Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for violence and mature content.
There is nothing like the cry of a child; the sound, high and squealing, incites different reactions in different figures. In mothers, most of them anyway, a call to action, to rescue their sweet baby from whatever qualms them. In fathers, a child’s cry urges them to get their wives, telling them to take care of that child and “shut that damn thing up!”. There are certain acceptable reactions to the cry of an infant, wailing its little head off until it turns purple in the face- running to their aide is an acceptable reaction.
Virginia, who felt like a mother first and a person second, didn’t feel anything when she heard her six-week old baby crying and screaming. Virginia didn’t know this solution for this problem, a solution for her lack of motherliness. Virginia, a twenty-two year old woman alone in a house with her baby crying, no father for this child. This child was left fatherless and given a cold mother, perhaps as a payment for the sins of the father. The child, pure and innocent, unknowing, had not committed a sin, but Virginia couldn’t help but think this child was a demon, an amalgamation of all the pain his father had put his mother through.
This child’s father was a man of sixty-six and was the uncle of Virginia; her father’s brother to be exact. Nothing had ever seemed off about Uncle David, but Virginia still felt like there was something she could’ve seen, something she could’ve done or said, to have prevented this event, this tragedy, that forever altered Virginia’s life. She kicked and screamed but she still ended up with a child, who came out kicking and screaming on a December day in 1955.
When her baby was born, all new, shiny, and covered in blood, she refused to hold him. She refused to look at him, to call him her own, and when she took him home, she just sat and smoked while he wailed. The smoke filled the living room, disguising her in a cloud of smoke. She hoped that, one day, she would smoke enough that, one day, she would smoke enough that the cloud of smoke would suffocate her feelings of disgust, shame, and anger that now ruled over her life.
Presently, Virginia sat, cigarette in hand, puffing away. She heard that familiar cry, tears flowing from baby Adam’s eyes the same way that anger flooded into Virginia’s mind. She named him Adam, because Adam ruined Eve like David had ruined Virginia. The crying was persistent and Virginia knew in her heart that she should get up and soothe her child, she should hold him and rock him and tell him it was all okay. No one was here to soothe Virginia, though; perhaps, she wanted someone to rock her like a child and hold her and tell her it was all okay. She felt no sense of obligation toward that little mongrel, as she was beginning to see him, in that wretched crib.
Virginia rose from her seat on the recliner, moving over to the record player to put on something to drown out the ever persistent cries of Adam. Virginia thought of her child, her own flesh and blood, as wretched, but she knew she was becoming wretched too. She was not always so wicked, but when her virginity was stolen and replaced with a baby, her kindness and warmth were stolen too. In fact, before this debacle, Virginia loved children and longed to be a mother one day. Now, she would be pleased if she never had to lay her eyes on a child again in her entire life. The music in the room was deafening and she could no longer hear her child crying, but only the booming sound of saxophones. Her ears were filled with music and the room was filled with smoke.
For a while, Virginia sat on the recliner, knowing she would eventually have to feed the child. She refused to breastfeed him; she would only give him formula, wanting to distance herself as much as possible from him. One thing always occupied her thoughts: Adam, what to do with him, and how he came into existence.
Yes, she had considered abortion. She heard stories of women flinging themselves down flights of stairs and sitting in scorching baths to rid themselves of a pregnancy. Sure, she considered all of those things. She did not go through with those acts because she clung to a hope that once she laid her eyes on her son her heart would swoon and she would love him, the way a mother should. Nothing so fortunate happened at the birth of Adam. Yes, she had considered adoption; her family wouldn’t allow it, and made Virginia keep the child, even giving her her own house to raise Adam in. They said that the child was family, and family cannot be discarded like trash. Now that she was with a child and with a house, she was seen as an adult by her family, and she despised it; she wanted to be a child again, held by her parents, without the problem of Adam and the trauma of rape clouding her life.
Hours passed while Virginia listened to music, smoking cigarette after cigarette and listening to record after record, all while hoping that her lungs would collapse one of these days. Virginia knew she could not leave Adam in that crib forever, though she did think about it; she pondered over the thought of his little body rotting in that crib, starved completely to death. The thought didn’t disgust her, but her lack of reaction to such a morbid thought disgusted her.
