Our challenge this weekend was to write about madness in 500 words or less. Here’s my shot at Madness. Tell me what you think!
We live alone in this empty valley, surrounded by the mountains that hide us and hold us as captives.
Mama used to say that those mountains made the wind. She said if I listened, I could hear them breathe. “Watch,” Mama’d say, “and you’ll see the sun melt the snow and feel the cool breezes that fill the valley and it’s that wind,” Mama said, “that makes those trees knock on our windows with their knuckled little branches.”
In the morning we’d stand outside and look up at those tall mountains. Their crowns are so sharp it’s like the earth has teeth. It’s as if those white peaks could chew a hole in the sky and reveal all the night time stars if they wanted.
Mama used to love the mountains. “They protect us,” she’d say as we stood in the afternoon sun. “They keep away the storms.”
But now, Mama says there are monsters that live up in those sharp places. Terrors, she calls them, with black eyes and quick claws. Hidden away, they wait in caverns and under the rocks. “At night,” Mama says, “they come out with the wind and the cold and we should be afraid.”
Mama says our fear will keep us safe. “Fear will remind us to stay inside.”
So, every night, when the sun falls down and the moon appears like a silver spike pounded into the sky. Mama tells me to lock the door. “Blow out that candle,” she whispers like the breeze and reminds me to put out the fire and close the curtains and be very quiet. “Do it!” She lifts her voice like the wind through the trees and shrieks at me from behind her closed door. “Do it now!”
“Yes, Mama!” I say. I whisper so the Terrors don’t hear me. “I will, Mama,” I breathe so the mountains don’t close their teeth on our little house and chew us to bits.
Since the monsters have come, the trees have grown strong and now they pound on our windows like fists. Wind rushes like splintered ice down the chimney as I sit here beside mama’s locked door. I shiver under the blankets and listen to the valley disappear into the darkness. I listen for the growl of hungry monsters and the silent sounds of mama breathing behind her door.
She’s not been out of her room for months. She said the mountains have cast their spell on us. “We are damned,” she said when she closed the door on me. “Hopeless,” she called out and turned the lock.
And since, she only talks to me through the door. She reminds me to be quiet. She tells me to hide. Mama used to love those mountains but now, she only shrieks like the wind. She only calls to me from her own dark cave, warning me to be afraid. “Always be afraid,” Mama says. “Only your fear will save you from these mountains.”