Tuesday, February 15, 2011

VD2011: And Yet I Wonder

Most years when I have my act together, I try to make a special project for Valentine’s Day. Most years, I’ve written stories.

I’ve written about Buddha and black market love tokens, Robotic dating services gone awry, hell hounds that encourage safer sex, and human-alien hybridization to cure over-active empathy.

I hope you’ll love this story. It’s about a monster.

God. I don’t even know what to write. They’re going to kill me.

I told the lady I wanted to write my story, so I guess I’ll focus on that. Hope I finish it before they come for me.

Calm down, calm down, calm down.

I’m Giselle Péronne. Everyone calls me Gis. I’m a twenty-five year old demisexual woman.

On February 14th, I walked to the store to pick up some supplies. I’ve hated everyone so long I didn’t have any reason to worry about the monster. How many of you even know how easy it is for misanthropes to shop on Valentine’s now? And, no, not all demisexuals hate humanity.

I picked up my groceries and a bottle of wine to celebrate my blissfully safe holiday. When I walked out of the store, I spotted a dark-haired woman.

She walked her baby in a carriage. The monster ran up to her and its mouth engulfed her head. The woman fell over. I caught a glimpse of the pool of blood around her head.

I guessed she died, but didn’t stick around to find out. If love for a child was enough to tempt the monster, even someone like me might be in danger.

My heart raced and I walked home as fast as I dared.

I locked and bolted the door behind me and turned all the lights out. I never heard whether it was attracted to lights, but I took no chances.

I drifted off to sleep and woke up several hours later. The sun had set while I dozed. I turned the TV on.

“The monster has been sighted in Chelsea. Viewers are advised to stay indoors.”

I flicked the TV off and breathed a sigh of relief. Nowhere near my house. I needed a cigarette. I pulled the pack out of my purse and stepped outside.

The neighbors’ voices carried through the quiet. Arguing again. Great holiday for it, but I didn’t want to hear it. I walked up the street and lit the cigarette.

The clock had struck nine and the city feigned abandonment. No cars on the road and just me outside. I never heard leaves rustling in the city before.

I shivered—half with cold, half with a feeling of creeping doom.

Somehow, I knew. Maybe it’s just confirmation bias, but I knew it would show. It did and I knew I couldn’t get away.

My heart pounded. I tried to think. What could I do? The craziest thought popped in my head: “What if I loved myself and it?”

I held my breath and focused all my vague misplaced love. It walked closer. I lost my nerve for a moment and closed my eyes.

Breathe in, breath out, love. Breath in, breath out, love. Love, love, love, LOVE.

The breeze hit my face. I opened my eyes. I couldn’t see the monster anywhere.

“What the—”

I looked down.

My arms— covered in thick black fur.

I ran home and peered in the mirror. Somehow, the monster merged with me or I merged with it.

“Wow, everyone’s going to be so happy,” I thought. “Except me.” I sighed.

My life as a human ended, so I figured I may as well enjoy my wine before I let everyone know the good news.

I took my time and then tried teleporting. It’s not as easy as the monster made it look. In six attempts, I made it close enough to a TV station to walk the rest of the way.

The street was empty. I banged on the window.

“Hello! I’m not the monster. I know I look like it, but I’m not. I need to talk to you!”

I felt a slight sting on my neck and fell to the ground. I woke up in a prison cell. Probably a few hours later.

Someone had handcuffed me. I stumbled to the bars.

“Hey! I need to talk to someone. I’m not the monster!”

Police milled about the station. They all ignored me.

“Hey! Come on! “

I yelled for maybe ten minutes. An officer approached the bars, but not very close. She’d pinned her wiry brown hair under her hat. Her name tag read ‘Pam Baker.’ Pam looked 40, or maybe 30 and a heavy smoker.

“Are you in charge around here?”

She pointed to the bars. Someone had threaded them with a glowing blue wire. “That’s to keep you from teleporting. Corridor Stamp Corp. says that’ll keep you in. No more phasey-woo.”

“I’m not the monster. I—I dunno, I absorbed it or something. It won’t eat anyone again.”

“Sure, doll. I’m not going to get close enough to the bars to find out whether you’re telling the truth or not.”

I swore. “Come on. At least tell me what’s going to happen to me.”

“I don’t know. That’s up to Corridor. Don’t worry. I’m sure they’ll get a huge fine for creating you in the first place no matter what happens so you’ll get your revenge. Sort of.”

“Damn it,” I said. “That’s not revenge. That’s a slap on the wrist!” Well, I might have said a few other words.

“Sorry. Nothing I can do. I’m just in charge around here.”

“Can you at least get me a paper and a pen. I want to tell my story.”

“Sure, whatever.”

She walked away. I had no confidence in her. I collapsed on the floor near the bars and listened.

I only picked up bits and pieces.

“I wonder if—”


“It’s so—”

“—all these years—”

I wanted to cry. Did this monster even have tears? Yes. Thick cloudy tears pooled on the concrete around my head.

Pam returned and tossed a pen and a pad in the cell.

I scribbled out what you’re reading. If anyone can read this, I’ll be surprised. Corridor didn’t design this hand with writing in mind. I guess they designed it with lawsuit-free hugs in mind.

That’s my story and I don’t know what else I should say.

They’re going to kill me. If you’re reading this, they’ve already killed me. Maybe you’ve killed me. So, my final message to you all … to all of humanity:

I love you all. I hate you all. It’s all hopeless. And yet … I wonder.

Torn newspaper page with picture of a shaggy humanoid monster with vaguely heart-shaped eyes. Headline: Valentine Monster Escapes! Subhead: Anti-teleportation field fails, monster still missing. Body: Chicago, Illinois. The dreaded Valentine's Day Monster escaped confinement in Brooklyn early this morning. The creature, first created ten years ago in a lab for Corridor Stamp Corp., has focused its attacks on happy couples in love on Valentine's Day. Police spokesperson Gerald Keating announced the creature left a note behind. The contents of the note have not been revealed to the public, but insiders suggest the veracity of the note is considered questionable.

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