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Lulling Her Reality

Updated on August 27, 2014
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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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    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

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

    • Theater girl profile image

      Jennifer 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!

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 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.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 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.

    • Maria Antonia profile image

      Antoinette Lee Toscano 2 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      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.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

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

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 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
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you Audrey...

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      One of your best I think Frank!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

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

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      Christine 3 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
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      lol silly

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 3 years ago from On planet Earth

      lol okay uncle Frank :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      WAW, thank you my ladyfiddler..:)

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 3 years ago from On planet Earth

      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
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you tobusiness :) bless you

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 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
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

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

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 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.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much annart bless you

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      Ann Carr 3 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
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

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

    • wingedcentaur profile image

      William Thomas 3 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.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 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!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

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

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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      Audrey and Susan thanks for visiting my page :)

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 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.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Very sad and even sadder how true it is.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 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..

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 3 years ago from Earth

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

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Wow Frank--feverishly good and scary!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      flourish always good to see you commenting bless you girl

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

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

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 3 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

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you for that savvy comment :)

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 3 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
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      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

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 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 : )

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 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.

    • FitnezzJim profile image

      FitnezzJim 3 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      What a sad ending.

    • carrie Lee Night profile image

      Kept private 3 years ago from Northeast United States

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

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 3 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.