Author: Devilina07 PM
Erik's mother contemplates her future while standing near a darkened shore.Rated: Fiction M - English - Mystery/Drama - Erik - Words: 2,342 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Published: 08-26-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3749506
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
God's great mind had created the glory that surrounded her. The world was too magnificent a miracle to come from anything else. Everything about her was a gift to mankind. From the hills, to the stars, from the wind, to the tree seedlings. Beauty could be found even in the smallest object. God had made a perfect world, and she never questioned His infinite wisdom.
The young woman looked across the serene lake toward the opposite end of the darkened shore. Tonight the moon was full, illuminating everything about her. The delicate rays of light stretched toward the Earth, subtly weaving in and out through branches and leaves during this pleasant fall evening. As the woman stood on the shore, off in the distance she caught the glimpse of an object moving amongst the brush. She first believed that she had been followed down to the lake. For a moment she stood frozen, praying that she had not been seen. When her nerves calmed, she conceded to herself that perhaps it was the breeze that caused the trees to sway. She also allowed for the possibility that an animal had made its way to the waters for a drink.
Once again thoughts consumed her as she stood looking beyond the gentle, lapping waters. The way the trees swayed in the wind reminded her of her trip to the town square earlier in the day. She had not left her home in quite some time, and it was finally beginning to take its toll on her appearance. At her husband's insistence, she left their residence to take a leisurely walk throughout the streets. Recent personal events had made her anxious around others, thus she had decided to keep to the shadows. In the end, her excursion into the outdoors only served to heighten her panic. As she made her way past buildings, the bright yellow taffeta dress of an attractive young woman had caught her eye. Or perhaps what had drawn her attention more than the vividly colored dress was the little boy who was toddling along-side his loving mother. The little boy…… She shook her head in an attempt to erase the image from her memory.
Tonight the air was damp and heavy, and yet it was cool. The rain had bestowed the land the welcome scent of wet, clean soil that mixed with the pungent scent of the surrounding trees. Precipitation had fallen for nearly a week when the clouds had finally parted early that morning. For six days the rain had fallen, followed by the heaviness of humidity that seemed to slow everything that moved, including the insects. Now, looking across the vast water, she was able to forget all that had changed in her life. Stepping closer to the water, she shed her shoes to feel the smooth sand.
The woman looked down at the small body she held in her arms. Was it fair to call this being a human? Was it blasphemy to consider it a person? Surely he was a mistake, an error, a blunder. Did the idea of calling it a human invoke any sort of connection she was supposed to have with her offspring? She knew it was her son but she felt strangely detached from his life despite the lugubrious birth. She was his mother and yet she held no maternal instincts towards him. She did not or perhaps she could not.
She looked at the boy in muted horror as he slept soundly in her arms. Visions of the mother in the yellow dress with her son rushed back into her memory. She knew she would never care for her son as that mother did. The disconnect from her child paired with his monstrous countenance almost assured that no such motherly instincts would ever develop.
Prior to marrying she had not given much consideration to the idea of becoming a mother. The prospect of taking on the responsibility of caring for a family had never been appealing to her. And though the topic of raising a family had been mentioned quite often amongst her friends as something to look forward to, inwardly she had always felt different. As a young woman, she had been the most vivacious and aloof of her group of friends. She had looked forward to one day becoming a bride, however she dreaded the day when she would find that she was with child.
It was finally during her eighteenth year that she met and married her husband. Her religious devotion allowed her to assist her church with various functions, services and with the daily preparation of mass, and it was during her duties that she was approached by the man she would later marry. Their age difference spanned seventeen years, however it was her husband who already had previous experience with marriage. He had recently become a widower after having been married for nearly eight years. Their courtship had taken place over the course of three months when they had become engaged and finally a month later wed.
It was her husband who often mentioned the desire to have children after never conceiving with his first wife. "Darling, you know I have no one to carry on my name. I am all that is left of my family. I care not if the child is a son or a daughter, as long as they are healthy. I do not even request that my child be named after myself. This is the one thing I ask from you, all else is insignificant to me." That day when her husband approached her, appealing to her for a child seemed so long ago.
And so she became pregnant, hoping that her feelings towards bearing children would perhaps change over the course of the pregnancy.
The changes she experienced during her nine months were more of a nuisance than a blessing, never once feeling as though the life that grew within her womb was truly her child. When she finally gave birth, it as though she floated above her body, not conscious of what was taking place. The feeling of disconnect remained long after the newborn left her body. The energy expended during the delivery left her unconscious for an indeterminate amount of time. When she awoke the nervous glances from her husband and her midwife immediately set her on edge. If ever there was a moment when she wished she could turn back time, it was when she was presented with her new son. His grotesque coloring, a profile that lacked a nose, and oddly cold body made her retract her hands when she first touched him. With little knowledge of his condition, the couple made several missteps regarding his care that only served to exacerbate his illness. Their error resulted in a mother who further removed herself from the situation. It was assumed that the boy would not live beyond his first week. Funeral preparations were hastily made for the day that their son would finally expire. The shock from the child's appearance resulted in their never christening their son. The naming of the boy was a mere afterthought.
