Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent)( 04/24/08)
The Stalker's Curse
By Chely Roach
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After three days of rain, the hymns and prayers can no longer keep him at bay. The stench of my stalker wafts under my door. Alas, I no longer have the strength to fight him. The downward spiral begins. This curse—this genetic shrapnel—is like a thistle spur in my shoe; I am unaware of its existence until I lean on it just so. The searing pain brings me to my knees. My stalker delights in irritating the shrapnel, until the wound is a festering boil, abscessed and pustulant. I curse this curse. I curse the rain.
A weeping willow is my family tree. This same stalker had preyed upon its weary branches—bending them low—bruising their tender flesh. He infiltrates the deepest roots with a slow, rotting disease, and then ecstatically watches the malignant splotches spread to its furthest leaves.
My mother’s mother was his first casualty. He whispered evil, vile thoughts into her ear; she held the blade over my mother’s throat. A twisted sacrifice—not like the obedience of Abraham with Isaac—this sacrifice was to Wormwood, who rejoices in all suffering. But the Keeper of the Book, the Creator of the stars, held His protective hand over my mother that day. The moment before steel could penetrate newborn flesh, a seemingly random intercessor stepped in. My week old mother went into foster care and her mother to the asylum. The stalker detonated his initial bomb, spewing shards of scourging shrapnel amongst the tender willow. I curse this curse. I curse the rain.
My mother—Mary—grew up in the house of a wicked woman named Rose. The stalker sowed insanity into Rose’s mind; she sadistically tormented Mary in indescribable ways. She was purposely cruel. She was broken. She did the stalker’s bidding, grinding salt into the every growing fissure on Mary’s soul, breaking her spirit in agonizing daily increments. I curse this curse. I curse the rain.
By her early forties, the stalker was an ever increasing presence in my mother’s life. He sucked the joy out of the blessings of her marriage and children. The stalker devoted decades to his favorite subjugate; coaxing her to eat his poisoned apple, drenched in double malt whiskey. Year by year—drop by burning drop—under the weight of her tormentor, the apple began to look ever the more appetizing. He softy breathed his venerable half truths, “I can free you from this relentless pain…you have suffered so much…peace is just one bite away.” She finally took of that apple, and as she drifted away from her earthly vessel, he was still persecuting her, “Go on, you weakling. Go to your God. Now I will start on those three.” Her last vision was him nodding toward the bedside photo of her children.
“No…” she weakly gasped. Only a trice later, she was in the presence of the Keeper of the Book. He spoke her name from its pages, as a bittersweet tear shone in His scintillating eyes. Her thousand pieces of fractured shrapnel lay at His holy feet. I curse this curse. I curse the rain.
So here I sulk—submerged in this spring storm—scowling at my stalker, who savors his grasp on yet a third generation. I have tried my best to remove any foothold for him to grasp. Determined to remain sober, and prayerfully worship the rightful King of kings. I command him in the name of the Lamb, to leave me alone; release my siblings. Get out of our weeping willow tree. He laughs at my invocation, and nods toward my children’s door, “You can’t guard them forever…I have enough shrapnel for them all.”
The thistle burrows deeper. “No, you’re wrong…this will end here. I will not tell them of you, and what you have done to our tree; nor the sins of my mother, or her mothers, either. I’ve seen letters I wish I could unread…words I long to UN-hear…knowledge of your deeds that I’d pay to unlearn. With the Armor of God, I will shield them from your plans beyond my death…because when it comes to you, evil one, ignorance is bliss.”
I'll break this curse. I'll love the rain.
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