Writing Group: Myths and Mommies (PRIVATE)

Hello, Gaias and Liliths! 

  Oh, are you lost my dear? What? You can’t find your mommy? Don’t worry, I can be your new mommy! Because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

Myths and Mommies

RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

This prompt is quite a unique one. It was initially taken from a kind of joking play on “myths and monsters.” It’s a curious blending of the ordinary and the extraordinary that can be taken many ways. 

You could write about a mother telling a myth to their child. The sinister lullaby she sings over her child, or the prophecy that…surely couldn’t refer to them. You could write about an adult reminiscing on a myth their mother told them. Maybe as they walk through the dark forest, they remember the story their mother told of the monsters that lurk there. Sometimes myths are just bedtime stories, or old wives’ tales, but often, especially in realms of fantasy, they are laced with truth. Perhaps a myth is the last thing a child remembers their dead mother telling them, their last connection to hold tight to. Maybe a child’s mother disappears, leaving a myth as a clue to find her.

You could write about a mother who is herself a myth, like Hera, or Freya, or Echidna. You could write about Mother Earth/Nature. There are lots of benevolent mythological mothers, but there are also vindictive mothers of myth to explore as well. Or perhaps you could write about the mother of a myth. We’ve heard stories about Heracles, Kintaro, and Cù Chulainn and their heroic deeds. But we never really think about the women that birthed and/or raised them. It’s time for Alcmene, Yama-Uba, and Scathach to have their day.

You could write a story about a world where there is no such thing as mothers—be it because a tragedy happened to wipe out the women, because your characters are a part of a race that doesn’t need mothers to procreate, or because it’s some futuristic world in which babies can be grown in a lab, or else built and brought to life, like Pinocchio. 

There are many more realistic takes you could use for this prompt too. For someone who grew up without a mother, a mother is something of a myth. The child in the orphanage, dreaming of a loving home, the teen who doesn’t get along with their single father, wondering why their mother left, could work for this prompt. Or perhaps, on an even sadder note, someone who had a mother…but not a loving mother, finds the concept, the stories their classmates tell, more myth than reality. Another realistic direction you could take is to write about a woman who wants to have a child, but for whatever reason is unable to, or had her child taken away—being a mother has become a myth to her. 

I actually have two potential challenges for you this week (thanks to Pearce and Paul)!

My first is rather similar to last week’s. I challenge you to use this prompt to write about your own mom. What sort of myths can you create about her, or associate with her? You could create a myth of her defeating a dreaded screaming monster…when really it’s about unclogging your vacuum. You could write about her traversing a vast jungle to retrieve a rare flower to heal her child’s illness…when really it was that time you got sick and she had to run to the store to get you medicine. Let’s show appreciation for our moms this week!

Or, for an alternative challenge: write a myth that is ABOUT a mother. Whilst mothers may star in many myths, there are not that many where an older woman goes on a quest or adventure, chasing down a goal. Maybe it’s a mother putting herself in a narrative to lull her children to sleep, or a sneaky retelling of how she saved them from a monster long ago.

What? You want to go home to your real mom? Nonsense. I am your real mom. Just sew these buttons onto your eyes. Then we can stay together, and be happy, forever.

—Kaylie, Pearce, & Paul

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.

Rules and Guidelines

We read at least five stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
    7. No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
    5. Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
    6. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
    7. You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
    8. Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

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EddySc
EddySc
2 days ago

Valse Macabre
by Alexsander Edwards

The gloomy piano melody echoed through the ossuary’s many wings, loud enough to mask Angelov’s heavy steps.

With his unbuttoned trench coat flowing behind him, the man did not break his stride nor blink for a moment. Skulls and bone chandeliers flew by in his march towards the source of the sound. He knew what expected him, and this time he was ready, he thought to himself, gripping the handle of his sheathed silver blade.

The echoes grew louder, and the corridors wider, as he approached his target. He could smell it in the air, past the rot and mold. She was there, that’s all that mattered.

Soon, the distorted shadows of skeletons and corpses gave way to a great, brightly-lit chamber. Next to an open coffin lay a grand piano, its cleanliness contrasting with the cobwebs and bones adorning the walls. Over its black and white keys loomed a tall, dark-haired woman. Finishing her song with a dark, dissonant chord, the woman stood up.

