Motherhood of Fear – a short story

Part of Month of the Macabre

click HERE for the content warning and about Month of the Macabre

I am including a second warning here specific to this story: this story deals with sexual assault and other very sensitive topics. Please understand that this serves as a warning that as this story deals with these topics, no matter in which how, it may trigger some individuals to experience stress, anxiety, among other trauma related emotions. Please understand that this story in no way is a celebration of any of this and that it took me (the writer) over a year to even finish this draft as it is a very difficult topic to explore. Read with caution.

“Motherhood of Fear”
a short story by Jeremy C Kester (All Rights Reserved)
[note: this is an early draft and may not reflect the final product]

There was a time that I wasn’t afraid. At least that’s how I remember it. Now there is nothing but the fear that follows me along every path I try to take. Everywhere I walk there it is there, lurking in the shadows of the things illuminated by the sun. It was formless, never staying one shape of whatever hid it.

I walked along the walkway. Overhead the sun was shining against the backdrop of a blue sky. A few fluffy clouds decorated the edges without impeding the daylight. I wasn’t terribly uncomfortable despite the fact that I knew this things was following me. The darkness; the fear. It always followed me anymore, and although I was in a general state of discomfort in knowing that it was there, it didn’t take away from my observations that the day was a nice day.

People gathered along the way, grouped in small clusters of happiness. Under normal circumstances there were a few of the groups that would have welcomed my company. Today was not the day. Each step was a steadfast march towards my destination.

Breezes ruffled through the causeway, tussling through my hair in a way that played with my imagination. Fear was toying with me. I knew it. It was trying to lure me into enjoying the day, of thinking to myself that I would turn from the darkness. Darkness wasn’t so easily lost. Sunny days and cool breezes were only subtle disguises. They were there to lure us away, to keep us away from doing what we need to do.

“What do you think that you are doing?”

I tried to ignore the voice. Lowering my head, I pushed myself further towards the task. Distractions were not what I needed.

“Don’t ignore me, bitch,” the shadows said.

My feet stopped walking. I shook in place, wondering if I was going to be able to get them moving again. I needed to; I wanted them to keep moving forward. It was like my feet were stuck in a concrete slab that set the moment my feet plunged into it.

“I don’t want to talk to you,” I said to the shadow next to me.

It’s eyes stared at me, knowingly. As much as I wanted to keep moving, there was a force inside me that was pushing me to turn away, to run. Anything so that I didn’t go where I was heading to. 

“Doesn’t matter,” the voice said. 

I repeated myself as I continued walking. 

“Hey.”

I jumped from the addition of the third voice. It was Charlie. She stood across the way from me. She looked beautiful as she always had, the way her eyes pierced through her pale skin. They way she moved her body as though every movement was part of a dance. She was smiling, something I found tough to imagine how to do. 

“Oh, hey,” I said, trying not to look at her.

“You OK? I mean, you look like something’s wrong.”

Of course she was able to see me this way. Those eyes were dangerous. Hiding anything from her was near impossible.

“Nothing—” I said with a shortness to my voice. “I— I am fine.” I lied. She knew. She smiled anyway.

“I was wondering if you could hang out tonight…” her words trailed off. She looked remarkable if not a feature that I hadn’t noticed in her before, nervous. I couldn’t understand why, nor did I understand why she was asking me anything at the moment. Really I was certain that I was out of her league. I mean, we talked before, sure, like we had plenty of classes together and all.

“Uh… yeah— I guess,” I said, stumbling over my words. It was a mix of the fact that the most beautiful girl I’ve ever known was asking me to hang out and that the fear was lurking there, even in the shadow behind Charlie.

“You won’t get anywhere with her,” the fear said, it’s voice mocking me as I tried to recover from stumbling my words. “You’ll just mess it up like you messed it up with him.”

I tried to ignore the words, like they didn’t exist. At least I didn’t believe that they existed even though I could hear them in my ears just like if they were said by the very real Charlie standing in front of me. She was flesh and blood. Warmth. A feeling that could wrap around me, hoping to avoid the cold chill of the shadows as it spoke to me, jarring me even as I tried to resist it.

Charlie took a step forward and grabbed my hand after what looked like her hesitating, like she was making a mistake. It looked like she was unsure of what she was going to do, or if she was sure that she wanted to. My hand pulled away only an inch or something, enough that I could see her wince as though she had made the wrong move. Her eyes were looking right at me, waiting for me.

“She’s only going to ruin you like he did.”

It was only a year ago that it had happened. Being the oblivious young girl, it was easy to fall for him. He was a professor, so smart, brilliant even. When I started classes, he kept looking at me, glancing my way. Of course it was flattering. What girl wouldn’t want a guy, a man to notice her, to be that interested? 