Taking a few deep breaths and putting a leash on her anger, she walked into the nursery, which held walls with a nauseating shade of yellow, painted by her father who was so excited for his first grandchild. She willed her feet to move her farther into the nursery, dreadfully making her way toward the white crib which encaged Adam, like the vicious creature that Virginia knew he was. The child kicked playfully, unaware of why his mother never hugged him, or kissed him, or sang him lullabies to put him to sleep.
God, she couldn’t stand the sight of him- his big brown eyes looked up at her, as if they wanted something that she could not bring herself to give, and she felt nauseous. She lifted him stiffly, not wanting to cuddle him or give him a false sense of love. What kind of monster am I going to create, she thought. A child without love will surely grow up to be a monster. She brought him into the kitchen to prepare a bottle for him, looking forward to the moment when she could bring him back to his cage and leave him there for the rest of the night.
Days went by with this routine; Virginia wallowed in her misery, and so did Adam. He cried incessantly, his cries brought on by pangs of hunger and a need for his diaper to be changed. Virginia only went in his room to feed him, when it was absolutely necessary. Her mind and wild thoughts began to intensify; she thought differently of Adam, and her paranoia and delusions surrounding him only grew stronger with each time she looked at him. She thought of him as a monster, a wretch, a demon, that she must be rid of. I am Victor Frankenstein and he is my terrible creation, the bane of my existence. Many days, she stood over his crib, willing herself to slip her sleeping pills into his formula, or to smother his tiny face with a pillow. She’d never had the courage. Of course, as soon as she wiped out the monster, she’d be next. The creator of a monster is worse than the monster itself. No, not today, but maybe tomorrow.
For herself, she knew what she would do; she would take all of the sleeping pills that she managed to get from a psychiatrist when describing her troubles to him. I can’t sleep, and I can’t fix it, I just keep replaying everything that happened in my mind, please help me doctor. She’d happily eat all of the pills in that orange bottle, putting an end to this misery that seemed like it would never abandon her. This was the only escape she saw, and she’d gladly take it.
For Adam, she saw two options in her demented mind. Even if she was having second thoughts about this, there was no going back now. Virginia felt as if this murder-suicide was written in the stars and etched into a concrete slate. No, she stopped, bringing all of her thoughts to an end. I know what I’m going to do.
She went to bed that night, for the last time. She laid under the comforter, thinking back on her life and her misfortunes. Until that day when Uncle David had committed such an act of depravity upon her body, she had never felt this type of miserable. That day, she thought with anger, That day ruined my life. That’s where I died.
Virginia went over the details of her suicide, not thinking about the murder of Adam, the heinous crime she was dedicated to committing. Virginia was a person, and her death was the death of a person, but Adam was not; he was akin to a bug on the wall. No, he would not be mourned, not by anyone. She drifted into sleep, feeling more insane than ever. Virginia had not been living these past few weeks under the false pretense that she was sane; no, she knew how untrue that was.
When she awoke, calm rushed over her like the sea rushes over the sand. She knew all of this misery would be over soon; she would no longer hear the pleading cries of Adam, she would no longer feel David’s body upon her, and she would be free. Death did not scare her, but rather freed her. Virginia got dressed, wearing her nicest dress, a red one, and adorned herself with white pearls. White, the color of purity. She ripped the pearls off of her neck, causing them to break and fall all over the wooden floor. She moved over to the mirror, smoothing out her dress. Well, I’d like to look nice when they find me. Adam was left in his onesie that he’d been wearing for weeks straight; Virginia did not care what he looked like when they found his body. Like a fly, she told herself.
Virginia had everything in order, a bottle of whiskey and her massive bottle of little white pills that would find a final resting spot in her stomach. The doors were locked, the blinds were shut; it’ll just look like I took Adam out, a family trip to the park or something. The fact that they would never be a normal family, that she’d never love him like a mother should her son propelled her forward, to act as God and end Adam’s life prematurely.
