It had been one of those perfect days. Blue sky, puffy, white clouds floating lazily over their heads. She and her beautiful little boys spending a day at the zoo, childish laughter in the air.  Maybe that’s why Lacey had let them run ahead. My instincts told me it was safe. I just let them go. She’d been smiling when she heard the scream.

There was Zack down below, who’d somehow fallen into an enclosure. A huge reptile was charging him. Her youngest, Ben, screamed for her, his eyes wide in terror. Lacey held him close as she yelled for help. The shot from the zookeeper, the one that killed the creature, filled her with relief and sorrow.

Now, the world knew her name. She had no idea the creature that died was one of a rare, endangered species.  The backlash had begun. Lacey was a bad mother.  Her child should have been shot instead of the animal. She should have been shot. She was an idiot. A welfare mom. A drug addict. A loser.

There was a knock at the door.  Her next door neighbor stepped inside and she braced herself for another attack.

“I’m glad you and your kids are okay.”

Lacey collapsed into her arms and started to cry.

For Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner


15 thoughts on “Mother

  1. Beautifully written. I’m guessing that this story partly came about because of last week’s incident with Harambe the gorilla?

    1. Thanks. Yes, I am so sad that the gorilla was killed, but it also made me so sad that no one seemed glad the boy was alive.

    1. I know. You can’t judge someone’s character or their skill as a parent from the worst five minutes of their life. Amazing how everyone on social media is perfect 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  2. Well written. People often forget, even though endangered animals are important to preserve their species, people are more important. And kids run, sometimes where you don’t want them to run but, you’ve little choice because ‘kids run.’ Happy her neighbour was a true friend.

    1. Thanks. Yes, I don’t have kids but there are many children in my life that I care about, I know firsthand that they can run off if you blink for a second.

  3. A clever and topical slant on the prompt, Jenn. I think that the safety of the young boy is, at the very least, something everyone should agree is a good thing. Nicely done.

  4. Great story…I’m glad her neighbor was there to support her and not judge her. I believe the child’s safety comes first above all else. Some say the gorilla should not have been killed, that he was not harming the child, but protecting him…..however, it was not their child! He could easily kill that child in one second! Then, we would have heard….How could they stand by and not kill the gorilla… the child was in grave danger.

    1. Thanks 🙂 And exactly, they would have gotten backlash regardless of what decision was made. I honestly don’t think the gorilla intended to hurt the kid, but he could have accidentally. They are incredibly strong animals. It’s just a chance you can’t take.

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