SHORT STORY. Herstory: Mother

Artist: Luis S. Ramos Source: Pinterest




The Blood Moon raises its head in the depth of the twilight and a scene reveals itself in the crimson light. The beginning. The end. And you are drawn into it, unable to tear your eyes from what is revealed.  At first you see something no bigger than a seed. A spark of brighter light – a spark that had always been there – pulsating. It flickers and throbs. It burns into your eyes, like the sun when you stare at its light for a few seconds of time. Blinding. Yet you cannot help yourself but to stare at the light and see within it, though it is only a pinpoint. For you see now it is not spherical but shaped as a drop. It gleams and glints. Sharp. A tear, rolling down the face of the darkness that surrounds it.


This is the beginning.


The teardrop trails across the darkness, revealing more. A face, contorted; mouth wide open in silent anguish. A figure, crouched upon her haunches. Her naked body as black and as deep as the night-sky, full breasted and hipped. Hair that gushes around her, swirling black waters of the midnight oceans. Eyes that hold within them all the stars of the heavens. Her tear born of pain. You too can feel it ripping through you!


Her features contort more, twisting into a grotesque mask of anguish. Planets that rest upon her gargantuan brow collide as her pain increases. She arches her back and shoulders, reaching between her thighs. Her belly moves. It heaves along with her breasts, her panting breaths raising forth great winds. Winds that sweep up her watery tresses and whip them around so they fall with violent crashes to her feet. Waters pour from between her legs, too. Thundering waterfalls that tumble and spray the inside of her thighs. You see the fever of agony bleeding from her brow in torrents, dripping down the plains of her obsidian cheeks. Her open mouth a cave. And as her form shakes and rumbles in enormous shudders, so the cave opens up -up-up! As do her thighs. Her hands cupped there, below the blackness of her opening. And in her efforts, her clouding breath becomes jagged, throwing out curling mists and viscid fogs. The torment in her expression rips a furrow between her majestic brows – splitting her wide open. A sound echoes from her lips – the sound of a million stars crying out in unison.


This is the birth.


With her own hands she pulls her offspring from the depths of her nebulous womb, an offering made to herself and of herself.  She holds it in her arms, cradling it. She brings it to her face, her single teardrop gifted to the new creature. Imbuing it with potential.  She turns her celestial eyes upon her new-born, placing her fiery lips upon its tiny form. She kisses it tenderly – her lips like the sun. Warmth and spirit ripple across her child’s flesh. Her gift is love.


Love so pure that it ignites life!


Her body, still crouched, now curls in upon itself. Head to knees, foetal-like. And she becomes almost motionless. Her breasts are mountains that rise and fall; her belly huge plains and deserts. Her eyes blink slowly, to mark day and night. Her breathing pulls the tides and her heartbeat drums in the new seasons.


She is Mother.


Made from the dust of stars, you watch as she takes a new form. You watch as her flesh petrifies. Ice cracks, forming fissures and caves, valleys and canyons. Mother. Her soothing words to her youngling a fire that cascades from her lips, in the form of glowing lava. It rises and falls, embracing her in its fierce blaze. It liquefies her skin. Beneath the magma, rocks melt, re-form and cool as the waters of her hair crash down; enswathing her. And this becomes her mantle. Oceans, rivers, springs and waterfalls. They water the ashes of her flesh and upon her fossilized skin, plants grow. Trees, bushes, grasses. Life springing from her charred flesh in abundance. Verdent and rich. She nurtures and nourishes all that reside upon her. Mother!


And from the murky amniotic fluids that ooze around her feet like bloodied clay, you watch as grotesque creatures climb from the murky depths onto the land. Odd, soft bodied creatures that gulp the air into their lungs as they flop and loll upon their bellies and birth their young into the waters. Creatures that, in time, change shape. Grow limbs. Hands. Fingers. They learn to use their hands deftly. Creatures that crouch upon their haunches and at last stand tall upon their hind legs, so their hands are free to use at all times. The form of the creatures evolve again. They change with the passing of time – for as you watch scores of time pass. Millenia. The creatures came and went over seasons and years, their numbers at first rising and falling. Over decades and centuries their numbers burst open, and they become numerous. And you watch as the earth – that had a first shaped the creatures like clay – become something the creatures shape. You see how they use their tools to carve their existence into her rock. They learn how to bend her elements to their will. At first these creatures make their crude tools from things they found around them. Stones and rocks. Sticks and bones. But over time they find ways to create more complex tools. They discover rocks that lay under the ground and work out how to forge them. Their creations become more and more complex. And you recognise them. These are not just creatures, but people. People like us.


