Chapter 1: Mother's Sanity
I wish everything can be peaceful. It seems that misfortune always finds us; rearing its ugly head right around the corner. My family’s ranch lives in the nonchalant side of Normandy, France. It’s a quiet place surrounded by flourishing plains. A few miles North, lies the pristine English ocean channel. We didn’t have to worry about pesky neighbors because houses are miles apart. Inside our house is what made it a living hell; the internal struggle. Not with finance, but with my mom’s, Sidney’s, mentality. Ever since what happened while we lived in a condo in Paris, we had to move away because of what mother suffered. She seems to struggle with it day by day and it has only gotten worse.
Heart monitor remained at a constant beeping noise as doctors and nurses rushed into where my father lies dead. A rainy spring day while we strolled along the sidewalks in Paris. My father clutched his chest in agony while he collapsed. He was having a cardiac arrest. He was rushed into the hospital with no CPR.
“We are losing him!” I heard the doctor cry out. My mother’s hands covered her mouth as she breaks down into tears. I was eleven years old; I remembered everything that happened. I was silently praying to God that father will live. God disagreed, saying it was his to go.
“Wake up, darling, please!” My mother pleads out in tears. Soon after, a nurse pushed us away while they had to use a defibrillator on him. Going once, going twice, no luck. After many tries, they confirmed that father is dead. We all cried our goodbyes to him at the hospital and at his funeral. It was painful to see him gone, painful for mother. What’s worst that mother was six months pregnant with my sister, Lucy. Lucy barely knows her father; her mother doesn’t talk about him as much. Pretty sure, she reckons that she didn’t have a father while she actually did,
Fast forward three years later, it was a quiet day in Normandy. Mother returned home from work. It was the weekend and Lucy was taking a nap. During that time, there was a man that stalked my mother because she reminds him of his ex-fiance. His ex-fiance must’ve done something to tick him off due to his sadistic nature. He broke into our condo. I shrieked when he slammed the door open. He stomped towards me and slammed me against the wall before beating me until I couldn’t move. Mother rushed out of the room, in order to save me. He dropped me against the floor and then, he dragged mother into her room.
Everything was all a haze. My visions were blurry; however, I can hear my mother screaming until I fell unconscious. That jerk didn’t hit me in the head; I still remembered what he had done after I woke up in the hospital.
“Don’t worry, child, everything is okay,” a young nurse reassured me.
“Doubt it,” I commented flatly. I then demanded her about where is my mom. She heavily sighed. She informed that mother was being checked out because she was assaulted and raped.
I tried to get up from the bed but my body cries out from the pain.
“Sweetie, I know you want to see your mother, but your condition is bad right now,” The nurse informed me calmly.
She was right; my condition was bad. I had a severe concussion, broken ribs, and badly bruised. Good thing, she told me that the stalker was arrested for a long time. If he ever got out, he will be on probation.
That point, my mother refused to move out of Paris until she figured that was pregnant with the stalker’s child. We moved into the ranch. Ever since the rape, she had become depressed and full of anxiety; thereby, I can hear her shaking, crying, and screaming every night. I am surprised that she managed to give birth to my half-brother, Ashen. Ashen was a cute kid, but my mother thinks he is a son of the Devil. The devil raped her to give birth to the son of Lucifer. That little curse caused her to plummet into madness. I had to take care of Lucy and Ashen. Moreover, I attended two part-time jobs. That’s when I had decided to become a medic; I attended Sorbonne University for medicine.
Everything was going fine for two years until I had received a call from my mother’s boss. He told me that mother was hearing voices. After my last class of the day, I drove to her workplace, which was at a bank, to pick her up. I started to think mother was completely losing her self control and she needs help.
Not soon afterward, Sidney started to become invective towards Ashen; she blamed him for everything and all the suffering happened because he was the ”son of the Devil.”
Once her rages finally ease out, she marches in her room and cries from what she did was wrong, yet she never apologizes to Ashen. I came to the decision of taking online courses and only going to university when I had a lab. I needed to stay with the kids. Everything became stressful for me. I long that the storm will be lighting up; however, what I experienced was just the clouds rolling in.
“Why are taking care of Satan’s Spawn?!” Mother yells at me, referring to Ashen.
“I told you that he is not an omen; he is your son.” I heavily sigh while I feel the pain in the neck from stress. My mother’s yelling made it escalate.
