Mommy's Little Sunshine

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

A not so wholesome tale of the tolls of toxic motherly affection and how dreadfully wrong things can go.

“Last Words Of A Shooting Star” by Mitski was playing quietly on the burnt-out, staticky radio in the corner.

All of this turbulence wasn’t forecasted, 

Apologies from the intercom

And i am relieved that i left my room tidy, 

They'll think of me kindly

When they come for my things..”

 

Downstairs, faintly, inaudible words of a song they had heard when they were young rang out.

 

Only the occasional current of cool air smoothed over the growing tension in the room where two sat together. The bed was pushed up against the wall to make room to sit on the floor. 

Two girls sat back to back, talking. Their shoes were caked in mud that drove itself into the carpet, left to rot the rug by the feet that had forgotten to be unburdened. 

“Well, what the fuck do we do now?” said the one who faced the closet, Arin.

“You tell me. This was your idea after all.” said the one who faced the mirror,   but looked away from the reflection, Lily.

There was silence, the music in the background softly audible to their ears. 

“It wasn’t my idea.” Arin whispered, clutching her fingers around the clothes thrown thoughtlessly around the floor. 

Lily almost laughed. The sound bubbled up from a malicious part of her brain but died in her throat, clinging as just cobwebs on her lips. 

“I would never have done this if it wasn't for you”

Arin slammed her fist into the carpet. But her tone remained soft and broken. 

“Don’t you dare pin this on me, it was just as much your idea as it was mine. We would never have done this if it weren't for her.”

Lily was quiet for a long time, and then the sound of sniffles filled the room.

“I can’t look at myself knowing what we did, but I've never felt more happy now that she is gone. 

Arin’s lip trembled, threatening to spill tears along with her sister. 

“I've never felt so wonderful in my life, Lily. So free, so myself. I could die happy right now, you know.” 

Lily finally locked eyes with her own reflection. Her face was void of expression, save her eyes that dropped meaningless tears onto her blood stained white shirt. 

“Dream, Ivory” was playing, a whole rendition of the song had fallen on their deaf ears and messy room before someone spoke again. 

 

“Can't say that i knew

Away from feeling you

But you can see it too

The way the skies are turning blue..”

 

“I don't think I feel as well as you do, Arin.”

As the sound of sirens began to grow louder from outside, Arin’s gaze froze onto a green jacket she had gotten at a department store last september. It was still warm in the daytime when her mother had taken her to buy it, but both knew well that soon, the icy chill of winter would stop at nothing to make its way into their bones. 

What joy she had felt that day when she saw it. A pretty pink jacket studded with sequins and lined with white faux fur sparkled in the sun, catching Arins eye, and she reached for it excitedly. A new school year was about to start, and maybe this was just the boost she needed to feel like… like she belonged. For the first time. She imagined disappearing into the soft fabric, letting it shape her into someone who was confident enough to smile as she walked down the hallways, alongside all the normal people. She reached for it excitedly, and-

“No.” 

Arins fingers hadn’t even been able to make contact with the stitching she had craved.

“Not that one.” Her mother had said, grabbing her wrist harshly.

“Are you trying to get even more attention from boys? You won't be dressing like a whore while you're under my roof.” 

The happy, hopeful feeling that had filled her chest died there. It left behind a cold and hollow ghost that would haunt her every single time she looked in the mirror and saw anything other than something to be used. 

And so the green jacket had been settled upon, with feigned happiness at the checkout stand when the clerk had asked her how much she liked it. 

In the car, Arin sat in the backseat clutching her new sweater that was already stained with sadness. Her mother adjusted the mirror to look into her child’s eyes, who was hesitant to meet them. 

“I know you’re not happy, Arin. But I just want what's best for you, you understand that, right?”

Arin looked down and nodded, relieved that her mom was finally showing her some sympathy.

She opened her mouth to say something more, but was cut off by a sharp change in her mothers tone. 

