Don’t Wake Mother

📅 Published on October 28, 2023

“Don't Wake Mother”

Written by Kitty “The Odd Cat Lady” Olsen
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 10.00/10. From 5 votes.
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“Come on, Sienna, hurry up! I’m gonna get drenched if I stay out here!”

Even with the threat of getting soaked in ice-cold rain, I did not want to get out of the car. I didn’t even want to go out tonight, my plans were to play Baldur’s Gate 3 and do absolutely fuck all else. But Poppy, bless her heart, did not accept my ‘plans’ and just gave me the puppy dog eyes.

I can’t say no to my best friend. Even if what we were doing was, in my humble opinion, dumb as hell.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Poppy, I’ve known her since we were babies. Literal, lifelong friendship. But where I was focused on what I could see and touch and verify as real, she… had not, to put it lightly. When we were thirteen, she proudly announced she was now a Wiccan and could communicate with The Goddess and The Horned God. She dropped Wicca after about three months, but other things came and went during that time too. Crystal healing, pendulums, spells, witchcraft unrelated to Wicca, psychics, and of course- tarot cards.

She was back on the tarot train this month. It doesn’t bother me either way. It was what made her happy, I thought it was all bullcrap but she’d never actually done something that would be harmful, like using amethysts to cure cancer or whatever. In return, she never pushed me to believe in the metaphysical.

Never pushed, but she did invite me along to talk with her psychics. Sometimes you go along with your friend’s plans that don’t sound that fun just to spend time with them, and I had spent a lot of time in my apartment lately… so I agreed to this plan.

Now outside the house, I was having second thoughts. It wasn’t like the house had a spooky vibe, it was a bit older but it was in good condition. It was out in the middle of fucking nowhere though. The nearest neighbor was a farmhouse probably a half mile out, and there was nothing else out here but cornfields and small patches of woods.

“Sienna, do I need to drag you out of there? I’m freezing!”

No more delays. I took a deep breath and popped out of the car, immediately regretting my decision not to bring a coat. Poppy had brought her obnoxiously pink and red raincoat that somehow came in sizes for adults, but wherever the coat did not protect she was soaking wet. “Come on!” She looped her arm in with mine and dragged me to the front gate. She quickly undid it before she pressed a finger to her lips. “Don’t make too much noise- we don’t want to set off the dog.”

The stark white gate swung open and Poppy hop-skipped into the yard. Even in the mostly dark, I could see it was well kept, a small garden was in front of the large bay window and flowers surrounded the birch tree. I could see the doghouse, I could not see the dog until we were almost at the door. The only reason I saw it was because its eyes opened as we got to the door- its fur was pitch black.

Poppy quietly knocked and we waited for a few moments before I saw someone behind the glass of the door.

The woman who opened it was the last kind of person I could’ve expected. Most of the time Poppy dragged me to readings, the host was older, all gaudy jewelry and reeking of incense. The woman on the other side of the door was no older than us, wearing yellow elbow-high rubber gloves, a green headband, and a rubber apron.

“Oh, I lost track of time! I’m sorry, Poppy, I was busy cleaning.” The woman pushed a few strands of black hair back past her headbands. “Come on in, make yourselves cozy in the reading room, but try to be quiet- Mother’s asleep and I don’t want her woken up. Oh, you must be her friend! I’m Vanessa. Please take your shoes off, I just cleaned the rugs this afternoon and I don’t want them getting all wet.”

“I’m Sienna,” I managed to say before Vanessa whisked herself away. I glanced over at Poppy, who was grinning ear to ear and I finally understood why she insisted I meet her new tarot card reader.

“Are you serious?”

“She’s your type!” Poppy giggled as she kicked her shoes off. “I mean, I don’t know if she’s gay, but she’s got black hair, she’s super neat, she, um-”

“Don’t you start, Poppy,” I threatened as I unlaced my boots. “For real, do not start.” I had just ended a relationship, I was not eager to jump into another one. Even if Poppy was.

