Her arm rises defiantly against the violation, the solitary wiry limb thrusting from lathered waters, breaking the serene sea of oily bubbles. The water shudders in respect to the volatile attack, sputtering irregular waves to the cracked flanks of the bathtub until the water spills like blood, soaking into the pasty crevices of uneven ground.

Her back arches first, the movement esoterically autoerotic, her spine seeming to snap with a vigilant afterthought, arching in a sublime circular posture of theatrical defense. Elbows thrash against the porcelain-tapered sides, a dull hollow drumming echoes as her joints develop an erratic rhythm against the paint-speckled tub. Her fingers eventually climb to her throat as her back shifts with magnificent movement; liquid is vomited to the floor, soaking my bare feet with the lukewarm water scented by cheap cologne and shampoo.

She tries to gasp my name, her fingers curling about the source of her distress, clawing at her skin with futile listless gesture that belongs to someone who has already died. I can read the syllables of my name on her silent mouth, I remember how the murky waters glisten against her lower deflated lip, how the last consonant rolls with a secondary plea for my mercy.

Her loose hair is snarled and tangled about my wrist like Medusa’s vengeance, the loose tatters slapping against my bared forearms like the wing of a dying bird, as she makes her last struggle for redemption.

She dies on the third grasp, her movements becoming gradually subservient, passive and loosing all intrigue. Her crimson-rimmed eyes that once protruded with a ghastly incarnation of death fall faint of show, her lashes concealing the startled pupils, her irises not having yet time to dilate. Her tight mouth becomes loose, and I am finally able to acknowledge the talon wrinkles about the crevices corners of flesh, her age apparent now as the sculpted façade of life is swept from her visage.

She exhales, the breath decreasing in intensity, growing ragged at the final notes of her respiration. Elbows sag within the cooling water, her nude body rising first with her breasts (the same which had fed me when coming into this world), and then her distended belly. The waters grow calm once again, only pooling tangents of disturbance circle about her wrists and ankles that soon dissipate into a swirling mass of greasy streaks.

The now moist beads slip from her skin, the flawless complexion of the pearls grazes the crest of her neck adoringly with an ironic humor. My eyes narrow at the serpentine movement of the beads, how the individual beads seem to leave a mark about her larynx. Water reflects at the base of her throat where already the orchid blossom of vicious bruises spiders across her sickly tallow skin.

I adjust the necklace about my neck once again as I watch my Mother.

She never inhales again.

* * *

“You never talk.” She complains to me, her movements slightly erratic as she attempts to find something worthy of fascination. I watch disinterested with her drunken movements, and her attempts to begin an already failed conversation. “You never talk to me, do you talk at all?” She demands, with little conviction behind her proposed queries.

I glance from her disoriented figure to the window, the rain leaving only a shattered splatter of gleaming knives against the pane. My mouth feels dry, the room arid with the risen temperature. I revert my gaze back to her with a pensive moment of uncertainty.

“When I am inclined to.” I reply with little substance within my current intonation. My voice sounds bland to me, bland but an octave too high – a child’s voice denied definite jubilation.

“Why don’t you talk like a normal child?” She hisses venomously at me, the effect only draw slight peaks of my brows at her emotional out-burst. “You sit there, and…and…and it’s like talking to a thesaurus. It’s like talking to a stranger, it’s talking to HIM.” She cries, her arm flung out as brandy causes a stationary pool at the corner of the rug. “It’s not natural…” She declares…”..not natural at all.”

I can feel my eyelids relaxing after the initial rise at her prior exclamation, interest once again drawn to the translucent rain; I listen to her staccato breathing and the relentless drive of rain against glass. I can feel her poisoned gaze narrowing on me, seething and hating, the matronly feeling absent from her intoxicated state.

“You’re just like him. You belong to your Father, you’ve always belonged to your father.” She announces satisfied, her arm rising to move the wrinkled edge of her sleeve across her moist mouth. “You’re not my daughter.” She whispers, and finishes off her brandy.

* * *

They gleamed like premature baby teeth when held to the delicate halogen light. Looped about itself it was revealed in the velveteen box, my sight caressed the divine texture of the beads, attempting to find an insignificant imperfection with one of the beads. My attention gazed longingly over the first of the thirty-two beads strung on the sturdy string, the watery reflection revealed nothing more then the humidity of my breath.

