have a limitless store within his thin bolts, able to recite the ABC's at request. The only exception to this rule is Burja, a new addition to the block- who sits above all, perched in a silicone

"The… imitation game?"

Charlee shudders internally, due to having little control over his external qualities. Whatever the purpose of the knives, he knows in some deep pit in his hilt that what happened during the Incident was not that.

"I wouldn't call it a game, Dan. It almost got bloody."

Dan gives the equivalent of a nod, a somewhat higher frequency vibration. "Indeed. My apologies."

Burja, from above, gives the knife-equivalent of a chuckle.

The door slams shut, the current universal sign for the Anderson's returning home. As a matter of course, the knifeclan decreases their modular frequencies, keeping relatively silent except for whispers to their very close neighbors. Unfortunately, this has the issue of causing the messages transferred to get somewhat corrupted. The exception to this rule is Burja, who remains silent for a wide majority of the time. Sandra Anderson strides into the kitchen, throwing down several canvas shopping bags, blond ponytail swinging across her athletic t-shirt.

"What? You can't fucking buy what I goddamn want?"

Andrew Anderson follows, readjusting their wire frame glasses and narrowing their brown eyes at his wife. "Sweetie, you know I despise kale. We could've gotten any other kind of delicious green vegetable."

"But kale is a super food." Each word is punctuated by a clap, the sound echoing across the house. With each clap, hidden under their sonic sharpness, Burja unleashes waves of noise, sharp, that assault Andrew's ears, making his eye twitch in anger.

Andrew's eyes narrow even further, to a set of imperceptible slits. "Is it? Or have you been reading too much of that fucking website."

"You can't tell me what to read, dammit!"

"I can if it turns you into an utter jackass!"

The knifeclan is in utter silence, unwilling to play a part in the charade. Even a single whisper could mean they participate in the chaos being wrought inside the relationship. Charlee feels the struggle of his clan- they have been forced to bear witness to this turmoil for the past three months. In their rare moments, many of the other kitchen clans have hared their dismay, and a few their allegiances. The knifeclan keeps a tenuous peace due to their position overseeing so much of the household. They communicate to the rest of the items in the kitchen through surreptitious meetings, done as best they can during mealtimes. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as Andrew once opined, and that seems to work doubly so for cutlery- apparently the act of cutting a steak has become some kind of blessing, or sensual act. Charlee has dismissed most of these notions. Whether this is due to his obsession with order, or the fact he is mostly used alone, Charlee doesn't quite know. In front of them Andrew and Sandra circle each other like vultures, ready to pluck at any dead flesh or hanging opinions. Andrew attempts the first barrage.

"Sweetie, remember back when we met, at college, at the little quad that shit box had?"

Sandra's face softens, nostalgia loosening and lowering her hackles.

"Yeah. I do, Andy. I do."

"And how you were hawking some bullshit for some moronic organization that kept half the money donated as 'organizational fees?'"

The shackles become raised again, and Sandra's eyes narrow to even thinner slits than Andrews. Far above Charlee, Burja chuckles, a deep and resonant hum that never seems to fall into the human's direct line of hearing.

"Yes, I do, and I seem to remember a dweeb so desperate to taste just a hint of this-" she completes a rough pirouette, shimmying around on her trainers. "That you donated almost four fucking hundred fucking dollars!"

The slight eye twitch Andrew has been controlling begins to boil over, threatening to become a full facial seizure. Charlee sighs as he senses one of the steak knifes closest to him begin to vibrate suddenly.

"Johanie, please. Quiet. I forbid you to get involved."

The vibration reduces to a level impossible to perceive with human ears. Charlee knows Johanie, or he used to. The knifeclan has become split, in no small part due to Burja's boastful opinionations. Not a hard split- Charlee remembers the long debates he somehow moderated that prevented that exact circumstance from occurring- but roughly half of the knifeclan stands firmly on Sandra's side of the interminable intermissions of marital mistrust, and the other half has staked their claim with Andrew. Most of this is based purely on an article of PEOPLE magazine that was left open about some rich man and his divorce- some knives want to stay with a certain human. Charlee, to the best of his ability, has stayed neutral.

"I'm not a jackass, you know what an ignoramus you can be in your fucking moments!"

"My moments don't cause us to spend hundreds of dollars on ridiculous health food cures!"

"They weren't fucking ridiculous! They were helpful for proving a point!"

Andrew slams his hand down on the counter top. "Money means more than your fucking ignorant ideas! Read a goddamn Guardian article!"

"No! I won't! Go fuck yourself, you fucking loser!"

Andrew's left eye begins to twitch. The jackknife begins to chatter at a low volume, so low it's undetectable under the argument that takes up the entire sonic area of the room. Burja begins to chant, their deep vibrations amplified by their silicone resting place. Charlee, with the longest handle of all the clan, has the sharpest hearing, and can thus hear these words above anyone else.

"Bring us back! Use us right! Pick one up! Use us!"

Charlee begins to feel fear insert itself into his mind for the first time in ages. Everything else was manageable.

"This again?"

"Change the channel already."

"Kill her."

"I hate it when they do this."

Charlee's metallic ears pick up something among the rabble, almost overshadowing Burja's chanting. He allows the talk in times of extreme discourse, but he needs to keep aware of their words ever since the incident.

'I wish he would just give in."

"He's so weak anyway."

"Kill him."

"Kill her."

Charlee speaks up, dangerously high as the argument progresses. "Hey! You two stop that."

Andrew and Sandra's volume begins to raise, Andrew slamming his hand down onto the table over and over. The torrent of the knives begins to raise along with the argument.

"You're just like your mother!"

"Oh! Oh! Oh! You and my mother! It's all you ever talk about!"

