Lulling Her Reality

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Rock-a-bye baby on a tree top, when the wind blows the cradle will rock…


The thoughts that entered her mind rendered her pale as she began humming that children’s sleep-time song. Beneath the glare of the moonlight, the infant’s face was as white as cream. That infant’s mouth sucked feverishly at his mother’s breast.

“What a happy baby,” the mother whispered. However, she only managed a weak, empty smile. “A happy baby.”

That particular night was filled with loneliness and she could barely form a coherent thought at times, much less engage in a mother and child bonding.

Her mind was still trying to absorb the fact that she had a sickness. She wouldn’t take any medication because she didn’t want to pass it on to the baby. She sat on a day-bed next to the center window of her messy bed room, cradling her baby in her arms. Her mind wasn’t at all sympathetic, and her thoughts were randomly hostile. Sometimes she felt she was on the verge of delirium, and just like that her mind would snap back to reality. She continued grinding on that bit of reality. Something out on the periphery of her thoughts, something that connected reality and delusion tried to take center stage. She was sure of it, but she couldn’t see it clearly.

Her arms and back began to burn with fatigue as her mind fought hard against irrationality. She thought she noticed her exposed breast was gouged, bruised and sore. The child had no teeth, but her delusional instinct was stronger than the lulling reality.

Reality started to cry out as she saw a half glimpse of a demon standing by the bed. It was tall and had stooped over shoulders with wild hair just like a scare-crow. She pulled the child closer to her and it was gone. When she looked around the room, the same image appeared in the mirror. However it wasn’t in the mirror, it was behind her and she fought back a scream. Suddenly a blast of August heat hit her. Just like the heat you get when you open an oven door after baking something for two hours. She grabbed a hair brush and threw it at the mirror as it seemed to have exploded in a hundred shards.

She closed her eyes and hesitated so long that at that moment her lulling reality seemed stretched. She opened her eyes and the image was gone. The room was quiet and there was no proof that the demon was there. The mirror had not been shattered; the reality had not been stretched. However, the fear was emotional as well as physical. It literally stung her in the heart like a wasp.

She looked down at her baby and noticed her thumb and index finger was clamped down on the baby’s tiny little nose and the palm of her hand covered his mouth. The baby was as white as chalk as death found its way into the infant.


Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top, when the wind blows the cradle will rock…

© 2014 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 47 comments

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 2 years ago from Hereford, AZ

This is terrifying and sad. So many women think that they should skip meds for the baby's sake, but they should instead take some of them for the baby's sake.


carrie Lee Night profile image

carrie Lee Night 2 years ago from Northeast United States

Very sad :( but your storytelling phenomenonal :). Voted up and interesting. Truly a great read ! :)


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 2 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

What a sad ending.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Move over Dean Koontz....scary stuff, and what makes it extra scary is it could be real. Well done...exceptional writing.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Brrr ... I am trying to shake off the shivers up and down my spine after reading this terrifying and haunting write! I knew it was going to be creepy starting out with the Rock-a-bye baby song there, but such a sad and shocking ending.

If you think about it, that demon was real and accomplished what it came to do, by inhabiting her mind ...eeks.

Up ++ and away

Thank you for planting the seeds for the sweet dreams tonight, Frank : )


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

Becky, thank you good seeing you again, carrie thanks for the visit.. and welcome fitnezzjim.. and Billybuc thanks for the comment my friend.. while good ole Faith..just bless you my dear


savvydating profile image

savvydating 2 years ago

Rock a bye baby.....Wow, Frank.

This piece is frightening and beautifully written.....like a scene in a movie. But unfortunately---evil really does exist. Your haunting words are not just a bit of fiction. Evil speaks to us, and some people really do go over the edge. Up, awesome.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you for that savvy comment :)


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

You have captured delirium superbly. I like how you nail the details and manage to do so so succinctly. Perfect.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 2 years ago from West Virginia

Just In time for a fresh one Frank! Great to drop by and read your work. I stay so busy, my apologies first most. I hope you and your family is doing great. Creepy Frank. Give me chills Creepy. LOL Up, awesome and interesting. GENIUS


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

lyric always good to see you..hope you and your family are well too..family and work always come first bless you mt friend :)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

flourish always good to see you commenting bless you girl


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Wow Frank--feverishly good and scary!


Susan Zutautas profile image

Susan Zutautas 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

OH my goodness I wasn't expecting that ending at all. Wow!!!!


DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

So interesting and devastating once I got to the end. Very good writing though!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

OMG. Talk about post partum depression! Wow! I wasn'y expecting the twist at the end, Shocking but very creative writing..Tweeted..


