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Short Story: Mother

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

By Anna Irwin-Schutze

This short story comes from the Daylesford Writers' Thursday evenings writing series.

"Tell me what to do Mother!"

She put down the spindle, looking at the son.

“You know what to do.” She picked the spindle up again, knowing the danger of leaving it still for too long.

“But mother…” the whine in his voice was disappointing. She kept spinning.

“You’re a bad mother.” The son cried, storming off.

The thread wobbled as she spun and she found it hard to balance it properly. Far away, a comet wobbled in its trajectory, veering off from a smooth course around its sun and heading into the cold void. She winced as a thousand lives cried, slowed and then died.

Cursing her fingers, she focussed again on her never ending task. She should not have made the son. But it was hard to regret the time she spent with the wanderer.

Stretching out, she strung a thread from one side of the galaxy to the other, tightening it in places and loosening in others, then placed the spindle in the centre and spun it into motion. It would hold long enough.

Stretching, she looked for the son and found him, hiding inside a black hole. It drew in upon itself, tighter and tighter as his rage at her refusal fed upon itself.

She had not known what a burden it could be, to have another depend on you for life, for guidance. But it was time for the son to grow, to make his own decisions and take his own burdens. She could not, would not, labour for him as well as herself.

Returning to her spindle, she knew what she had to do. She formed one limb into the finest sharpest edge, so blindingly bright that even she could not look closely.

Then, ignoring the son’s sudden cry of fear when he realised what she was doing, she cut the spindle from the web.

The black hole shuddered, twisting upon itself so intensely that it trapped the son within. It shrank, smaller and smaller, compressing his energy until nothing was left but the tiniest spark glowing at the center.

Then she flicked a finger and the pinprick flew away, far beyond the galaxy, into the darkest depths of the universe. He would not die like the lives on the comet, but he would wait. As she had waited. Until the time came for him to emerge, his fury flooding the universe with new life.

After an eternity she bent, picking up her threads, a prickle of something bothering her.

It was lonely. Perhaps it was time for something new. She searched for the word. Stars spun in place, waiting.

Then it came to her and she knew what she needed.


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