The Hatchling

I dreamed it, and now it’s mine...

The vile thing cries out from under the bed, demanding to be fed when I nurse Mikey. I try to ignore it, but I’m its mother, and I can’t.

I can’t! Lord knows I’ve tried.

Its garbled screeching affects me every bit as much as Mikey’s soft cries. I can’t deny it substance. So, I gather its scaly body to my breast, hot pain piercing my nipple as its teeth sink in, and it feeds, first on my milk, then my blood.

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It’s growing much faster than Mikey, barely two weeks old and already crawling. How long before it walks? How long before it climbs unaided into bed with me? How long before it can clamber up the side of Mikey’s crib?

Before I grow too weak from blood loss, I have to kill it.

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I have the knife in my hand. I can do this.

Freshly fed, stomach full of my milk and blood, it’s sleeping in its dark nest under my bed. Now is the time.

I hunker to my knees, raise the knife, and slowly lift the dust ruffle. The ugly, lumpy thing lies on its side facing me. Its long pink tail curled over its eyes tells me it is sleeping.

Mikey whimpers. I glance over my shoulder, lay a finger over my lips, “Shh," then turn back to my other son—

And see a dark blur of movement, angry red eyes, and a huge, suckered mouth full of needle teeth. Then pain—oh god, the pain—and darkness as those teeth close over my face. And rip.

©2021 KT Workman

Image by vargazs from Pixabay