These are our ancestors.


They are birthed and grow strong and then die in endless cycles – our ancestors. Thousands of years pass by – and they thrive. They become abundant and grow to be clever. Clever yet foolish. Endlessly curious beings. Never still. Never satisfied. They earn a little knowledge but a through a great deal of energy. And in gaining some knowledge they always lose some wisdom. But their minds and hands are always busy. They have a lust for destruction and for beauty. For death and luxury. But they have no knowledge of why they long for the things they desire. They like that which glitters and that which glimmers – be it blood spilled upon the ground or the gold mined from beneath it. They like having things. Keeping things. Owning them – even if these things can never truly be owned – for who can truly own land? Life? Yet they want power above all else. Or at least the fragile illusion of power. And they will murder one another for it.


Yes, you watch them, our ancestors. How they live to create and they create to push themselves to gain more. To have more and consume it. Always asking one another: ‘How can I make this task easier to get what I want?’ Always asking themselves; ‘What can I do next?’ or ‘Where can I go now?’ They strive ever onwards, their creations becoming more clever, their wisdom decreasing each time. They become more and more mobile. They travel, never content to stay where they began. They build cities. Then they strike forward once more, always exploring. Conquering. Exploiting the very body that had birthed them. Scarring it with deep wounds. Foolish creatures!


And she weeps. Mother. Her tears flow in a tide of rising flood water. Tsunamis and seismic waves, flooding her pores. Her rumbling shoulders shake in her sorrow, quaking the ground so the ground opens up, shaking great palaces to their foundations.  Kingdoms fall. Her sadness burns in her breast, sending plumes of black, sulphurous clouds into the heaven from her very depths. She cries out, her words raising hurricanes and monsoons. Mother!


Yet her grief is ignored. They turn their back upon her. They use their tools to adapt. And so their numbers grow and grow. They crowd and jostle one another. There are so many of them – too many- for their existence causes the extinction of other species. They destroy the homes and habitats of animals, plants and trees, leaving nothing but a barren wilderness. Raping the earth that is their Mother. Their knowledge is immense but their wisdom decreases to almost nothing. They discover so many things. They plot the maps of the heavens, and set foot upon the moon and stars. They believe themselves to be gods. And yet in their greed for knowledge, ownership and power they ravage the world that nurtures their existence.Knowledge is more important to them than wisdom and owning more important to them than sharing.


Still they multiply! They learn how to move from place to place so they can reach every part of the earth. Leaving no stone unturned. They speak many languages and know how to communicate with others that live vast distances away. But still they are never satisfied. Always wanting more and more and more. They pillage, they violate over and over again. They consume and devour. They bury their waste and excrement until it grows as high as the most majestic mountains. They toss it into the oceans. They send it to the stars.


And her grief becomes fury. Mother. Her sorrow turns to rage. Her fingers ball into fists and her teeth clench. She will turn on them, if they are not careful. She will go down fighting to protect all her children! Her eyes flash with the power of a thousand suns. Lightning sparks from her finger-tips and the heavens resound with the roar of her battle cry. Mother! She will unleash the power of her elements. They shall know her might and will tremble. They shall pay their due! Mother.


You want to shout out to them. To scream – how could they be so careless? So ignorant? So selfish and foolish? Yet all you can do is watch in horror at the death and devastation that trail behind them. And thought some of them begin to understand the damage they are inflicting. Some see the ruin. Some comprehend the destruction they have wreaked. The devastation.  Some realise the imbalance of their ways and try to heal what has been broken. To make it good again. To repair and restore what they stole. But their numbers are still too few and the devastation is irreparable. The damage is done.


The light of the Blood Moon fades, setting with the mellow morning sun. And as it leaves, it takes back its wisdom. Taking away all that it revealed to you, so that it is no more than a dream. A nightmare. A memory. Briney tears soak your cheek and your eyes glisten with their heavy sorrow.


And you ask yourself, is it too late?