The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Mice in the Fields
by Melissa R. Mendelson
It was a beautiful evening. The moon was full and slowly rising into the sky. A flock of black birds filled the horizon. The large tree nearby waved and sighed. Only my mother’s sadness seemed to break the quiet.
“Mom, why are you so sad,” I asked.
“Not all days were like this,” she replied. “You need to cherish these moments.”
“Is it the mice in the fields?” I watched her nod. “I thought they weren’t a problem anymore.”
“They once overran us, bringing death and disease. So many of us starved. There were no moments like this.” She touched the scar under her right eye. “But we are survivors, and you are here because I survived.”
“You never speak about Dad.” I watched her flinch at this. “I’m sorry. Let’s enjoy the moment.”
“He went off into the fields. He never came back.” My mother looked down at my feet. “You didn’t finish your dinner.”
“I wasn’t hungry,” I replied. “Will the mice in the fields become a problem again?”
“Maybe,” my mother said. “But now, we are ready for them. You will be too.”
The sun disappeared, and the moon rose higher. The black birds circled around and around. The large tree waved at their flight. My mother knelt down and pulled at my dinner, ripping it apart. Her sadness was gone, at least for now. She smiled as she held the mouse in her teeth. Its pale skin shined in the moonlight. Its human face stared back at me with large, brown eyes as if asking a question, but the answer was simple. It was us or them.
Fiction © Copyright Melissa R. Mendelson
Image courtesy of Christina Sng
More from Melissa R. Mendelson:
I got a one-way ticket out of hell. All I need to do is drive across country with a body in the trunk and run miscellaneous errands, but a lot of those errands come with a heavy price. And if I lose the body in the trunk, then I have to go back, and I’ll be damned if I return down there. I will fight to stay here, even if there is no rest for those wicked.