The Fake Mommy
by Lisa McCourt Hollar
"Who are you?"
"I'm your mommy, silly."
Tina looked at the woman through the side of her eyes. She looked like her mommy. Her hair was red, like her mommy's. Her eyes were green, like her mommy's. But she didn't smell like her mommy. Her mommy smelled like flowers. This mommy smelled like the rotten meat Diego pulled out of the trash last week.
"You're not my mommy." Tina looked behind the fake mommy, searching for her daddy. She knew he had to be here somewhere, his car was in the driveway.
"Come on Tina, I have a surprise for you." The fake mommy was holding her hand out, waiting for Tina to take it. There was dirt under the nails. Her mommy...her real mommy, never had dirt under her nails. Her mommy's nails were clean and painted pretty colors. This paint on this mommy's nails were peeling and one of the nails was broken. The finger looked funny too. It was purple and swollen and bent in the wrong direction.
Tina put her arms behind her back. She didn't want to touch the fake mommy's hands. "What happened to your finger?"
The fake mommy looked at her hand. She seemed surprised to see her finger pointing up. "I suppose I had an accident." Then she did something Tina knew her real mommy would never have done. She took her other hand and wrapped her fingers around the appendage. Then she pulled on it. Tina heard a loud cracking sound come from the finger. She had never heard a sound like that before, but it made her stomach hurt and her teeth feel funny, the way it did when Tommy Jones ran his fingernails across the chalk board at school.
"There, all better." The fake mommy smiled at Tina, flashing her teeth behind a perfectly lipsticked mouth. It was the same color of red her mommy always wore. There was red on the fake mommy's teeth too. Only this red was different than the lipstick. it looked like blood.
"Come on Tina." The fake mommy was holding her hand out again.
Tina took a step backwards. "I don't want to go with you." Her heart was pounding inside her chest. It was beating harder than it ever had before, harder even than the time she ran all the way to Tommy Jones' house. That was three blocks away.
Her legs felt like running now, but the door was behind the scary, fake mommy. Tina would have to run past her and she was sure if she did, fake mommy's hands would grab her. She knew if fake mommy's hands touched her, something bad would happen.
"Tina, you are making me angry! Now come with me and get your surprise."
Tina started crying and she took another step back. Something told her to run. She knew this was her real mommy, even though she only heard her inside her head. She also knew she was right because fake mommy didn't look like real mommy anymore.
Her eyes were no longer green, they were black. When Tina looked into them she saw something move.
Her hair was gone now. Not just the red color, but all of the hair. Where there used to be long tresses, there were now black veins that bubbled and looked like they were going to burst open.
The skin on her face rippled and it looked like there were worms moving beneath the surface. The skin cracked and something black oozed out.
"I said, come get your surprise!" The monster mommy lunged, reaching for Tina. Tina screamed and jumped backwards.
"RUN!" Her mommy's voice screamed at her inside her head. Outside, the monster mommy's fingers brushed against Tina's arm as she leaped out of the way. They grazed her skin for just a moment, sending a burning sensation through the girl's arm.
Tina looked at her arm. There were 3 black marks where the creature's fingers had touched. Screaming, Tina looked up at the monster. Her lips were pulled back in a snarl, her sharp teeth reminding her of Diego, when he had growled at the neighbor across the street. She heard Diego growl now, from behind the monster mommy.
"Run!" Tina dodged to the side, obeying her mommy's voice, even though she wanted to ask her mommy where she was. The creature tried to grab at Tina again, missing her as she leaped to the side. Then Tina heard Diego growl again and saw him leaping through the air. The small dog landed on the monster mommy, sinking his teeth into her neck.
Blood, black as oil, spurted from the creatures neck. The mommy thing swatted at Diego, trying to knock him to the floor, but the little dog held on.
Tina ran around the creature, taking care to avoid the black gore on the ground. The liquid bubbled up and a tentacle rose out of the mess, stretching towards the girl.
Tina screamed again, dodging the appendage and slamming into the door. She looked back one last time, before swinging the door open and running outside.
Behind her, rising out of the black, tar like blood, was another fake mommy. This one, perfectly formed, held her arms out towards Tina.
"Come back Tina," she called. "There is no place to run."
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