I wanted to scream. If I could grab those shadows, I would strangle the life from them, shaking them like a dog would a squirrel if it ever got ahold of it. Something about having Charlie standing in front of me though calmed me some, kept me from lashing out.

“I— I have to go now,” I said with a nervous stutter.

She looked a little taken aback by it. She smiled anyway, a shy smile, one where it looked more like she was unsure in the moment whether it was the appropriate choice. I reached for her hand, the motion of it feeling totally awkward. I squeezed it as an attempt to reassure her. “I can’t wait for tonight,” I said. The words sounded far more assured than what was going through my mind.

There was a change in her lips that told me that it worked. She relaxed again as she returned the squeeze in my hand. Then, without any warning she leaned in and kissed me on the lips. Then right at the moment where it all snapped into place what was happening, she pulled away, her face flushed red. She smiled back in that unsure smile before she left me standing in place.

“You’ll fuck it up even if she doesn’t,” the fear said, renewing its existence. It wasn’t going to be ignored. 

Everything around continued as if it were normal. As the shadow of darkness slipped around, it remained unseen to all except for me. It smiled, laughing at what it had witnessed.

“Fuck off,” I said as if the words would work.

You don’t know how to get rid of me,” it continued.

There was an idea there. 

My foot fell back into the rhythm of my previous goal. The need to move forward was frightening. It was a drive impossible to ignore any longer though. 

“It won’t work,” the darkness told me again. It believed those words, far more than I did.

It was a point that needed proved. The pain was welled up, creating over the damn that was built to try to hold it in place. Repeated fucking demons insisted on pushing that seed into me. Too many assholes thinking that they could just fuck an innocent life, they could use their dicks to push their way into me to satisfy their perverse desires.

One of them had to be stopped. One of those bastards had to be made to understand the pain they caused. They needed to understand that they fathered something out of their greed. They fathered something that would not leave me, a tendril of pain that I could not get away from no matter what I thought, getting away from it wasn’t an option. I was its mother now.

And like a child, the need of it never left me; I could not get away from it; it needed tending to at all times.

The air felt as though it turned cold as I walked. My arms instinctively pulled in, wrapping myself in like an imaginary coat or something— something to guard me from the feelings that were chilling in their presence.

Behind me, the shadow followed as the sun remained static in the sky. I knew it was there behind me, my child, insisting that I paid attention to it, although everything I wanted was for it to go away. I wanted it to know how unwanted it was. Then again, it knew; I was sure of it. 

The door to the place felt heavy as I pulled it. From what I could see, the shadow was there trying to weaken me. It pushed as I pulled, trying to keep me from moving forward, trying to make me accept that this path I was taking was to be my end— that I would ultimately fail. That door was the same one passed through countless times before. Was it always this heavy?

Smells of the hall filled my nose. The range of emotions confused me. “See, you’re comfortable here,” the shadow said as it followed along the edges of the hallway and up the stairs. It was right, there was a comfort in the smells of the place. Although there was so much pain, there was something about being there that soothed me. “You know that you can forget about what you were going to do. Everything will be OK if you ignore it,” the shadow, the fear said as I placed one foot in front of the other, willing to move them forward as the shadow pushed against them.

Like every time before, the walls were plain, unassuming. Lights adorned the walls in an unassuming manner, like they had been purchased and installed for the sole purpose of being plain. Even the smell had a plain feel to it, like the scent was unidentifiable, plain to a fault.

Behind me, my child loomed at the edges of the hallway. In the small nooks where light couldn’t touch, it beckoned me to turn around. Though I tried to banish it, it remained at the borders of my sight, just out of reach that I couldn’t confront it head on. It strove to be as such, calling me to the side without ever facing me.

Insults flew from it as I got closer to where I wanted to go. My heart raced as the words from it melted through my skin like a poison. Without realizing it, I was shaking. Each step became an effort to remain balanced, as though the floor was strewn with patches of ice while my legs were rubberized. You’ll never make it, it said. You’ll never be rid of it. It knew too well.

My arm felt like it had a weight attached to it, limiting how high I could lift it. Or like it was stuck in a thick muck, burdening me as I tried to move. Didn’t matter that I wanted to move, that I wanted to knock on the door. The only problem was that I was unsure anymore as to what I really wanted. Did I really want to confront him? Did it matter if he knew his child followed me; the child created not from the biology — no, from the psychology of his shooting his fucking sperm into me.

I found out I was pregnant not long after he started sleeping with me. A visit to the clinic took care of it. Twice it happened. Even before then I was growing unhappy — insure of keeping up with it. The whole thing felt wrong, but for some reason I kept going back. I’d attend his class in the morning and let him inside me at night. Even as he had many others doing the same. “Office hours” he called them. It was a sick joke on the actual office hours he held. We didn’t receive any help, even when we were asking him for it. How many times had I gone there begging him for help on assignments I didn’t understand and instead of filling me with knowledge, he filled me with his cum. 

