Evan Quinlan

Swallowed In Darkness

In Drabbles, Fiction, Short Stories on December 31, 2012 at 11:58 am

I cannot see but the hunger sharpens my nose and ears.  I hear the other one scrape, trip, curse, shift.  I smell its breath and sweat.  Sometimes it pleads when I get close and wave my knife.  I need to eat.  I’m sorry but hunger drowns the sorrow.  The soldiers were cruel to seal a mother and son in here to die but they were monsters for leaving air holes.  Now I am an animal.  I hear my prey in the dusty darkness.  So hungry… so hungry… so hungry I cannot even remember whether I was the mother or the son.

  1. Hunger can do that.

    Does 2013 look promising? Keep your water wings handy.

  2. You are the son. The mother, wanting the son to live, gladly gives her body to nurture his…just as she did during his nine months within her, and the two years following his birth as she cradled him softly in her arms sharing wisdom through story and song as he suckled – filling belly and mind – assuring him, in a way that life would only allow for such a brief time, that the world was made of Contentment, Safety and Love.

    Now, as hunger grew and innate instincts replaced those things humans learned in order to coexist, she retained the deepest of a mother’s instincts, the one that said “protect him above all else.”

    She knew though that should he survive through the eating of her flesh, that he would have a lifetime of regret. To have killed her, even in madness, would be unthinkable once the madness passed.

    The fiends who’d placed them there had understood the only possible outcome. Had planned on it. A revenge against their “unknown” enemies that would last any survivors for a lifetime.

    Once again he sidled towards her, the soles of his shoes tapping against the floor as he measured the unchanging distance between them. Her throat, grown dry, disallowed speech. Even humming was difficult and often resulted in a rasping cough that belied how she felt towards him. When she coughed like this he retreated to his corner. Hid as though in fear of her for what he was thinking.

    She bit the inside of her mouth to draw blood. She sucked the warm liquid and did her best to bathe her throat with it. Then with the voice she’d once used to lull him to sleep, she told him the story of what must be done. She told him about Love, and what he meant to her. She told him of the magic sleep she would now draw down upon herself and how when she awoke she would be a part of the world again in him and what he did not need they would give back to the earth. She called him close and in this once familiar safe and loving trance he came.

    She asked for the knife and he gave it. He waited quietly as she scratched words into the wall with the knife’s point. So many words. Then she returned it to him.

    Now drink while my blood flows, she crooned. Then rest. Take meat from my legs. Eat slowly. Sing as you eat, for company. Rest and grow strong. And listen… Help will come…

    She sank her teeth deep into her own wrist then placed it against his dry and hungry lips. He would live. He would heal. The words on the wall would see to that. As to those others… She’d see to them from the other side…

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