This short story is in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt: Story. There’s some irony in this, but I won’t go there…at least not today. The rules are: write for 5 minutes and no editing (although I can’t stop myself a little. I am an editor after all…and this one actually took me longer than 5 minutes. There are bossy characters involved. You’ll see.). I’ll see you on the other side. Hope you enjoy it.
Last night Mama cried out again in her sleep. The moans grinding deep into the floorboards until rising into a holler so sharp, it nearly raised the dead.
In the past, I might’ve gone to comfort her. Asking about her dream, smoothing back her damp hair. But she never did answer, the glass-eyed look never wavering until the rhythm of my hand on her head soothed her back to sleep.
I was eight the one and only time I asked her about the dream in the morning. The slap following convinced me to never ask again.
I might have believed her if she hadn’t looked so sad when she said it.
Mama’s story seemed to start with me being born during a howling storm, nobody there to help her or me. The rest of her was all swallowed up in the moonless night of her past.
I guess it wouldn’t matter much if her doc hadn’t found my number somewhere in Mama’s piles and called me. It had been thirty long years since I’d left—my own babies grown and gone.
Mama always said, “My past don’t matter a hill of beans to what’s happening in the here and now.”
But I couldn’t leave my past to rot in a barely liveable retirement village and I’d come home. To be honest, I’d nearly forgotten about the dreams. Maybe I would’ve left her had I remembered. But I was cursed to forget and stuck back home as much as I was when I had been eight. But there isn’t a protective service anyone could call for me now.
As a fiction writer, I had to grin at the prompt for the week—Story. If anyone could wax eloquently about that word, it has to be a novelist (and I have. In places like this: Backstory Life and the Not So Bitter End). But this character popped into my head and demanded an audience. She would NOT be quiet until I wrote her down.
Yes, I hear voices in my head. I’m told it’s normal for us creatives, but you’re welcome to look at me sideways…I’ll just write you into my next book 🙂
The strange thing is that neither woman introduced herself to me. I don’t know their names, and perhaps that’s appropriate since they are both so determined to hide themselves.
Maybe someday they’ll come around and say hello for real, but I somehow doubt it.
Photo credit: Pixaby