Poppy stuck her tongue out and then beckoned me into another room. This was a bit more than I expected. Comfy couches, a low table with a deck of tarot cards spread across it, statues of various gods and goddesses on the shelves along with crystal balls and long sheer curtains hanging over the doorways. The cat was a welcome change of pace though, a tuxedo Maine Coon that was lounging in a fluffy bed. Poppy plopped down on one of the couches and I sat next to her. The cat looked unimpressed at our intrusion and just yawned before going back to sleep.

Vanessa joined us in a few minutes, rubber gloves and apron discarded and carrying a teapot. “Thank you for being patient. I just got into a cleaning mood and before I knew it you were at the door.” She laughed quietly before taking the couch across from us. “Do you want me to use your favorite deck, Poppy? And what deck would you prefer I use for you, Sienna?”

Before Poppy could respond, I blurted out, “I’m just here to be company. I don’t believe in tarot.”

Poppy looked horrified at my bluntness, but Vanessa just quietly giggled as she poured three cups of tea. “Oh, I’m sorry for assuming, that’s perfectly fine. The cards don’t really work for people that don’t have a bit of faith in them, other than that, it’s just for fun. You can pet Oreo while I do the reading for Poppy.”

Oreo slowly blinked in my direction and I did get up to stroke that fluffy cat’s ears. Who can resist an invitation to pet a cat?

Meanwhile, Vanessa shuffled a deck of cards and started the reading. There was no pitch, no mystical wind-up. It was quite matter-of-fact how Vanessa went through it, more like a friend giving advice than calling on the powers of the universe to solve your problems.

“I’m so glad you got that promotion at work, you really deserved it. Be mindful though, that not everyone will have your best interests at heart. I know you’re such a sweetheart, but just because that older guy in your department acts sweet and mentor-like, best give him a wide berth. He’s not trustworthy and is just going to hold you back. No, this isn’t the time to be boyfriend hunting. You really need to focus on yourself right now, and your career. Building a life with someone else is much easier when you’ve made a good foundation with yourself. You’re only twenty-three, there’s no hurry!”

I found myself back on the couch before I knew it, enjoying that mint tea Vanessa had poured for us. Poppy drank down her every word, eyes wide and occasionally nodding at Vanessa spoke. The reading ended with Vanessa patting Poppy on the shoulder.

“Thanks for coming tonight. The rain’s still coming down really hard, if you want to wait for it to peter out a bit, I’ll get some cookies if you promise to still keep being quiet-”

“Can you do a reading for me?”

I didn’t even mean to say it. It just. Popped out. Maybe it’s because Vanessa’s cute, maybe because her reading style was genuinely more interesting to me. But now I wanted to see what she had to say about me.

Poppy’s jaw dropped, but Vanessa only slightly raised her eyebrows. “Well, if you’d like to… I’ll choose the deck, though, if you’re sure?”

I nodded and watched as Vanessa pulled out a decently sized wooden box from underneath her couch. Inside were packs and packs of different tarot cards- some more traditional, some more goofy and fun. Vanessa traced her fingers over the packs before she selected one that was pale blue with minimalistic pictures in gold filigree.

Poppy gasped quietly. “I haven’t seen that deck before,” she said.

“It’s a new one. You’ll be the first I use it for, Sienna.”

I don’t know why that felt so flattering, but it did. Vanessa shuffled the deck, her face one of utmost concentration as the cards were mixed together.

The first card she set down was a little guy holding a pentacle.

“… So this is definitely meant to be you. Good, that’s a place I can work from. Are there any particular questions you want to ask?”

I shook my head.

“Then let’s just see what advice the cards have for you today.”

The second card she turned over, and I shit you not- was literally Death. The little golden grim reaper was almost cute in this style, but I did burst out laughing. “Seriously?” I asked, cocking an eyebrow.

Vanessa didn’t seem insulted by my incredulity, she actually seemed to find it funny. “Seriously. This isn’t a bad thing. Despite common superstition, this card doesn’t talk about actual death.” Vanessa lifted up the card to my eye level. “This is all about change. Change is a crucial part of our lives, if things don’t change, we stagnate and rot. Just prepare yourself for it. Things end, but new things will begin.”

