The mother gazed at her helpless newborn and tried to keep her tears from falling on his tiny head. Her husband stopped on his way to work, kissed her wet cheek and said don’t worry, sweetie, you’ll be a great mother.
With the infant asleep, she forced herself to put the cradle just outside the bathroom door. Her friends had laughed and scolded her when she admitted to carrying her son into the bathroom with her while she showered. She left the door open.
After her shower, the mother trimmed her nails. They were thick and seemed to curl around the tips of her fingers, almost like claws. She was sure she’d trimmed them just yesterday. Probably some kind of postpartum thing. No one tells you all the little ways motherhood changes you. She’d thought she’d been imagining the hawk-like look in her eyes. Then her husband flinched when she watched him pick up the baby. He insisted he’d be gentle, that he’d never hurt his son, but he quickly put him down and backed away.
Explaining that she didn’t want to disturb her husband when she got up at night to nurse, the mother moved from the master bedroom into the nursery. There she discovered she could retract her finger and toenails, which grew daily at an alarming rate, and expose them immediately if she sensed danger. Her breasts grew immense. She smiled with an open mouth only when alone with the baby. He wasn’t frightened by her sharp and pointy incisors.
She stopped wearing clothes. Skin to skin contact was healthy for infants, she insisted. She had read all the baby books so her husband figured she knew best. The mother held her son whenever he was awake. She sniffed and kissed his head, walked and murmured and sang if he cried. When he slept she paced around the nursery and then crouched still as stone next to the cradle on the floor and watched him breathe. Milk leaked from her enormous breasts into puddles on the floor. If he whimpered in his sleep, she leaned over so he could latch on and suck.
One morning when the baby was two weeks old, the father knocked on the nursery door and the mother didn’t respond. He turned the knob. The door didn’t open. He tried again. Locked. He knocked louder and the infant started to howl. The mother didn’t sing or coo. The father pounded and yelled. Nothing. Finally he threw all his weight against the door and it splintered open.
The mother crouched as usual over the cradle, facing away from him. Bat-like wings erupted from her shoulders and spread over the cradle like an umbrella. Her skin was gray and grainy. The father raced across the room and grabbed the mother’s shoulder to shake it. She was hard and cold as granite. Her mouth was open in a hideous fanged growl, her claws curved and pierced the rug and her gigantic breasts lay in the cradle, nipples still pink and leaking.
Read more about Jeanne here.
Read more about Jonas here.