What the hell did I keep thinking? I needed the grade and he was the only professor for those classes — ones I needed for my major. It wasn’t until my first exam that I received an F for a grade with the note of “come see me after.” I blew him for an A.

It was like a game for him. He would give us poor grades and allow us the opportunity to change it.

My nerves were shot.

As I had gotten close to the door, I saw a young girl leave his apartment. On her face was the same empty look, the same darkness following her.

Fear got the better of me. I let my own darkness take me by the hand and lead me out of the building.

You’ll never rid of me that easily,” it taunted as I walked in the cool air. I shivered even though it wasn’t cold enough to bother me yet.

Eventually I found myself sitting at a local cafe, a cup of coffee steaming in front of me. Charlie saw me from across the way. At least that’s what I thought — or could assume given that she suddenly came up.

“Hi! Didn’t expect to see you here,” she said, her voice lacking even a small hint of sadness. Like always, she was bright, beautiful. The counter to my existence. How was it that she was interested in me? Was she even interested in me?

“She’s doing this only to make a fool of you later,” my child said, its dark form sitting comfortably in the chair next to me. It seemed to have grown since I last looked its way.

“I- uh- did you still want to hang out later?” I asked. I tried to ignore the words coming at me from my child.

She looked around, I mean back, like she was looking for someone that she was just with. At least that’s what I thought. “I mean,” she smiled. “We can start now?”

Was I too eager? Too excited? Afraid? My child — that fucking dark entity that loitered at my side hissing at me to push Charlie away — it certainly wanted me to make sure it didn’t happen.

But the little bit of sweat that was on her neck sparkled in the light — like porcelain. It gave her a glow that made me want to stare at her.

“Well?” she said, her smile drooping some.

“Yes!” I said a little too fast. “Wait. I’m sorry. I’ve been really distracted lately. Please. Yes. Stay. Please. I’d love to hang out with you.”

I awoke later. A ceiling fan spun above me. The weight of Charlie’s arm, her smooth pale skin, rested on my stomach. Her head on my breasts.

It was her apartment. Shit. Wish I could afford living in my own apartment rather than the shit dorms that we all were usually assigned. Maybe that was the benefit of having rich parents, not that mine were poor. Charlie’s parents were very rich.

Off in the corner of the room, I caught sight of that dark form that follows me around everywhere. My child. The one thing that I couldn’t abort.

“You’ll never be good enough for her. You are destined to be used by men. Fucked for your grades or your promotions. You’ll never be good enough.”

I closed my eyes tight. Speaking back to it might wake her. It knew best to goad right then. Any time that I felt the least bit of happiness or pride or enjoyment, right when I felt at peace for a goddamn moment, it would sit there and start looking for my attention! Trying hard, I pushed it away from my mind. Charlie was next to me. I made love with her the night before — something that felt more right to me than anything else I ever did. That little fucker of a child wasn’t going to fuck that up for me.

As soon as I opened my eyes, it was gone. I sighed.

“You’re awake?” she said. It was a cute purr. She was barely awake. 

I smiled. “Just lying here thinking.”

“About?”

What could I tell her? That I was thinking that this was all wrong? That I didn’t feel good enough, deserving enough to have her naked against me? That I had been fucking one of my professors, aborted two children of his and then had something much worse out of it all?

Part of me wanted to tell her about the black, dark, shadowy mass that followed me around and taunted me. I wanted her to understand me in that way, how guilty it all made me feel. How I felt used. Wasted. Abused. And how I believed that it was all my fault. That I wasn’t good enough or smart enough to be able to not have done it all. What would it accomplish though? All it would do would show to her what a fraud I was.

While all these groups were running around campus shouting about women’s rights and #metoo, I was fucking my professor for better grades. He raped me. Forced me to suck his dick. And even through all that, I let him. Let him even though I didn’t want to. Even though I wanted to say no. Even though I felt sick to my stomach as the blood soaked fetus was pulled out of me giving birth instead to this damn blackness.

Finally, I said, “I’m wondering how I got so lucky.”

She purred as she stretched. Like a real purr. It made my heart skip a beat.

We spent the rest of the morning skipping classes and talking. By the afternoon she asked if I wanted to stay another night. She had to leave to get to a class that she couldn’t meet. I thought about meeting with her later. Instead, I decided that I would go back to my own dorm.

As I left, I saw a shadow in the corner. Ignoring it, I walked as fast as I could trying to simply move past it. Happiness was surrounding me then, thinking about the wonderful time that I had and could have. My future was looking bright for once.

The fucked up thing was that I was doing well in school. I would graduate with honors in my field and have the opportunity to do so much after I graduated. Somehow, the choices I made up to then for that felt empty. None of it felt worth the sacrifices I made. None of it felt worth that thing that followed me around everywhere I went.