She set the card down and went to pick up another one, but the card she picked accidentally took another one with it. The second card fell onto the table, turning so it was upside down- The Page of Swords.

“Oh, that’s interesting.” Vanessa set down the next card- Ten of Swords. She paused for a moment, pursing her lips as she clearly considered the meaning of those two. “… I knew I was drawn to use this deck for a reason, so I’m going to ask you- does the color blue and the time 11:11 have any significance for you?”

Before I could answer, there was a screech of tires and a loud crash outside. “Fuck me!” I sprang to my feet and was going to head to the door when it slammed open.

Vanessa visibly flinched and the color drained from her cheeks. “Oh no,” she whispered before also getting up. “You should go, this isn’t going to end well-”

“Vanessa, you fucking bitch!”

The woman who joined us was furious, her face flushed crimson and each footstep taken was a stomp. Vanessa held up both her hands. “Please, Becky, quiet down, Mother is sleeping-”

“Shut up!” A nerve was now popping out in Becky’s forehead. “I can’t believe you. I am one of your most loyal clients. I brought you so much business. And how do you repay me? You make my boyfriend dump me!”

Vanessa swallowed, nervously lacing and unlacing her fingers again. “I… I didn’t make him do anything, I swear. You need to be quiet, if you wake Mother up she’s going to be furious.”

“Yeah, yeah, you’re just jealous I have a man and you’re gonna be a lonely old cat lady your whole life!” Becky sneered at Vanessa, who just shrunk and looked like she wanted to be literally anywhere else. Becky stepped forward and raised her fist like she wanted to punch her. “Well? What are you going to do to make this right?”

I had had more than enough of this chick. I stepped between her and Vanessa, holding up a hand. “Hey,  she doesn’t owe you shit. She told you to shut up, so use your one brain to shut your mouth.”

Becky seemed to just notice I was even there, and the way she looked over me, she clearly didn’t like the look of me. I was half expecting the next word to come out of her mouth to be something incredibly offensive when the loudest voice yet boomed through the house.


I thought the source of the shout had to be stomping down the stairs, but when she turned the corner, I realized quite quickly that that… was just because this woman was an actual fucking giant. Standing well over six feet tall and with a broad build to match, the elderly woman’s wrinkled face was undeniably crone-like, with thinning white hair sticking out from her liver-spotted scalp and a large wart on one of her sunken cheeks. The image was finished off by the fact she was wearing one of those old granny nightgowns, flowy and white with cornflowers printed on it.

Vanessa audibly gulped. “M-mother, I’m sorry, I was just doing a reading for these two when Rebecca came barging in. S-she was just… leaving.”

Becky snapped out of her shock of ‘Mother’s’ sudden appearance. “I am not! I’m not leaving until you call my boyfriend and tell him your reading was bogus-”

Mother snorted like a hog and crossed the room in a few strides. Now tiring of Becky, she tilted her head to the side and I couldn’t help but be reminded of a hawk looking down at a mouse. “You mean the reading she gave to that skinny wimp a few days ago? Oh, no, it was a good one. She told that he needed to dump your venomous ass on the curb with the rest of the garbage.”

Vanessa looked horrified. “I didn’t say that!” she yelped.

“I’m paraphrasing.” Mother smirked down at Becky and I got a glimpse of a golden tooth in her predatory grin. “You’re a nasty, selfish bitch who makes everyone around her worse. I can think of only one use for you.”

Becky’s jaw hung lower and lower at each of Mother’s hurled insults.

“How dare you-”

Mother’s hands clamped around her neck before Becky could finish her sentence. I froze. I couldn’t scream, run, or try to help free Becky. I just stood there as Mother’s hands squeezed tight. Becky’s eyes popped wide open and she clawed uselessly at Mother’s arms. The hag just continued to smirk.

I don’t know exactly when the elderly woman started growing. I do remember feeling small in her presence, but it wasn’t until Mother’s head brushed the ceiling my brain caught up to what I was seeing- the elderly woman had sprouted over two more feet in height. It was insane. It was so fucking insane and I still didn’t do a thing, not even when I saw Mother’s nails stab into Becky’s neck, each claw like finger now dripping blood. I don’t know how long she strangled Becky. It felt like hours. But Becky’s gasps and gurgles became quiet, her struggling grew weaker and slower, and finally she went limp, her face a shade of purple I’d never seen in a human.

