A Different Mother

08 Feb 2022  C. chou  6 mins read.

He smiled. Elated from the screams of terror and the cries of agony that resounded around him. They were his toys. His to enjoy. He watched as his henchmen ripped a babe from a woman’s arms, grinning at her screams of horror and her pleas for its return.

“Drop it.” He ordered, feeling pleasure course through his veins.

“Yes sir.” The henchman answered.

“Please don’t.” The woman begged, clawing at the henchman’s legs. Grabbing them, but still completely under their mercy. It was almost as if she worshipped the henchman as her god. The man looked to him for instruction.

He waved his hand to pause. He was the god. How could anyone worship his subordinate instead? He walked up to her. and crouching beside her, he whispered into her ear. “Why don’t you beg me?”

She immediately let go of the henchman. Getting to her knees, she prostrated herself before him. “Please.” She begged. “Please. I’ll do anything. Just spare his life.”

“Anything?” He asked, as he unsheathed a dagger and ran its smooth surface along her chin. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.” She answered without straightening. “Anything.”

“Then, he is no longer your son.” He answered. “And you’ll never see him again.”

He grinned as he saw her freeze. Her hesitation. Her horror. It fueled him. “So then?” He asked, after a long pause.

“Fine.” She answered, her voice scratchy. He was sure she’d been crying. How wonderful.

He stood, waving his henchman to follow. To the adjacent cell.

There stood another woman with a babe in her arms, but her look grated at him. It wasn’t horror that greeted him, like he would’ve expected from a woman that just witnessed others get their babies taken from them. Instead, the woman bore a look of determination. No matter. It would be gone soon enough.

He waved another of his henchman over.

“Take it.” He ordered.

The henchman walked over to the woman, without hesitation, and tore the child from her arms. He expected to feel pleasure and joy. But the woman’s look of determination stole that bit of satisfaction from him. She should be suffering. She should be begging him. She should be worried. But none of those emotions were found on her face. In her squinting eyes.

“Why are you doing this?” She demanded. How dare she? Wasn’t she afraid for the fate of her child? Didn’t she fear what he might do in response to her actions?

He waved his henchman over, unsheathing his blade as the man approached. She didn’t seem the slightest bit concerned. Women like her irked him. Women like her were the reason that he regularly called for the kidnapping of women with children. They didn’t deserve to be mothers.

“I’m granting you a favor.” He said, using a smile to mask his distaste. “I’m granting all of you a favor. No longer do any of you need to be concerned about raising a child.”

“Have you ever considered the possibility that we actually want our children?” She asked. “That we actually want to raise them?”

“Yes.” He answered, amused by her response. A response from a woman that clearly doesn’t care for her child. “But none of that matters. A favor is a favor. Things are better this way.”

“How would you know?” She challenged. “Can you see the future?”

“I know well enough.” He answered. Of course he did. He had a mother. He knew what kind of suffering such women could give.

Suddenly, that ferociousness on her face vanished, replaced by a look of kindness, as she approached him fearlessly and cupped his face into her hands. He should’ve recoiled, repulsed by her actions and boldness. But somehow, he found himself feeling comforted. It was the look that his own mother used to have, before she changed. A loving gaze.

He pulled away. He wouldn’t be tricked. Not like how he’d been in his childhood. Not again. Not this time.

“You’ve suffered, haven’t you?” She asked, as he turned away.

Without granting her a response, he waved his henchman to follow, and the door locked behind him.

It’s been a hours. But somehow her face, her attitude, her words continued to echo in his mind. He rolled, sleeplessly, in his bed. Suddenly, he was curious. Would she would be different?

He shook his head. It was impossible. But the question continued to nag him. Could she be different? He sat up. He supposed there wasn’t any danger in knowing for sure.

Donning his clothes, he returned to the dungeon.

“Come with me.” He commanded, as he unlocked her door and waved her to follow. He was stronger than her. He’d easily overpower her if she tried anything. But she didn’t. Contrary to her earlier boldness, she was quiet as a mouse as he led her to the room.

He stopped her before the door. Quickly, he entered and emerged with child. “Suckle it!” He commanded, as the child woke. It was about that time in the night when the child required feeding. Without hesitation, she followed the order. But it was clear from her face that she hadn’t done so out of fear or desperation. On her face was a loving gaze that a woman might give to her own child. But this child wasn’t hers. The differences were obvious. It was impossible she couldn’t tell.

When she finished, she looked up at him, and put a finger to her lips. Shushing him. Perhaps she was worth the risk. He opened the door behind him, and lit a candle. She peered inside. Shock registered on her face. Inside, each of the children he’s taken rested in their own cradle. The nannies in the room looked up at him. He smiled at them, nodding in thanks.

Bowing, her led her inside.

This story was inspired by a writing prompt from the “Microcosm” Publication.

In this first week of Love we start with the character that has the most to do.
The one with the most apparent growth.
The supposedly unforgivable.
The apparently irredeemable.
The broken person, or the wounded bird.
If you write for Redemption, then think of your characters, the Beast is at rock bottom in need of rescuing or at the peak in need of humbling
Give us a sense of their majesty and their curses.
Their power and their tragic flaw.
The Beauty, whatever form it takes, should stand a chance at changing them.

C. Chou
C. Chou

A writer that loves cabbages and bamboo, but also enjoys writing and sharing fiction (particularly the fantasy genre). Find me on Medium at: https://chouxherbe.medium.com/