White Linoleum

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A moral dilemma between mother and daughter.

Submitted: January 29, 2008

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Submitted: January 29, 2008



White Linoleum 


It was as if they had stepped into an artists rendering of the Boston Massacre.  Except the smoke plumes emanating from 18th century muskets had been replaced by noxious carbon monoxide fumes spilling out of the oven.  The carnage was still apparent, it drove itself on through history and arrived in a small suburban household that was the epitome of “normal”. A child and mother lay sprawled on the white linoleum floor, one in a small pool of their own blood, the other, white eyed and peaceful.The crime scene looked as if it was staged, an elaborate cliché on a Hollywood set.  Cameras were unsheathed and a barrage of lights and angles were displayed. The crime scene was effectively sterilized as plastic bags and latex gloves became the new fashion statement.  As the clean up was about to begin, the 29 year old mother of two was slowly encased in darkness.


“You’d make a good mom” words she’d longed to hear, but never had the fortitude to stomach. Amy was this and Amy was that, but we shouldn’t mull over logistics, more to the point, Amy was an expecting mother. Time flew, as is to be expected, and it stopped on the threshold of a new house, a daughter, and a new beginning.
“You’ll make a fine mom” Amy’s husband Virgil said, subtly coaxing her into it.  Two weeks, two weeks to spend with John Everyman and Sophie.  After the two weeks it was back to the tedium, back to the floundering in unlit hallways. Six years passed, in which time, Amy had settled into playing her role. Balancing the career and child, being another statistic for the divorce rate. Virgil had left and it was just her and Sophie now. Sophie had become a wonderful child, then again, most children are wonderful according to their parents.  There was the occasional outburst, the long Indian summers, and the rare nights were everything was silent and you could almost make out the stars under the artificial gleam from the city lights. “I’ve got to get out and leave this place” Amy said to herself one night.
Carrying on monologues with herself during the witching hours was something Amy had become accustomed to.  A faint moan that slowly built into a crescendo of screaming came from Sophie’s room. It was a little unorthodox for her to be crying at this hour, she always sleeps so soundly.  Amy ran to Sophie’s room and found her sitting up in bed crying.
“What’s the matter Sophie?” with a whimper Sophie replied
“I had a bad dream, can I have some water?” Thankful that’s all it was, Amy retreated to the kitchen and poured a glass.
“Here you are” Amy handed the water over, kissed Sophie goodnight again, and headed back to the living room.  
“What do you see in that whore!” Amy found herself screaming, reliving a nightmare.
Virgil headed out with a solemn expression, distaste, regret. Not even a hint of anger was on his face, he seemed almost sorry to leave, looking at Amy as if she was a leper on Molokai Island. A sharp piercing cry jostled Amy from her introspection. It was Sophie again,
“It’s 2:00 in the morning, what does she want now?”  Amy said to herself.
Opening the door to her daughters room she soon realized it was just going to be one of those nights, just a child being fussy, overexerted and yet refusing to accept defeat.  Calming her down Amy eventually retreated and headed to bed herself.  More uneasy dreams, glimpses of herself slowly suffocating Sophie, random spotlights and whispering in the background coming from family members.  Once again Amy woke to the grating sound of vocal chords being pushed to the brink and beyond.  ‘What a weird dream’ Amy thought to herself ‘Why would I be suffocating Sophie like some Munchausen by proxy candidate, I’ve never even spanked her before’.  Although at this point, Amy felt like spanking Sophie would be a good course of action. With a frustrated air about her Amy stormed into the room
“Go to sleep!” the words ringing out with unrestrained belligerence attached to them.
This only prolonged the situation for the sudden hostility was greeted with an even louder scream from Sophie.
“That’s it!” Amy grabbed Sophie by the arm, as the sheets still clung to Sophie’s small frame like stubborn branches.  
Stumbling out of bed Sophie was led into the kitchen.  
“Do you want more water?” Amy blurted out as she desperately tried to find the core of the problem. “Do you need another blanket, do you….” Amy stopped mid-sentence, as she noticed two small marks on Sophie’s cheeks and throat.
Sophie looked like a frightened animal backed into a corner, she was staring at the white linoleum as if it were a long lost de Goya.  
“Where did you get those marks Sophie?” Sophie slowly looked up, Amy was kneeling in front of her now, almost pleading for an answer.
“They’re from you mommy” Sophie said as she started crying again.
Taken back by the words, Amy struggled to form a coherent sentence, even monosyllable utterances refused to pass her teeth. After the initial shock subsided, Amy’s bewilderment turned to rage,
“How dare you lie to me!” she screamed, and with base emotions on par with that of a rabid animal, Amy struck Sophie.
Not hard enough to do any significant physical damage, but Sophie stumbled backwards from the blow, reeling and spiraling, everything moved in slow motion as Amy watched her child fall towards the white linoleum.  Amy’s eyes shifted and saw the small metal stool Sophie would use in the mornings to reach the corner tops.  Lurching forwards like a linebacker Amy dove towards Sophie but it was too late. A loud sickening sound burst forth as Sophie’s fragile head connected with the unforgiving metal.  On her hands and knees Amy crawled over to Sophie’s lifeless body,
“Sophie! Wake up Sophie!”.  Scooping her head into her hands, Amy felt warm blood trickle onto the linoleum below.
Then flashbacks, sirens and house calls, pillows over Sophie’s face, her fingers wrapped around Sophie’s neck. ‘Those weren’t dreams’ Amy begun to realize, ‘And Virgil, he left because I was ill… but why didn’t he try to get me help?’ Disgusted with herself, holding her dead child in her arms, Amy crawled with an almost mechanical proficiency over to the kitchen oven. It was an old suburban home that still had a gas oven and without even a moments consideration she turned it on and waited motionlessly for the inevitable.

© Copyright 2018 Dante Winicot. All rights reserved.

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