Mother finally let go of Becky and she fell to the ground with a smack. Not even a twitch. Becky was dead.

The room was dead quiet while Mother examined her claws- genuine claws, not just sharp nails- and sighed, wiping them off on her nightgown. Her beady, black eyes turned to me. I had to be next. I was so screwed.

“Well, the body’s just gonna go to waste if we stand around. Time to get to work.”

Poppy had also frozen, but that sentence was what kicked her instincts back into drive. She screamed and ran for it. Unfortunately, her path took her right by Mother, and in a blur of movement the giant hag had backhanded Poppy hard enough to send her sprawling on the floor.

“Vanessa, dear, put the scaredy cat in the back room. Oh, don’t pout, I’m not gonna kill her too. Just lock her in until I decide what she can be good for. Well, don’t just stand there, other girl. Grab the bitch and drag her into the kitchen.”

I couldn’t believe what she was saying… more so what I did next.

I did exactly what I was told to do. I hooked my arms underneath the corpse’s armpits and dragged her along, following the chuckling crone as we left the reading room. I heard Poppy asking what we were doing, we needed to get out of here, we needed to call the cops, but I let her voice fade into the background of white noise in my skull.

The kitchen was nothing out of the ordinary, save for the giant butcher slab that was up against the right wall. Mother nodded to the slab. “Get her up there.” It was not a request, it was an order. It was a struggle lifting the body entirely off the ground, but with a bit of shoving and a loud smack, Becky’s corpse was now laying on the butcher block.

Mother gave me a long look up and down before grinning proudly. “Good girl. What’s your name?”

“… Sienna.” I took a nervous step back. “What are you going to do with her?”

“What do you think I’m going to do?” Mother snorted again. “Give you a proper reading, that’s what I’m going to do. Oh, those cards are cute little gimmicks, and my darling Vanessa can use them as efficiently as one can, but she needs to grow up. Tarot cards are child’s play. Anthropomancy, now, that’s how you get real knowledge of things unknown. Depending on the results, I might try some osteomancy as well. We’ll see.”

Those words meant absolutely nothing to me. Even when Mother shredded Becky’s bright blue tank top off her body and pulled a large knife off a rack I didn’t get it. Not until she plunged that knife into Becky’s gut and sliced her open. Her innards slipped free, flopping onto the ground with a sickening splat.

I stared in horror as Mother stared at them, murmuring quietly to herself as she saw something I couldn’t even possibly comprehend. The room was quiet save for the sound of more of Becky’s intestines sliding out.

Finally, Mother grunted before slamming the body back down on the slab. “We’re quite alike, you and I,” she said so matter-of-factly I almost burst out laughing. It was so absurd how calm she was now, compared to her fiery rage when she’d first been woken up.

“You don’t take other people’s word for it. You need proof. No blind faith for you. I like that.”

I swallowed and tried to avoid breathing in through my nose- the smell of blood was about enough to bowl me over. “You like that?” I repeated.

“Mmm, yes.” Now Mother took a different blade and with the finesse of a butcher, started carving up Becky. Slabs of meat were laid to the side, while some prime cuts were literally thrown across the room into an open pot. “The reading was clear, I shouldn’t let you get away.”

My heart nearly stopped out of fear when Mother looked up. She was now splattered with blood, which paired with her granny nightgown somehow made her more terrifying. She threw her head back and shrieked with laughter. “Not like that, girl! Oh no, you’re too much potential to just have for dinner.”

Mother proceeded to crack open Becky’s ribs with her bare hands. She pulled free and held up the woman’s heart. “Yeeeesss, that potential… the readings are clear. Some people think you have to have your head in the cloud to make magic work. That’s not true. You need to be grounded. You need to be… calm.”

“What makes you think I’m any of those things?” I blurted out.

Mother grinned.

“You’re not running away, are you? You helped carry this bitch to the table and stayed for your reading, didn’t you? Oh, girl, you are something special.”