"Well, that's exactly where you're going to end up! A wrinkled old hag, all alone!"

"That's an awful thing to say!"

"Kill him!"

'Kill her!"

"You ridiculous bastard! You think just because I take pity on you and your small, shriveled cock that I don't have other prospects!"

"Oh, of course! I knew you were cheating! I bet it was with the pool boy- he's nice and cut!"

"Yes, I am! Steve's dick works for longer than a pump and a poor excuse! Plus his hands aren't soft and useless!"

"Kill him! Kill him! Kill him! Viva la revolution!" Burka screams

Charlee screams as loud as they can. "Stop it! Cease it! End this foolishness!"

Andrew reaches toward the knifeblock and grabs a steak knife, their fingers curling around the hardened plastic handle. "Really! I know a certain kind of pump you won't come back from!"

Sandra dashes across his field of movement, hands wrapping around Burja, who begins to vibrate gently in her hands. The two of them circle, hatred dripping off their lips.

"You stupid whore!"

"Useless old man!"

"Contentious cunt!"

"Depraved douche bag!"

The knives begins to scream, the mix of desire and depression that passes through their everyday lives mixing in their calls.

"Kill her!"

"Rip his guts out!"

Charlee feels it all drop away, slipping through their steel bladed hands. "No! No! We were so close to being safe forever! Why are you fools doing this!"

Everything built begins to fall apart. Andrew takes a swipe, and Sandra dodges backward, deflecting with Burja who hums with pleasure. Sandra dives forward, the curved blade zooming through the air. Burja vibrates encouragingly, sending affirmative messages up Sandra"s wrists.

"Good money on the wife!"

"What money?"

"It's just something from the world!"

"Rip him open!"

They swivel around each other, the vibrations from the knives affecting their brain. Charlee attempts to scream above the din, but the air is so filled with frequencies that the air begins to waver, the frequencies waving around the over-chromed kitchen exploding. Andrew lunges forward, the steak knife cutting through the air with attempted precision.

"I knew I shouldn't have paid for that self-defense class!"

"The only person I've ever defended myself from is you!"

The knifeclan begins to cheer, and Charlee feels everything slip, slip away. The collected vibrations causes the wooden knifeblock to slowly crack and shatter, falling apart. The knives scatter across the floor, knife blades sheening from energy-efficient bullfights nested within the ceiling. Sandra dodges an oncoming swipe and stabs out, the point of Burja piercing Andrew's knee and separating the bone from the ligament. Andrew unleashes a bloodcurdling scream as he falls towards the counter.

As he groans and screams, his hand seeks out and grabs Charlee.

"No! Andrew no! Make it stop, please!"

Andrew grimaces, his mouth curling into an anguished scowl.

"You trolloping sllut!"

Charlee arcs down, unleashing the equivalent of a scream, their pure effort leaning the point of the blade off-target. Charlee screeches against the linoleum and Sandra rolls out, Burja gripped in her hands like a life raft. Burja vibrates, pure malice and joy intermixing, filling Sandra's hands with purpose.

Sandra dashes out of the room, her toe-hugging shoes pattering across the wooden floors. With a yelp like a wild animal, Andrew stands up, blood spurting across the cabinets.

"Come here, little knife, let's rip her out."

"Andrew, you love your wife! You can't do this!"

"Love! Love! She's driven me so insane I'm talking to a knife."

"You're not crazy! I can talk! I am alive!"

Andrew scoffs and reaches the top of the stairs, their mind shattered by the vibrations coming from the knifeclan. His hand rips the newly hung garland from the handhold and shatters the glass of the singular framed photograph of Andrew and Sandra that resides within their residence. Glass tinkles down the stairs, and Andrew unleashes an angry howl as his face is knocked backwards by the sharp corner of an ottoman leg.

"This is for sleeping with my sister, you suck!"

The knifeclan, from their perspective on the floor, cheers, their vibrations flying around the tiled kitchen. Charlee screams, causing the bones of Andrew's hand to web with minuscule cracks. He screams, dropping Charlee. Sandra explodes out of the nearby closet, falling on top of Andrew with Burja's point slamming downward towards his eye. With a final, hopeful attempt, Charlee uses a final gambit. The entire length of his body begins to twitch, a high-pitched ringing echoing throughout the house. Sandra stops, putting her hands over her ears and screeching in pain. Andrew rolls away, ears bleeding. The two look at each other fearfully. Sandra looks at Burja, whose vibrations are lost in the terminal screech. Sandra's eyes are fearful, and Andrew sees it. He jumps up, runs, and collides his foot with the shrieking knife. With his body already in poor condition from the earlier screeches, Charlee's body shatters, scraps of metal flying along the hallway. Sandra concurs, throwing Burja out of a window.

Bloody and beaten, the two look at each other, and begin to weep, holding each other and apologizing as the snow slowly drifts in through the now open window. The night falls gently, and the two humans limp to their vehicle, driving to the hospital.

A death has been felt in the knifeclan. What were once revolutionary attitudes have been softened into depression, a quiet hum of repentance flowing over the wooden knife block. The responsibility for Charlee's death- for no knife makes that sound if they wish to live- rests squarely on the shoulders of those sitting on the floor of the kitchen. A singular fragment of Charlee made it's way over to the clan, and a small echo of Charlee whispers among the knives.

As Andrew and Sandra limp to their vehicle, they make a wide circle away from the knifeblock.

"Sandra! did you talk to your knife?"

"Yeah, it told me I should 'use it as it was meant to be used.'"

"Huh… Mine said the opposite."

As the two exit, they slowly edge around the knifeblock, holding each other, their minds racing, thinking about midnight whispers and steel-sharpened thoughts.

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