Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction
Mother Of Monsters By Venus Ashu
“There’s no such thing as monsters”
I remember Mother soothing me with these words whenever I had my frequent nightmares. I remember sitting by the open fireplace, flames bursting out of the solid coal, and her pale hands gently combing through my long, auburn hair as she clutched me in her warm grasp. During the days we would walk through the town together singing joyfully, and once she even carried me on her shoulders. Soon enough my nightmares vanished. And so did Mother. Years after mother had gone, I still lived in the same small cottage near the edge of the town Eagnell. It’s gruelling living alone in 1561.
When they hang me tomorrow, I want people to be able to read my story. I want them to know who the real monster was.
The cobbled roads of Eagnell were usually filled with small children playing with conkers, and salesman shouting out the fresh fruits that were stored in their wooden stalls. Beggars sat on small pieces of cloth in corners, and women strutted passed them carrying their groceries in straw baskets. On early sunrise, I would sit on a small bench in front of the main waterfall in the centre of Eagnell, and observe the town go about its business. On one particular day, however, this Man came and rested beside me on my bench. I remember his tall built, and placid blue eyes that would make the devil tremble. He looked towards me and smiled. I smiled back. Now I wish I didn’t. It all went so fast. We arrived in my cottage in a hurry to do the sinful deeds priests condemned. Candles were lit, the notorious fireplace burned, and the scent of passion filled my chambers. As he held me close, he whispered quietly in my ear “I never left you. I am you”. Confused, I pulled away staring into his now empty eyes. His tall built vilely shortened and his warm skin began to pale and strip. A piercing shriek rattled my eardrums as his hair abnormally grew and thinned, whilst the features on his face compressed to become something different. Something like Mother. Conceived with terror I ran far from my cottage into the streets of Eagnell. Stumbling over a box of rotten fruit, my body hit the stony floor, and blood oozed out of my shin. I looked up once I felt her hostile touch on my shoulder, and gasped wide eyed when she opened my mouth and climbed into me, fulfilling my holes of loss and evil.
Then, all the neighbours saw was me shaking pungently on the streets of Eagnell in the early lights of dawn. Now I am being charged with witchcraft, but I am not a witch, only a sick woman. When I saw Mother that day, her words showed me that she is the monster. But now I know. I know that I am Mother, and Mother is me.
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