children of the lamia

mother used to wipe our eyes, but there was never any dust. now when we dream of monsters and ghosts she whispers lies in our ears. the beast will not wait for morning light. it will tear us limb from limb if it can't get at you first.

we will wake screaming, and our mother will kiss our foreheads. no monster hides in this house tonight. no ghost lingers in this room.

when we sleep, she says, we sleep soundly, her hands smoothing out the covers over our chests. the water's always so cold. some days I think she is a witch, and then I know that I am one. and she is too scared to do anything but tell us bedtime stories.