Who Are You? (#Prompted Story)

This is my submission for the weekly prompt (#Prompted) over at Tipsy Lit. One of these days, I’ll have to write my story while actually tipsy. ;)

Enjoy, and if you like it, click the link at the end to vote for my submission at Tipsy Lit!

You are who you are...
You are who you are…

 

The nave was dark except for the light bleeding through the glistening stained glass windows sitting above polished aluminum paneling. The podium at the front stood before a white grand piano, bleachers for the singers, and a giant marble display of what everyone thought Jesus looked like when the Romans crucified him. Only a few people sat in the wooden pews, which wasn’t uncommon for a late Wednesday afternoon.

My mother and I sat in the same spot as usual. I got there before her, so there was time for someone else to sit between us. He was young, probably close to my age. He wasn’t as groomed I was, however. For a cold fall day, he was surprisingly sweaty. His matted hair stuck to his forehead, and his clothes had mud caked on them.

My mother always taught me to appreciate and respect those around me not matter how unfortunate, so I didn’t regard his appearance in any way. I simply said, “Hi.”

He looked at me, but didn’t respond. I thought it was unusual, but probably it was because the preacher joined us at the podium.

As the pastor proceeded to teach the congregation how God strengthens us when we are at our worst, I looked down and noticed the man next to me had especially dirty hands. They looked a little too pink, and there were red globs smashed underneath his nails. I think the thing that alarmed me the most was the blood soaking through his right sleeve.

I asked, “Are you okay?”

He didn’t answer.

“Are you hurt?”

He nodded his head no.

I felt goose bumps skitter along my skin. “Did you… did you hurt someone?”

The man finally nodded at me to confirm my fear. I closed my eyes, hoping he might go away. Maybe he was just my imagination, but no, he was still there. This time, he flashed an evil grin as he pulled his sleeve up. Cut into his flesh were twenty-three tally marks. The last two were still fresh and bleeding.

On the other side of him, my mother leaned forward, looked right at me, and said, “James, what are you doing?”

I stared back at her past the man, unable to speak as if she’d caught me guilty.

She said with a hushed, accusatory voice. “Haven’t you learned yet that having pride in the way you look is a sin?”

“Sorry, mother,” I said, and I looked away from the mirror-like finish of the aluminum-paneled wall. My eyes drifted down to my clean hand as my fingers probed the puffy scars on my forearm. I returned my attention to the pastor, and picked at the scabs.

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Mother Dearest (Writing Prompt)

Apparently, I’ve had this blog since dinosaurs roamed the earth, so here’s a fresh start. I’ll primarily post stories (or storytelling poetry), so if you like reading thrilling or suspenseful writing, then you might enjoy it here. :) Anyway, here’s a story I posted over on Tipsy Lit. She posts a prompt every Tuesday, and occasionally I pop in and post a story. Hope you enjoy it. If you do, please head on over to her page and vote! If you don’t, well, feel free to tell me in the comments. Story below.

This image shows the back of a blonde woman hiding a large kitchen knife behind her back.
She has a secret…

Mother Dearest

I stood at the window, and on the other side of the frosted glass was an ocean of snow burning with a golden sheen from the early morning light. Although toasty in the room, I still felt a chill run through my body when my mother spoke after I put my hand on the crisp window.

“Get your greasy fingers off there, Alice. Look, you’ve smudge it!”

I sat across from her and said, “Sorry. I’ll clean it later.”

“You better. You know, your sister would never do that.”

I muttered, “I know.”

“Stop that mumbling. You’ll never find a husband if no one can understand what you’re saying. Sarah had no problem finding a good one, why can’t you?”

“Mom, I’m perfectly capable of finding someone.”

“You mean that lesbian?”

“She has a name, mom.”

“Don’t matter if she has a name or not. She’s going to hell, anyway. You, too. I always knew you were wrong in the head.”

“Mom!”

“Don’t you raise your voice at me, young lady!”

I slammed my fists on the table, stood, and paced across the room. My mother refused to look at me. Bitch. Couldn’t even look me in the eye while harassing me. If my father was there, he might have told her that I deserved her love as much as Sara. Sadly, he was gone. So, it was up to me to convince her I was the better sibling.

I said, “I finished college. Did you know that? Sarah didn’t even go.”

I could feel my mother’s cold snicker burning my skin. “If you didn’t waste your time doing sinful things with women you could find yourself a nice man and wouldn’t need school. Derek takes care of Sarah, so she has time to spend with her family.”

“I’d rather be independent than a leach like you and Sarah.”

“What?”

“Don’t act so surprised. After daddy died, you had no way of supporting yourself.”

“Liar.”

“Oh, really? So, Sarah and Derek don’t pay all your bills?”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. It figures, too. Always trying to prove you’re better than your sister with your lies,” she said, and then laughed. “That’s all you do when you open your mouth. Like when you put Uncle Charlie in jail. That’s right, we all know you just said those nasty things because he didn’t want you. No one wants you. You’re just a little whore that—”

I smacked her hard, finally silencing her. Her head angled toward the window, and she stared through the glass at the wintery wonderland with her glazed, dead eyes.

“Sorry, mom. Want breakfast?” I asked as I retrieved the cleaver from her skull. “I’m making eggs.”

“I hate eggs,” she said.

“Fine, then starve. That’s all I’m gonna make.”

“That’s because you don’t know how to cook.”

“Damn it, mom! Can’t you just stop for one fucking minute?”

She refused to look at me. She just stared out that window and laughed.