Mother (Short Story)


The abandoned school occupied the area of two football stadiums. Frederick, the oldest, wasn’t worried about him or his siblings getting caught in one of its dirty classrooms. They had walked by the poster that was pasted onto the back gates of the school on their way in earlier as they had multiple times before. And still it carried the same warning that the premises were under surveillance – incompetent surveillance. The police had their chances but after tonight they’ll be too late. They already were. Lily and Zachariah had already begun preparing the musty room for the ritual. Frederick lit one of the candles they had brought with them – their only source of light – and retrieved the crumpled note in his pocket. He’d found twenty-six ways to interpret his late mother’s handwriting and twenty-six times he had failed. But as he put the flame in front of the note, this time he was sure. The ink might have faded in the time after his mother burned at the witch trials but the opposite was true for the ache in his heart. That only grew with each miserable flailing attempt. The candle wax burnt through the sleeves of his black shirt. He endured the wince. This would be the last time, he told himself.

“We’re ready,” came Lily’s voice.

Eyes unwavering from the creased note, a hint of a smile tugged at the edge of Frederick’s lips at the hopes of seeing his mother again. “Yes, we are.”

Lily had lit the rest of the thirteen candles which illuminated the mess of a room. The air was stale with the windows closed and the doors shut. The tables and chairs had been pushed to the sides of the dusty floor. Cobwebs clung from ceilings. After twenty-six times, none of them were bothered. They came together around the circle Zachariah had drawn in the middle of the classroom in red paint. Frederick looked to his siblings. They gave him a reassuring nod. He took out the knife from his back pocket and let it draw a line across his palm in red. Squeezing his hand, he made sure the drops of blood fell right on the centre of the circle. And when the first gust of wind swiped the flame of the first candle, the trio held each other’s hands and Frederick began his incantations for the summoning of a demon.


Prompt: Reimagined from an online prompt that suggested for a group of friends who were trying to summon a demon during a sleepover and ended up summoning one of their mothers. The prompt made for a comedic or a sad turn of events but I wanted to go a little darker by making the settings unfriendly. Ideally, this will be part of a longer story.


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