Sunday, January 10, 2010

Entry #106

Maternal Instinct
by Katherine Tomlinson


I told my children not to feed the birds that live in the trees that shadow our house.
I warned them, but they refused to listen. They didn’t understand the peril of inviting the birds close with their beaks and claws and dangerous natures.

Like most little ones they were enchanted by all wild creatures. They had no regard for their personal safety and were as likely to pick up a venomous serpent as they were a harmless garden snake.

And so, I kept them indoors where they were safe. They could still see the birds from their windows but the birds could not peck out their eyes or strip ribbons of flesh from their fragile bones or snatch hanks of their silken hair and use it to build their nests.

I locked my children into their bedrooms for their own protection and when they kept trying to run out of their rooms when I brought them food, I stopped feeding them. They didn’t understand that I wasn’t punishing them; they didn’t comprehend my motives for keeping them away from the birds.

I’m wise to the ways of the winged ones. I can decode the sinister messages in their songs; I can translate the secret communications in their chirps and whistles. They have told me they want to claim my children.

I will not let that happen.

I will kill them first.

32 comments:

Chris Allinotte said...

I loved this. You kept layering and layering until the suffocation was inevitable.

To kill with love is darkness realized.

Excellent story.

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

The slow burn of madness unwrapped one step after another. Loved reading this piece. Deffo one of my favourites.

kashers said...

Mc's degeneration perfectly paced. Seems like a very contemporary tale. Methinks I sense future matricide.

Preeti said...

Oh dear.

Obsessions, fixations... phew!!!
Feel very sorry for the children. Even more sorry for her.

It is beautiful. Excellently written. I loved the core of the story. Very clever use of the birds.

wrath999 said...

Creepy and excellent read

pjd said...

I like the ambiguity of "them" in the end.

The creepiness of such flawed logic really turns my stomach. Unfortunately, it's used all the time in politics around here. Sigh.

Craig said...

You reallt bring the characters derangement to the fore by having him rationalize his behaviour.

Lee Hughes said...

The scary thing is there are people like that out there. The pacing was brill, great job!

lena said...

That was a great read. I loved how it became more intense till the very end. Good job!

Tessa said...

Superbly told tale of obsessive, possessive madness. Definitely a winner - brava!

Bernita said...

Terrifying in its insane logic.
Well done.

Scribblers Inc said...

this is homeground for me...[breathes deeply] this feels home...
thank you ever so much for this! :)

mithun mukherjee

maybe genius said...

A wonderful portrayal of madness confused with love. Chilling.

Kartik said...

This is really brilliant! Misguided maternal instincts!!

Katherine Tomlinson said...

Thank you so much for the feeback--It's an honor just to be posted in such creative company.

Aniket said...

Love is too complicated... hatred on the other hand is so pure.

Loved how the plot unravels and the character shines through. Great work.

laughingwolf said...

superb, katherine :)

JaneyV said...

Oh those poor children. Katherine, this is truly terrifying because it's actually so plausible. The mother's instinct to protect her children is normally such a pure and laudable thing - but in the hands of a madwoman it's more sinister than almost anything I can think of.

You wrote this so well...

Laurel said...

This reads like a mother with post-partum psychosis. Whatever instinct that drives them to harm their children is always a warped, hallucinatory protective derangement.

Choking read. Well done development.

Tara said...

Chilling! And very well written.

Four Dinners said...

So you've met my mother then?

Built up from slightly manic to completly deranged so well in so few words.

Marvellous writing.

Deb Smythe said...

Wow, creepy. Great pacing! Well done.

Jean Ann Williams said...

Whoa! Madness done well. Beautiful writing, too.

I'd pick this one.

Jean Ann

CJT said...

Very dark, this one goes on the favorite list!

catvibe said...

This is downright creepy as hell. Well done and just chilling.

MRMacrum said...

Nice look into the thoughts of someone going insane.

McKoala said...

Instinct turned around. I love the economy of style and statement in this.

James R. Tomlinson said...

Very strong, dark voice. I like how she provides logical reasons, how they build up to her final decision.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Beautifully done. Love the slow reveal of the deepening madness. Going on my all-too-long favorite list.

Chris Eldin said...

Wow... you captured the madness very well. Instinct gone awry... and like Pete, I like the ambiguous ending.

Aerin said...



my caveat

Something I Would Keep

Okay, honestly, as well-written as this is and obviously you want to keep everything, I can't read it a third time because it creeps me out too much. Which, I'm pretty sure, means it's a resounding success.

Something I Might Tweak

Fifth paragraph, last two lines "they didn't" - I would combine somehow, make just a wee bit smoother, like the rest of the piece.

Dolors said...

Progressive madness with pending danger. Good writing.