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Chapter 1: Dearest Mother

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Introducing Sabrina Ha: A Tale-Weaver Inspired by A Canyon of Heroes

Meet Sabrina Ha, a Vietnamese-American creative writer hailing from the sunny landscapes of California. Sabrina's heart beats for the fantastical and the extraordinary, a passion ignited by her love for fantasy novels, particularly those that narrate the epic journeys of captivating characters.

Drawing inspiration from the enchanting realms of fantasy literature, Sabrina embarked on her own creative odyssey. Her journey led her to a remarkable collaboration with her sister, Lana, an artist with a penchant for fashion illustration. Together, they embarked on a collaborative endeavor that would give life to a universe of their own creation.

Within this magical universe, Sabrina lent her storytelling prowess to breathe life into Lana's fashion illustrations. These vibrant characters not only donned stunning outfits but also possessed intricate personalities, origins, hobbies, and even peculiar extracurricular pursuits.

Their collaboration is more than just a creative venture; it's a testament to the shared childhood dreams and the shared yearning for a more fantastical and imaginative reality. It's a captivating fusion of art and narrative, where fashion illustrations transcend their visual allure to become vibrant protagonists in tales of wonder and adventure.

As you delve into the enchanting world of "Canyon of Heroes," you'll have the privilege to accompany an eclectic array of characters on their extraordinary journeys. Join us on this exhilarating voyage, where Sabrina's storytelling prowess and Lana's artistic talents converge to create a universe brimming with wonder and endless possibilities.


Chapter 1: Dearest Mother

Mother loves food. One can often find her dining on the bodies of the homeless lining the streets of any given town or city, or they can find themselves as her dinner. Having eaten her ex-husband as a midnight snack because she didn’t like him after he kept trying to eat her pet cat, Mother has grown to heavily dislike men and creatures of the scurrying variety.


Broken glass crackled with a resounding crunch, the only half natural sound among the beaten alleyway. Gurgling noises now take up all the available air in the space, the unruly screams coming to a cease as the man’s body slumps lower to the ground, threatening to leak all of his precious blood across the dirty pavement.

Not that she would dare to waste any of it. Her long, parasitic tongue warps and twists as the blood pumps steadily from where she is latched onto his gaping cut throat. The assailant knife laid picturesquely innocent beside the troublesome scene in the dimming sun.

Similar to the way a water droplet would roll off the leaf of a nearby tree to a roaring creek, the innard blood of the man traveled in lumps through the creature’s tongue, each portion becoming increasingly smaller than the next. It wasn’t long until the man was but a shriveled corpse crumpled on the ground, his entire body void of blood. If the husk of a body could be sold into an image for a dictionary, the dead man’s raisin state would no doubt be the epitome of it.

Slowly rising up, the creature cast a loving hand to the belly, the retracting razor sharp claws sliding flush to her knuckles, so as to not harm the mound that stretched out from her belly. She let out an adoring coo as she watched her engorged belly begin to pulse, the blood finally trickling down through her body to the ravenous thing that grew inside of her. The dissolved nutrients were extracted from the man’s innards, all the more to feed the monster.

The locals who managed to escape her clutches, or at least the ones lucky enough to only have to bear witness to her killings, have been led to believe she was sent from Matthias, a plagued human who became the Devil.

Many years ago, within the Onine town, a terrible, angry man had gotten into a feud with another man, and very quickly it escalated, and soon the town was lit on fire, bringing the town to ashes, along with the men. With caustic attitudes, several murders under their belts, and having a shrewd perspective of life, many in the Onine town have been led to believe what all rumors have been saying. Matthias has sent her as a replacement for the evil that the man once was. However, there is one big difference.

This woman of a creature is what they call an Aopethis, a blood sucking demon that is only created when someone makes the grave mistake of trusting the Devil. Soul tarnished and body transcended to a being worse than human, she is the creature that parents tell their kids will eat them if they don’t eat their vegetables. She is also very pregnant, which is why she has taken up the name Mother.

She licks her lips as her belly begins to warp, the blood beginning to stain through her smooth blubber skin, engorging her stomach into bloody red rings, a bright contrast to her shadowy gray dress. Mother cracks out her neck, the shiny blue skin atop her bald head, casting blinding rays of reflected sun into the scowling eyes of wandering sewer rats. Their little noses turn up in disarray at the sight of the hollow man, even that sight too gruesome for a rodent.

Mother turns, scowling as she pitched towards the shadows, her iridescent red-black eyes shuttering over, the nictitating membrane sliding across her filmy eyes, the sunlight suddenly feeling unbearable to be under. She felt a sharp shot of pain, as though the sudden movements she made away from the tormenting sun along with the human slushie now resting in her body is causing her to double over in pain. Mother fell into a wall, a guttural noise emitting from deep within.

Pain laced through her body, spasming into her stomach. Mother let out a bloody, raw scream, clutching her stomach with unadulterated frenzy. It began to eat away at her logical sense, spurring her to start pounding her fist at the rotten wood in front of her. She began caving in her body, belting out a roar of pain as a bone cracking pain shot up her spine. Kicking out her feet, her sharp nailed toes piercing into the side of a rat’s body, Mother began to cry. Hot red tears of blood streamed down her blue face, the thick liquid puddling in the high collar of her dress.

Her vision blurring, Mother glanced down at her belly, realizing how oddly shaped her stomach was becoming. Splintering into odd jutting areas, tiny little punctures seeped out blood from through her skin, as though the creature inside of her was adding decorations to the walls from inside her womb.

