Wrote this from the view-point of a mother on her death-bed writing a letter to her daughter. Enjoy!
A heart monitor beeping rhythmically in the background goes unnoticed by me. The hustle and bustle of nurses outside my room does not reach my ears. I am too far away in my own world. Ever so slowly my life seeps out of me, with nothing but a slow and continuous drip of morphine to keep the pain at bay. My tired heart aches. I know she will not come. Busy with three beautiful children and a loving husband, she has barely a moment to spare. Why would she ever waste one on me? It is in between these morphine doses and what is left of my lucid memory that I write this to her…
My first cogent memory can be traced back to a sticky summer day. Mother was cleaning hastily, my father hated an untidy house, and in her rush she knocked over a vase that had been sitting flowerless on the side table. Hurrying to get a dust pan and broom she left her toddler, me, alone. I remember crawling over to the shiny pieces and grabbing a handful, immediately resulting in an ear-splitting howl as the tiny razors sliced and dug into my tender flesh. My mother flew back into the living room to find me bloody handed and bawling my eyes out. My young mind barely processed the flash of annoyance that crossed her worn face.
“Stupid child” She growled at me. “If you think I’m wasting my time to pluck every single shard out of your hand you’re wrong, not my fault you have no sense.”
Completely disregarding my inability, at barely three years, to rationalize that grabbing a handful of glass was stupid, she swiftly cleaned up the broken glass surrounding me and left the room without a backwards glance. Eventually I calmed down enough and somehow managed to pull a few of the larger pieces out of my hand. That day serves as my first clear memory of knowing I was on my own.
I should start by saying that I grew up as an only child. I also grew up as an only child that wasn’t allowed to have friends. School was my only solace, my only getaway. I should also state that I have learned that not all women should have babies. Some women just don’t have the “mommy gene”. My mother was one of those women. I don’t fault her for that. She never wanted a child in the first place. That doesn’t mean I don’t hold her accountable for all the things she did however.
I’ll give my parents one thing, they were never intentionally malicious – just simply inconsiderate assholes.
If you asked me what a vacation was I would most likely say “It’s a period of time that parents go away and leave their kids home to fend for themselves”. I had, in fact, never been on a vacation, nor did I receive any souvenirs.
Affection? Hmm…I’m not sure I know what that word is, even to this day. I can honestly say I have never been hugged, kissed or been told “I love you.” by either of my parents. You could say we weren’t a warm and fuzzy family.
Feelings weren’t allowed in my household. Rather, everyone else was allowed to have feelings except me. There was no crying, no throwing tantrums, no hormonal outbursts and heaven forbid I laughed too loud. The rule was: leave it at your bedroom door.
My father believed that hard work was character building. So naturally all house work and yard work was mine to do. My mother and father should come home after work and not have to worry about anything. I wasn’t kidding when I told my friends, the few I had, that giving children chores is the only legal form of slavery.
Every summer since I turned 13 I was to get a job. I started by babysitting, mowing yards, walking people’s dogs and house sitting. When I turned 15 I was able to work part-time at the local grocery store bagging people’s groceries and bringing in the shopping carts from the street. I made quite a bit of money. A shame I never saw any of it.
My parents opened up a bank account for me and made sure they had full control of it. Every month they would withdraw money as payment towards my room and board, also towards school clothes and school supply. Whatever money I made they kept, I never got an allowance either.
“It’s expensive to pay for you. You want something? Pay for it yourself.” They would say. I learned to go without the things I wanted quickly.
As I grew up and started dating and creating friendships I didn’t understand why all the relationships in my life failed. I soon figured out it was because I wasn’t capable of love. I didn’t know what love was. When I had you, you my golden-haired and green-eyed child, I was alone. No husband. No family. No friends. I looked at you in your infancy and felt nothing. I was numb. You were merely a hindrance to me. I had turned into the one person I once tried so hard not to be like, my mother.
I don’t want you to think that I’m writing this to have a pity party of one. I’m writing this to you in hopes that you will understand. Understand what I went through. Understand why I was so hard on you. Understand why I wasn’t the loving mother I now wish I could have been. I did my best and I know my best wasn’t enough, not even close. I hope you can one day forgive me as I forgave my parents when they died. I’m sorry I didn’t…no… couldn’t tell you this sooner. So I’ll leave you with this. Be better than me, better than I was. Be better than my mother. You are capable of love. I am a bad mother, of that there is no doubt. But you, you are a great mother.
So I decided Tuesday to try out Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge. The task was to use a random number generator to choose 2 numbers from a list of 20 subgenres. You were to then use those the two genres in a short story/flash fiction. My two subgenres were ‘body horror’ and ‘dystopia’. Hope you enjoy!