“Ah, the prodigal son returns!” she said, walking down a short flight of stairs, a slight grin giving away the existence of a couple of sharp fangs.

Her voice was more pleasant than Angelov remembered. He’d forgotten about her charisma, her approachability, her… love? Was he wrong in his hunt? In his resolve? Could his anger have been misguided?

‘No,’ he thought, shaking his head. She was messing with him. Manipulating him. That’s what she does.

“Drop this false pretense!” he growled, revealing his own set of fangs. “I won’t fall to that bullshit again, Krystina, so either kneel and submit or pick up your sword and put up a fight!”

Krystina yawned as she waved her hand, summoning a silver rapier from across the room. “After all your brothers fell-”

“Your monsters are not my brothers!”

“After every hunter failed-”

“I’m not a pitiful hunter!”

“You still think you can do this.”

“You gave me decades of torment!” he yelled, pointing his blade at his former matron.

“Oh how drab. But may it be as you wish, child. Let us dance tonight!”

RVMPLSTLTSKN
RVMPLSTLTSKN
2 days ago

Stormy Children
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)

“I want a story, Vienas!” Mazilas cried. There was something in her tone, desire and stymied emotion, like the sound of a wave breaking on a sandbar.

Vienas smiled and pulled the child close. “What kind of story?”

“A good one.”

“Aren’t they all good?”

“Father’s are, but you tell sad stories. I don’t like sad.”

Vienas’s smile faded. It was true, she knew, she always preferred the truth in tragedy. Epicaricacy.

“Has he told the story of Vantandai’s child?”

“Who is Vantandai?”

Of course, he hadn’t. They didn’t speak of the dead gods, unless vaguely.

“An old woman who traveled the oceans of the world.”

“Like Juru?” Juru had been a local god, worshiped by the lower castes.

“Yes, like Juru. Vantandai found a child on her journeys, but not her parents. The child was floating on the waves. Vantandai named her Audringas, because of her temper. Audringas traveled with her, and when they fought, Audringas would throw tantrums and spin around so fast that the water would spray up around her.”

“Like a water spout?”

“Yes, exactly like that.”

“Father says that water spouts are Juru hunting for fools.” There was confusion in her tone. Vienas smiled, chiding herself for not using Juru. Small prejudices never seem to vanish.

“Well, I prefer this story,” she said.

“But which is true?”

Some days it seemed even toddlers were grown and ready for the world. But Mazylas words were not what caused her heart to ache.

“Neither. Well, neither is real and that’s not quite the same thing.” Little arms wrapped around her in a hug.

“Why do all the good stories happen away from here?”

Vienas frowned at the pain this time. All their stories did take place elsewhere and she worried suddenly about the effect of that trend.cc “Audringas would sometimes run away from Vantandai, but soon she would realize she was lost and in her panic, she would spin, and spin, and spin, twisting the sea and sky and all things around her, turning that water spout into a hurricane and rushing about until she found Vantandai.”

MasaCur
MasaCur
2 days ago

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold
By MasaCur

Grendel was dead.

Grendel was not my first child. But he was still a child. He was my baby, barely an adult. And now he was killed, at the hands of humans. Humans! Those pathetic, weak creatures hiding in their halls, beating iron into weapons and armor because they didn’t have the teeth or claws, the scales or muscle, to kill with what nature gave them.

They would pay. Tonight.

The creatures of the land, those that were loyal to me, told me what happened. My son was not dead by the hands of their king, but a sellsword from Geatland, arrived with a company of men. Hunters, they called them. Professional monster slayers. Their leader would die last. Slowly and painfully.

I crawled slowly to their town, the shouts and songs of celebration emerging from the great hall. Bile climbed in my throat at the thought of them holding a feast to celebrate the murder of my son. Know your place, feeble creatures. Or let me show you where you stand in the order of nature.

I slithered closer to the human settlement, listening as the sounds of revelry died away, nestling down in the nearby forest, pressing into the mud and moss, glaring at those that I would prey upon tonight. A chilly night breeze rustled through my hair as I lay in wait.

My mind wandered to the memory of my dead son, his arm ripped from his shoulder, pale from the loss of blood. My hatred of these humans grows; undoubtedly they have taken my son’s arm as a trophy of their triumph.

