‘Mama,’ a Psychological Horror Novel, Chapter One

I killed my mother!

Nobody knows it was I who killed her, of course: everybody thinks she simply died of a heart attack; that’s how the doctor says she died. But I know…

I’ll tell you how I did it later, for if I tell you now, you’ll never believe me. In fact, you’ll think I’m crazy for believing such a method would work.

Since you’re probably assuming I’m a terrible person for doing what I did, since matricide is considered one of the worst crimes anyone could ever commit, I should explain my reasons for doing it, in the hopes that you’ll understand me, and not judge me so harshly for my extreme act.

My name is Roger Mark Gunn, and I’m in my mid-thirties. I’ve lived with Mama in an apartment in Toronto my whole life. That’s right: we never moved, and I’ve never been able to find a job that pays enough so I could move out, find a girl, fall in love, get married, and live a normal life. Even if I could have, though, Mama wouldn’t have allowed it, anyway.

The only work I’ve ever done has been as a cashier in her pet food store. It’s been so humiliating having to call out “Mama!” to the back of the store to get her to come to the front every time I needed her to help with a customer. But that embarrassment was among the least of my problems with her.

Most people have fond, affectionate feelings for their mothers. Their mothers truly want what’s best for them; these mothers encourage their sons and daughters to chase after their dreams, and they comfort you when you’re down.

Not so with Mama.

What you have to understand about Mama is that she was not a normal person. She was insane. She was domineering, clingy, and demanding. She messed with my mind. She made me believe that I lack abilities where I really do have them. She undermined my ability to develop self-confidence, and she did this on purpose–the opposite of what a mother is supposed to do!

Worse than all of this, she would tell me that my perception of reality is distorted, that I hallucinate regularly. She started saying such things to me when I was a child, around when I was nine or ten years old. To give her lies an aura of authority, she claimed that psychiatrists had examined me thoroughly, and that I was a diagnosed psychotic. She said they recommended putting me away in an institution, but out of her ‘love’ for me, she saved me from such a fate!

She claimed that she’d done everything out of love for me, that only she knew how to take care of me. I don’t believe a word of any of this, though. I know better.

She was trying to control my life by making me believe that I couldn’t do anything without her, that I’m nothing without her. Well, I’m about to prove her wrong!

What I’ve said so far surely hasn’t convinced you that she deserved to die, as awful as she was to me, based on what I’ve just said. After all, she did leave me a lot of money to live on, so I can live comfortably on my own for the rest of my life. But she was much, much worse to me that what I’ve said so far. Again, I can’t tell you everything just now, since you’ll think I’m crazy. I have to let you know bit by bit, so you’ll be prepared for the worst. Please be patient.

I never knew my father. Mama told me he ran off as soon as he learned he’d got her pregnant, but I’m convinced she way lying. I’m sure she killed him, but in a way that no one would ever suspect her of murder, in a way I’ll explain later, when I think you’re ready to hear the shocking truth.

All through my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, I felt as though there was a terrible void in my life, a huge gap, a hole in which something vital was missing. This missing element was a father, someone to help me make the transition from childhood to adulthood, to teach me how to be a man. Mama took him from me.

All my mental health problems stem from this lack, I’m sure of it. I’ve lived in that apartment with Mama as if no one else existed in the whole world. It was only Mama and me, the two of us looking in each other’s eyes as if each of us were looking at him- or herself in a mirror reflection. It’s as though I existed as an extension of her, and her as an extension of me. It’s as if we were joined at the hip–well, I finally cut myself loose!

There was always this feeling as if we owned each other. No one else was ever allowed to share the attention of either of us. That, I believe, is why she removed my father from our lives, and that is why she always found ways to frustrate my every attempt at making friends.

The guidance of a father would have helped me make a smooth entrance into society. Mama never wanted me to achieve such an entrance; this is why I never made friends at school or in the neighbourhood, why I was always picked on and bullied by my classmates and the other kids in the neighbourhood, and why I could never hold down a job with an employer other than Mama. She ruined my life! She made me into a loser!

I’m sure that my father was really a great man, though she only spoke ill of him, to deceive me, to make me believe she was the only one who truly loved me. She wanted me to remain completely under her control. That is why I had to kill her: to free myself from her tentacles! Since my whole sense of myself was always bound up in her, now that she’s gone, I can finally be free to be my true self!

If only it didn’t feel as if my true self were a bottomless pit of infinite blackness.

I’ve always felt alone, as if there were a huge brick wall separating myself from the rest of humanity. Before, I at least had her to keep me company. Now, as I stand here, at Mama’s funeral, there are all of these people here, including my aunt, her sister, and other family and ‘friends’ whom I barely even know.

Even here, with all of these people, I still feel all alone, in a world that’s almost like a dream.

Oh, no…my aunt is coming over here to talk to me! God, give me strength!

“Roger?” she says to me with a fake smile. “Will you be OK without my sister to take care of you? I don’t like the idea of you living alone in that apartment. Also, there’s no way you can take care of that pet food store all by yourself. No offense, sweetie, but you have a rather feeble grip on reality as it is, as we all know, and you’ll need some help managing the store, so I’m willing to fill in for Anne, being with so much free time of my own these days.” She stops speaking for a moment and frowns. “Are you listening to me, Roger?”

“Yes,” I say coolly. “Do whatever you want.”

She sighs and sneers at me, then she says, “Look over there, Roger. Do you see that man standing by the minister? The one about your mother’s age? His name is Reynold, and this is amazing luck that we found him here and now, but he’s your long-lost fa–“

“Impossible,” I say, not even looking at the man. “My father died decades ago.”

“Roger,” she says. “He approached me just before the funeral started. He told me about his relationship with your mother. He told me details about her that could only have been known by a man who knew her intimately, around the time your mother was pregnant with you. He wants to meet his son.”

“Well, I’m sure his son is out there somewhere in the world,” I say, looking away from her and from the man with the iciest of faces. “Let the man seek him out, for he isn’t me. I mean, look at him.” I gesture over to the bald, frowning man, in his mid-sixties, skinny and with a gut bigger than mine, wearing a dull grey suit. “I’m sure my father was much more of a man than that.”

Now my aunt is frowning at me, then her eyes and mouth are agape, in as much of a shock at my rejection of the man as he is. “Roger, you horrify me,” she says.

I see her walk back to the man, shaking her head and apologizing to him. It makes no difference to me.

Dad is dead.

Just like Mama.

The funeral service is finally over, thank God. Now I can go home. There, I’ll show you all the proof there is to see that she was the kind of person I know her to have been. Then you’ll know why I was perfectly justified in ending her life.

Again, I can’t quite tell you why yet, not until I show you the proof and explain the background, so you won’t think I’m crazy. Come home with me.

For now, the only hint that I can give you is that I’m so justified in my killing of her, even the Bible sanctions it…not that I believe anything in the Bible, mind you, but I mention it to emphasize my freedom from guilt.

The relevant verse is Exodus 22:18, if you’re curious.

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