No More Heroes

Entry by: odgemob

22nd June 2017
They knocked on her door and called her 'Madam'. They told her that her son had died a hero. But she didn't want a hero. Heroes were everywhere in this city. Heaven must be crammed full of spotty, long-limbed boys, here one day and gone the next, suddenly saviours, crowned with death; their imperfections wiped and replaced with the hollow gleam of pride in their Mother's eyes.

And now her boy. Just yesterday filling space and moving air. Every second now a second more of nothing.

She didn't want a hero. She didn't want promises or respect or a statue or a flat photograph with a tight black caption. She wanted her son back.
The chickens in the back yard scratched in the ground where his feet used to stand. They could have set his footprints in gold and made them a shrine. But she didn't want that. She wanted him in three dimensions to come back through the door and to swing his little sister on his shoulders. She wanted to tell him off for smoking and for leaving his things on the table, she wanted to give him just one more spoon of stew before he left.

Somehow she dreamt of him. Saw blood on his lips and eyes so wide they couldn't see a thing. Saw dust in his fingerprints. His body rotting.Wrapped in a black flag made blacker by his blood

She awoke to thunder and sweaty heat. And the apartment only smelt like him.

She unravelled her feet from the damp sheet and whispered "Heroes have a choice". Her voice sounded like somebody else's.

They let her rage for a while. Grief is normal. Anger expected. And she was small and round-cheeked and a woman. She did not seem like a threat.

But weeks went by and she kept talking. Her eyes too wide, her voice too loud. Always holding her little daughter too close to her, gripping her so tightly that she cried.

"My son was not a hero" she took the neighbours by the shoulders " he was a victim. And so was yours and so will yours be".

Agitating others, that was the worst of it. Saying things out loud that shouldn't even be whispered. Nothing stopped her talking.

So there it was.

Another knock at the door. At first they called her 'Madam' again. Then nothing.

They told her daughter that she had died a traitor