Nearby a toad hopped tentatively forward. “Mistress,” it croaked.

“What do you have to say?” I growled, my voice low, and menacing.

”The human that killed your son. I have a name.”

“Speak, toad.”

“His name is Beowulf of the Geats.”

Beowulf. I felt the corners of my mouth curl up into a sneer. If I was not so filled with malice, I would wish you to make your peace tonight, because it would be the last of your miserable life.

Last edited 2 days ago by MasaCur
Skeleton
Skeleton
4 days ago

The Nature of Nurture (The Will)
By Skeleton

“Get up.”

Eymir felt the false grip upon his hair, yanking them by the roots until he rose to his feet from his knees. A gauntlet shoved his back forwards, along on his way towards torment. How long had the desert stretched out before him? How long since he had a cohesive thought?

The Sufferer looked back to see nothing there. He was alone.

“You don’t get to play victim here,” the voice of Roma Kine chided. “Act like my son and follow through on your conviction.”

He laughed through dry, cracked lips quietly. “My convictions… right…”

“It was your choice to betray the girl. It was your choice to abandon your humanity.”

Eymir rolled his eyes at the voice in his head. Or… was it in his heart? His soul? “That’s rich coming from you. When did you ever give me a choice? Was it when you killed Bastille? Was it when you lured me into High Mountain by tormenting Remianna and Mira? Or was it when you ordered a man to torture me, instead of raising me?”

“You needed to be tough for this—this moment that’s happening right now. You needed to have the conviction to continue and to not give up halfway through.”

Eymir shook his head in disgust. “I don’t want to listen to your baseless faith. There is no plan. There is no hope other than Zaila. She has to kill us. There is no happy ending.”

The desert wind blew harshly, but even then, Eymir still considered it silence compared to the grating voice of his predecessor.

“Why are you still walking, then?”

“Because if she kills me, then maybe she can have the life she really wants, rather than live up to a lie,” Eymir spat back. “You wouldn’t know anything about that, however.”

“I have faith in the plan because it will give you another chance to be happy. Nothing else. You can despise me all you want, but I still love you. There is no better reason to keep having faith.”

jesse fisher
jesse fisher
8 days ago

Moms are a myth
by Jesse Fisher

There was a story told in the home when the adults were asleep, stories of those that would love us without question. Places that would have warm beds and soft blankets to keep us warm in the night. The older kids that were still here doubted it as any adults that came were looking for certain kids. It could have been older because they wanted workers or younger to dress up as a doll to show off to their friends.

The third snowfall season that I could remember was when I started to make plans to look for this place. A place spoken to crying children that did not know the rules about noise after the lights went out. Somewhere that could make it so I was happy. I could see it in my dreams and almost touch it before the chill of the night woke me up and I joined the huddle of other kids also trying to keep warm.

—-

It was the night that I would look for this place of warmth and care. I was the last to enter the room, by then many of the others had either huddled together or cared for those younger. I shut the door, no one would miss me. I noticed a loose door from the meal last night.

I bundled a small set of supplies and a quickly made traveling cloak, and a quiet exit into the night. Travel was quicker given I’ve known these trails for the past seasons. It also meant that others knew and I must change at points but I will do this. I will find my home.

Kenzie
Kenzie
10 days ago

Monster and Mom
by Kenzie (kgood202)

A slow chill crept over my lips. It was as if Hell chose this little protection I had as its prime location to start freezing over and took particular pleasure in driving an icicle into my pounding heart. Soon saliva will fill my mouth and I will be paralyzed.

Running water fills my ears but it does not mask the thudding that was increasing in intensity as silent tears force their way out. My feet continue to reel back trying to protect my physical self even as I mentally deteriorate. A sharp point touches my back and I wish over and over that it would impale me and make the thudding stop. In that moment, cement could not have held me as still as my feet did in my well-worn sneakers. I wanted to say something, speak up, defend myself, but my mouth clamped shut after a choked sob.

The door burst after an unstoppable pressure was put against what I thought was an immovable object. Doors are hollow, was my only thought. A foot size hole was kicked through and the strike plate ripped from the wall.

