My mother’s head
It was rare to find a moment of peace in my home, because when it did occur, everyone was focused on something else other than peace. Like an abandoned amnesiac, my mother would pace around the foyer day after day, mumbling incoherencies and clutching her wrists with an expression of despair. These odd movements were so common that their absence raised a red flag. So, I had no doubt that it was just another day at home. Although my mother’s habits were inconsistent and eccentric, it was a challenge to keep up with them all.
But that doesn’t mean she was an outcast. Aside from her odd behaviour, I saw a kind, loving parent who only wanted the best for her child’s well-being. Consequently, I chose to live in accordance with my upbringing and didn’t suspect a thing.
It’s true that I learned the truth the hard way.
After tucking me into bed, I asked, “What will happen to me when…when you leave?”
As she turned to face me, she bit her lip. “Y-you don’t have to worry about that right now. For a long, long time to come.” Her lips curled up in a small smile as she looked at him. Nothing will ever change the fact that I’ll always be here with you. Okay?”
My voice trailed off again as I said, “But I’m still scared.”
It was difficult for me to watch my mother struggle to hold back her own tears as mine welled up in our eyes. “It’s true for me too,” she admitted, “but we’re all in this together, right? “It’s just us two of us.” The moment she wrapped her arms around me, I felt incredibly safe.
She sat up abruptly, her face pale with fear as she shook her head. When she turned off my bedside lamp, she whispered, “Stay here.” Afterwards, there were more creaks and steps, and finally another murmur. Whatever you hear or see, stay put. When the door closed, there were two clicks before I realized what had happened.
I froze in my tracks.
I haven’t been locked in since when?
About a minute later, I heard a man’s voice and the front door opening. Despite the fact that I couldn’t understand what was being said, the throbbing pain in my stomach frightened me nonetheless. In my haste to find out who the stranger was, I slid down the bed and crawled toward the door. Immediately after leaning against the keyhole, I regretted my decision.
“What are you thinking, putting up with it for so long?”
“I’m sorry Enston, but you don’t seem to understand. This woman deserves a second chance at life! Hasn’t that been your goal all along?”
From that day in the hospital,” you and I both know that she’s been a danger to us. That two-faced freak you call a daughter, I’d rather you’d have been barren and alone!”
That’s when my heart stopped beating. Hyperventilating, sweat beads mixing with the tears I’d finally let go of, I began to feel dizzy.
Are they talking about me?!
My mother had always told me, “Your uniqueness is your greatest asset.” What if she had been using euphemisms the entire time?”
I felt a wave of unease wash over me. Everything in my head seemed to be spinning. In a matter of seconds, I was laying on the ground, my surroundings a blur.
I began to squint.
I was startled awake. I didn’t feel faint or timid. I was frightened, but also curious. On my hands and knees again, I made my way toward the door, trying to figure out how to open it without making a peep.
I just realized something. It only takes two clicks to get the job done. Lastly, there’s only one lock on the door!
Due to her haste and carelessness, my mother unwittingly solved my problem.
To test my theory, I turned the doorknob.
It popped up.
When I heard a high-pitched scream, I was on my way to the stairs. Mom!
“NO!” When I heard a drawer rattle, I knew something was wrong. “Enston, don’t force me to do this!” Suddenly, the voice grew louder, as if it were approaching the stairwell. “Don’t. Make me, please. This is what you need to do!” A tearing sound resembling a thousand butterfly wings being ripped off followed, a ripping similar to that of flesh.
I clenched my hands over my ears and squinted my eyes. This must be a dream! What a nightmare!
My head swiveled to the side. Against the landing wall stood a needle-thin woman with a pointed chin and a devilish set of claws, alerting me to her presence. A deranged grin covered her face, and her button eyes furrowed in the brief second I saw her turn her head to look behind her.
One of the shadows revealed a blob-shaped figure, staring down its opponent. When she didn’t see it coming it lunged at her, hissing and screaming. The needle woman fell down the stairs, but quickly recovered and jumped onto the creature, scratching its eyes out with one claw and plunging a second claw into its chest to finish the job. That’s when it grabbed her and swung her up the stairs, just feet from where I was hiding.
It looked like a marionette was slumped against a shelf in front of her. When she finally bent forward in an awkward position, her head turned backwards in my direction, she did so slowly but steadily. There was a sense of stillness in the air. There was a hush in the air.
She suddenly galloped toward me, her eyes gleaming with astonishment and excitement. In my bedroom, I screamed as I rushed to the closet and locked it, before running back into the house.
I huddled behind shoe boxes and toy bins, trying to keep warm. I huddled in a corner and shivered in the cold.
Across from me, a curved shard skated under the closet door. It was in my hands when I picked it up. Places I’ll never get to visit.
Sound of wood scratching metal grew louder like nails on a chalkboard as metal scraped and scratched against wood. In my throat, I could almost feel the pounding of my own heartbeat.
The doorknob was rattling as it was turned. I held my breath as I awaited the outcome.
It came to an abrupt halt.
As if by magic, the door flung open and flew off its hinges. Suddenly, all of the boxes and bins fell away, revealing my naked body. The woman was standing there, hunched over with an unnatural smile on her face.
While gripping the broken glass in my hand, I sliced it across her face, starting at her ear, then moving down to her neck.
She and I both stumbled backwards.
There was nothing but blackness and nothingness.
It’s time to get up.
I jerked up from my pillow, drenched in sweat, and stumbled to my feet. Suddenly, I was able to feel the warmth of my blankets as a source of comfort.
It was only a dream.
Taking a step back, I turned on my lamp. When I came to a complete halt, I was speechless.
The tips of my fingers were stained crimson.
I turned my hands over, hyperventilating, the contents of my dream still rushing through my mind.
It was then that I noticed a bright red smudge on my palm. I took a whiff, recognizing the iron scent immediately. This is a simple nosebleed. As I got out of bed and made my way to the door, I smiled and chuckled to myself. What a fool I’d been all these years. What a fool I had been to think —
“Unnh!” I stumbled over what felt like a bowling ball and smacked my face into the floor. As it rolled under the lamp, I turned around to see what it was.
I was frozen.
My mother’s head was on the table.