Summer 1993 – A Benediction for the Mother of Monsters

“I smell you, little spider. I smell your sweat and your tears and the blood running through your veins. I smell your breakfast digesting in your guts. You smell like your father. You smell like your grandmother. You smell out of place down here. Why have you come?”

I was asking myself the same question. Mother Hungry was a horror but, as monsters go, not a very active one. In recent years her children had come up to kill and terrorize but she, herself, stayed down here in the dark, a forgotten whisper. She was no longer even a threat to naughty children. Finally I said, “I have come to pay my respects. I have come to listen to stories from one who knew life before my father was born.” 

I heard Mother Hungry suck in her breath. I heard her momentarily drum her claws on the hard granite floor. She said, “What trick is this? No one comes to me for history. They come to fight and die.” 

I said, “I have had nearly two centuries of fighting. I am very good at it but, not, perhaps, as good as you. I have no interest in dying. So why fight? I would rather fill my ears with tales from one who is older, craftier and wiser than I will ever be.” 

I heard her sniff, once, then again. She said, “I do not smell a lie.”