Moon-silver Mother

Night had never been Robert’s friend. He never found solace swimming in moonlight and starlight had always been colder than ice.

His mother left him at night to his father who longed for his mother.

Womanless starving they ceased to talk. They grew thinner together — father and son trying to mother each other in vain.

His father gave up in November and Robert kept the urn with his ash in their living room. They aged together musing in the absence of mothers.

Years later Robert still sails through the Havisham-dust of his childhood home. He is grey and silent; only his shadow shouts.

On a nightmare scream, his mother is there — again. Bright as moon-silver, laughing again. He feels his knife again, picks up the shovel, leaves for the garden; the flowerbeds bathing in moonlight.

He starts digging… Cries…

“Mother, you’re back…”

Skull by Albrecht Durer

Today I host Prosery at dVerse where we incorporate one line from a piece of poetry into a piece of prose of no more than 144 words. The line today comes from Maya Angelou’s poem “Caged Bird” and says: “his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream”.

May 11, 2020

23 responses to “Moon-silver Mother

  1. Ooh, nice one, Björn! I felt sorry for Lill’s alien and now I feel sorry for your Robert. Some people are just not keen on the night. I rather like darkness, night sounds, stars and moon. But I am really a morning person. I understand how he must have felt at the loss of his mother, and the ‘womanless starving’ – men are not so good at looking after each other. I love the phrase ‘Havisham-dust of his childhood home’, the shouting shadow, and how you broke up the prompt line. The ending reminds me of Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’.

  2. “Feels his knife again, picks up the shovel, leaves for the garden; the flowerbeds bathing in moonlight.” Oh boy, now we know what happened to Mother. Methinks Robert is himself a cursed ghost for having committed matricide… Such an eerie, haunting tale!

  3. Reading tonight’s contributions to the pub in the dark was a mistake I feel. This has quite literally given me goosebumps. You broke the quote up so cleverly, it just slots into the prose, and the story builds around it really well.

  4. Your handling of the prompt is masterful, with leeway for interpretation. Did the father kill his wife, and the son has to bear the secret and shame, or did the son kill his mother, causing his father to stroke out and retreat into his own silence?

  5. A deliciously dark and twisted tale, with brilliant use of the quote. Bravo

  6. “Havisham-dust” oh so nice this image
    This was quite chilling in its ending
    Thanks for a lovely prompt tonight.
    Be safe


  7. You are so good in this creepy-licious genre.

    Love the way you split the quote; it keeps the vibe fresh and original.

  8. So liked the image of the two men – growing thinner together, trying (and failing) to mother each other – and – that they keep ageing together – even when his father is ash on the mantle – a sad horror pervades.

  9. I felt the two men, womanless/motherless, sitting together in silence. So sad.

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