“You had never helped me when I was suffering; you were just taking care of these brats, Sylv.” She whines. She had a grouchy tone to it. She didn’t sound like herself at all. I have seen her with her rages; however, it feels like mother has been replaced by something else.
My face contorted in pain from what she said. I have been helping her while babysitting my siblings, working two jobs, and being a student at a university.
“I did!” I spontaneously snarled at her. “I took care of you, including your children that you’ve neglected for the past years.”
My salty words came back to hurt me. Mother smacked me right across the face. I tumbled to the floor as if I were a child. Lucy and Ashen gaze at mom with horror upon their faces. I did too.
Lucy begins weeping. “Why would you hurt my sis, mom?!” She cried.
“That witch has been taking care of that thing that shouldn’t be born into this world!” She barks while shakily points her finger at Ashen. “Raising a Hell-spawn will damned you to the pits of Hell!”
With the same terror upon his face, Ashen remains silent.
I muster up the courage to stand back up. “Mother, hold yourself, you are scaring the children!” I warn.
“You are a monster!” Lucy adds in with a shriek.
That is it all it takes until Sidney freezes and lets reality hit her like a car. She whimpers and repeats that she is a monster. I wince at the time and see it’s midnight. I can already tell by my mother’s bloodshot eyes that she is exhausted as well.
“No, mom, you are just tired, that’s all, ” I said as collective I can be. I couldn’t think of any words to say that will upset her more. “In fact, we are all tired.” I knew it was the voices that tortured her every hour of the day. It’s not from demons, nor angels; it was from mother’s sanity. Her mind is trying to figure out why these things were happening. I still wonder too.
I wrap my arms around her shoulders and guide her to the bedroom. I look at Lucy and Ashen and give them the ”go to sleep" look. I can feel my mother’s heart pound like crazy and her fast heavy breathing.
After mother has fallen asleep, I have checked that my two little siblings are in bed before heading off to slumber myself.
My eyes shot away once I hear someone rummaging around in the kitchen cabinets. My eyes widen as I smell fumes of gasoline. Not good. My fear wanted me to stay in place; however, my gut told me to move. I listen to my gut; I slowly crawl out of bed and sneak my way into the kitchen. I was so quiet that I couldn’t hear myself breathing.
Coldness ran through my veins as I saw who is in the kitchen. We are standing face to face. It is my mother, drenched in gasoline, holding a lighter.
“M-Mother?” I utter those words in pure shock. That is all I can say at the moment because my brain alarms in disbelief. She has covered the house in gasoline without waking me up until she was struggling to find a lighter.
She gives me a weak smile. Not that type of smile of a mad man; a smile of sadness. Then, tears fall down her cheek. It’s not the mother that I recognized at all anymore; she is gone.
“They yelled to me that I have sinned, ” she confesses in a sad whisper, “I am going to Hell and I am not dying alone; I am taking all you down with me.” She lights the lighter and throws it upon the ground. I wince away before the moment she went up in flames. I can hear her damned screams of agony as the flames roar into life. She had mainly everything in gasoline; the flames spread quickly. Concurrently, the smoke alarm blares loud until the roar of the flame outscreams it.
“Sylvia!” I hear my siblings shriek in unison. I didn’t hesitate to run towards their room. We were all coughing as the smoke enters our lungs. The is no escape; fire is cutting off the doorway. It is only a matter of time before it reaches us.
My eyes darted towards the window. I quickly snatch one of Ashen’s rocks that he talks to when he is alone. He begs me not to hurt Rockie. I ignore him and start pounding the rock against the window with strength until it breaks open. I shield my eyes from getting hit.
All of us got out and we look back at the ranch. The beautiful ranch is now in bright flames. If we were a moment late, all three of us would have join mother.
“Rockie saved our lives.” I give the pet rock back to Ashen. “We need to search for help since my phone is inside the house.” My voice trails into despair as I remember that our neighbors are miles apart.
Ashen, Lucy, and I starting running in one direction. Hopefully, help will soon emerge. As I look back, the glowing light of the flames and the black smoke is clear in our view. We kept running until we saw only smoke against the dawn sky.
Our legs collapse. All of us were exhausted. We need to find help soon, otherwise, we won’t survive without shelter.
For this night, we let exhaustion be our predator and catch us as prey; we all fall asleep against the cold comfortable damp grass.
What one hell of a night. I am never telling what happened to the kids.