In Which a Lark Becomes a Monster

I don’t recall the exact date the baby monster apparated into my living room, but it was a number of years ago.  He was a small fluffy thing with big brown eyes and steel-blue down, and he made soft, deep signs when I wrapped my palms around him.  Back then, he was just a short story, really, and I couldn’t imagine him getting much bigger.  I was wrong.  He had his talons in me from the beginning, but I just plastered on the band-aids and hoped he’d out-grow his penchant for spilling my blood.

At first, I enjoyed spending time with the cute ball of ideas and took him everywhere: he snuggled in my pocket at work, waiting for nightfall; he peeked out from my jacket in the grocery store, whispering to me.  On the days when my son’s soccer practice ran late, I sat in the car and watched misty raindrops form on the windshield and stroked his velvety plumage, naive and unafraid.

Time passed, and he grew into a tormented and dangerous adolescent.  I knew he was no longer a short story, but even now, I don’t know how he transformed into a monster.  He spoke to me in an ancient language of lust and risk, and offered to take me on a exotic and dangerous journey.  I became addicted to the way he made me feel, and found myself shutting out the rest of the world to spend time alone with him.  His claws tore at me, and his demands were harsh, but I willingly became his lover.

He consumed me with his voice, his touch, his promise of forbidden pleasure , and I clung to him.  And yet no amount of my time or attention was enough:  He begged me for more.  And then he demanded that I love only him.   And then he refused to release me.  As months became years, I found that I was trapped by my own irrational need, unable to hate him and unable to love him.  I became his slave, loathing myself, knowing that all I had to do was say it was over and a knife would be plunged into his beating heart.  He would offer no resistance.

I cried on the day he died.  After so many years and so much suffering, it was strange and unnerving to be without him.  I had made scores of threats and hundreds of promises to myself, and one day I set down my blood-red pen and told him it was over.  Before the words were completely out of my mouth, he was gone.  I had finally done the deed.  I was free.

It’s been almost a year now, and the scars have mostly healed.  I occasionally think about him, remembering his voice and caress, craving the passion that consumed me when I was lost in his spell.  But he is dead, his lifeless body tossed out as one more paper carcass on a vast mountain of new fiction, lost among the hundreds of other monsters recently slain.

Last night, there were two glowing orbs watching me through the darkened window as I lay in bed unable to sleep.  I  shut my eyes and turned away, my heart pounding.  This morning, there was a tiny steel-gray feather on the chair in front of my computer.  I stood for nearly a minute staring at it, then I stashed it in my pocket and sat down.

“Writing a book is an adventure.  To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant.   The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.”

-Winston Churchill

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