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“A Bloodthirsty Creature of Unimaginable Horror Named Gregory”
Gregory used his fur-covered left-middle tentacle to pop the kid’s head off his shoulders. There was a slight cracking sound as the boy’s neck snapped, no louder than the tab on a soda can breaches its aluminum seal. Gregory then lifted the limp body into the air and turned him upside down, imbibing all the incarnadine goo that poured out of the child’s neck stump. Gregory guzzled his guts. Ingested his intestines. Slurped soft, pink meat off soft, white bones. And when he was done, when his belly was full, Gregory skulked back into the closet. Back into shadows. Back into the darkness where all bloodthirsty creatures of unimaginable horror live. Bloodthirsty creatures of unimaginable horror like him.
It’s not that Gregory wanted to eat kids. Nobody aspires to be a boogeyman. In fact, you’d have to be a complete masochist to enjoy this line of work. Gregory hated his job. And it had nothing to do with the violence and atrocity he committed on a nightly basis. That’s all well and good. It’s just . . . boring as hell. Kids are so easy to scare, and they’re even easier to kill. But what can you do? Gregory had bills to pay. A brood of his own to feed. Financial responsibilities that needed to be met.
In college Gregory was a good student. A double-major in mass-destruction/rampaging, graduating magna cum laude with a 3.8 GPA. As a larva he used to say he wanted to be Godzilla one day. Why not? He had grown up being fed that same line of bullshit that adults feed kids, both human and monsterkind alike: you can be whatever you want to be as long as you “apply yourself.” They told him study hard, work harder, follow the rules. But what they didn’t tell him was that the job market is fickle. That it’s tough out there. That the debt is piling up. That life isn’t about chasing pipe dreams. It’s about sensible decisions. Contributions. Compromises. Gregory took a job with a company called Spectral Aberrations shortly after graduation. Just to make ends meet. It was supposed to be temporary. He never thought he’d end up a boogeyman. A closet jockey. He wanted to destroy cities when he was little. Instead he’s eating defenseless kids. It’s a living, Gregory says. But that’s just another line of bullshit we tell ourselves. It’s a living, all right, but is he really alive?
So tonight just after 2am Gregory appeared in the toybox of a child named Steven Minkins. Steven Minkins was the nervous sort. Anxiety-riddled. Worrisome. But that’s a good thing. Gregory only existed in the minds of the fearful. If you don’t fear the dark, then Gregory will not appear. And Steven Minkins feared the dark. Always had, ever since he was a baby. And as he slept, Gregory snuck into his room. Opened the toybox lid. Climbed out of the shadows. Crept across the carpet until he was hovering right over the little kid’s bed. And then young Steven woke up. He opened his eyes and saw the monster lurching over him. Gregory spread his mouth wide, exposing his razor-sharp drool-dipped teeth. He leaned in to bite, to chomp this child in half, but then, for whatever reason, Steven Minkins did not scream. He did not even seem surprised. He just sat there looking incredulously at this monster. Gregory closed his mouth. Leaned back. Offered to the child a curious eyebrow.
“Please go away,” Steven Minkins calmly said.
“Um . . . what?” Gregory replied.
“Please leave my room, I’m trying to sleep.”
“Kid, aren’t you afraid of me? Aren’t you afraid of monsters?” the bloodthirsty creature of unimaginable horror asked.
“Not really,” Steven said with a scoff. “I don’t believe in monsters. I don’t believe in you.”
And that was that.
Am I happy with the type of monster I’ve become? Gregory wondered as he made his way back into the dark. Have I been true to myself? True to my nature? How did I get here? Where did I go wrong? There’s no easy answer to these questions. Just more questions. It’s easier just to accept your lot in life and give up, get over it, stop wondering and move on, which is what Gregory is about to do. But before disappearing back into oblivion, Gregory stopped in front of the child’s mirror. He looked at his own reflection for a moment: the oozing pustules that covered his melting face, the long catfish whiskers coming out of his neck, the beard of snakes writhing on his chin, the electric orange afro, his yellow cat-slit eyes. He could’ve done so many amazing things. Instead he’s just a regular ol’ boogeyman. He let out a long and lugubrious sigh. He didn’t believe in himself either.