Oedipus Mistaken

Robyn blinked and forced her eyes to take in the scene before her.  The walls of the room were indeed white, and they reflected all to well the light streaming through two large windows, one directly across from her, the other to her left.  In the center of the room, taking up most of the limited space, was a queen-sized bed, or perhaps a little smaller, made up with white linens over its thick mattress.  There was a headboard of interlaced branches, woven together in a gentle semicircle against the wall.  In the far corner, now standing a foot off from the wall, was a man.

His face, sallow and angular, wore a mournful expression.  His sunken eyes stared intently at Robyn, dark beady eyes that had no visible white to them, only darkness.  He moved his hands up and down over his upper arms, sometimes picking at the fabric of his dark red tunic, plucking it from his chest uncomfortably.  Though his feet were bare, Robyn could see a pair of cloth boots discarded in the corner from which he was coming.

Yes, he was coming, moving slowly towards her, his eyes never venturing from her.  His lips moved, but no sound came out except a hushed rasp.  He blinked once, then again, but that was all the movement his face made.  Slowly his tall but gaunt frame began to block the light from the window to the left as he rounded the corner of the bed.  Slow, shuffling steps inched him closer to the doorway and Robyn.

“Um, hello,” she attempted, though the word nearly caught in her throat.

“Mother,” the man repeated, the word more a question or maybe an accusation.  She couldn’t be sure.

“Look, I’m not…”

“No,” he interupted, his face beginning to change, become more concerned, “don’t go, mother.  Don’t go.  Why did you go?”  He was nearly upon her now, and Robyn could feel her heart collide with the inside of her chest.

“You’re confused, okay.  I’m not…”

“Don’t be cruel, mother.  Why must you be so cruel?”  He had stopped now, inches away.  His posture was pathetic, shoulders slumped and neck bent forward so that he had to tilt his head to see.  The arms kept moving, rhythmically now, up and down, pluck and pick.

Filled with a pity that helped to keep her unease and fear at bay, Robyn tried to explain, “I’m not your mother.  This isn’t a normal dream, okay.  I’m…”

“Mother,” he barked sharply, interrupting once again.  With a quick breath, he regained his composure and pleaded sweetly, sadly, “Mother, why did you go away?”

“I didn’t,” she reassured, “And I’m not your mother.”

“Don’t say that, mother,” he responded flatly.

“Look, this isn’t just a dream.  This is, well, it’s something…”

The man’s eyes went wide, and he screamed, “Mother!”  Long, boney hands shot forward and took Robyn by her upper arms, bringing his face within inches of hers as he repeated, “Mother, why did you go?”

Frozen in place aside from a trembling in her whole body, Robyn tried again to explain, keeping her voice calm and soothing, “I didn’t go.  I’m not your mother.  This…”

His voice softened, though his grip did not, and he moaned, “Oh mother, oh please mother..”  The words trailed away as he drifted his face closer and closer to Robyn’s.  As his lips seemed about to touch hers, she began to struggle, raising her hands to push back on his chest and stop his progress.

“Stop,” she said in her firmest voice, “You don’t know what you’re…”  He was struggling back now against her, trying to pull her closer with his hands while pushing his face forward upon her.

His voice rasped sending hot breath across her face, “Mother, oh mother.  Don’t leave me.  Don’t.”

“I’m not your…” Robyn tried vainly to say, but her words were cut short as with a sudden twisting motion he flung her onto the bed landing on top of her.  His face slid past her, something moist smearing against her cheek.  She writhed against his weight.  His breath came hotly now upon her neck.  Twisting, pushing and pulling she tried to free her arms from his grip which had now slid down to her wrists, firmly, painfully holding there.  He grunted in an awful way and began to move his lower half, pushing and grinding, fighting against Robyn’s legs.

Eyes going wide with realization, Robyn said loudly, though short of shouting, “That’s it, crazy boy.”  Somehow freed from whatever restraint had been at play, she broke her right hand free as though his grip were paper and straw.  With strengththat surprised even her, though he was quite surprised himself, she shot that hand forward, gripping and pushing away his neck until his upper half was suspended above her awkwardly.  His now unoccupied left hand grabbed for her face or hair, the expression on his face reading nothing but a twisted, lustful rage.  She heaved, jerking him forward with her hand and bringing her right leg up at the same time to launch him from behind, her shin catching him on the inner thigh.

Like a ragdoll he flew, legs over head, colliding with the wall just to the right of the spacious window.  Something crunched, something cracked, and the man’s body slid down the wall into a crumpled heap on the floor.  For a moment the room was silent once again, a calm after a horrible brief storm.  Then a rumbling moan came from the heap, an inarticulate expression of pain and disappointment.  Robyn could barely hear him above the pounding of her heart and the whoosh of her own breathing.

The whole scenario was so bizarre, so intense, she questioned for a moment if it had really happened.  In a quick movement, she spun, landing herself on all fours on the bed.  There he was.  It had happened.  The man in the dark read clothes lay on the floor and against the wall, not moving but moaning softly.  His face was turned away, and his whole body was twisted and contorted in unhealthy ways.  The bottom arm protruded awkwardly across the floor back towards her.  The other hung limply over his head.  One leg was sprawled limply, while the other appeared to be bent the wrong way at the knee.

Robyn crept off the bed to stand over the mess of a man she had just flung into the wall.  The wall bore a large dent where he had struck, cracks eminating out in all directions, and little flakes of plaster peeling away here and there.  As she looked down upon him pity had a viscious argument with revulsion.  Indignation and guilt duked it out in the background.

The End

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