His name was Barn... he carried a stick, and swung it around his ears, listening for his mother's familiar hum in the cool surrounding air. When he was four, a mailman found him inside his mail truck, pulling letters from envelopes, and shredding them into bits. The mailman frowned, ripped his sleeve from his shirt as he hoisted him from the truck, then told his mamma to spank him real good till his bottom looked like an August Jersey tomato. But his mamma couldn't fathom touching her boy in such a way. His buttery arms squeezed tightly around her waist made up for all his disgruntling underachievements. Each night she'd coo in his ear, feed him peppery steak and sweet potato mash, and sit in front of his bedroom door - a pillow tucked under her rump - gazing at the wall before her, until dawn, when his tiny knock wrapped on walls, greeting the sun if there was one.
In their space called home, there was no need for fire or heated coil devices; her frenetic pace, her incessant fidgeting, and a hum that would never quite dim from her vocal chords, warmed the floors of their house quite comfortably.
But one morning in January, Barn's bed sheets crisped over with cool. He summoned his mother as he had done since he was old enough to figure out such things. He lay awaiting in his bed for days, knocking on walls until his knuckles swelled, profusely spilling blood from his innards.
Fatigued and ravenous, Barn ripped frozen sheets from his stiff body and stood for the first time in weeks. Tears gushed from his eyes, landing in solid drops of ice to the floor.
He pulled the door open, slowly, hoping to find his mother before him, a tray of warm food and tea in her arms, a smile melting her eyes into his.
He called for his mother, his voice struggled to release. He looked to his left and right scaling the unlit hallways for her body's soft outline.
Defeated, his head flopped forward. On the ground before his feet he found what remained of her: a stick wrapped neatly in red ribbon, a note tied to its end read "Sleep".