That Clever Wasp

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

I had the dream again.

When was the last time I saw him, and did he bring my son? My son they thought I’d drowned, but didn’t.

Then it was tomorrow, then yesterday, then now, but the fog was so thick I could barely find the daylight. I made my way to the window, to place myself in Place, if I could not pin myself to time. Bedsheet around my neck.

I touched the glass, but didn’t feel it. On the other side, a hornet crawled my palm. My hand, that held the baby down.

That clever wasp was free.

100 words

Hello Fictioneers! It’s been awhile. I couldn’t resist some dark madness on this wintry morning when I saw this shot of an abandoned New Jersey mental hospital. If you’re familiar with the movie The Others, you’ll probably get where I was going with this. If you’re not familiar with it, you’ll probably think I’m mad. And you may be right 😉

Thanks to Rochelle for hosting this weekly party and thanks J Hardy for the inspiring photo. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, visit the links via the blue button below:

 

62 Comments

  1. Hmm. She’s confused about whether she did it or not. My guess is she did

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right, Neil. She may have also hung herself and doesn’t realize she’s dead. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This had a nightmarish quality to it, the mental confusion, the loss of orientation… Good one Karen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sandra. Glad it came across. She is in a nightmare, or mad, or dead–something of the sort.

      Like

  3. I liked how you showed her dream sequence with all its confusions. Nicely done, Karen.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Susan. Dreams are like that–I’m glad it came across.

      Like

  4. I guess the dream appeared for a reason – to remind of what she did and to tell her what she should do. Or maybe not!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your theory. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow. Impressed. And shivered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are most kind, Crispina!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your comment about The Others helped clarify it, and when I saw the comment about not knowing she is dead, yep, that’s it. And she is still in that asylum, walking the halls after all of these years…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s what I was going for, anyway. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Superb story that intimates far more than it tells. A brilliantly efficient use of words, yet still saturated with emotion. Bravo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very kind! I kind of wrote it for you.

      Like

  8. The dreamlike state on this I agree is very powerful whether she’s asleep or has died. Wherever she is has a nightmarish quality. And that hornet, makes me jump. I’m waiting for to get stung or the baby.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading Mandibelle. I am not a fan of hornets myself. Thanks for your encouraging words!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, The Others. What was real? Very creative story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that movie too. It made me wonder if it was real. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow! You selected the detail you wanted to present with great care – ‘placing herself in Place if not in time’ and the ‘bedsheet around her neck’, and that care really pays off. A brilliant evocation of the woman’s confusion and loss of self-hood. And even a hint as to her motivation for killing her baby, so that he could be free.
    I’m really, really impressed, Karen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Penny, I’m so tickled it worked for you and your careful reading means a lot. Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. A chilling glimpse inside a disturbed mind. Always a pleasure to read you work 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always a pleasure to read your work as well. Thanks for stopping by Iain!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. When you come back, you come back with a vengeance! This was great, Karen… the confusion brought on by dreams and ghostly feelings apparitions. So good. And spooky.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dale, that is very kind of you. I love a spooky story now and then, I’m glad it worked!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow. A tangled mind. So complex, so well conveyed.

    Like

    1. Thanks for reading 🙂 Much appreciated.

      Like

  14. She seems to be in a huge confusion! So many thoughts inside her! Maybe she is not ready to accept the reality that she killed her baby with her own hands! I feel sorry for her

    Like

  15. I can really feel her confusion as she tries to make sense of what she may or may not have done. Nice one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Ali. Yes she is very confused.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Really love this story, Karen. The words dance around, but hint at her instability. The last lines haunt, and yet still leave the reader guessing, as she starts by saying she didn’t do it… hmm, which is it? Great story with dynamic word usage!

    I’m curious: how do you know it’s an abandoned insane asylum? And the wasps? I feel like I missed something entirely. Several FFs say they don’t know what’s on the window, and then others see that it’s a nest. I couldn’t see it, and didn’t get the asylum bit at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dawn, Thanks for taking the time to read and comment & thanks for your kind words!

      About the fact that it’s an abandoned mental hospital, I totally cheated, since my husband J Hardy is the photographer. I don’t know if he gave out any clues. I probably wouldn’t recognize it as a wasp nest either!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. HAHAHAH! That’s a wonderful cheat! Had not idea he was your husband (see, clueless all around) and when others got those two things, I really thought I was losing my powers of observation; generally, I’m on it! Again, loved your story. I’ll look forward to more in the coming weeks. (not sure if you read my long preamble… but I originally, and mistakenly, added my story to Pegman! I’m caring for a newborn grandson; sleep deprivation may be at play here 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 😀 Your kind comment made me grin. Snuggling with a newborn sounds so delightful. The lack of sleep, not so much…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You got it! Home in the states now, and dealing with 10 hr time difference and jet lag… no baby to pull me out of this. :-/ Glad I gave you a laugh.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Jelli

    That was INSANE! Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jelli! Your comment made me grin. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Dear Karen,

    Very clever writing. So many comments already that I agree with. The way the wasp triggered the memory is brilliant. Brava!

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rochelle! Thanks for hosting this party 🙂

      Like

  19. The worst thing a mother could do, and one she will never totally forget.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right. Thanks for reading and commenting, Liz!

      Like

  20. Oh, you portrayed madness and confusion very well with this head-spinning tale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lish! Great to see you.

      Like

  21. You told the story from her point of view – from the ‘inside’ – compelling and fascinating. Good writing Karen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are most kind! Thanks for reading Francine.

      Like

  22. The mind of ‘madness’ always is intriguing, and needless to say makes for a very compelling read. I wish I could read into this narrator’s mind, no matter how ‘unreliable.’ Loved it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and for your very kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Yep, I think you’re mad, great stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Great take. Well-portrayed.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. You’ve created quite an atmosphere here. Plus the bedsheet around her neck and that last chilling line. So well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading Sascha! I thought I had deleted this but I managed to find it and un-delete it.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. To me this was an excellent “window” into a confused dislocation from time and place, consistent with some severe sort of mental breakdown. I read the sheet around the neck as her using the sheet as a hood and cape for warmth. Her denial of the trauma of causing her own son’s death, at the beginning, changes to her “owning” the act of drowning him as she sees the weapon she used…very eerie, very good. I missed the suggestion of her being a ghost entirely, but it worked!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your very kind comments. I appreciate your generous take on it–I was hoping for that kind of ambiguity–is she a ghost? in the throes of a breakdown? You made my day.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. That’s as close to being in the mind of madness that I ever want to be. Horrors. But what a great write 🙂

    Like

  28. gahlearner

    That story made my eyes cross. Mad indeed, but so well told. Like Penny, I love the phrase about placing herself in place, not pinning in time. Like a ghost she’s neither here nor there, desperate, confused…

    Like

  29. This was so well told… to get inside her head was a very disturbing read… I think she should stay inside…

    Like

  30. So beautifully written, conveying the confusion in her mind so well, we’re carried along with her. Did she/didn’t she kill the baby? She feels the guilt of the act even if she didn’t physically do it. Love the ambiguity and the layers. And I loved The Others, too – a tragic, spooky tale. Must watch that again sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes The Others is one of my faves! Thanks for reading and commenting. To your question, did she do it? I’m thinking yes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Love a ghost story! My pleasure Karen

        Liked by 1 person

  31. 😍❤🙏Thank you so much for following my site!🤗💕God bless you!!

    Liked by 1 person

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