An array of bloody surgical tools lay open on the steel counter as Dr. Hróaldr worked tirelessly. Sweat dripped down his face unnoticed. Gloria’s heart rate had plummeted in the middle of the operation and he couldn’t bear to lose one of his masterpieces. He slipped the needle through her skin effortlessly and with professional expertise. With one final suture his job was done and his work was complete. She was perfect.
“Gloria darling, can you hear me?”
A moan escaped the mutilated mouth of the woman lying on the table, her heart was slowly stabilizing.
“Oh thank heavens.” Dr. Hróaldr cried out.
Leaning down he kissed her protuberant forehead and stroked her peeling arm. He admired every piece of her. Her arms were inlaid with steel and the flesh was burnt and left peeling, he was hoping when it healed the scar tissue would leave her arms tough and leathery. Her legs had been sawed off at the knee and replaced with the legs of a tiger, Dr. Hróaldr wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to use them but he loved the way they looked. The skin of her torso was replaced with tough crocodile skin, he was pleased to see it was molding in nicely. The only thing he left untouched were her eyes, he loved her bright blue eyes. It was what drew him to her in the first place. Content at the finished result he left her to recover. Walking out of the surgical room he found himself in a hallway that contained a series of doors on either side. With each passing door came groans, snarls and screams. Listening to the sounds he hummed to himself peacefully and his heart swelled with joy. He couldn’t wait to add Gloria to his collection. Punching a code into a keypad on the wall he left the hallway and moved into a much larger room, one of his favorites. Animals and humans alike laid scattered among the room in pieces. Grinders and saws lay in sinks waiting to be scrubbed and reused. His favorite part of constructing a masterpiece was choosing which combination of parts he would assemble together to create a monstrously beautiful creature. The adjoining room contained cages lined up symmetrically along the walls. When he entered the room a mass hysteria of screams and plea’s began as it always did. Humans he thought as his face twisted into a sneer. They disgusted him. There was nothing special about them, all cookie cutter pieces of meat and flesh. He was what made them unique, giving them new limbs, making them magnificent. Unaware Dr. Hróaldr walked too close to one of the cages and a greedy hand shot out from between the bars grabbing his arm and pulling him closer to the cage. Grunting Dr. Hróaldr wrenched out of the human’s grip and fell to the ground.
“Ungrateful beasts!” He bellowed at them. “You should be thanking me!”
Brushing himself off, he continued through the room.
Meena let out a long breath of relief as Dr. Hróaldr walked innocently by the alley where she was hiding. Stepping back on to the street she rushed to the market. Meena had been hiding from Dr. Hróaldr for the past week. Every time she saw him he would stare at her admiringly. She knew he wanted to use her for his next experiment. Maybe if she stayed away from him long enough he would forget.
Many would tell you that it would be an honor to be a part of Dr. Hróaldr’s experiments. That he was creating a new sub species of humans that were better and stronger than we could ever dream to be.
“Imagine me with lion claws!” One naïve child would say.
Meena knew the truth though. He was an evil man who got lucky by living in a world where his experiments were praised. That is until someone was chosen to be a donor and not the experiment itself. She could never let herself be used for either purpose.
With the market only a few blocks away she began to slow her pace. The longer she walked the more she relaxed. Today was a nice day . . . nicer than it usually was. The sky was a little less gray, the smells a little less putrid, the air tasted a little less toxic and everything looked a little more colorful instead of the usual sepia tone. As the cheerful mood overtook her she failed to notice that she as being followed, until a voice behind her spoke.
“Lovely day isn’t it Meena?”
Meena froze halfway through her footstep. She felt like she’d been hit by electricity as every single hair on her body stood up. Goosebumps covered her arms and she shivered at the sound of his voice. She could have sworn she saw her skin crawl. Pivoting to face him she dawned her best smile and responded in kind.
“Yes doctor, a lovely day indeed.”
Dr. Hróaldr paused to let his eyes wander over her entire body. Seemingly satisfied with what stood before him he let out a gentle sigh.
“Meena, Meena, Meena. You are so very special.” He whispered as he circled her. “I was wondering if you would like to see my lab some time . . . It’s not very often that I get visitors.”
Her body quaked as his voice slithered over her.
“I mean no disrespect sir but I’m sure you get a lot of visitors . . . whether they ever leave or not is the question.”
Meena watched as his eyes narrowed. She had hit a nerve.
“You know that what I do is for the best of our race. What do we have if not our individuality? I am giving people that, for free I must add. You should thank me Meena. I’m helping us become a more improved race. Dare I say I am a God as I create beautiful masterpieces just as he does?” Meena could almost see the venom dripping out of his mouth as he spoke.
