Hunting Mother Day 16


They were hunting.

We met by chance at the top of a wall. Neither they nor I belonged to the abandoned city, but we were all pursuing the same game.

Our mothers.

We spoke in a pantomime that reminded me of my first conversations with the tribes who lived close to Cross when my own mother still lived. Through gestures and rough sounds, we were able to communicate our situations and our goals.

When we realized that they aligned, it was decided that we should break bread together.

While the men were able to converse readily in their own tongue, I was forced to do little more than little and try to piece together the conversation.

They set water to boil for tea, and they brought out well-seasoned cakes to go with it. By the time the tea was ready, I could understand some of what the men were saying. And by the time I finished my first cake, we were fluent.

“So it is with brothers,” a man named Amir told me.

The others nodded their agreement.

“There were more of us, at one time,” Amir continued, “but the Hollow and the mothers have taken their share.”

“How long have you been hunting?” I asked while cleaning my Colts.

The oldest of the men smiled. “I have been in the Hollow for two hundred years, and just when I believe it is time for me to return to Cross, I kill another. The prey is too sweet. Too joyous.”

Amir sipped his tea. “We are the last of our families. We have seen fathers and siblings slain. We will kill our mothers.”

“I’m the last as well,” I answered.

“And your mother, do you hunt her here?”

“In a way,” I replied. “I slew my mother on the kitchen table when I was a boy. The others I kill, well, I know they deserve it.”

The men stared at me.

“You killed her?” Amir’s voice was low and heavy with unmistakable awe.

“It was all I could do.”

The men looked at one another. Amir nodded and asked in a hushed tone, “Will you tell us the tale?”

I refilled my tea as a soft wind blew in from the east and told them of how I butchered my mother on the kitchen table.

It was a fine night for storytelling.

#horrorstories #mother

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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