Her Mothers Hands
Frankie sat in the kitchen, listening to her
mother rattle on, as always. She looked down at her hands, they always seemed to have a
life of their own and it frightened her. They were always crawling into places they
didnt belong, always touching things that they shouldnt and always hurting
her, pinching her, digging their sharp little nails into her flesh.
She watched as her mother spoke to her, not
hearing what she said but watching her mothers hands as they moved, using a sharp
chefs knife to cut the meat for stew that was to be dinner. The hands rose and fell,
the knife glinted with the sun light coming in through the kitchen window. Rich red
stained the blade, as the blood from the meat ran along its edge and dripped on to
the cutting board, poling and running over the edge to the counter top.
Frankie looked at her own hands again, they lay
silently in her lap for a change. They looked just like her mothers hands but
younger and much more vicious. Her mothers hands could hurt, too, a slap to the
face, a punch in the stomach occasionally but Frankie knew that her own hands could do far
"Frankie! Pay attention when I speak to
you! You doing that staring thing again, you have to snap out of this! You dont want
to go back to that nut house again, do you?"
"Then stop acting like this, are you taking your
medication when I give it to you?"
"Yes, mother." Frankie lied, she was hiding
the pills in a drawer in her room. Saving them up for a rainy day .......... or a sunny
one for that matter.
As her mother's voice droned on, Frankie still stared
at her hands. They seemed to be speaking to each other, the fingers tangled together,
caressing each other, her fingers and hands were friends. She, herself, had no friends as
her mother loved to point out to her daily. Frankie thought about just exactly how she
felt about her mother dispite what she told her doctor when she saw him. Looking back down
at her hands, she watched as they started to move, like snakes, towards the back of her
mothers apron. She jerked them back as she noticed her mother turning around to look
at her again.
"Are you listening to me, Frankie? I said that
Im having a friend, Mrs. Luth from thye senior center, over for dinner tonight, so
you take your food to your room and stay there till I say you can come back out! Is that
"Yes, mother, its very clear. It's crystal
clear ....... "
Frankie's voice faded off as her hands started to
reach for the back of mothers apron strings again. Frankie had no idea what they
were going to do, she just sat and watched, an innocent by-stander at the mercy of her
hands. She watched her mothers hands, they, too, seemed to live on their own. Mother
kept talking, her hands kept doing there work like good little soldiers.
Mother turned to look at Frankie. Frankie was
mesmerized by the look of her own hands as they moved towards her mother. Mother dropped
the knife and backed away from Frankie. Her hands went up to her face in surprise. The
last time Frankie touched her, she sent Frankie packing, in a straight jacket for a nice
vacation at Mescatonic Asylum. It took almost as long as Frankie's visit for her own
brusies to go away.
"Frankie! What are you doing? Dont you dare
touch me! You know what will happen! I swear I'll call Dr. West right now!"
"Sorry, Mother. I didnt mean to do it, you
know how my hands are, they just "do" things."
"Talk like that will get you right back to the
hospital again, do you want me to call Dr. West?"
"Dont threaten me, mother, I dont
care anymore anyway."
"Look at your hands! Youve been scrubbing
them again! Why, they are beet red and bleeding! Let me see your palms!"
Frankies hands turned themselves over to
show the palms, deep gouges in them, an ugly red with blood drying at the edges. Suddenly,
the hands balled up into fists and struck out, hitting mother in the nose.
"Frankie!" her mother cried out, shocked and
backing away, wiping the suddenly spurting blood away from her broken nose and on to her
"Mother! It wasnt me, the hands did it! I
didnt hit you!"
"Oh! Thats it, young lady! Im calling
Dr. West, he can come and get you and take you back to that institution again! Im
washing my hands of you!"
Frankie could only hear a high pitched screeching in
her head, her mother's words were lost to her. Her hands had started to claw at her face,
leaving rivers of blood flowing running down her already scared cheeks. The buzzing
screech in her head was getting louder but the pain in har face started to ground her
Suddenly, her mothers screams snapped her out of
her little world of pain and buzzing, her hands suddenly in front of her, bloody fingers
grasping something that she couldn't see. She looked at her mother only to see her mothers
hands clawing at mother's throat, trying to pull themsleves away. Mother had four hands.
But that couldn't be, that was silly. Looking again, she saw her mothers' own fingers
digging into her own flesh, cutting off breath and blood in a crushing grip.
Her mother's hands seemed to be out of control, mother
couldnt get them away from her own throat. Frankie and her mother suddenly fell to
the floor, mothers' face swollen and gone purple, tongue bulging out of her mouth. Her
body flopped like a fish out of water, jerking, trying to get a last gasp of air to save
her. But the hands held on even tighter. The hands knuckles had gone white from the
intense pressure they had on her throat, digging in deep into mothers soft, fleshy
Then mother lay still, all life gone out of her. The
hands released their prey and a last dead gasp of breath rushed from the body. Frankie
just sat there next to her on the floor, absorbing all that she had seen, her own hands
now softly stroking her own face. She was suddenly very tired, more tired then she had
ever been before. As she started to doze off, a panic grabbed her, adrenalin hit her
stomach in a burning flash, her head started to spin.
She always knew she had her mother's hands and look
what mother's hands had just done to her mother. All this time she thought she was insane.
Maybe she wasn't at all. Her hands did have a life of their own, just like mothers. She
now knew what she had to do. Getting up, she walked to the sink. She looked down and saw
the open maw of the garbage disposal, black and deep, staring back at her.
Frankie started to ram both hands into the
disposal but the fingers hung on to the edges, not letting her carry out her task.
She knew she would have to do something before her hands took control of themselves
completely and did to her what they had just done to her mother.
Wait, what had she just thought? Her hands didn't kill
her mother, did they? Her mothers own hands did it. Didn't they? But she had her mothers'
hands. She turned to look at her mother, now quiet and cooling on the floor. Frankie
wasn't sure of anything anymore. She started thinking that maybe she should have been
taking her pills after all. But first, she had to deal with her hands.
Frankie walked to the door from the kitchen into
the garage. An old fashioned heavy wooden garage door that had to be lifted manually still
remained even after Frankie's constant picking that they needed to get one of those light
weight motorized ones. Now she was glad that mother never listened.
She opened the door half way, putting the rope pull in
her teeth and biting down hard. Her fingers were now on the cement floor, right in the
path of the door. Frankie yanked down hard and the door came sailing down, crushing her
offending hands. Frankie passed out.
She awoke when she heard a noise outside,
someone was knocking on the front door and calling out to her mother. Frankie remembered
her mother was having a friend over for dinner. Quickly, she got up, ignoring the
throbbing pain of her hands. Frankie ran for the kitchen sink. Remembering to turn the
water on, like mother always told her to do, she used her mouth to grasp the knob. She
used her nose to flip the "On" switch for the disposal.
Slowly, she started to make her hands go into
that hole, feeling her finger tips hit the blades, a blinding flash of pain as the blades
started to cut through bone, tearing flesh. Further, she stuffed her hands into the
The last thing she heard was a far off
scream as Mrs. Luth ran into the kitchen and took in the scene before her. As loss of
blood started to make her vision fade to a comforting shade of red, she knew this was the
right thing to do. After all, she had her mothers hands, didn't she?
© 1997 B.D. Knox