Feeling the calmest that she has in her life, she made her way into Adam’s nursery, pillow in hand, glad that this was the last time she’d ever have to stare at those nauseatingly yellow walls. He was such a tiny infant, so young that he couldn’t even have pillows in his crib. Now, when she looked at Adam, happiness mixed with relief flowed over her. This was the first time that Virginia had ever felt any semblance of happiness when looking at her son’s chubby face and rosy cheeks. Not a single bit of regret ran through her mind; well, she's truly lost her mind at this point. There wasn’t much left of it. She wouldn’t have to worry about the ramifications of her actions, because soon, she’d be six feet under, decomposing, worms filling up her body and crawling through her eyes.
Her red polished nails lifted the pillow, contrasting against the white pillowcase, and held it over her little baby’s face. Virginia, the real Virginia, the Virginia before her body was declared not her own, was somewhere in that pretty head of hers, screaming, Stop this! That is your son, how could you? but Virginia’s arms weighed heavily upon the pillow, pressing into her baby’s face. She held her breath as she watched him wriggle beneath the weight of his own mother’s body, struggling for breath. To Virginia, it seemed like hours passed while she kept her firm grip on that pillow. She began to wonder what her son, in his tiny infant brain, was thinking- was he scared? Was he oblivious to what was happening to him? Did this hurt for him?
Finally, Virginia let up, releasing the pillow and taking a fearful look at this creation, her creation that she’d ruthlessly smothered. He laid there, emotionless, lifeless, and dull. His eyes, they were unnaturally dull, and Virginia noticed. No mother should ever see her child this way, she thought. Virginia, shocking even to herself, felt no regrets; she felt like she did that child a favor. She felt like she saved him from a life of misery, a life of pain, and a life as the monster he was destined to be.
Now, it was her turn to end her own misery, to take out the terrible creator of a terrible monster. Like Frankenstein and his monster. She took a deep breath and relished the calm feeling she had. Like a light, she thought. Then it’ll all be over. She sat in her recliner, where she’d spent so many days avoiding Adam and now, she’s free of him. She moved over to the record player, putting on some quiet music, music that she would like to die to. Now, Virginia was shaking. Her body knew the gravity of the situation, but her mind was kept out of the loop. She sat back on the recliner, clutching an orange bottle filled with white pills in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other. She despised alcohol- she never acquired a taste for it- but she would use it for this as if it was a tool.
She poured some pills onto her pale hand, picking up five at a time and shoveling them into her red-lipsticked mouth. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty, forty-five, fifty, fifty-five, sixty- she just kept going, going and going until the bottle was empty. Like a light, came back into her mind, soothing her. Once the bottle was emptied, she took some more big gulps of whiskey, making a face when it hit her tongue. I haven’t left a note, she remembered. Let the tragedy of my death remain a mystery. David knows the truth, and my family does too- maybe now they’ll believe it. Nausea washed over her. Like a light, like a light. Nausea rolled over her ruthlessly, and she felt terrible. It didn’t matter to her if she felt nauseous- soon, she wouldn’t be feeling anything. It would be like someone flicked a light switch and took the life out of her body.
In reality, her thoughts about what it would be like to overdose proved to be wrong. It wasn’t peaceful, and it certainly wasn’t like a light; it was vomiting and feeling like her insides are trying to turn themselves inside out, it was being so tired and her limbs being so heavy, it was choking on her own vomit while trying to think to herself Like a light and hoping it would all be over soon. One last dance with misery, her mind echoed, feeling so empty. When the vomiting had ceased, everything went black, even though Virginia hadn’t closed her eyes. Finally, I’m free; from Adam, from Dave’s weight, from myself- and her thoughts went black as well, and she drifted away from herself.
Virginia and Adam were found a week later- cold, rotting, with flies buzzing around their glazed eyes. Virginia’s mother came to check on them when she hadn’t heard from her daughter in a while. As soon as she opened the door, it hit her- the smell, God, the smell was awful. Worse than any human could ever imagine. The smell of rotting flesh, the smell of a trauma that took place, the smell of a mother murdering her child. The scream of Virginia’s mother could be heard for blocks, when she laid her eyes upon her baby girl and her baby girl’s baby, cradling both of their stiff, smelling bodies in her arms, looking up at the sky and asking God why he would do something so terrible. Virginia would also like to know why God would do something so terrible to people who were good, but she’ll have to ask him face to face, when he meets her and sends her down, down, down, where the fires live.