Mama’s Lullaby is a flash fiction piece I wrote for Stephen Willis’ writing challenge. It is inspired by the song Brigmore Lullaby, remix by Raphael Colantonio. Hope you enjoy reading! And check out his challenge, it’s quite a bit of fun.
Mama used to sing me a lullaby.
She sang about the King and his feathered bed. She sang about the flames and the spikes. About the starving and the cold. Sang about the sparrows and the gulls.
I wasn’t supposed to worry or be afraid. Everything would be okay. The cold in my toes would be warm once the King was dead. The hunger in my tummy wouldn’t be numbed by frost I licked from window panes. Once the King was dead.
She told me to listen for the sparrows, three times they would call. Wait for three gulls to fall.
Then everything would be okay. If I helped. Pulled him from his feathered bed. Strung his head on top of a metal spike. Helped spill the blood on the streets. I was old enough, mhm, old enough. Thirteen summers was old enough.
Funny, though, how terrible things fix terrible things.
She died while I was listening to the sparrows. They called four times, not three, and she fell. Dropped like a stone in a shallow pond. I tried to wake her, shake her. But she didn’t get up. Her skin went cold. I sat with her all through the night, watched the King’s house burn. Watched blood run down the streets.
Hidden little rat in the streets, that’s what I was. And no one bothered the little rats.
Mama once told me that the world would get better. Once the King was dead. But it didn’t. It got worse. The streets were always red, the hangman was dead, and I still licked the frost on window panes.
The sparrows never stopped screaming, always in calls of three. Gulls littered the cobbled streets, falling every day. There wasn’t any singing and there was always nightmares at the corners of my eyes. Real ones, mhm, real nightmares.
I just miss my mama’s lullaby.