Flash Fiction – 2
Ok so here comes another one, this story is centered around a certain greek myth, I guess it’s not that difficult to guess it after you read it. As usual I’d greatly appreciate it if you could give me a couple of words.
In the spring that woman was dying.
She knew it clearly as she had been ill for a very long time, and her strengths escaped her with each passing day. She no longer could sweep the floors, or even carry the smallest of weights without help. But to her that did not matter, what mattered the most were the brain capacity and her ability to press the trigger. Every day she waited in front of her house sitting in her rocking chair and, with her jaws clenched, waited for him, for the moment when she would have to kill him.
In April she would have her chance. She knew he would come back for her, he had promised it years and years before, when she was still beautiful, somewhat kind and thought the world was a wonderful place. As the time came and she gave birth to him, everything changed. First was the shock when the doctors said she would not be able to give birth again. Then, another horrific surprise: the child was, in the eyes of the medical experts, a monster. Despite that, an abomination was raised and reared carefully, away from the contact of strangers, for they would have, without a doubt, killed him in a fit of both rage and fright. In their first years that did not matter and his appreciation for her was unmatched.
The child wasn’t evil, far from it. She cared for him more than any mother had cared for their offspring and she loved him dearly. What mattered if the child was deformed and had an inhuman skin? To her he seemed like an ordinary child. Plus he was smart and intelligent, liked to read and to help her in any way he could.
She was pondering how things had gotten to that point. Rocking her chair back and forth, the memories came to her.
The boy could not accompany his mother into town, he could not interact with other children, he had only the animals in the farm and the forest to play with; they would not judge him. Perhaps that is why many people are fond of their pets, as they do not care for skin color or religious beliefs, all forms of prejudice elude them. And so he played, explored, grew to like plants and nature and would spend a great deal of time in the forest, often staring at the sky and musing over the weird forms of clouds. Children have their way of making things fun and entertaining, even in the oddest of environments. So he was pretty much a very normal child.
Due, however, to her inability to talk about her child, she grew isolated. Rumors had spread all over town that her child had monster-like qualities and her ability to socialize with others grew smaller. No longer would her beauty be praised by the men in the town, she would no longer be welcomed at most houses, and she would no longer be able to haggle prices in the market. She had to settle for what she would be given, and that was her fate.
Resentment had grown. The woman knew she would also be deprived of grandchildren and would no longer have a viable heir to her farm. Nobody would even dare touch her child. That presented a problem; she would have to do everything outside the house by herself and had no other option than to hope that somehow her child would survive in a cold and unforgiving world, a world that would tear him limb from limb.
It was during his teen years that it happened. One girl had seen him in the farm chopping some wood and screamed her lungs out until she got home. Naturally her parents grew worried, asked about her erratic behavior and soon everybody spoke of how the boy was violent and started many other bloodcurdling tales. Talks about the mother being a monster were present too and, in an instant, she was shunned by the rest of the townsfolk, people she had known since she was a child, people who had laughed and cried with her, people who expressed the utmost joy when she was pregnant.
For more than a year tensions flared all over town, and not even her manners around the child were spared. Hostile words, small acts of aggression; something she’d never thought was in her. When he killed one pig she had been growing to sell, she had finally had it. In the most violent fashion she threw him out of the house. He pleaded and cried and begged his mother to reconsider, but she would have none of that. It turned out the boy thought he was doing his mother a favor and that the pig would feed them for quite some time. To think such an innocent act would instill his mother with that much anger drove him sad and he escaped towards the forest vowing to see her again, for one last time.
Those words inspired great fear in her. What did they mean? What could he have meant with ‘one last time’?
One day she went to another town and bought a pistol, for protection against wolves she said. The man did not know her, did not care about her suffering and aggravating condition and let her leave the store with it. The following years were spent with her waiting for him. Hired help had come from a nearby town, it was efficient help, which allowed her to make a living without having to barely lift one finger, she could focus everything she had on him. Years passed by slower and slower and she kept waiting for him. That one purpose guided all of her actions, justified all of her thoughts. The town and its people did not matter anymore; their words and rumors kept spreading, but no longer affected her. She would have been a witch, a sorceress, Satan’s concubine, the mother of all evil.
With time everything moves on, even the stories. Now in her senior years she was only considered the rich, half-crazy woman from the farm. Her employees knew what they were doing, and she paid them well for the job. To be rich did not matter, as her son, was it really her son?, said that they would meet. Throughout the years she had passed through different stages, first anger, then regret, then fear and now an uncontrollable paranoia that led her to many sleepless nights. Not even in her bed would she let go of her pistol, her only source of protection, her only guarantee of survival.
That spring was the one he came back; first as a small dot in the horizon, then as a black figure and finally one hundred feet away from her. His head and arms were covered in bandages, but that wasn’t the first thing she noticed. He had grown tall and strong and his clothes were not of a being who had spent his entire life in the forest, he no longer used rags, but a suit finely made and shiny shoes. Silence had surrounded them as neither knew what to say.
Deep emotion overcame her behind those tightly pressed lips and clenched jaw. She pointed her pistol to him as soon as he took a step forward.
“You now saw me one last time, take one more step and I’ll shoot you were you stand.”
He didn’t know what to do, didn’t know what his mother had gone through or what her thought process was. But he knew that she would kill him.
“Turn back and never come again.” Her words were powerful behind that frail voice and the pistol stood firmly in her hand, pointed towards his head.
Reluctantly he took a step back and began to turn around, but she did not rest and remained alert. She didn’t know what he could do, not after that threat made so long ago, and the fact he had waited for more than thirty years to exact his revenge made him all the more dangerous.
“If you turn around to see me one last time you will die, like the monster you are.”
He remained with his back turned, but stood still for a very long time. He began to walk away and after a while he knew he could no longer be targeted by his mother. He sat down in a log and began to unwrap the bandages that surrounded his head and arms. Throughout the years medicine had evolved, his skin now appeared normal and no longer would he be considered a beast. His mother would have been proud had she seen him.
One shot was heard in the distance and, sitting down in the log in the middle of the forest, he started to cry.
Another tragic tale, but let me know what you thought about it.
Have a great one!