“You really should be more grateful for me, you know. I do everything for you, but what do you do for me? Nothing but bring me stress. You are a drain on all my resources, but I still keep you around. You need to appreciate me much more than you do, because I am the best thing in your life. I am the only one who will actually love you for who you are. Everyone else just uses you up and throws you away, trust me. Why do you think you’ve never met your father?”

She said this while applying more lipstick to her perpetually crimson lips in the car’s visor mirror, wiping the excess nonchalantly with her pinkie finger. 

 

Joan Davis was a woman of many faces. The one she had worn for her ex husband was of a hopeful college graduate eager to find love in her relationships and success in her field. Another was a collage of blue and purple bruises she unwillingly donned on her walk to the lawyers office the day that she was due to pick up divorce papers. One more, covered in tears and runny mascara when she had been laid off from the job she spent years and thousands training for, the reasoning held from being directly stated to her even though everything with a brain in the office knew it was due to her not-so latent alcoholism. 

 

Time, like it usually does, sloughed off these faces and replaced them with a new one, that of a woman beaten down by circumstance, misfortune, and her own toxic thought patterns. A mother who made sure her kids looked presentable enough to be seen at school, nice clothes and designer shoes, but never once paid them a thoughtful gaze when they returned home.

Immediately purchasing the latest skincare brand when she spied an unsightly spot pop up on one of her pubescent daughters before picture day, but never noticing how every day that she unleashed her venomous views onto them, the light seemed to be fading dimmer and darker in their eyes. 

 

Arin said nothing.

She stared blankly into the seat in front of her.

 

Her mother snapped the cap back onto her makeup and stuffed it back into her new purse. 

 

“So, silent again?” 

 

Arin sat, picking at the car seat’s stitching in a taciturn tantrum.

 

Her mother sighed, and said something that Arin would wholly forget until the night when it happened. 

 

“You're killing me, Arin Davis.”

 

In the two girls' bedroom, staring at the sweater, the words her mother said that night came back to haunt her. 

She reached for the hated green cloth, her fingers caked in dried blood, and pressed her face into it, screaming. 

Arin’s sister, sitting up against her back, felt her spine shudder with the force of her wail. 

No tears offered her relief of her horror. The only biological function she could muster was a heartbeat and howls. 


 

It was over the dinner table that night that the word was spoken. 

The two girls picked at their plates, listening to their mothers endless droning of workplace complaints. It was just background noise at this point, buzzing on like the static of a busted TV.

Arin looked at her sister, her glassy eyes unfocused, her mind far away. 

She reached down and tapped twice with her knuckles on the table, the sound pricking up Lily’s fatigued attention from the nothingness where it had hidden. 

The sisters locked eyes, and smiled as Arin quickly drew a finger over her throat, then pointed at their mother, who was still locked in a myriad of toxic speech. 

Both of them chuckled, the mirth dancing playfully on their minds. It pranced happily for momentary joy about the subconscious plains of their minds, but fell downwards and twisted its neck on a dark stone hidden in the tall green grasses. 

The smiles fell like dying rose petals in the October cold.

Guilt fought justification. Forks and knives scraped idly across unfulfilling plates. The news blared future panic for the stock market in the background. 

And on their mother went, spewing endless nightmares. 


 

It happened in the kitchen that night. 


 

Despite all the careful planning, the sleepless nights the two girls spent obsessing over every detail of how the act would go, the cleanup, the lies they would tell once someone came looking... 

What happened in the moment when their mother laid her cold and wrinkled hand on top of arins and looked her in the eye, and said the last words she would ever say, completely negated every second of that tedious organization.

 

A moment where a tired and tipsy Joan Davis had reached out of her frozen oblivion to try and throw a lifebuoy into the treacherous sea where they swam, but it was to someone who had already drowned.

 

“You know I love you, right Arin?’’

 

Arin picked up the butter knife that she had set beside her plate for dinner and stabbed it clean through her mothers hand. 

