Frankenstein Writing Challenge: The Enemy of My Monster is My…
“Welcome to The Coffee Corner. My name is Bonnie. What can I get you?”
Her drink order struggles to escape my fingers. It beats against the walls of her throat in my outstretched hand. She swallows and makes stalling noises to Bonnie. Shifting weight to the other foot, the walls of her heart pulse around me with a quickening rhythm. I can feel how desperately she wants to speak and it angers me. She inhales sharply and the air snatches her words away from me. I hear them escape her mouth breathy and hesitant.
I hug my empty hand to my stomach as I slowly curl up in her chest. My energy is spent. I’m tired. Turning away from the outside world, my eyes close and I dull my senses until they blend into a low hum. Focusing on the quieting feelings of the one that is mine, I sense less and less the others nearby like me that live in the ones like mine. It’s peaceful enough to sleep, so I do.
Getting her drink does not wake me. Feeling the warmth slide past me to pool below does not fully wake me. It’s the monster outside who wakes me.
Ones like mine don’t hear the screaming. One of them may get a sense of it but it’s a whisper so soft it might not be there. Those are the sensitive ones but they usually don’t do anything about it. Only ones like me hear it because we are the ones who do it.
It started as a low buzz that crescendoes into an orchestra of hatred and anguish until it’s all I hear. I twist frantically, clawing at the heart as leverage. The one that is mine missteps at the ill treatment. Chills race through me as I finally see.
I’m not the only one. Others like me are staring horrified at the writhing, grotesque heap of ones like us squirming and fighting in the cavernous chest of one like mine. I try to count and lose track of the wide mouths, the hate-filled eyes, and jerking limbs punching and kicking each other in an orgy of violence. Ones like me check in with each other as our ones like mine walk around and do their daily routine, ignorant of what they pass. By the shock in their faces, the ones like me don’t know what to do. We are at a loss to react. There are just too many of them inside one like mine.
I open my view of the outside wider and realize we stand outside The Coffee Corner. Ones like me are streaming past on the sidewalk but I am frozen in front of this raging mountain. To my surprise, the one like mine is talking to the one housing all those screaming ones like me. Muted unease and fascination fill me. It’s like those glass walls at the zoo. You can stand directly in front of something terrible but never be in danger. I still don’t like it. Two years without contact in the one that is mine has not gotten me used to feeling untouchable.
All at once, the mad crowd stops hurting each other and looks at me. I see how they were made and they see me. They watch me together silently and learn how I ran for safety but never made it. Instead, I was killed under a group of trees. Witnesses weighed my body down with rocks and sank it to the bottom of the river. My killer walked away with my limp, terrified ghost in her chest and the camaraderie she had earned from her buddies glowing around me. That light had been the first thing I killed in her, once I figured out how.
Their creation spanned a decade. Years of planning, trapping, and pain rolled up into one chest. The methods and timing were different but the pain was the same. Most were not dead like me. Their main selves lived. They appeared blander and not as fearsome but with so many in one chest it was eerie nonetheless. Staring at them it was almost impossible so many were in one chest. I couldn’t see how they fit but they didn’t need my belief to do it.
We regarded each other without speaking. Ones like me can communicate with each other but rarely do except to hurt. We speak using anguish as our language. Pain and anger make up our forms instead of flesh, which makes us look the same and does not leave room for higher pursuits. Misery may love company but sometimes we don’t have room for anyone else’s.
A flicker of movement waves through them and they smile. They work together now. Some stretching to the brain to work, a couple to the tongue, and some beat his heart, but it’s the bulk that get bigger that worry me. Then I realize they aren’t bigger. They are closer.
Screaming, I jerk away from the front and cling to her spine. I wrap my hands around her vertebrae and try to pull her away, almost believing I’d rip the bones out of her back. Her heart’s racing and the acidic tang of fear fills her chest. She’s scared but I can’t enjoy it. I’m scared too.
One of them on his tongue jumps the body gap and forces itself into my human’s mouth. It’s jerky pale limbs flail across her lips before grabbing onto the base of her tongue. It peers down at me and giggles before turning its attention to the next one gathering itself to make the leap.
“Do you hear me? I said it’ll make you feel better. Don’t you want to feel better? And we can just talk if you want. Come on. You’re going home to a frozen dinner when you could have a great time instead. We’ll do whatever you want.” He says. The one on his tongue finished the sentence then jumps.
Shooting from the heart, I slam into the one holding her tongue. We land against her cheek both stunned at my success. It’s prickly where we rub against each other. I know my human tastes metal in her mouth as we start hurting each other. Her lips and freed tongue move.
“That sounds like the most boring idea I’ve ever heard. So, no thanks.” The words and the feeling behind it blow back the jumper in midair. One down, a mountain to go.
It’s my time to smile. Every one of them is watching as I pin the one in my human’s mouth. My fingers dig into it’s legs as it thrashes. Pieces of it’s old life come in flashes across my vision. Pinning it’s legs, sliding up it’s back, feeling the useless tattoo of it’s arms has been done once already by its creator. I’m making it relive how it became what it is now. I feel sick.
I grin anyway and check that every one of them is watching me. Still seeing it’s past play in front of my eyes, I look down at the terrified one like me and bite. It’s slow and gentle at first but its struggling makes me angry. It doesn’t have the right to fight me here. I shove down and start tearing into the neck. It’s squealing and crying and I hate it. I hate what it’s making me do.
Too soon, it falls limp like a puppet with the strings cut. It’s figure begins to dissolve. It’ll be home soon. I throw it’s carcass out of my human’s mouth anyway. It disappears before it reaches the monster.
I feel electric. I feel like I could fly. If I had known hating someone other than her could feel this good would I have started sooner? Gripping my human’s teeth, I lean outside and taste fresh air for the first time in two years. Screaming with hatred instead of fear feels so good. “You don’t hurt her. Do you hear me? She’s mine. I’ll kill all of you and throw you out. You don’t get to have her. Come on!”
She starts walking away. Fingers tighten around her coffee cup in case she needs to throw it. They don’t follow us.