This short fiction grew out of some quick research on the terms ‘magic’, ‘myth’ and ‘mother-goddess’ in Freud’s writings.
Chris hesitates at the top of the stairs. There’s an eerie silence in the birth-room and for a moment, he’s unable to go in and see. Stupid, he thinks. ‘Big bastard like me shouldn’t feel this way about his own wife and baby.’
A sound of a rattle, a murmur, and it’s all quiet again.
He steps forward, and pauses as he remembers the strange rattling he’d heard on the monitor in the kitchen. Like a sudden icy blast from his own childhood, unsettling. His memory pools in liquid uncertainty. Long gone, he thinks. And stands up straight, reminding himself he’s a man – he’s over these childish mindfucks.
Reaching for the handle, he sees his new-born son towering high above him. He knows, here and now, the child will outdo and undo him. What kind of monster has he created? Will he worship him, or fear him?
‘I’m the adult. I’ve outgrown all this,’ he reminds himself.
Behind the door, the rattle starts again. Rhythmic, persistent, primordial. It’s like a heartbeat, and for a moment he’s struck by the sense that he’s been here before. Here on this threshold, waiting, wondering what will happen. He’s safe here, but numb with fear and he can’t move in either direction. Grow up, he tells himself.
He turns the handle and freezes in the doorway. Laura, still attached to their son by a bloody cord, whispering ancient stories into his unformed mind; and he, just moments old, shaking the rattle in grim rhythm to her words. A heartbeat. Now faster, more furious. And Chris, gripped by some un-nameable terror, convulses with the echo of the rattle in the baby’s fist. Shaken. Shaking. Dashed against wall and floor.
Their triumphant victory: to spill the grains of his mind.