Through the ordeal she remained quiet. She had not looked at his face since shortly after his birth. She had glanced at him briefly when she bathed him but these were always sideways glances meant to see as little as possible. No one knew the thoughts that ran rampant in her mind. She found places in which to cry to herself because she found that she had no one to confide to. Her husband threw himself into his work, choosing to remain away from the home as much as possible. She hated him for escaping the life she could not evade. She was forced to remain cloistered in their home with a child she considered to be high-maintenance. Her former life was no more and she blamed her son. She no longer took visits with her friends for fear that the conversation would be steered towards asking about her son and her acquaintances stopped visiting when she began to only speak of hopelessness.
She found that food was not appealing to her any longer, and sleep would not come. Weeks had gone by in which she was only able to receive one to two hours of rest per night. Stress, anxiety, and desperation finally led her to one day announcing that if she were unable to get at least double the amount of sleep she had been receiving, she would kill herself. In the end, the rest did nothing to calm the demons in her head. All of this had been her cross to bear on her own, so she spent most of her waking hours praying for God to intercede and give her some direction, if not a solution.
Was it fair to compare her travails to those that Christ carried to his death? In reality, all she could think about was ending the numbness she knew should not be in her heart. She felt ashamed that her thoughts were consumed with doing harm to her child and to herself. If she were to leave the boy in the woods, would anyone notice when she went home alone? Would allowing her son to die peacefully alleviate the heaviness in her heart or spare the boy ridicule in the future? And would she be any better than King Herod during the Massacre of the Innocents? The life or death of the infant lay in the balance of her hands and in her sanity. She then remembered a passage from the great story of the Massacre, "Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
She contemplated these words as she took a few steps closer to the water with her son in her arms. She began to fantasize how she could carry out the disposing of her son. The nights were dropping in their usual temperature and if left amongst the brush, her son might die of exposure. The woods were also teeming with hungry animals, but she hoped that his end wouldn't come to that. She, in turn, could walk into the water and never emerge again. Perhaps then, her husband could marry a woman who would give him normal offspring.
As she began to ponder her own demise, the wind began to blow and carried with it was the sound of low-speaking voices. She held her breath as she strained to hear what was being said. Looking about, she held her son closer to her body for fear that whoever was near would not see what she carried in her arms. The voices came again, this time louder as the wind grew stronger. And then she heard what they were saying…… "They will know. They will know. They will know." The words were long and drawn out, however each word was quite discernable. Over and over the disembodied voices chanted as she spun to find their origin. The owners of the voices were no where to be found. She knew she was not delusional, she heard each word clearly. As her anxiety began to grow, the voices became louder and more distinct. "They will know. They will know."
Without thinking, she yelled into the wind, "What will they know? Who are you speaking of?" The only answer she received was their now familiar refrain, "They will know. They will know."
She looked out into the lake once again and found that she had walked into the water with the boy. When she at last noticed where she was, the water was waist high on her body. He had still not awoken from his slumber, and perhaps it was better that he did not. Had he opened his eyes she surely would have to look into the cloth mask that covered his visage and into the black depths that comprised his eyes. Even as an infant he unnerved her. His eyes were too alert and they seemed to survey everything she did. She often felt as though he was passing judgment on her. It was then that she made her decision. The dark waters would claim them both, taking into its depths the sin of her son's face and all the doubts his mother held in her heart.
She stepped further into the watery abyss, but not before she took several deep breaths. On she walked until her bare feet could no longer feel the ground below her. The weight of her water-logged clothes forced both of their bodies further down. After what seemed like an eternity, her body naturally fought against the oxygen deprivation. At first her body screamed for air, but she fought the urge to rise to the water's surface. It was then that her son awoke, turning his head towards her, his yellow eyes still visible through the shadowy waters. The gaze with which he held her caused her to panic. She opened her mouth to scream however no noise was allowed to be emitted. Instead the lake's waters entered her lungs, stinging as they fought the drowning sensation. As she began to choke and fight for air, she swallowed more water, further damning herself to the depths of the lake. Try as hard as she might, she found she could not scream. She felt her throat constrict in an attempt to shut out the water; she was quickly running out of air and adrenaline. With the last of her energy she unsuccessfully struggled to submerge. Feeling her muscles involuntarily relax, she began to sink further and she lost hold of her son.
Through her quickly dissipating consciousness, she felt a hand catch the collar of her dress and pul her up. Once again she heard a voice but could not yet place who its owner was. As she began to fade, she asked for her son, to which her husband responded, "I have Erik."