I took this line, and with this line, I decided to see where I could take this. I did one child version, for a children’s tale, a book that could be read at bedtime. I raised four and some more, so I know how important that is.
I also decided to do an adult version, to see where that could go. I don’t have the child version finished yet, but I do have the adult version in a first draft. Some other things have come to me, and as soon as I finish Milk and Honey, I will apply those changes that have been percolating around in the dark regions of my skull.
Here’s that first draft. I hope you like it.
The monster crouched beneath the window, lonely and afraid. He could hear her soft snore as she slept with the window open, to escape the heat inside the house. His heart pounded inside his chest; it almost felt as if it would explode outwards, giving him away in a shower of crimson against the pure white of the wall underneath her window. His loneliness was bone deep; his fear was that she too would reject him, like the others. At the thought of the “others” his mind shied away. Best to not go there. Ever.
He didn’t know her name; that wasn’t important. What was important was the smooth glide of her walk, the way her hips neatly moved inside her clothes, and the sparkle of her eyes. The sweet line that ran from her hip to her ribs, that was important. The shine of her smile, the rose tint to her lips, the way the earth stood still as she walked by him. Those were the important things. He was sure that the sparkle in those beautiful eyes had a hidden meaning, all meant for him. She was a beautiful woman, not just on the outside, but in the inside, too. He was sure of it. No one this beautiful could be anything but beautiful on the inside, too. He couldn’t wait to find out.
She had just moved into the neighborhood; he knew this because he had been out for a walk, to try to calm the voices in his head down, as they clamored for him to do unspeakable things. He’d been able to resist the voices, until now. But at his first sight of her, the voices began to buzz; to push, to push, to push and push and push him until they goaded him into position beneath the window of the most beautiful woman in the world. One voice in particular.
The voices had been with him all of his life, since his early 20’s. Then they were a slight susurrus beneath the noises of everyday living. He almost couldn’t hear them then. But as time went on, the voices became louder, more insistent. In a way, it was like hearing a neighbor’s radio. The noise was there, one could hear that there was a noise, that there were words in the noise, but the radio was too far away to make out what those words were.
As time went on, the voices got clearer. He wished they hadn’t. As the words the voices were saying became clearer, he came to realize that the words the voices spoke made him quiver in horror. He had no idea that such a thing could be inside of him, that any part of him would even think of such horrible things, much less sound so gleeful at the thoughts that intruded into his skull.
He was sure that the voices were a part of him run amok, it was what helped him to fight them off when they whispered how much fun it would be to see what was really inside old Mrs. Bentley’s skull, to crack her head open like an egg, and see if the Alzheimer’s had turned her brain into scrambled eggs. The knowledge that these had to be his thoughts, that was what made it possible to fight off these terrible blood soaked thoughts. Until he saw her. That first sight of her cracked his mind, he was sure of it.
Inside the house, the sheer curtain gently stirred in a very slight breeze, barely moving the hot and humid air. In the darkest part of the room, the reflected pink light of the street lights kissed the contours of a sleeping form, the sheet rising and falling with the slow breathing of the sleeper. She stirred restlessly in the overheated, damp air.
In her sleep, the sleeper dreamed her own tormented thoughts. Snatches of images from her distant past, memories that she thought has slipped from her grasp of lovers gone and friends turned to dust, flashed in her dreams. Bright as stars, old loves, missed and treasured, glittered before her mind’s eye, turning to vapor as she reached for them, crying the names of those so long gone, so dearly loved and so dearly missed.
She rolled over, the sheet sticking to her sweat licked flesh, clinging to her, somewhere between comfortable and binding. Tendrils of sweat soaked hair touched skin wet from the damp night and the heat of that night. She slept restlessly, as if she knew somehow that he was out there, outside, watching her.
He slowly stood, a dark shape outside of the window, freezing when she rolled over, turning her back towards him. He felt irresistibly drawn to her. It was no weak attraction. He couldn’t explain it, and he had tried to explain it to himself. He couldn’t understand what it was about her, what secrets he was sure She knew; secrets that rested upon rose tinted lips, secrets that hid behind Her pearly white teeth. Secrets that the voices said that She would share, if he got close enough.