A faint noise from within the wooden walls caused Mother to jerk her head upwards, the faint scent of fear traveling through the thin building walls around her. Whether her reaction was from fear or anger, it didn’t matter to Mother, for pain was so unendurable that she could only think of running to the noise. Rising on what felt like broken bones, Mother stood for a brief second before crashing through plywood, the pain of broken shards embedding themselves into her skin but a mere afterthought.

Gasping for air that she certainly did not need nor could receive, Mother flung her gaze upwards to where she saw an old man with an astonishing head of white sleeping over the counter of a heavily rundown pharmacy. Stained and dirt crusted rows of shelves were placed from one side of the store to the other, an overflow of knocked over bottles of pills and creams lining the shelves, all no doubt way past their expiration date. Wood chippings scattered everywhere across the floor, a very small amount of them from the bulldozering that Mother did.

A sharp snort drew Mother’s attention away from the disdainful interior design of the store, to the man who now shook himself away, muttering all the while to himself about rats and their terrible habits. He looked, finally noticing the heaving form that was Mother, and blinked a few times, adjusting his vision to the sudden new source of gentle afternoon sunlight that trickled in through the new entrance in his wall.

His eyes traveled from his destroyed wall to the bleeding creature in front of him. Letting out an impressively wide yawn, he reached around his counter, struggling only a bit until he grabbed hold of his small wired glasses and delicately placed them on his long nose. He squinted his eyes and scrunched nose at Mother, staring only a second before talking, his voice wise and gravelly.

“Oh yes, you. No doubt you smelled my nightmare induced emotions.” He talked in short, clipped tones, as though he was giving a lecture to a student, rather than talking to a seven foot tall pregnant creature. “I have read all about your folk. What an interesting life you have lived assuredly. Oh, and do not worry about the wall. It was bound to fall over by the week,” he chuckled, amusement wrinkling his weathered face.

“Come, come. I heard you yelling and making a fuss all over there outside my shop, despite my dreaming,” he sniffed, even his human nose picking up the sharp metallic scent of blood. “Hmm, let us see what you have here.”

At that moment, the only emotion she felt was confusion. Mother stared, conflicted on whether she should walk away, heed his words, or simply eat him, raging in her brain. Pain riddled her stomach once more, before settling into a low broil at the center ring of her belly. When the old man impatiently cleared his throat, she acted on instinct. She stalked forward, the pain apparent in her step, and opened her jaw wide revealing the expansive rows of sharp teeth she had. She craned her neck over the counter, her face coming inches within his, and let out a nasty burp. He shook his head and let out an exclamation.

“Outrageously foul of you!”

Mother leaned back and grinned. Perhaps the pain had finally gotten to her, because normally she would have just torn the man’s head off. If there was any more proof needed for that fact, when Mother opened her mouth again, it was for a completely different reason than what she had intended to do.

“Perhaps then do you know why my baby is doing this?” she asked scratchley, pointing down at her stomach. It had been a while since she spoke in Morkinavoch, the common language throughout the majority of the human folk, and listening to this man seemed to provoke her to want to do so. Even with this conclusion, it did not discount why Mother was doing and saying things that she herself did not want to do, yet she was doing it anyway, a shadow of influence seeming to entrance her into conversation.

The old man pushed his glasses up his nose, the rim touching his eyebrows. “Well, there is not extensive research on pregnant aopethis. From what I can tell— you are overfeeding. Your child is getting too big,” He raised his eyebrows, as though his words were a warning, not just a speculation. “I recommend you not eat so much.”

Mother scowled, red blood still obscuring her vision. “I would like medication to alleviate my pain, if you would be so kind, doctor, not what you recommend for me to do.”

As stubborn as she is, he shook his head, crossing his thin arms across one another, his mouth a firm line. “I will not give you any medication today, ma’am. I have the right to refuse service to anyone, as the sign right over there indicates.”

He pointed to a half broken faded sign with scratchy lettering that read, “We have the right to refuse service to anyone”, several letters hardly visible.

Mother curled her lip, annoyance set in her gaze as another wave of pain passed by. The pop of skin tearing was enveloped in the dusty air, the growing silence deafening as the annoyance and pain turned deluded adrenaline. She leaned forward as if to retort something back, but in one swift motion she extended her nails again and swung her fingers forwards, her already bloody nails tearing cleanly across the man’s neck, crimson following in its wake. He blinked slowly before careening backwards, his body tumbling from off his spinning chair onto the dirty floors.

Shaking off the feeling of a shadow off of her, Mother grinned, and swiped her hands along the counter, her hands reaching for the container that had sat in front of the man. Though the feeling of pain had dried up along with her bloody wounds, Mother felt that she should take the necessary precautions to ensure that her pain wouldn’t rise again. With a guilty glance at her wounded belly, she felt the sudden urge to explain her actions to her child.

“I did that for you, little one. Every worm that roams this world deserves what I do to them, and I do it for you,” she murmurs lovingly, her heart growing heavy with adoration. “It’s you and me, no one else. We don’t need anyone else.”

Letting out a faint bark of laughter, she licks her lips, wondering who next she can eat. With a pep in her step, Mother walked away from the bleeding man, though not before popping stolen pills in her jaws, not knowing that she had just snatched up-to-date laxative pills.


A story written by: Sabrina Ha


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