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22 May 2009 @ 09:09 pm
"Postpartum Depression" [Shino]  
Title: "Postpartum Depression"
Character: Shino
Fandom: Mononoke
Genre: Horror, Drama
Rating: PG
Word Count: 662


“Postpartum Depression”

Shino strokes her stomach every day like how some women brushed their hair. It becomes a ritual for her, one two three…a hundred, done. She whispers and mumbles (mumbo-jumbo, humbled) to her unborn child. Tells it her love, of her devotion and sympathy and understanding.

(It rolls around in her belly, kicking at the softened, pulled-tight flesh, yearning to spring out.)

She winces but pats it softly. It’s okay.

And then the screams begin, contractions start (burning, blood and bile blending, emerging, going around like shocks from a gun). Shino hunches over, gagging (vomits), and her insides rip out.

It’s nightmarish.

She convulses, thinking she’s going crazy from the pain or something else.

And then, the baby is born. Arms and legs all sticky out, skinny and damp with blood-juice.

The baby wails in her arms, and Shino smiles. It’s a boy. He reaches up and yanks harshly on a tangle of her hair, still matted and damp. She sighs and embraces him tightly, gathers him up in her wispy arms and kisses his cheeks (he reeks).


A week later, Shino notices something strange. Her son never cries again, never smiles, never makes a sound except for a long rumbling howl located at the base of his throat.

She would pick him up and kiss him all over (begging him to make a sound, something normal). He does not. Looks her into the eye vacantly, amused and blank. Shino grows frightened, thinking something had happened. Thinking back to the mononoke and the Medicine Seller (and the abortion room).

And maybe she had aborted her child.

(And maybe this is all a delusion.)


Another week passes, and the baby ceases to eat. Ceases grabbing, suckling, her breasts (eager for comfort and nourishment). He grows thin and wan, legs atrophying. Shino worries. But nothing changes.

The baby lives.

She is relived.

A doctor visits their home some days after that and could not say what is wrong with the boy. He examines the child from all angles, all measures, and discovers nothing unusual. The child is healthy, melancholy (anorexic), but healthy.

And alive.

(That was the most important part.)

And so, Shino thanks the doctor, bolts her doors (no sun penetrates through) and sets her child down and sings him asleep. She is grateful he still sleeps.


The child elongates dramatically every night, grows no wider, only longer—more sinister—more emaciated. She tries to persuade him to eat, opens her robe and brings him towards her heart (hearth) and warmth.

He struggles quietly against her grasp and kicks her chest. Shino strengthens her grip and brings them both down to a fetal position (ironically).

But after all her lullabies have been dried up, when her mind’s gone mad and the thoughts siphoned into a hollow shell—poured out—she forfeits and sleeps.

Lets the dark, caving nights engulf her completely.

The child stops breathing, stops moving.


He dies the next day, is tossed into the river.


The old doctor drops by again, inquires on her wellbeing and presents her with some herbs (for nerves). She thanks him, like last time, and listlessly brew the bitter leaves into an acrid drink.

He questions how she is coping with the miscarriage suddenly. She stands motionless (bowl drops, shatters) and fearfully turns to face him. Eyes widened in shock, Shino stoops to pick up the smooth-lined shards.


He repeats.

“But I—I gave birth. My baby died. You were here, you saw him.”

He smiles cautiously, comments something like she is too exhausted and ill.


The doctor returns to the house soon with more herbs, more cures, more soothing words (old adages and fallacious wisdoms).

He halts at the door, abruptly straightens and cranes his neck to take in the sight: the house is abandoned, windows barred, walls bolted, doors ironed shut.

(No one has lived there for three hundred years, the doctor learns later that evening.)


(Deleted comment)
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on May 23rd, 2009 04:33 am (UTC)

Doesn't this serious kick some serious ass?
amadoni: Stareamadoni on May 23rd, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
Yay, you now write mononoke fic. <3333 Can't wait to see more.

This was a chilling piece. *luvs*
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on May 23rd, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
Hee hee thanks. :)
a monstrous ðelusion :: Dazed and Confusedblizzardseason on May 23rd, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)
Cute :3
storm in a teacup: + Promise Me +fiver on May 23rd, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)

That read like its own arc of the show, my gosh. ♥ ♥ ♥ My day is made.
SERIOUS FEMININE DERANGEMENT: Mononoke - hither hitherwoodburner on May 25th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
Oooh, v. creepy. Well done.