A hulking mass of anger shadowed the doorway, violating my safety with unkind words and unyielding hands. My mother sat behind him observing from the couch. She only glanced up to let me know I had this coming so I shouldn’t act surprised.

I pressed myself harder into my imaginary knife, willing it to life. Ending the strife with a small sacrifice.

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
10 days ago

A Story to Ease a Cough
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

“Zoe? Sweetie?” Lydia asked, knocking on her daughter’s door. “Would you like some cold medicine?”

“No, Mom, I’m fi—” Zoe was cut off by a coughing fit. “Okay, yes please.”

Lydia entered her daughter’s room with a bottle of cough syrup. “At this rate, you might not be able to go to school tomorrow.”

“But my test! I—” Another coughing fit. “I have to take it, or—”

“Stressing yourself out won’t make it any better. Now please take this.” Lydia measured out a child’s dose of cough syrup.

Zoe propped herself up from her pillow and swallowed the syrup with a wince. “Oh ew. Ew.”

Lydia chuckled. “Zoe, have I ever told you about the worst thing I’ve ever eaten?”

“No?”

“Oh, it’s so gross, I hesitate to even say it.” Lydia recapped the medicine bottle, hiding a smirk. “I might have to wait until you’re older to tell you.”

“Tell me tell me tell me!”

“Alright, alright.” Lydia leaned over and whispered, “Dragon intestines.”

“Eeeew! Wait. Dragon?!”

“Oh, yes. Horrible texture. And the cook hadn’t made it before, so most of it was raw, too.”

“Why’d you have to eat dragon guts, Mom?”

“Well, the dragon was terrorizing the kingdom that some people thought I was destined to rule, so they made me kill the dragon. And I did, and then we had a big feast and it was terrible.”

“You could’ve been a queen?” Zoe asked with a yawn.

“Oh, no no no. Never. A lot of people thought I should’ve been, but it wasn’t for me. Now I get to live here with you and tuck you in at night.” Lydia adjusted the covers on Zoe’s bed.

“Are you just making all this up?” Zoe asked, raising an eyebrow sassily.

“Am I?” Lydia sassed back. “Goodnight, sweetie.”

“Goodnight!”

Lydia flicked off the lights and closed the door, letting out of breath that she hadn’t meant to hold.

Lydia knew the sword that had slayed that dragon was disguised as a polka-dot umbrella in the foyer. She wondered if it still smelled just as bad as that feast.

Adrian Solorio
Adrian Solorio
10 days ago

Retracted for possible submission.

Last edited 2 days ago by Adrian Solorio
Lee Strangely
Lee Strangely
11 days ago

Marion’s Mystery (The “Bear”)
by Lee Strangely

As the door flung open, Marion was met by a wall of dust and damp musk. Standing there gagging, she wondered whether Clark was too busy to maintain his own home, or simply didn’t want to. Either way, a living soul clearly hadn’t set foot there in a long time.

Obscured photographs covered the walls, while taxidermied critters stood proud with cobweb cloaks. Dried-up rubber bands held cabinets shut. Glass cases hid beneath white blankets. Out of curiosity, she unveiled one of the cases.

It seemed to be a skull. Quite large. Very long… Lots of teeth…

The sight petrified Marion. So much so that her ringing phone nearly scared her to death.

“H-hi Mom!” she answered while observing the pictures above her.

“How are you?” her mom asked, “how’s everything going?”

“Good. GOOD. Everything’s good… Just settling in at Clark’s house.”

“That’s great! How is he?”

“Fine, I guess…” Marion stared at the images, particularly a photo of her family. The bottom of the worn paper looked uneven… like if it were torn or crumbled. “I don’t know what he’s supposed to be like… I only just met him an hour ago.”

“Don’t worry, you’ll have time to get to know each other.”

The other pictures mostly documented Clark’s travels with other people. Each place they posed in looked more exotic than the last.

“Speaking of your brother,” her mom asked, “is he with you?”

“No, he stayed behind to help transport his ‘pet,’” Marion exclaimed, prying open a nearby cabinet. It was loaded with gear, tools… weapons… Though, she was more drawn to the scratched up, dorky pith helmet with a reddish-brown stain that sat in the middle of it all.