Meeting someone though, sharing a connection with someone, that’s what makes life worth it.

“Do what you want. You’ll never be worth it. Eventually, she will find out about you. She will learn what you really are.”

I held my hands up to my ears as I stepped out of the building and onto the street. “Shut up. Go away.” The words were feeble, weak. Weaker than I thought I was in that moment.

It was right. I knew it.

Last night began to replay in my head. Over and over I scanned over each interaction trying to see where I fucked it up. Or the moment that would later come to be where I fucked it up. Though I couldn’t find any, I knew that something was there. Maybe I blocked it.

“Fuck you!” I said as a person was passing. They turned and I realized what I did. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything to you.”

The woman gave me the finger and kept moving.

“See,” the shadow said, creeping up to the corner of my eyes. It was bigger than I remembered it a few moments ago. “No one likes you. Just wait until that girl finds out about you…”

Its tone was mocking me.

I found myself standing outside the building again. That building. A few days had past before Charlie and I started our relationship. Without realizing it, I became obsessed with her. Yet even as she occupied so much of my waking thoughts, the edges held that shadow there. Always, no matter where I looked, it continued to stalk me, like a baby bird following its mother after being expelled from the nest.

Inside the building was where he lived. I wore the dress he liked. The one that he loved to lift up and fuck me in. No underwear. Nothing to stop him or delay his urges.

The other day a few of the girls off in a table were each bragging on how easy his classes were as they didn’t even have to pay attention. They could fuck him and get the grade.

“Disgusting,” Charlie said.

I noticed a smile out of the shadows.

“What a piece of shit,” she continued. “Someone ought to report him. He’s taking advantage of those girls, that fucking cunt.”

A lump formed in my throat. It burned as she looked with unrelenting indignation at them. “Sounds like they are the ones taking advantage of him,” I found myself saying aloud.

Where the fuck did those words come from? Again, I saw the smile out from the shadows. My child was pleased with its mother.

Charlie sat back. Her face was twisted between the anger of the situation and the words I spoke. They were true, if I thought about it. At least with how those girls spoke, they seemed absolutely pleased about their situation, like getting fucked for a free grade was a good thing. Better than their own self-worth even. Understanding their beliefs was beyond my grasp, but I could see that they seemed to be exceptions to my experience.

“Can’t believe you’d defend that.”

I turned away to look the other direction. I could feel my skin get warm. Saying something like that was obviously a sore spot for Charlie. And how could it not be? She was such a wonderful person. Hearing things like that come out of the mouth of someone like me was undeserved. If anything, I deserved being dumped on the spot, revealed to be the fraud I was.

“Well, obviously their idiots. But if they want to be stupid like that, then why should we stop them?”

Charlie looked at me a moment. I knew she was although I could see her. “I never thought you’d believe that.”

“I don’t agree with it. But obviously no one else has suffered for it.”

“That we know.”

It was those words that struck me. She did know; only she didn’t know. That dark part of my life was hidden tightly from everyone except him and that fear that followed me around. It was that doubt. Doubt that I proved justified. Proved right after all the times I thought otherwise.

Plainly before me was my answer: to get anywhere, I was going to have to give myself to people like that. I wasn’t strong enough on my own. Or good enough. Or smart enough.

All those beliefs I once had, that I could do anything, that I could believe in myself, all those were shattered like glass before me. Broken into pieces there was no hope to ever put back together.

While I stood there, my stomach ached. All through my lower body, something felt terribly wrong.

Walking became difficult as I moved into the building. Once again, the dark shadow followed me. This time it knew not to say anything. Something else was speaking. Something else had my attention.

By the time I reached the door, I buckled in pain. My insides were twisting. Tears came out, but I dared not do anything.

I looked down on the ground and saw that blood leaking out of me. It would soon mix with the blood from my wrists.

Those last few seconds, I remembered sitting there, feeling weaker and weaker as life drained slowly from my arms. It was late. No one moved through the halls then, staying where they were already for the night. I felt my phone vibrate. Charlie was calling, wondering where I was. I wish I could tell her everything.

Too weak to answer, I looked over at the small fetus my body rejected. Before then, I had no idea I was pregnant again. His baby. His bastard child. The fruit of good grades and a bright outlook on my career.

With what little energy I had left, I leaned forward and picked up the child. It was still too small to see whether it was a boy or a girl. Did it matter though?

It barely felt like anything in my hands. Crying, I cradled it tight, blood covering everything around me, soaking into the carpets under me. Before long, he’ll leave. He or one of the girls he fucks for grades will open the door. They’ll open the door and find me cradling my fears. The dark seed of everything wrong with me.

Story written and owned exclusively by Jeremy C Kester. Do not reprint, copy, or anything other than sharing direct links to this page without written permission from there author.

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