Maternal Instinct

“Flash fiction” is all the rage. And, with the following short-short, all the terror as well.

The woman collapsed in the foam of the oncoming surf, sobbing anguished screams and gripping fistfuls of wet sand so tightly that soaked granules slipped between her clenched fingers.

“Not Jason! Not my grandbaby!” She hurled curses against the roar of the inbound tide, foam bubbling white around her knees. This black night the ocean did not answer.

Far out in the water the dorsal fin dipped below the surface a final time, leaving her to pound out her tears and frustrations on the sodden beach amid the never-ending waves. The infant’s cries drowned out moments before.

“Bring him back! He’s just a baby!” she wailed, wet eyes beseeching the waves.

From behind approached a gentleman dressed in a faultless black suit, cut tight against his thin frame. He looked immeasurably old, with heavily lined skin the hue of campfire ashes. Bright shining dress shoes stopped well out of reach of the lapping tide as he called out.

“I’m afraid that will do you no good, madam,” He waved dismissively at a passing fly. “The children of Dagon do not give up their own.”

The woman whirled on him in desperation. “Help me! They took my son and my grandson. Please, help me.” She hesitated. Her words trickled off into an agonized moan. Even though she sorely needed comfort, she stayed far afield of the dour fellow.

“I could assist. Do you truly want to see your son and grandson again?” He said.

“More than anything.” Hope overcame her reluctance and she approached him, though still repelled by the otherworldly aura he radiated.

“There might be a way for you to reunite with him. Your grandchild, that is. And your son. And your daughter-in-law.”

“That monstrous bitch!” Trembling tears welled up in her eyes. “She caused all this. She took my babies from me.”

“Now, now. You can’t hold that against her. Her instincts drove her to return home. Your son and grandson are her family, so of course they sought to join her.” His coal black eyes glittered in the moonlight. “As it is written ‘Therefore shall a man leave his Father and his Mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh.’”

“Are you a preacher?” She wiped the tears away.

“Of a sort, yes. You may call me Mr. Nylar.”

“Mister? Not Reverend Nylar? Pastor Nylar? What sort of church do you belong to?”

“Oh, Heavens no! And it’s less a church than it is a ‘high exalted Esoteric Order.’ Hmmm, such a grandiose sounding title.” He looked wistful, his stare focused on a star a million miles away. “I can reunite you with your loved ones. You just have to follow me.”

“My babies. I’ll do anything to be with my babies.”

The cold glint in his eye reflected his indifference to her suffering, despite all of his kind words. “Oh, I’m quite certain you will.”

When she took his proffered hand, a chill ran the length of her spine.


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