by Levi Krain
I am made of witches’ brooms, toadstools, hemp, and old maids’ revenge.
A man paces beneath the tree at the far end of a backyard. His feet are restless, like the mice that scurry among the shadows at dusk. His home, across the leaf-strewn lawn, is a bright beacon in the beams of a distant, sinking sun.
Where is your bravado now? Your self-righteous ire?
The man mutters, burbles like a distant engine as he walks. His arms swing with clenched fists. At every other turn, he looks up from his meditations, jaw clenched, eyes squinted.
Are you nervous? Why don’t you thump your chest?
A figure approaches. It’s a slow, deliberate figure with feet that shuffle along a small track behind the houses which are set in rows like suburban barracks. It’s a woman, judging by the dress and a dull cardigan pulled tight against the descending dark. Her head had been down, a tight bun of iron glinting, but now it tilts up, as if she senses the man’s presence or the nearness of her destination.
My hempen heart leaps in recognition. Mother has come.
Their meeting is imminent and it gladdens me to see his startled, stumbling halt. I relish the mad beating of his heart, its chugging rattle.
They stare for hair-prickling seconds. He breaks first, spewing the words all mankind knows so well. The rhetoric of bullies, abusers, and tyrants. Words of hate and terror, wielded as swords.
Mother stands, unwithered and unbowed by the flaming breath of the man’s invective. She stands, feet planted, shoulders back, head level. Her eyes, behind small spectacles set on a falcon nose, shine like frozen lakes.
The man raises a fist above his head and my fibers tense. But she speaks a single, paralyzing word. It is a name. Slowly, the man lowers his weapon of choice.
Have you realized your mistake? Do you begin to regret?
She speaks then. Her voice is cold, quiet, and strong, like the distant roll of thunder across a barren plain.
Mother’s words are those of justice. Litanies of crimes laid bare, of evidence gathered. Her rhetoric is that of judgments passed, verdicts decreed, sentences pronounced.
When she finishes, the tyrant is silenced. The bully is gelded though he does not yet know it.
But do you sense the gelding? The meting of justice approaching?
She is gone now, disappearing in the distance down the track, her steps as measured as a march into hell. The man still stands beneath the tree, body clenched, eyes locked on the ground.
After minutes have passed, he raises his head, he mutters words of encouragement to his dark thoughts. He marshals his demonic forces and his heart beats the pounding, steady boom of war drums.
Do you think you will win? Do you envision a moment of triumph?
With a clatter of wood and a rustle of rope, I drop from the tree to stand before my king, broomstick limbs akimbo, reeking of shit and blood and mushrooms.
Maybe it’s not a beautiful scene, but can you appreciate the glory of it?
I pierce him with my spindly arms, grown long and sharp. My innards coil out and around his grimy neck. We, my innards and me, squeeze while he gasps and croaks and struggles, like a poisoned frog.
Goodbye, my king. Without you, I will be nothing. I am not being self-deprecating. If she that was here is my mother, then surely you, too, gave me life with your crimes, father.
I kiss his forehead with my toadstool lips, pour on the hate, and feel his climax of breath before he lies still, growing ever colder in the loose leaves at the back of his lawn, that green domain of normalcy that masked his monstrosity.
My regicide accomplished, the animus that set my tangled being in motion begins ebbing away, leaching back into the earth and trees. Even the twinkling stars across the blackness suck at my marrow, which is made of star stuff. They want it back, Algol and her infernal sisters.
I don’t resist. My brief life had purpose, now fulfilled. I can slip away, leaving the man’s corpse gently embraced by broom handles, rope, and canvas stained in the blood of his victims, mushrooms resting incongruously on his forehead.
About the Author
Levi Krain rose from the depths of a clear, cold northern lake and enveloped a small mid-western city. Since then, he has moved on to bigger and better things and now resides in the heart of Lovecraft country where he spins tales and refuses to drink the water from the well. He also writes weird micro-fiction on Twitter @LeviKrain https://twitter.com/LeviKrain.