STORY: Ninja Mum

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STORY: Ninja Mum

Postby c_nordlander » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:54 am

Copypasting this in the main post, since it's such a short story. Rietta's mum is a ninja.

Contains implied child abuse, but nothing on-page.


Ninja Mum
By Christina Nordlander

Rietta’s Mum doesn’t have a car, and they don’t have a CD player or an Xbox in their house like the other kids. Mum’s name is Ulla. She works in a call-centre and comes home late, so that Rietta is almost the last one left at the daycare centre, and she has short straight hair that doesn’t shine. That doesn’t matter, because nobody else’s mum is a ninja.

In the afternoon, Rietta stands in the daycare centre lobby, shoes tied and jacket on. If she stands at the right angle she can look out the strip of window next to the door and see Mum opening the gate. Most other kids go home by themselves along the dirt paths, but Mum always comes to pick her up, even though she’s almost nine. If Rietta was to go home before she gets there she might be angry, or sad. But she lets Rietta go out alone outside of school hours, as long as she’s got the knives.

As soon as they get home to the terraced apartment Rietta has to go upstairs and change into her gym clothes, baggy pants and the Frozen T-shirt with blue glitter. They train all afternoon and sometimes after supper. Sometimes Mum breaks off and asks if she’s got homework. Her eyes are soft and dark those times. But Rietta usually says no, unless the training that day is hard enough to hurt. She’s meant to become a warrior, not to sit upstairs doing math problems.

Sometimes they go jogging together, or else she does press-ups and sit-ups. The most exciting thing is when they have martial arts training in the living-room. Mum has put in gym mats on the hardwood floor, and the fence is so tall nobody can look in through the windows. Mum uses a bendy rubber knife that has been part of a pirate outfit, but nowadays Rietta gets to use a real one. If Rietta comes injured to school, people will notice, Mum says. It’s easier for a grown-up to hide her wounds.

Other days she trains Rietta in how to knock the bottom out of a bottle against the sink rim, turning it into just a pipe of shards, or aiming for the soft pit below the ear if all her weapons are short. Sometimes she trains her to fight without weapons. She takes home books about the human body with drawings on glossy paper that smells good, and points to all the soft spots.

“If it’s a man, you can hit him in the groin,” she says. “He won’t just fold over and swear like on the TV shows, no, if you hit hard enough he might pass out or throw up. If it’s a woman you’re better off aiming for her stomach, but she would hurt if she got kicked between the legs, too. Just not as much. But if you’ve got a knife, you can cut the femoral artery, it’s here and here. A lot of people don’t know that you can bleed to death if you get stabbed in the thigh.”

Rietta has to hit Mum in order to learn and get better. She doesn’t show that she doesn’t want to do it. The first few times Mum had to attack her first. That makes it easier to hit back. Your body is like the pogo rides in the playground on their hard springs, Mum says. If anything hits it, it bounces back.

Rietta gets a few hits in, but Mum shoves her over and puts her dry, slightly wrinkled hands on her throat. That means she loses.

“Defend yourself!” Mum complains. ”You’ve got nails, you’ve got teeth. You can fight!”

She hugs her instead of removing her hands. Her face is nestled warmly into Rietta’s shoulder so that Rietta can hardly hear her when she says:

“You’re not her.”

THE END
Last edited by c_nordlander on Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: STORY: Ninja Mum

Postby gkscotty » Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:01 pm

I'm not sure if this is cute, heartwarming, or frightening. At least they have something to bring them together...
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It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do bad things. - Jingo, Terry Pratchett
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Re: STORY: Ninja Mum

Postby Tony_Baritone » Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:48 pm

It's all three, and even funny at times--the closers on the first three paragraphs are gems. Excellent descriptiveness of both characters, and the tension between them.
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Re: STORY: Ninja Mum

Postby c_nordlander » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:10 pm

Whoa, thanks for the kind words!

I aimed for all three.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: STORY: Ninja Mum

Postby Nidotamer » Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:30 am

Oh yeah, I left a comment on DA, probably failed to notice it up here already! Guess I'll just share that comment

"Seems having a ninja mum isn't all it's cracked up to be. Maybe I'm understanding it all wrong but I can feel the pressure she puts on Rietta...

Oh, tiny little nitpick, this is just me perhaps but "puts her dry, a bit wrinkled hands on her throat" feels a little odd, mainly the a after the comma. Again could be me but something like "slightly" or a similar word might work better than "a bit" in this case? Could be wrong though, I mean I'm not exactly experienced at all, just trying to be a lil' helpful."

Still very good though, and new content here is always fun.
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[21:32] <Chris> My life is now complete.
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Re: STORY: Ninja Mum

Postby c_nordlander » Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:22 pm

No, it's good that you find these things. My problem is probably that I translate it from my native language, and translations can end up reading a bit awkwardly.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: STORY: Ninja Mum

Postby missy_misery » Sun Jul 05, 2015 11:01 am

Impressive as always - and yes, heartwarming combined with the slightest of chills.
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Re: STORY: Ninja Mum

Postby SirMustapha » Mon Jul 06, 2015 3:33 pm

I think it says a lot about me that this was shoved all the way into "frightening" territory for me.

I agree with May's nitpick--it was the only bit of writing that I couldn't catch immediately. I also found the very end was a bit confusing, and I had to struggle to actually understand it; or maybe that's just my language barrier, so I don't know. But overall it's elegantly written, and says just enough to get the idea across. I'm glad I read this.
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Re: STORY: Ninja Mum

Postby c_nordlander » Mon Jul 06, 2015 8:42 pm

Thanks for reading and commenting!

The very ending is meant to be ambiguous. It makes as little sense to Rietta as to you.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"

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