by Joanne Steel
I have delayed publishing this story for a few reasons, one main reason is that I am scared, I am scared of this family, scared of what they are capable of doing to me, to the people in this town, I firmly believe that the Hathian Observer is here to report the news and not to spread fear while doing so but, there is no other way to report this story except to be honest with you the reader, to let you see this story through the eyes of its protagonists, and for you be scared of what that can and will do to people they see as outsiders to their family, and this is their story.
The Story Of A Family…
There is a family, currently living in Hathian, called the Hoppers, also know due to family relations as the Hopper-Masons. And what follows in a little while is their story.
I thought there was no way I could write this, knowing what I knew about them, about their story as told by the different family members that I and my colleagues have encountered. I had my orders on what to write, but, a duty to you the reader. “The Hopper/Hopper-Mansons are a family” is as far as I had gotten.
However it would be remiss of me as the writer to not write an article, to try to frame it in some sort of context as this story will not only be quite harrowing to read, and shocking but may also make you want to reassess the opinions of some of the people I am about to talk about when you understand the kind of lives they have been born into and the manner in which they have been bought up to have a different view of the World and its morals, and while we may view them as monsters, to them what they do is purely is about survival, for them individually and for their family.
It all starts with …
June 21st 2021 – A man looking for his family
I was stood outside the Observer taking a break when he approached me, he was intimidating to look at, and for all intent purposes had one of those looks to say “I’ve seen shit you can’t imagine.” To begin with, we seemed to be having a fairly normal type of conversation, the man was looking for the family he had lost track of and wanted me, once I had confirmed I was a journalist after his asking, to write an article to help him put him back in touch with them. All seemed fairly normal and in a way, it seemed like the sort of stories we as reporters like to cover, something to warm the heart and to restore faith in humanity. This however was soon shattered as the man, who had introduced himself as Mr. Hopper, but that his friends called him ‘Bug’.
“Well it’s like I said, I have a story for ya to hear. It’s a story about family, but importantly, the values of what having a good mask might offer.” ‘Bug’ Hopper
I will use Bug’s own words to describe some of his backgrounds though I must WARN you in advance that what you are about to read is graphic in nature and deals with subjects and events that some will find offensive.
“My story began several years ago, I was a teen when my girlfriend at the time became pregnant, and without having a parents blessing, had to wait a few years until we were married. We lived together out on Milestone Ranch, inside of a farmhouse on many acres, we had cattle and made money by often selling cattle. It was hard to keep my wife from leaving the house, so I had to keep her tied to something, usually the bed, where she later gives birth to triplets. Even after that, I made her stay in that bed, and I took care of everything else. I raised the kids, I cooked, I cleaned, and I tended to the farm until those kids got old enough to do the same. My wife became bedridden because I couldn’t trust her…”
“My worst mistake to date. I began to use her body for my purpose, and inevitably, that destroyed her after the last birth she gave. I did my best to keep her alive, fed her, cleaned her, but I never let her leave the bed. The child was born with some sorta’ weird-looking disease, so he didn’t last long, died in my arms, could do nothin’ to save him either. In fact, most of the kids grew up unruly, something wrong with each of ’em, three kids and no way to teach ’em how to read, write, were never enrolled into school because like myself… I had to keep them in the same box my foster parents kept me in. You see, when I was born, I was born out of incest. My sister was raped by her brother on several occasions… then I came to be, placed into an orphanage and just randomly tossed out to the first person or persons who were willing to take me.”
“So, I was raised in an abusive household, made to wear a godawful pig’s head, and I was experimented on by my dad.. experimented on in the military when I was forced to go. I ended up being a wreck, and somewhere in between, lost my mind. I thought I could keep people, animals, alive. I even had a pet cemetery where I thought the storm could bring those dead animals back, all the roadkill. Even when my brother died, I thought the same thing, but when it didn’t work, it broke me down. It was my own accidental fault he died, fighting over a mason jar full of liquid… acid. Anyway, fast forward many years, and my kids have had kids, one or two got married, had kids. We lived out together on that ranch for a long time along with the Mansons… had to learn how to hunt, clean, and live.. all we had was one another.”
“Every chance we had, saw someone who didn’t belong out there in this world, it was an easy take… it was easy to take in a stray.. so we put them to work. If they didn’t like us, couldn’t fit in, they made for a good, sweet supper in the end. I showed my grandson, who quickly became my son, how to sweeten ’em up, had to get every one of ’em right. Well, I was drunk one evening and did another stupid thing, burned down the farm while messing with matches drunk off my ass. Lost some family in there, I couldn’t save after blacking out, no telling who all survived it.. but after hearing there were survivors, and then some, living out on their own already… I saw them. Their pictures, most with defects, ain’t pretty, neither smart. I got the looks, but not the brains… but I always tried to support my ugly family because I knew what I was, and that sickness don’t die.”
“Our face becomes our masks, but when we slip another one on our face, we become who we were born to be. Hunters. Destroyers. Hoppers. We live for peace, love, and understanding any rest of the way, we pick our crew wisely, and we band together. But,” he sighs, “It’s been a few years even since I last saw ’em. I want to send out a letter, anonymously. Tell them, Grandpa’s here.”
Over the next few days and weeks I would come across different members of the Hopper/Hopper-Manson family, each seemingly broken spiritually, physically, or mentally till they follow the mantra that Bug had instilled in his family that unless you are one of them you are only fit for breeding or eating. I made efforts to avoid them, taking different routes to head home, crossing over the road, or turning back the way I’d just come, all to avoid them. It does beg the question though of, Are the Hoppers, evil? mislead? or maybe manipulated by a man that has brainwashed them into believing his ways are the ONLY ways?
All I can say is that as someone who has lived and still works in Hathian that they scare the b’jesus out of me and I want to try avoiding them for my own safety and sanity