Her mom prattled on, “Aww, Clarks got a furry friend? What is it? A dog? Cat?”

“It-it’s… something…” She felt chills looking back at the photographs. One in particular, looked to be in a jungle. Clark stood in front of a massive crate as a dark paw poked out of it. Alongside was someone else, wearing a pith helmet. Same marks… but no stain…

Rattus
Rattus
11 days ago

The Darkmother
by Gerrit (Rattus)

Her palace sat at the far reaches of the Defiled Lands, the ocean churning behind it, storm clouds rumbling overhead. Nettles and brambles ran thick around the base of the building, thorny vines creeping up the brickwork so that little of the walls could be seen. The only part not covered in the overgrowth was the door, dark wood and splintered.

Few had laid eyes on this fortress and lived to tell the tale. Fewer still had lived long enough to see its interior. The closer Narine had drawn to the castle, the more persistent the demons’ attacks had become. They were nothing but corpses behind her, now.

Within those walls sat the mother of demons, a woman so powerful that it was said she once stood against three angels and survived. So unyielding was her vengeance that it is said she spawned thousands of monsters only to spite the Seraphim.

Narine kicked open her door and strolled inside.

“You have some nerve, barging into my home.” The voice was ethereal and rumbling, a flower laced with venom. “Need I remind you what happened to the last ones to invade my abode?”

“I’m quite aware of the legends, Darkmother.” Narine stood her ground, searching for the source of the voice. “I would think someone of your reputation wouldn’t be so scared to show their face.”

“Scared, am I?” A figure stepped forth from the darkness, human in appearance, but with an aura menacing enough to put even the devils to shame. “I’d watch your tongue, Nephilim. You may be stronger than your mortal fellows, but you are a child compared to me.”

“I’ll not waste your time. Lucifer seeks to finish what he started. As someone who once rebelled against the Seraphim yourself, I thought you might like the chance to repay them for all they’ve done to you.”

The Mother of Demons said nothing, merely studied Narine with an emotionless stare. Then, as she considered the opportunity presented to her, Lilith smiled.

Marx
Marx
12 days ago

Fol De Rol And Fiddledy Dee Fiddledy Faddledy Foodle
By Marx

“Okay, child. It’s late. You should sleep now.”

“But… I don’t want to sleep…”

“You are young, child. Sleep is very important at this age.”

“Could you read me a bedtime story?”

“I… suppose I could, but wouldn’t this be something better suited for your mother?”

“But I want YOU to read it. Please? Pleeeeeeeease?”

“You are aware that you won’t always get your way just because you-”

“Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!”

“Oh, for the love of-! Fine! I’ll read you a story if you calm down and stop making that face!”

“Yay! The book is over there!”

“…the blue one?”

“Yes! It’s my favorite!”

“What about Snow White? Or… Sleepy Beauty? Or Hansel and Gretel? Thumbelina? The Golden Bird? The Little Mermaid? …Pretty Woman?”

“No! No, no, no, NO! I want Cinderella!”

“You… do know why that story resonates with you so much, yes?”

“Because it’s the best!”

“Because you lived it, child. I… used to be Cinderella. And our souls used to be one. So…”

“…”

“Child? Are you okay? Why have you stopped breathing?”

“I’m a… PRINCESS?!”

“We used to be, yes. Then we became Queen.”

“Princess is better…”

“I disagree. We had much more power as Queen.”

“Princess… is… BETTER!”

“If you say so, child.”

“What was the prince like? Was he dreamy?”

“He was very physically appealing, yes. He was also kind. Compassionate. Rather stupid, but most royals were at that time. And he performed more than adequately in our bedchamber.”

“Performed? Like a play?”

“Oh no, child. I meant his performance as in-…”

“…Cindy?”

“My apologies, child. Your mother is… quite vigorously shaking her head in the doorway. And mouthing… ‘Just… read… the… goddamn… book…’ Oh! I understand! I suppose you are quite young to hear those particular details…”

“…how old is our soul?”

“We are… roughly… four hundred? Give or take a decade or two.”

“Then I’m old enough! Tell me! Tell me! Tell me!”

“I suppose that does make-… No… no, your mother does not agree… And she seems very insistent that I just read the book. I’ve seen less terrifying scowls in Hell, itself.”