Nature Versus NurtureOctober 9, 2011 at 4:35 PM | Posted in Fiction | 8 Comments
Tags: flash fiction, horror, monsters
This is another in the series of flash fiction from Chuck Wendig’s site “Terrible Minds.” The theme this week was to write a thousand words about a brand new monster. Being a monster is all about the state of mind.
To see more, catch a wave and surf over here:
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: A Brand New Monster
The monster sat on the bench at the playground. Its nestling frolicked and played with the human children, carefully controlled by the monster. It didn’t want its nestling to reveal itself; that was the point of this training exercise. You have to know how to act around them.
The monster reflected about her mentor. It taught her the history of their people, and how often they lived among the humans, but could never be one of them. At least their penchant for violence was a smooth cover for a monster’s survival. Its mentor had died in prison, finally being caught. It happens to monsters as they age, and get more brazen. All those tiny bodies—
It was still young when her teacher was captured, and it was easy to play the victim. Twenty years later, no one remembered who it was. A different kind of monster.
It was broken from its thoughts when Sally took the nestling’s toy. The creature didn’t cry or react in anyway. Sally’s over-protective mother stepped in, apologizing. She made Sally apologize also. Bobby was unfazed. Instead, it watched, and plotted.
Later at the top of the jungle gym, all was forgotten. Bobby and Sally were playing. “Go ahead, jump.”
“No, you jump.”
“You jump first.”
“Are you a scaredy-cat?”
When the ambulance came to take Sally away with a piece of rusted metal through her foot, the monster and her nestling were long gone, leaving when the crowd gathered.
Things had gone better than it had expected.
The monster, Mrs. Walker, looked down at her spawn and created a smile on its face. This is what a mother would do, it thought. You were such a good boy, today, Bobby.
The child-creature looked up, did not speak. The words were projected. Can I play with my toy when we get home?
The monster responded in kind. No, you broke that one, remember? We’ll get a new one.
The nestling clapped and squealed, the way it had been taught that a four year old would react. But it was genuinely happy. A new toy–
Amy was dropped off at the Walker’s by her boyfriend Trevor. Excellent, the monster thought, as she pursed her lips in disapproval. When Amy appeared at the door, Mrs. Walker stood waiting. “Amy, I know your mother doesn’t like you to be with that boy. He’s a bad seed.”
Amy scoffed and rolled her eyes.
The monster reveled in the energy of Amy’s rebellion. It felt soothing as she absorbed it. Pretending to dismiss it, Mrs. Walker said, “Well, I’m off to work now. Bobby is in the family room, in the basement.”
Amy went through the hall and down the steps. The monster heard Amy’s footsteps, and heard them stop. It heard the clicking of the light switch, and an annoyed groan from Amy.
“Bobby? Mrs. Walker, the light’s out in the basement. Mrs. Walker?”
The footsteps revealed that Amy was proceeding down the steps slowly. Saliva dripped from the monster’s lips even though it remained hidden, waiting.
“Bobby? Where are you? It’s Amy!”
The monster heard a thump, and Amy cried out. Then she screamed. Mrs. Walker ran down the steps and pulled the cord for the light. She was so proud at what she saw. Her little spawn captured its prey, all on its own.
Amy was in hell. She had no idea how it could get worse. This little maniac four-year old brat was stronger than he looked, and a devious bastard! She was tied up, sitting on the floor against the wall. That’s all she knew because she was blindfolded. She was gagged, and couldn’t scream out. She started to struggle furiously.
The nestling had been taught to wait until the prey regained consciousness. The struggling was its cue. Amy’s body stiffened and she screamed against her gag as she felt the searing pain in her toes. Oh God oh God oh God oh God ooohhh what is happening to me?
Her eyes were uncovered and she saw little Bobby’s face right in front of hers. His eyes gleamed and his mouth was covered in blood. He grinned, revealing her toes.
Mrs. Walker stepped up as Amy passed out. That’s all for now, young one.
She felt the nestling protest. Now, now. You know the rules. They have to be awake when we eat them.
She carefully treated the unconscious girl’s wounds to keep them from getting infected. Nothing was worse than the taste of infection. Right up there on the list was the liver of an old buck, like that homeless man they had last month. Remember that one? the monster thought.
Bobby giggled at that. He was a scaredy-cat.
The monster had told the police that Amy never showed up to babysit. Trevor’s testimony was in dispute, because he claimed to have dropped her off. But Trevor was a bad seed–a troubled kid from a broken family. He had a record, including drugs and some violence. Who was more believable, the bad kid, or the pillar of the community–Mrs. Walker–that had introduced them in the first place?
Besides, the only power the monster actually had was the ability to manipulate what others thought. She turned the investigation toward Trevor.
For the next few weeks, Amy learned exactly how her situation could get worse. Slowly, she was eaten alive.
Before Amy died, Trevor had hung himself in jail while awaiting trial. Mrs. Walker wished she had some influence in making that happen, but he did it on his own.
There wasn’t much left of the arms or legs, so Mrs. Walker and her child were naked, rolling in blood, as they dined on the rib meat of Amy.
Out loud, she told Bobby what happened, so that Amy could hear. Amy’s eyes had glazed over—there was no more feeling left in them, just hysterical disbelief.
The tiny creature cackled and got in Amy’s face and taunted her. “Scaredy-cat, scaredy-cat, scaredy-cat!”