Mother's Grin

This is a short story purely for practice purposes. Critics are welcome regardless.


Mother’s Grin

She was excited to once again visit the one dearest to her heart; her mother. The one person who understood everything about her and would listen for hours on end of every story she knew. She never got tired of it, either. She was proud to have a mother like hers, the one every child dreamed of having. Penelope couldn’t have asked for anything else.

The one thing she loved the most was the big smile her beloved mother would give her each time she came to see her. She had very beautiful teeth, her daughter would always tell herself. Penelope didn’t go by a single day without seeing her at least once during her breaks. She looked forward to each visit so much. The one concern Penelope had was her mother’s inability to speak, but she didn’t hold that against her mother. She was in an accident a long time ago that made her this way, but Penelope didn’t mind this one bit. Her mother was a good listener.

As Penelope entered her mother’s living quarters, she smiled upon seeing her sitting and waiting for her daughter at the table they usually talked to one another. As well, Penelope’s mother was wearing her favorite dress, the one she only wore for special occasions. It gave Penelope butterflies thinking about how important she was to her mother to be wearing it with each visit. It made Penelope love her that much more.

“Good afternoon, Mama,” Penelope chirped as she pulled out a chair for herself, setting down a small bag she was carrying on the ground. “You won’t believe what fantastic weather we’re having. It feels good to have a break from all these blistering winds that have been blowing all over Bath lately. Today is the first warm day of all year.”

Her mother smiled as she listened to her daughter speak, staring into her eyes with much enjoyment. She sat still as she let Penelope continue. “It’s a shame you can’t come out with me. Your poor legs aren’t like they use to be. I keep telling the neighbors to let you use a wheelchair, but they said you feel much safer in your house, and I agree. It’s a good thing you have a daughter like me to take care of you. I even brought you some biscuits for you to have. I brought your favorite.”

Penelope bent down to her bag and shuffled through it for a few moments, coming back up with a small, metal container. The contents inside clanked around the walls as Penelope sat them on the table to open it up. Inside were a dozen Bourbon biscuits, having been spread with double the fondant in each of them. Penelope pulled one out to show her mother, making the woman grin that much more.

“I hope you don’t mind me having just one,” Penelope lightly implored, biting into the biscuit she was currently holding with two fingers. Of course her mother wouldn’t mind. They both knew that they loved Bourbon biscuits just as much as the other.

“Oh, I can’t wait to tell you about what I saw yesterday!” Penelope said in a giddy manner, lightly tapping the table with her free hand to express her excitement. “Yesterday, there was this huge auctioning event. The thing that was sort of strange about it was they were only showing painted pigs. The neighbors had brought me there, thinking that I needed some fresh air. I’ve been taking care of you ever since the accident, so I admit I did need a break. That didn’t stop me from coming yesterday, now did it?”

No matter how hard she tried, Penelope’s mother couldn’t stop grinning at how happy her daughter was, no matter what mood she might have been before. All of Penelope’s worries vanished when in her mother’s presence. No other person on Earth could make her feel the same.

Penelope continued, "Each of the pigs were selling like hotcakes, which most of them were quite gorgeous. They were done so exquisitely it made my heart feel so warm inside at how much talent some people can have. The pigs were given names, even. Some were quite silly, like Bacon Butty and Olympig. Quite clever, but I giggled whenever I heard them both. Some people paid so many pounds for some, too. The last one sold, Pigsaw, I believe it was, had someone eventually buy it for twenty hundred thousand pounds! It was unbelievable!

“I’ve never been that shocked since I figured out you had to leave me while I went to grade school ten years back. I thought you actually would never come back for me! I was so happy when you came back to pick me up from my first day. Such wonderful times. Anyway, I asked if our neighbors could buy one for you, but they unfortunately didn’t have the cash to. There was one with pretty yellow flowers I wanted to get you, but I must say even that one went up much higher than I can ever hope to make.”