“Improved? Who knows what you’re actually doing in there! No one has ever seen any of your so-called new and improved masterpieces! You’re not helping us. You prey on the weak! You come and go taking what you want because no one has the guts to stop you. You are not a god. You are insane and have the most sick and mad mind I’ve ever seen.” Meena yelled at him not bothering to contain her anger. Dr. Hróaldr stepped closer to her until he was staring down at her small frame. His mouth curled into a smirk.
“All geniuses have a touch of madness and insanity my dear. I’m sorry you are too shallow to see that.” Shaking his head he began to circle her again. “I had such high hopes for you. I thought you were different, that you could maybe share in my vision of a world reborn but alas you are as ungrateful and disgusting as the rest.” Meena opened her mouth ready to shout a violent response but was barely able to make a sound as something hit her in the head. She immediately crumpled to the ground and heard a faint thud as her head hit the dirt. Her vision blackened and for a brief moment all she saw was Dr. Hróaldr’s perfectly shined black shoes. The last thing she heard before she lost consciousness was his voice. He was clucking his tongue and repeating “such high hopes” as he plucked her lifeless body from the ground.
Meena woke startled and confused. The last thing she remembered was arguing with Dr. Hróaldr and then darkness as something hit her.
“Ah sweet Meena, I was hoping you’d wake before we got started!”
Meena jumped at the sound of his voice.
“What am I doing here?” She asked frightened.
“Sweet Meena, I do have to say I am most excited about what you will become. I’ve taken extra thought and care to make sure you turn out perfect.” He said smiling at her. Panicking Meena began to thrash and scream on the table.
“Come now Meena, you have nothing to fear. I will take excellent care of you!” Dr. Hróaldr said with a wink.
Meena calmed down enough to realize she only had one strap across her chest restraining her. Dr. Hróaldr had turned his back to her as he busied himself with preparing for the experiment. Quietly wiggling out from under the strap Meena let out a silent breath of relief. She regarded the room as she looked for something heavy to use as a weapon. Stepping lightly off the table she crept swiftly to the nearest counter and grabbed an empty tray. Without a second thought she ran at the doctor and brought the tray down on his head. Stunned Dr. Hróaldr yelped. Anger flashed across his face as he reached out to grab Meena. Fighting against his grip Meena shoved him and sent him flying towards the operating table. A sharp crack emanated through the room followed by silence. Meena gaped at the limp body lying on the ground. Her heart raced as she cautiously she ambled over to him. He was still breathing. The fear that had been gripping her slowly started to leak away. She knew what was to be done. Carefully she began to move his body up on to the table where she over restrained every limb. Better safe than sorry she thought to herself as she backed away from the table.
“Now we wait.” She breathed.
Blinking, Dr. Hróaldr attempted to open his eyes but was too blinded by a light to do so. His head pounded furiously as he turned his head to scan his surroundings.
“What the hell?” He questioned, panicked as he quickly found that he was strapped to a table . . . his table. Looking around more carefully this time he spotted Meena sitting in the corner. With her back board straight and her hands clasped neatly in her lap she stared at him with little emotion.
“M. . .Meena. . .” He stuttered. “What are you doing?”
Standing up slowly Meena walked over to the doctor until she was by his head looking down upon him.
“You see doctor. It came to my attention that you do so much for us . . . you spend so much of your precious time and your expertise on transforming us from ordinary humans into extraordinary creatures. I then realized that considering all the things you do you never get any thanks. I figured it was time to return the favor . . . my little thank you if you will.” Meena said chuckling at the end.
“What are you talking about? Meena, this is quite unnecessary. Please remove my restraints . . . let’s talk about this.” Dr. Hróaldr responded, his voice thick with panic.
“Oh there’s nothing to walk about doctor. Now, you may feel a slight pinch. It’s just a little something to make sure you stay conscious. We wouldn’t want you to miss your marvelous transformation now would we?” Picking up a needle filled with thick brown fluid Meena injected the doctor in his jugular.
“Let me go you little bitch!” He roared as his body started to numb.
“Come now doctor, you should be thanking me.” Meena spoke as she unraveled a large package of surgical tools. Running her hands over the glistening stainless steel she smiled to herself.
“Let me go.” Dr. Hróaldr said again, his voice choking out at the end, whether from emotion or his numbed motor functions Meena didn’t know.
“Calm down Dr. Hróaldr. You have nothing to fear. I will take excellent care of you.” She said sweetly turning slightly to wink at him. Humming quietly to herself Meena picked up a scalpel and decided how she would begin.
“Meena, no please.” He managed as his mouth became more paralyzed.
“Shush now doctor. I must concentrate.” She said softly positioning the blade to make her first incision. “Let’s get started now, shall we?”