The tip of the knife was very dull, but it still managed to pierce through both of their hands. It hit the table with a soft thunk, orchestrated by the snapping of delicate bones in her mother’s palm. 

It happened to hurt her mother far worse than it hurt Arin. 

 

Isn’t that what she had always said, anyway? 

This is going to hurt me a lot more than it hurts you..” 

 

Joan Davis screamed. 

The sound verberated off of the paintings hanging carefully on the walls she had gathered around her years of traveling, desperately running from the same demons she had raised to be present in her daughter. 

Her killer. 

Arin wrenched the knife out of their flesh and used it to perforate her mother’s left eye socket. It sank deeply into the matter there, Arin felt things snap and tear beneath the blunt, serrated tip.

A symphony of sound. The news, her laughter, the screaming.

Arin turned from the blood spurting out of her mothers wound and looked at her sister. Her expression hadn’t changed, but her eyes were wider than the dinner plate beneath her.

 

“Help me!”

 

Lily shook her head, blinking, Her hands rested on the table.

Did that plea come from her mother, or from her sister? They both seemed to be reaching out for her hand. 

It was only a second that her mind made this journey, the quick decision that would completely change her life either one she chose, but to her it felt like an hour. 

What she remembered in that moment, The Moment, was just the instance that she had been younger and happily ran home from school one day with her newly won trophy, proudly presented to her for writing the best english essay of the whole fourth grade contest. 

She’d beamed, held it up for her mother to praise and felt taller and more confident than she ever had before.

 

“English, huh? Why can’t you be better at something that actually matters? I've seen your god awful math grades..”

 

That night, Lily cried so hard she went the next two days unable to speak without a rasp, her sore throat a constant reminder that nothing she ever did would truly matter as long as her mother was there, a cold shadow forever blocking her from the joy of sunlight. 

 

She got up from her chair and shoved her mother to the kitchen floor, the butter knife slipping out of her eye and clattering loudly onto the linoleum floor. 

 

Joan laid there sobbing, in shock of the unfathomable event that plagued her current perception. 

“Why?! Why would you?!! After all I've done for you-!”

Lily picked up her chair and smashed the back of it into her mother’s skull. There was a sickening crunch, but her scathing screeches were silent. 

Blood oozed out over the white tile, soaking into Joan’s knockoff designer blouse. 

Her hand flopped limply to the side, slapping wetly into the sticky red liquid beside her. 

The television was broadcasting a sickly sweet commercial pandering for a retirement home. 

 

“We know you love your parents, so why move them somewhere safe? Here, at New Beginnings Senior Home, we promise to provide your loved ones with the best care money can buy…”

 

Lily lifted her chair, and slammed it repeatedly into the increasingly mincemeat-esque version of her mothers facial features until she felt the wood in the frame start to crack. 

Then, she handed it to her sister. 

Arin splintered the rest of the retired furniture piece on her turn with it. 

 

The TV played faintly, a version of a song they had heard when they were young. 

 

“Mommy told me something a little kid should know. It's all about the devil and I've learned to hate him so..

She said he causes trouble when you let him in the room, he will never ever leave you if your heart is filled with gloom..

 

The two sisters stood over their crime, breathing rapidly.

There lay the villain of their story, slain. The dragon, defeated. 

Shouldn't the heroes rejoice in the victory they had so craved? They looked into eachothers eyes, searching for the freedom they thought finishing this task would gift to them.

 

Instead, sirens began to approach from the distance. 

 

Arin and Lily joined bloody, shaking hands, and walked up the stairs to their room. 

 

They pushed their bed up against the wall to make space, sat back to back on the floor, and listened as the sirens grew louder. 

 

Downstairs, the television played the rest of the song across the empty living room, into the unoccupied kitchen.

 

“So let the sun shine in, face it with a grin, smilers never lose and frowners never win..

So let the sun shine in, face it with a grin..

Open up your heart and let the sunshine in…”

 


Submitted: June 06, 2021

© Copyright 2021 januaryembers27. All rights reserved.

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