Mother hurled her fist back and threw the heart into the pot. “Put the lid on, we’ll be having a late dinner tonight,” she croaked.

I needed to stop. I needed to get out, now. There were other knives in reach, I could get a weapon, I could defend myself.

But instead I crossed the room and, doing my best not to look into the pot, I popped the lid on. The moment I did that the stove clicked on, small flames flickering underneath the pot. I turned and I hated how I was shocked by how fast Mother was carving up the body. The kind of speed that only came with experience… this wasn’t Mother’s first time butchering a human body.

She pulled the ribs free and then with a shout she threw them across the floor. “Right, so here’s what the bones advise,” Mother said as she continued to carve up Becky. “Don’t quit your day job yet- you’re gonna need the savings. Next month we’ll be starting your training. In a few years, you could actually be an all-right witch.”

“I don’t want to kill people,” I said.

“Good. Then you won’t fuck me over by getting caught red-handed.” Mother waggled her blood-soaked fingers in the air and cackled. “Teaching the bloodthirsty is a great way to end up having to flee a mob, I should know.”

Vanessa poked her head into the kitchen and sighed as she looked at the bones on the floor. “Mother, you really should put down a tarp first, I’m going to have to mop again,” she said with the same amount of frustration one would have if someone walked on clean floors with dirty shoes.

Mother scoffed. “Don’t tell me how to throw the bones, brat. Is that Poppy girl locked up?”

“Yes mother. I gave her some tea to help calm her.”

“Good, good. Now pick out a nice wine to pair with dinner.”

Mother shooed Vanessa away, the other woman avoiding eye contact with me as she headed down into a cellar. She sighed. “Oh, my sweet, dear Vanessa. I picked her too. I’m very good at picking witches.”

“I don’t want to be a witch,” I said.

“You don’t want to be a witch that relies on good vibes and listens to all that ‘do no harm’ bull,” Mother said, as if she knew my complaints were halfhearted. “You want to have control of your life. Your fate is ready to be taken, it’s just a reach away. I can give you that, Sienna. Now go set the table. The plates are in that cupboard there. Set three plates, I don’t think Poppy’s going to have an appetite. Once you’re done, you can have a break.”

I obeyed her again. It wasn’t like I didn’t have a choice. I wasn’t being mind-controlled. I just. Did what I was told. The plates were fine china, but the silverware had handles that felt like bone. I finally plopped down in one of the chairs and just. Stopped thinking for a while. I usually tended to lean towards overthinking, but right now I was just. Blank.

I wasn’t even sure what I was going to do when I heard Mother shout that dinner was ready. Numbly I dragged myself out of the chair and headed for the stove. I flinched when I took off the lid, but when the steam cleared, what I saw was a proper-looking pot roast, with potatoes and carrots. The meat didn’t smell quite like beef, but it did smell delicious. My mouth watered and that almost made me be sick into the pot. I put the lid back on.

“Don’t drag your feet, lazy girl, get the pot to the table. It’s already past eleven.”

Past eleven. No fucking way. We’d not come that late in the evening, had we? I glanced up at the clock to confirm Mother wasn’t pulling my leg.

Vanessa finally reappeared, cradling the bottle of wine. “Do you like red wine?” she asked me quietly.

“I’m more of a vodka drinker,” I admitted as I picked up the pot.

That got a bit of a smile out of Vanessa, one that had just a hint of the darkness that Mother had in her smirks. “… Oh, you’re going to fit in here just fine, Sienna.”

The table set, Mother dishing out our portions of the roast and passing out bread rolls. “When you share a meal, you are establishing a relationship. We’re beginning something beautiful here, Sienna- control of your future.”

I stared down at my plate.

Did I want this? Did I want to dive deeper down this rabbit hole?

Did I want to finally have a bit of control over my life?

I picked up my knife and fork and slowly cut a small piece of the meat. I brought it to my lips, hesitated for just a moment…

and I took a bite.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 5 votes.
Please wait...

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Kitty “The Odd Cat Lady” Olsen
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Kitty “The Odd Cat Lady” Olsen

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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