The humidity had sweat running down the side of his face, he was glad that no one could see him out here, hidden in the shadows. Not just because of what he was doing, that alone was enough to get him ride to the county lock-up, but because no one needed to see him like this, fat, sweaty and hidden beneath the window of woman he really didn’t know. Like the others.
We don’t think about that, he sternly informed the giggling voice that ran like a red thread through the tangles of his thought processes. The giggling voice was the scariest one of them all. It had made an appearance around the same time that She moved into the neighborhood. She was delightful, but that giggling voice was horrifying.
Get closer, look inside, it can’t hurt to just look inside, said the voices. The giggler was quiet, for once. The ominous quiet of the air before an electrical storm, he thought. She’s so close, he found himself standing up, slowly, looking around to be sure that he was the only one out at this hour. For reasons he didn’t want to articulate, he knew he had to remain unseen.
He peered into Her room, into the place where She put her sweet head every night. He made no noise, barely moving the air around him as he pressed close to the screen covering her window. It seemed like the screen just popped off the window into his hand. He made no effort, he was sure, but yet there was the screen, in his hand. He felt confused, unsure. He couldn’t remember actually pulling at the screen. He frowned, the voices told him not to worry about it; screens don’t come off by themselves. Maybe She loosened it; maybe this was Her way of inviting him in. After all, a lady doesn’t state her desires outright. She uses subtle things, like a loose screen on her bedroom window to get her point across, he reasoned.
Inside, her dreams gave her no peace. She was not getting any younger, no matter what the mirror said, and it was getting harder and harder to find a mate. She wanted kids. She wanted a family, and in her dreams, the need was just as urgent as in her waking hours. In her dreams, not having children was a deep failure; a betrayal to her kind. It seemed silly but the feeling was deep.
In her daylight hours, she sniffed for him on the wind, she cast wide her nets on the psychic wind, yet all she could find were traces, not anything concrete. Who knew that love would be this hard to find? She had to find him, and to do that she needed more; more protein of the right kind, more energy to power her search of the psychic wind.
As he lifted himself over her windowsill, her eyes snapped open. She went from asleep to awake in an instant, like her kind has always done. A smile curved her perfect lips. Her green eyes glittered in the night, as he approached her bed, her back to him. The right kind of protein was on its way. The energy from this would fuel more hunting.
The giggling voice began to laugh, a sound created in madness to herald the approach of unspeakable things, both inside his head and outside his head. The knife seemed to just appear in his hand, like it did with the others. He was so wrapped up in his thoughts he didn’t notice that her snoring had stopped, that her back was no longer in the relaxed state of sleep.
As he approached her, blood in his mind’s eye, she almost couldn’t contain herself. She waited, bated breath, for him to get closer. He approached the bed, his sweat rank, preceding him. It was honeysuckle, to her. He raised his arm, the knife like a glittering claw.
She rolled over, so fast that he couldn’t see the movement. Her arm, curiously elongated, reached for his neck. She grasped him with one strong, leathery hand. She dragged him forward, her perfect features now a nightmare of scale and bone, tooth and claw. She licked the blood that flowed from the punctures in his neck. Sweet, and necessary. Necessary for her to find her mate, to reproduce.
With a grace that her features belied, she brought him up to her nose, sniffing him as if he were a fine vintage of wine. He wanted to scream, but he found he was paralyzed with fear. He looked into her green eyes, full of fire and he knew that this was a fitting end for him. Before he could finish that thought, she bit his head off. She sucked him dry, she cleaned his bones and then ate those, as well.
It had not just become harder to find her own kind, but hunting the prey had become harder, with the advent of psychotropic drugs. It was hard to find the broken ones, the ones that needed to be culled from the human herd. Dragons, demons, whatever one called them, had done this for as long as there had been humans. It used to be easy, before the humans had come up with drugs to dull the mind, to close off the open spots. Now it was necessary to find the ones that refused the medicine, the ones that were cast off.
She closed her eyes, sated, full of power and protein. She felt the surge in the psychic wind, that trace felt stronger. One more should do it. She put out the call, she sent out the voice, the giggler, to find the next prey. She drifted off into contented sleep as the call reached another broken man. Another one with voices in his head.
The monster crouched beneath the window, lonely and afraid.