“All babies cry,” says her nurse.

“My Rosie never screamed like that,” says her sister.

“You aren’t feeding him enough,” says her mother.

She feeds him until her milk runs dry and her breasts bleed. At night, his screams slide down the banister and slither along the floor, wrapping around her, tighter and tighter, until she can’t breathe.

Feeeed meeee

“Supplement with formula,” says her nurse.

“I always had enough milk for Rosie,” says her sister.

“It’s not too soon for solids,” says her mother.

She mashes bananas and purees apples. She spoons in gallons of yogurt and still he screams. She bakes cakes; he eats them whole. She whips up shepherd’s pie, tacos, curry. But when the food is gone, the screams come back.

Feeeed meeee

“Try controlled crying,” says her nurse.

“Rosie only eats organic,” says her sister.

“He’s got a great set of lungs,” says her mother.

Tonight, the screams are louder than her guilt, louder than her loneliness. She feeds him the contents of the fridge, the stroller, a box of diapers, her M.B.A., the size 4 dress her husband bought as “incentive” to lose the baby weight.

Feeeed meeee

She covers her ears with chapped hands. Her fingers recoil at the lank hair and she pulls it hard until she’s screaming, too. She has nothing left to give.

Unless . . .

She grabs the vacuum cleaner. At first, he gags, and she worries he’ll choke. But then he slurps the hose down like spaghetti.

He looks at her.

She looks at him.

Feeeed meeee

She snatches him from the highchair and lays him on the floor. He shakes his tiny fists at her, squeezing his eyes shut.

She stands over him, looking down. His mouth is wide open, the raging red maw growing bigger, wider, deeper. The screams pour out like toxic gas, rising to choke her. She claws at her face, gnaws on her fingers. Her eyes dart frantically around the room.

There is nothing else to give, no one who can help. There is no other choice.
She raises her arms above her head and dives straight down his throat: pale arms, white oversized T-shirt, black leggings, and with a final kick, her bare feet.

A moment later, the baby burps loudly, sticks his thumb in his mouth, and drifts slowly off to sleep.

Damhnait Monaghan

Damhnait Monaghan was born and grew up in Canada but now lives in the UK. Her writing has won or placed in various competitions and is widely published and anthologised. She’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and Best Microfictions. Her novella in flash, The Neverlands, was published by V. Press in 2019. She’s an editor at FlashBack Fiction, an online literary journal that showcases historical flash fiction. You can find her on Twitter @Downith.

​Enrica Angiolini

​Enrica Angiolini is an illustrator and comic colorist. Raised in a family rich with creativity, she developed a deep love for art—illustration and photography, in particular. She studied foreign languages in high school and university, gaining a Bachelor’s degree in Japanese Language and Culture. In 2015, she started her career in comics, and soon after got her first full series with Titan Comics, Warhammer 40,000. Enrica is now working for them as colorist on Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor, The Steel Prince, and No World.

First Featured In: No. 16, summer 2020

The Monsters Issue

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