“A conversation like this requires both speakers to be on equal footing, don’t you agree?” His smile was amazingly white against the darkness of his container, like something plastic and lit up, a carnival grin. And the shape that tilted from behind the recently unlocked door was lean, bordering on skinny. I could feel my heart where it slammed against the inside of my chest, relentlessly.
I thought his question was merely cosmetic, just something shiny before he emptied his victim of their internal organs. As a result of that assumption, I just shielded my eyes, and prepared for the worst.
But nothing happened. Wicked just waited patiently for my answer, and so finally I gave it to him.
A Wicked Tale
“Good. Let’s begin. Now, you wanted to know if the woman is my mother, yes? No, she is not my mother. That sort of motherhood was reserved for another, whose name means little to me, now. There is nothing special about that variety of creation, if indeed there is anything creative or generative in motherhood at all. All of that is automatic, artifice, without true direction…or misdirection. I was intended, is what I mean. It was the will of this world that I be…and so I was. But she, the woman you inquired about, was not of the will of the world. She came from beyond its design, or, perhaps, despite its design. She found me, put me out of the world’s sight. She let me see the strings, so to speak. That’s why I’m here, you see…because I’m not supposed to be. Now, ask me another question.” His words were almost calming, not at all the stuff of nightmares I’d imagined. That said, the man was clearly crazier than the Mad Fucking Hatter. But, regardless, he was filling in the blind spots, and my obsession was eclipsing my fear.
“Can you tell me about some of the people she was known to travel with? The two gigantic men, and the two small girls, I mean.”
“Yes. The largest of the ‘men,’ as you call them, was nothing of the sort. He was a monster…of the truest kind. He had gone beyond the world, too. He just took a very different path to get out. He was in love with her, clearly. He loved her even more than he hated just about everything else. Of course, she did not love him, at least not romantically. He was also horribly, horribly scarred. And from what I understand, he was mauled, almost at birth, by a pack of ravening wolves. Lord knows how he survived…or did he survive at all? Anyway, he hated me quite a bit, and I returned the sentiment, often. She called him ‘father,’ though he was nothing of the sort to her. It was clear that she had plans for him that he had not yet reckoned…but I kept her secret. As I said, I hated the monster.
The other man was named ‘Donald,’ or ‘Donnie.’ He wasn’t at all fond of the former appellation, which is why I called him by it, almost exclusively, and as often as I could. It was because of him, actually, that I felt compelled to leave. Clashing ideologies, I suppose. I don’t know where she got him, but she was certainly fond of him. It was his eyes, I think. God, they were black. Like no eyes I’d ever seen before, or since, for that matter. I’d catch her staring into them, whenever she thought no one else was looking…but I’m always watching. After she’d take her gaze from him, she’d just smile and smile, like a child contemplating Christmas. It also so happened that Donnie had a preoccupation with art. No, more like an obsession, really. That is, if you can call what he construed as art to have actually been art. Although, definitionally, I suppose he might have been in the clear. But that didn’t stop me from challenging his notion of the thing. And It was on that
very score that we differed, once. But that was all it took. You see, when it came right down to it…Donald was the biggest monster of them all.
I remember that our meeting took place in the dark, and that it was warm out, with a slight breeze…and it was the night following my disagreement with Donnie. You see, I argued that art was preordained, just fated scribbles in the designer’s margin. He was not fond of my interpretation of his craft. Not in the least.
At the time, I loved nothing more than to find a pack of dogs, or wolves, whenever I could find them, and run naked with them. I also loved to imagine what ‘Father’s’ infant flesh might have tasted like, whenever the dogs and I would land a buck…or, if I could convince them, something a little higher up the food chain…But that night, very much to our misfortune, the dogs and I were the prey. Of course, it was Donnie that hunted us. He came out of the night at us, right at us. The dogs just splashed off of him. Their teeth, feral ferocity, and size all meant precisely nothing to him. He killed them with little to no effort, just snapped them into little pieces. Now, I’m not one to fall victim to monsters, you should realize, as I just happen to be one, myself. But Donnie, he was even more than a monster…he was an artist, the culmination of all the skill within his chosen field. And there aren’t many of those around. He taught me such lessons that night. I suppose I ought to thank him, actually. Which is, you should have guessed by now, precisely why I couldn’t. You see, the path of least resistance is the path that’s been chosen for us, and so my destination lies beyond the thorny thickets, always.
The little girls, now…They’re little more than the purest spirits of murder I’ve ever come across. Beyond their smiles and knives, their just death. Plain and simple. But, oh, did Donnie love those two. Thick as thieves, those three. I secretly envied their closeness. They’d often sneak into the cellar of some abandoned building, or the darkness of some other underground place, and Donnie would read children’s stories to them. But, he would always embellish the tales, in some of the darkest ways imaginable, and the twins would just laugh and laugh and laugh.
I miss those days.
Now, you said that you heard of me through that group of fools, the Bowers. Now, I’ll have no choice but to let them live, obviously, but I seriously hope something terrible has befallen them, since last I’ve heard from them.” My head was still spinning from the killer’s tale, and I scarcely realized that it was my turn to talk. But I managed.
“Well, if getting butchered, and then having your internal organs stuffed into a dead dog is horrible, then you should be on cloud nine.” The sideshow grin was back again, brighter than before. Then Wicked let his head slump backwards, and he began clapping and chuckling.
Wicked’s laughter grew louder, and I could hear the custodian approaching. It seemed that our conversation was drawing to a close. However, I feared that Wicked might still choose to seek me out, especially since he let slip so many of his secrets. However, while he supplied me a good amount of background on the wicked witch, he also let fall a few useful nuggets about himself. This killer had a weakness, or a kink, whichever. For some reason, he felt like he couldn’t act when the path was clearest. He had to do the opposite of what would naturally be expected of him. So, just before the custodian (who seemed more mechanical than manlike, as he said nothing to us as he started rolling Wicked away) had taken the killer from the room, I ran up to the breathing vents and whispered, “My name is Genevieve Castellano.”
“NOOO! You very clever little lady, you! You knew I’d come looking for you. Well, bravo. Bravo, indeed. You’ve just earned the rest of your life.” I saw the last flash of his electric smile and then he was gone, swallowed by intermittent electric light and the echo of thunder.
Comments will be approved before showing up.