By Donna L Greenwood
The hyenas came for my mother when I was ten years old. They took her in the middle of the night and gobbled up her eyes. When they dragged her carcass back the next morning, her dark, empty sockets swallowed up our lives.
On mother’s good days, we watched her fly above the earth and bounce around the planets. My sisters and I were never able join her for we were tethered by the ropes of reality. All we could do was watch her play with the moon and hope that she would find her way home.
On other days – the black days – she would lie at the bottom of the ocean, staring at unfathomable things with her black-hole eyes. The silence of her depths terrified us,
“Mummy,” we cried, “Mummy, swim upwards towards the light!”
But our mouths just filled with water and she let us drown a thousand times.
The intensity of her light spilled through the holes in her mind, blinding us all. We tried so hard to plug up the gaps but eventually she just emptied out. She was a paper woman, unable to fend off the blasted tempest that finally took her from us.
When the world and my sisters are sleeping, I hear the hyenas cackle. I look through the window and I see their bone-white teeth shining in the darkness. I know that one night they will come for me but, unlike my mother, I will be ready. I pluck out my eyes and, in the creeping darkness, I see everything.