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Very sad and even sadder how true it is.


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Your writing is very impressive but oh what a horrific, sad and scary story. Ever sentence runs like a snooker ball heading straight into the corner pocked. You are a vivid story teller.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

Audrey and Susan thanks for visiting my page :)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks Dealforaliving for stopping by and always exploring thank you for your loyalty bless you


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Jackie and Nadine for visiting my flash fiction :)


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

A great mind you have here and so well put together.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

That sickness! I almost got delirious following the demon. You do a great job,Frank, and I'm not saying that just to say something. You're really good!


wingedcentaur profile image

wingedcentaur 2 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

Pretty spooky Frank! This works on two levels that I can think of: First, as a way of pyschologically probing post-partum depression; Second: The story somewhat approaches the suggestion of demonic possession, beyond the trite 'The Devil made me do it,' rationale.

The sad thing about this story is that on one level the woman may have thought she was "protecting" the baby from, some, vaguely identified spectre. On the other hand, that ghost was herself.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

DDE, thank you so much and MsDora, thank you for stopping by... and winged creature thanks for your wonderful comments


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

You are so good at atmospherics; this is chilling to the core and so, so sad. We're there and we can feel the depression, the fear, the confusion, mixed with a tenderness towards the unfortunate baby.

This is amazing, Frank! Ann


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much annart bless you


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

That was breathtaking Frank, it really had me drawn in. The third paragraph from the end I wondered whether she was having a dream. Then when you got to the hand over the baby's nose and mouth, that clinched it. I thought it was magnificent. I voted it up+++, shared and pinned it.

Kevin


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

My gosh, Frank, this one is terrifying. You shocked me with the ending, which was startling. You never run out of ways to keep me on each word, holding my breath.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much for reading my flash, Examiner and Phyllis..bless you both :)


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Frank, this seems a natural progression for you, and what a read? Blooming marvelous, you did an incredible job with this story. Well done!!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you tobusiness :) bless you


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 2 years ago from Somewhere in the West

WAW Frank what a twist but i had a mind she would have killed that baby, worrying if she dies what will become of it. Its indeed sad though :(

Thanks for going into your imagination and bringing these stories out from its storage. LOL


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

WAW, thank you my ladyfiddler..:)


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 2 years ago from Somewhere in the West

lol okay uncle Frank :)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

lol silly


Christine 2 years ago

Frank,

The rhythm of this short work beats calmly into my mind like a vignette! A mother having nursed six infants in my lifetime, two with difficulty. All survived, yet the peril of losing my own strength as well as the latter babes was real.

Could it be that your work is an emblem to the effect of the weakened mind upon expiring breaths? Surreal: beyond woman and babe. Your work holds an enchanting small street light to all of us living here in a neighborhood of expiring breaths...until the next dimension.

Christine


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

interesting comment Christine .. made me think hmmm.. good to see you :)


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

One of your best I think Frank!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you Audrey...


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

I am constantly amazed by how you cram so much into so few words. A world of pain and sadness in the blink of an eye...much like it hits some people on the verge. Another masterpiece.

Voted up, awesome, interesting, and pinned.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you til that means a great deal to me :)


Maria Antonia profile image

Maria Antonia 2 years ago from North Carolina

OMG Frank, voted up and AWESOME! The demon in your story really frightened me. Much in the same way that Edgar Allan Poe's work scares me every Halloween since I was a kid when I dust off his complete works and read a story or two. Even this October The Tell Tale Heart still creeped me out LOL. You made me feel so much compassion for a woman who is clearly losing her grip on reality, only to be disgusted with her to learn that she killed her baby. You're a genius buddy, I can't say it enough.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia

You have a way with story-telling. Engaging, vividly descriptive and always dark - that's your signature style. Just as Maria Antonia said, it's like enjoying the work that Poe did. I love the darkness and the edge of madness. Take care.


Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 2 years ago from India

Frank, mental illness, sometimes, can be very dangerous ,and such patients should be taken care of properly. Though a sad face of life, you have depicted it so vividly and artfully. Great work. Voted up.


Theater girl profile image

Theater girl 2 years ago from New Jersey

Very sad. But real. I stopped nursing my child so I could take Meds again for depression. I had guilt over ending the nursing, but I reasoned that my child would fair better with formula and a sane mother. Thank you for sharing this!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you Maria, Cyndi10 for checking out my lulling.. and thank you too Harishprasad.. and theater girl for the comments and visits

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