Saturn, Inverted by Trinnity Sistrunk, revolves around Francisco. He and his friend, Thomas, are discussing a job opportunity that would require Francisco to be away from home for six months. Francisco hesitates because he doesn’t want to leave his 17-year-old daughter, Katherine, alone for a long time. Thomas tries to reassure him, pointing out that Katherine is almost an adult capable of caring for herself. Their conversation becomes heated, with Francisco expressing his frustration and reminding Thomas that he doesn’t understand being a father.
Eventually, they calm down, and Francisco reflects on his deep love for Katherine and his struggle to accept that she is growing up. Finally, he decides to consider the job opportunity and trusts that Katherine will be okay. Once Francisco arrives home, he approaches Katherine’s closed bedroom door, respecting her privacy but still wanting to be with her.
Francisco knocks on Katherine’s door but has yet to receive a response. Then, finally, he hears faint, unsettling sounds inside her room, and his protective instincts kick in. Francisco wonders if she has someone with her, breaking his rules. Francisco tries to rationalize the situation, acknowledging that it’s normal for teenagers to push boundaries, but his emotions overpower his logic.
He bursts into her room and confronts her about her actions. Interestingly, Francisco has lost his sense of smell due to a previous injury. However, upon entering the room, he is hit by a strong, unpleasant odor that even his damaged senses can detect. It is revealed that Katherine killed a boy named Brady and consumed parts of his body. Francisco discovers the gruesome scene and is left perplexed and disturbed.
As Francisco prepares to dispose of the evidence, he finds Brady, severely injured but still alive, amidst the carnage. Realizing that Katherine was defending herself, Francisco investigates further. He learns that Brady had been at their house, and Katherine confesses that they were kissing before she felt an intense hunger and began consuming him.
Francisco comforts Katherine, assuring her that he still loves and will protect her. He tries to get her to eat, but she struggles with the memories and the guilt. Nevertheless, Francisco persists, and eventually, the story ends with Katherine falling asleep in her father’s arms, finding solace in his love and support.
Saturn, Inverted, explores family relationships, violence, and the consequences of our choices. Finally, Trinnity Sistrunk delves into the complexities of human nature, exposing the darker side of human impulses and desires through her vivid storytelling.
Francisco is portrayed as a devoted father willing to go to great lengths to shield Katherine from harm. He instills in her a sense of discipline and accountability, teaching her important life lessons and guiding her through the challenges of adolescence. Sistrunk skillfully intertwines the theme of violence, “She didn’t just kill him. She fucking ate him. Cracked open his ribs and ripped him apart like a wild animal.”
Francisco’s protectiveness stems from his awareness of the dangers present in the world. He is acutely aware of the potential risks that exist, both external and internal, and strives to shield Katherine from harm. “It’s going to be okay, baby. I’ll take care of it.” He pressed his lips to her forehead, blood smearing from daughter to father. “I promise you,” even though he knows what Kathrine did was wrong, he is going to extreme levels.
Through Francisco’s character, Trinnity Sistrunk explores the intricate dynamics of family bonds, the shades of morality, and the complexities of human nature. In doing so, she delves deep into the dark pits of the human psyche, forcing readers to confront the profound choices surrounding the morality and lengths one would go to protect a loved one.
Jocelyn Rivera, editor-in-chief and contributing poetry editor
Read this piece in Issue 7 of Levitate Magazine!