Penelope’s mother didn’t care what her daughter would get her. Simply having her check up on her everyday was more than enough to last an eternity of gifts. Nothing could ever match the price of the love they shared with one another. No other relationship could ever hope to outdo theirs.

“I do remember one thing the neighbors have recently gotten me,” Penelope said as she continued onto another story. “They got me this very comfy bed. I swear, not even the clouds of heaven are whiter than it. It is so lovely, and quite big, too. In fact, I’m still trying to figure out how they even managed to fit it in my room. My guess is they had to take it apart first and then reassemble the bits and pieces in my room. It must’ve been hard work. I’ve never loved laying on something so much in my life. Except, of course, laying on your dear shoulders, Mama.”

No kinder words were ever spoken by Penelope. The girl has never shown a negative emotion while around her mother. Penelope was even told about the story of her birth, where right when she opened her eyes and stared into her mother’s, she stopped crying instantly. Neither could explain why they had such a special connection since then, but it didn’t need to be. It just was.

The minutes went by quickly, with Penelope sharing even more stories and her mother happily listening on, never releasing her grin the whole time. Unfortunately, Penelope couldn’t stay for more than an hour a day with her mother. She was usually quite a busy girl, and had appointments to attend to today. It was lucky for her that Penelope’s neighbors would come by to remind her of the time, or else the girl might stay with her mother all day. One of them opened the door, letting the light from outside shine in on the both of them.

“Come Penelope,” the man began in a stern voice. “It’s time to say goodbye to your mother.”

“Oh dear, I hate it when the time goes by so quickly,” Penelope sighed in disappointment, but understood she had to leave. Turning to look at her mother one last time before going, Penelope smiled widely as her mother did the same. “Bye, Mama. I’ll see you at 15:00 tomorrow as usual. I hope you enjoy your treats.”

Penelope happily stood up from her chair and pushed it back in, now beginning to walk out of the door. The other person accompanying the man helped lead the girl away elsewhere, with the man remaining and peering through the room where Penelope’s mother still sat.

A third person, a young woman, came up behind the man with a clipboard and pen in hand, looking at the back of his head with concern. “Is that the girl you were talking about, Dr. Earnest?”

The man nodded, scratching at the mask concealing his wrinkled mouth. “It is.”

“You haven’t told me about her yet,” the woman seemed to urge the doctor. “I know I’ve only been here for a week or so, but you keep holding it off.”

“I’ve been busy. That’s all,” Dr. Earnest said as he continued to stare at Penelope’s mother, still keeping the same grin she sported for her daughter. “Her story isn’t all that dramatic, if that’s what you’re hoping for, nurse, but…it’s surprising how one event can change someone completely.”

The nurse remained silent, cuing the doctor to continue on. “The both of them were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Just your average mugger came up to them one night. Stabbed Penelope’s mother in her throat. Ever since, Penelope changed. It affected her badly.”

“She seems like a normal girl to me,” The nurse said in slight confusion. “What’s so different about her?”

“You haven’t looked in this room yet, have you?” Dr. Earnest asked as he turned his head a little bit.

“You mean that’s not her mother in there?”

“Not technically,” The doctor explained. “Every time we tell Penelope, though, she gets extremely hostile, and goes on a rampage, like a demon suddenly jumps into her. More than one year she’s been like this. She refuses to see what we’re trying to tell her, and we just can’t seem to get her to open her eyes. Penelope won’t even let us touch her mother. The last time we did, she wouldn’t stop attacking until we brought her mother back. She’s a really nice girl otherwise, but because of that one tiny thing, we need to keep her here in this facility. Otherwise, she’ll hurt people.”

“So, what are you going to do?” the nurse asked, earning a heavy breath from Dr. Earnest.

“I dunno yet,” The man replied. “I hope she’ll come back to reality soon, though. She can’t love a corpse forever.”

Re: Mother’s Grin

Well done. It’s well written and has a twist that makes sense. That’s all I really ask from a short story. I look forward to seeing more of your work.