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Don’t Insult My Mother

By: Emma Yuan

My name is Chris Hill, and my family is cursed.

Or more specifically, my mom is cursed.

My mom’s maiden name is Calythe, and apparently her bloodline has been through a wreck.

My dad told me of the family history since I was little, as if it was some wholesome bedtime story. I actually did think it was a bedtime story when I was younger, but now I know he was trying to make sure I understood what I could never say. Over the years I’ve heard it so many times I can summarize it with ease.

It started out with two friends. Reyna and Wesley. They were really close, until a series of scandals ensued. Essentially, Reyna’s mom caught Reyna’s dad in an affair with Wesley’s mom, causing a huge fight that ended with the deaths of both her parents. Reyna cursed Wesley’s mom, more fighting took place, and they both died too. It was pretty messed up.

Anyways, the curse in the story was a stupid one. Stupid, but ridiculously effective. Any insult thrown in the direction of a female bearing Calythe blood would have that trait amplified by a thousand. They would become a monster, and rampage until somehow, they were stopped.

I know it’s possible that they can be stopped, as Wesley’s mother had to eventually have stopped in her rampage before the entire city was crushed. Else, we wouldn’t be here. I don’t really get how such a wide scale incident could have literally zero mention outside our family, but maybe enough people died so that no one ever noticed. The story kind of glossed over that part.

My mom isn’t like Wesley’s mother. I didn’t even know I had a mom until I was 7. I get it, kids say a lot of stupid things regardless of whatever instruction is delivered. If I’d known she existed when I was too young to understand, a simple “I hate her,” could easily transform her into the embodiment of hatred. I wasn’t allowed to go near her until I was 10 years old, but I always received gifts from her, like toys, some desserts, letters, things like that, stowed away until I was old enough to learn of her. When I finally met her, she cried. She doesn’t go out to work, and mostly stays at home, lest any insult be thrown her way. It’s a miserable way to live. She doesn’t deserve that, but there isn’t a lot we can do. Guess it’s just crappy luck, that no one else will get to know the best person in the world.

This would probably sound pretty messed up in an outsider’s perspective. It would probably seem like my dad was trying to use the ‘familial curse’ as an excuse for his son, to keep his wife locked away. It’s not like there’s any conventional way to find out the truth.

But I could feel it. It doesn’t make sense, but there was always something stopping me. My mom was awesome, but she wasn’t perfect. And I definitely wasn’t. As a petty, annoying, impulsive teenager, sometimes, she would annoy me. Sometimes, I would get too pissed off to think. Sometimes, a snappy insult would form on my tongue out of reflex. But something would stop me, like a vacuum robbing me of breath. My voice would simply… disappear for a second, long enough for me to calm down. I considered it a good thing.

You may wonder why I’m choosing to speak of this now.

Well, it’s all because of a poorly chosen “Yo mama” joke.


My best friend is Jacob. We’ve been buddies since elementary school, and haven’t encountered any relationship altering incidents yet so far.

That is, until today.

I can’t really blame him for what happened, but at the same time I can. I warned him before to never insult my mom, but I guess we both got too lax and it kind of slipped out. I wasn’t his only friend, so he was probably used to joking around like this with them.

The exchange went something like this—

Me: Dude, your handwriting is hideous.

Jacob: Your mom is hideous!

My hand had clapped over his mouth too late. His own hand had clapped over his mouth too late. I could only watch helplessly as his lips shaped the condemnation in slow motion, eyes widened in realization as apologies were spewed.

But it was too late.

The effects were instantaneous. I could see a cloud of dust rise from the direction my house was in. The ground began to shake and the sky bled red. Jacob’s eyes were wide and questioning. I had never told him the reason why he shouldn’t insult my mother. But there was no time.


Neither of us needed any second thought as we pounded down the pavement.

Screams of “WHAT IS THAT?” and “IT’S SO UGLY!” echoed behind me, of people undoubtedly reduced to dust. I gritted my teeth. The insults they shouted would inevitably feed the monstrous entity my mom had become. I was going on the fumes of my previous adrenaline rush now, and from what it sounded my mother was at our heels.

While running, I—unwisely—chose to flip through the notebook I always kept with me, where I had jotted down all the details to my obscure family history. It was a bad idea, but I trusted Jacob would keep me from barreling into any telephone poles.

The story was pretty much carved into my brain at this point. It was completely pointless, looking at a story I had written down from what was carved into my brain. But then again, my brain felt as though it was restricted from access at the moment so maybe that was a smart move on my behalf.

“What—are—you—doing—?!” Jacob’s voice came out in short gasps.

I didn’t answer, rifling through the pages until a sharp pain sliced through my finger.

“Ow! Paper cut!”

Stupidly, I stopped, watching as a bead of blood dripped from my appendage down to the ground that disintegrated from underneath me.

I toppled backwards, falling onto my bedroom floor.

I blinked. Out the window, the sky was a clear blue. The walls were completely intact, and there were no screams tearing through the air. I felt different too—lighter, almost. Like something had been lifted away. I could see the clothes I had worn today strewn over a chair like they had been this morning, as if the day had restarted.

My door creaked open. My mom stood in the doorway. Normal, unchanged. There were tears in her eyes as she stepped forward to embrace me. I understood then. Everything that had happened had been undone. We’d both gone back to before, when everything was normal.

And the curse was gone.

Perhaps this was what had happened with Wesley’s mother. Except for I had survived and the curse had ended, while Wesley had died while the curse had been passed down.

I had two theories. Maybe the curse had been weakened as the Calythe bloodline mixed with others and diluted. Or maybe, it had been Reyna’s original intent, to give her friend a way out, give herself a one-time act of vengeance, before they had unexpectedly killed each other. Perhaps it was a bit of both, and only Wesley lived to tell the tale. All that mattered to me was that my mom was free.

Still, I’d rather no one start insulting her regardless.

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