It was given the holy respect of a rosary, forbidden to be removed from its creased satin pillow, forbidden to hold within tainted fingers. I obsessively pined for the pearls, studiously protective over the clasp of saltwater inheritance. Each significant, each impeccable in celestial purity.

Across the spherical decline of the first pearl I caught the distant semblance of my mother’s plaintive features reflected against the rich color of the bead. It was then I knew what I had to do.

* * *

I was caught admiring her sole treasure once again. Tensely, she watched me with a conspiratorial gleam of suspicion; her tight mouth curling inwards as she placed her watery gin into her palm.

“Have gave them to me.” She declares, her voice slightly high strung from the amount of alcohol she has consumed tonight. She watches me; I can feel her gaze as I absently glance about her disheveled room. “On our wedding night, it was my gift.” She proudly boasts, circling gradually melting ice within her chipped crystal tumbler.

“So I have heard.” I reply tenuously. The lack of tone in my voice causes her brows to crease with lethargic contemplation. “You have told me before.” I later assure, the story having been related at least a dozen times within the passing several years.

“It’s the only thing he ever gave me.” She glowers, and takes a liberal amount of her drink until her glass is nearly empty.

“Are you suggesting that I am not a fit presentation?” I inquire, only a metallic humor can be found as I raise my brow to her with the question.

“Where do you learn that?” She demands shortly after, her features becoming flustered with exasperation as she leans against an acute corner of the dresser.

“Learn what? Articulation?” I question immediately, one of our first conversations within days. “The bulk of communication is learned in primary education.” I reply nonchalantly as the reaction causes her to grown more irate with my unfathomable presence.

“You’re not normal.” She whispers just before rising the amber colored glass to her mouth. “And you’re not my daughter.” She drinks.

* * *

It had been nearly two hours when I entered her pungent room. It had been nearly two hours of listening to her lament in the bathroom, listening to her tears, to her sobbing within the humid recesses of her bath. I could smell the clearance bath oil in the thick atmospheric air, it leant me a more solid degree of determination.

When the door opened it revealed only the smoke left behind from wilting candles, wicks nearly burnt to the ground. The flames were disrupted and errant against the weeping bases of wax, causing my eyes to water for a brief second as I approached the forbidden radius of her vanity dresser.

I could see my reflection, yet detect nothing else other then the rectangular shadow, which enticed me. Silent fingers fall to the edge of the battered surface, and exhaling I could taste her nightmares against the fringes of my tongue.

I have yet to experience any such divine burst of emotion then the moment the strand of pearls lay dormant within my pale still hands. I drew the hanging beads upwards to my throat, dragging the lavish beads across my exquisite child’s pallor to compare the fatalistic gleam of the pearls to my exposed baby teeth.

I noted with hindsight that within the dismal room both the pearls and my teeth gleamed with the same iridescent hue of polished bone.

My mother ceased sobbing.


The air in her room was stagnant. It stank of rancid alcohol and bodily perspiration. A scent of stale salt clung to her worn cotton sheets, the scent of her unwashed body sweet with sweat.

The room was like Socrates’ cave. At times luminated with the quasi-religious display of steepled candles, the walls bore ragged definition of the unseen fire. When she tossed in her troubled sleep the sheets bound her wrists and ankles like bolted chains, causing her to groan with fevered nightmares at the capture.

Her thinned lashes tremble with the rampant dreams inspired by alcohol consumption. She exhales fetid air, recycling the dank caustic heat of the room. I can feel her humid breath brush across my countenance; I can feel her moisture against my exposed flesh.

My eyes daringly drag from her livid form to the shadow-obscured corner of her desk. Within the elongated fixture the pearls glistened in their eternal sleep, the creamy hue of perfection lost within the blanket of blackness.


My head once again turns, righting itself as my gaze averts to her strained awakened features. I blink once to scrape collecting debris from my corneas. I am neither shocked nor startled with her sudden consciousness.

“What are you doing?” She questions, a trembling hand curling about the twisted sheet at her sweat soaked torso.

I can see from the corner of my eye the shape of the nearly hidden box, I can feel the crushed velvet between my child’s fingers, and I can taste neutral waters about the pearls in my mouth.

“You were having nightmares…Mother.” I reply after an interval of silence.


  1. Thank you. *g*

    It’s one of my slightly older pieces.

    My writing skills have matured slightly since then, but I still enjoy the story.

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