Loosely based on a dream I had.
Yes, I was the monster. And yes, children were involved. Didn't eat any of them, though. But don't trust my writing to be so happy, Reader. Infant immortality does not exist here.
It's hard to breathe whenever it starts happening.
I told the adults they had to let me go. I've tried to run away so often before. I knew this was coming, sooner or later. But they never listened. They always caught me.
I curl into a tight ball in bed, hiding myself under the covers. I can feel my insides starting to move. Starting to grow. Rearranging themselves and lengthening, the mattress creaking beneath my gradually growing size.
I'm crying again. I hate this. I hate it so much. Why does it have to hurt so much? Bad things always happen to me. I make them happen to other people. I am the bad thing happening. But I can't stop and it hurts so much and someone is coming closer I can hear them and don't touch me please I'll hurt you too…
"Kate, are you okay?" a boy asks me softly. Joshua. A nice boy. A kind boy. My friend.
"Kate? What's wrong?" He lifts the covers and stares at me, his little face growing blank, then twisting. "K-Kate?"
I grab his head with the intention of stroking it, and instead crush it in my hand. My ugly paw-hand. I can't help it. I don't want to. I'm bad, and now, bad things are going to happen. I have to get out of here. Bad.
Joshua falls, hitting the ground softly.
I'm so sorry, Josh.
I didn't mean to.
My roommates jostle a little at the noise I'm making. I must sound like a frightened animal to them, a hurt animal trapped in a little room with lots of warm, scented bodies.
One of the girls sees me standing over the bed, over Joshua. She screams and it hurts my head.
I press my claws over my pointed ears, soft, velvety things that fold back with displeasure. I can't speak. I can only growl and arch my back, the children staring at me, screaming along with her, like the adults will come and take the boogieman away like they should. I don't like being the boogieman. They'll lock me in the closet the big one where they store food just like momma and poppa did before I...
I throw something and one of the girls snaps back.
Then they start scrambling for the door.
Their feet make so much noise.
I hate noise.
"What in the name of-?" I stop when I step out my room, cane in hand, my eyes surveying the chaos with stunned bewilderment.
A little girl almost knocks me off my feet, falling to her arse after bouncing off my leg. She sniffles, sees me, then reaches up for me to cradle her, and I do.
"What's wrong?" I ask the distraught child, as if honestly expecting an answer.
"Monster," she manages with her face buried in my neck. She says nothing more.
I frown and make my way down the passage, following the sounds of some kind of war going on in the foyer.
I see the ocean of bawling, snotty younglings responsible for the racket, some in their early teens and others mere children, several of the staff with them, trying to calm them. But they're all over the place, and more stream in from hallways and doors. They race about the old house with reckless terror, tripping down stairs and knocking over vases, banging on doors and fighting among themselves for the broom closet.
"Monster!" they chorus maniacally. "Monster! Monster! Monster!"
"Calm down!" I bellow, struggling my way over to the nearest adult. "What's the meaning of this?"
"I don't know! I was reading when I heard this terrible growling noise, like an animal, and then all the children, they-"
I look over her, my throat throbbing with my wildly beating heart. "Oh my God…"
A dog, or wolf, whatever it is comes galloping on its hind legs with apelike arms raised above its head, clawing at its ears, making a most horrible growling sound that escalates into a howl as it tramples on the children and scoops up another, tossing the boy clear over the balcony into the fireplace.
I hold the little girl still sobbing in my arms more tightly against me. "Call the police…"
The wolfman then grabs one of my staff, the woman easily standing out over the crowd of quickly dispersing, screaming children, lifting her up high before brutally taking a bite at her neck and twisting, like a terrier with a mouse, crimson bubbling from the tattered, tearing flesh held tightly in its teeth when it suddenly pulls back and drops her, thick, hairy neck wearing a splattered scarf of blood.
"Call the police!"
The wolfman looks up at me, bears its teeth, then lunges, heavy paw-like things thudding over trapped bodies, sending them scattering as they're kicked up and flung aside, jaws snapping.
I turn and run into my room, slamming the door shut behind me, locking it. I drop the girl and push my wardrobe, but a fist, I swear to myself in feverish thought that it looks partially human in shape, bursts through the wood and claws the air, blocking my path as the door is then torn off its hinges, heavy, looming body following.
Like a frightened child I hide myself, slipping behind the wardrobe with my back pressing to the wall, listening with sick fascination as the girl I'd tried to rescue and had trapped instead screams, then gurgles, pyjamas ripping and growling lowering to a content purr, only to escalate again as something, like a body, wetly thuds as it hits the ground.
My eyes widen, watching the wolfman's long, glistening muzzle press near my hiding place, leaving smears on the wall, smelling me, my fear.
I remain still, cane held to my chest. I've seen movies. Oftentimes, the monster will leave the protagonist alone if he just keeps still and quiet.
The wardrobe suddenly presses against me. Tight, tighter than I can stand, my nose crumbling inward.
"Noo!" I claw at the wood, try to push back, try to squeeze out my hiding place, but the weight on the other side keeps me firmly pinned until wood shatters and paws explode into view, nails sinking into my shirt, my chest.
I plead for my life. "Stop! Please! What do you want, monster? I'll do anything! I've sinned! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"
The wolfman snarls, pulling me forcefully through the splintered supporting of the wardrobe, pulling me all the way through wood and dusty coats, yanking me into the soft, warm, wet chest of the devil, my aching face brushing against a soft mound.
I sob against it, and the wolfwoman hugs me tight. Painfully tight.
I'm going to die. Going to die. Going to-
"Are we all out?"
"Yeah, I think s-so…"
"God, those children. Those children…"
"And that thing got away. Police found nothing, useless bastards. Came too late to help anybody."
The house is burning. Somewhere along the line something happened, and it's on fire. But I'm too numb to care.
A boy hugs my leg and I pet him reassuringly.
"The firemen will come soon, I'm sure."
He offers me a weak, bloody smile.
I lie under the morning sun, naked, flitting through memories as I drift in and out of consciousness.
I told them I was bad.
They should have listened to me.
Something licks me cheek.
A dog, his bushy tail wagging, eyes bright, tries to rouse me out of my silly dreams.
And then the owner comes along. A nice looking young lady. She gasps theatrically, like in those fun movies with a happy ending, and scoops me off the grass where I'd fallen asleep last night.
"Sweetheart, are you alright? You're covered in blood…"
I whimper. My throat's too sore to talk. Everything tastes bad.
Leave me here.
But of course, she doesn't. She takes me to the police. And then she adopts me, and takes me home.
I try to tell her. But adults never listen.
"Honey, you all right?"
No! Go away!
My new momma gently pulls the blankets away and blindly bends down to kiss my long, doggish nose, her eyes closed. She then frowns sleepily. I must've woken her up and she thinks I'm Freddy, her dog, who's not allowed in my bed because of his flea problem.
Please leave me.
Her eyes flutter open, and then her peaceful look of concern turns to fear, then horror. "Kate?"
I open my mouth to speak, and grumble instead.
Don't lock me in the cold.
Don't lock me away.
I reach out to touch her face.