AlvernoINK Spring / Fall 2017 - Page 47

Sweet as strawberries

iIt was 2:37 am. A sweet like wild

strawberries aroma seduced me again.

My mother had always warned me about the creature that smelled like berries. I still remember the disappearances. Trails of blood covered the vicious town. I used to listen to the calamitous wails of the young victims. I wasn’t able to witness how their fragile, insignificant, petite bodies were torn apart. It was a beautiful scenery though. Carmine snow adorned the path to the woods. The sweet scent of tasty berries hypnotized me as soon as I came closer to the path. There were no traces of what had abducted the children. That is except for a berry, a strawberry.

What a luscious thing to leave behind. I couldn’t even utter these words to myself. Every time I tried to forget how disturbing I was being, I smiled back at the enchanting scene. Like I said, it was a beautiful scenery.

Succulent strawberries. My stomach growled as if I had a ravenous monster inside me. I followed the sanguinary passage. The growling intensified as I entered the secret meadow. My mouth watered when I saw the strawberries coming out of the snow. I ran as fast as a hungry hare. As I came closer, and closer, and closer, the boreal wind whispered in my ears,

Beware the Crimson creature.

It devours Innocence,

It corrupts Virtuousness

It seduces Faithfulness.

Do not eat the strawberries.

I knew the grown ups were ignoring something monstrous. Untouched children were the first ones to “go missing.” There was once an old hag who used to yell at the children, “Innocence is a gift, and a curse.” I was happy that I was no longer “pure.” There was pain, and then there was blood.

“You are a woman now,” my mom exclaimed as she examined my crimson panties. Her agile eyes struggled to hold crestfallen tears. I listened to her violent heart beating as fast as it is light. I wanted to comfort her, but my arms hesitated. I just stood in front of her listening to the awkward silence emanating from me.

I don’t know this woman, I kept thinking as she swallowed her desolation. Kind words weren’t uttered by me. Regrets are a curse. That I know. My eyes avoided her melancholic gaze. Her torrent of tears were a tempestuous sea. Her wrath mesmerized me. Her savage hands ripped up my gory underwear. I even tasted the saltiness of her sorrow. Our bedroom smelled like the ocean. A fresh bitterness.

If I were to describe her I’ll say that she was a violent, beautiful monster. My mother was an ominous typhoon. My sweaty hands trembled as soon as our eyes met.

“Remember, Matias, beauty is chaos,” were my mother’s last words before being consumed by purple flames. If so, then her death was beautifully chaotic.

If I die, I want to vanish from this wicked world like she did. This was my persistent thought. Not that I wanted to die. I just pictured my death as a chaotic yet beautiful act.

A rapid spiky whip trapped my slim legs. Then there was only darkness. Smoldering tentacles crawled towards my legs. I kicked for what felt like a thousand times, but my body was restrained by the grasp of the mysterious creature. The luscious aroma numbed the pain. Nectar. My blood tasted like scrumptious nectar. Lick, lick, and lick until you eat yourself up, the Darkness murmured.

My whole body palpitated savagely. The spikes had touched my virginal flesh. I taste succulent, I fell into an addictive hypnosis. The scent of strawberries increased. The monster was coming closer, and closer, and closer. I shook my hands and moved my legs, but the creature’s force was stronger.

“If you are impotent, be irate, stare at the moon, and howl,” my mother’s words resonated in my mind. I clenched my bloody hands. The pain was unbearable. A torrent of tears cleaned my face as the aroma of strawberries penetrated my wounds. An unforeseen weariness crushed on my body. Where was the Moon? I was still surrounded by darkness.

“If you are here to take me, then I dare you to do it.” My legs had betrayed me and I tasted my own bitter naiveté. I yelled to the unknown darkness that had embraced me since my mother’s life faded into the tranquil obscurity.

Mother, I’m weak.

“I dare you! Come out,” a warm liquid was running down my legs, but I knew that to pretend to be courageous had no effect on the creature, and worse, on myself. The calamitous fragrance possessed my delicate body that had always resembled the lightest petal of the wildest dandelion. I was being restrained by the creature. The toxic thorns were poisoning my fragile body.

“Death starts with a mere thought,” I remembered my mother’s favored omen. “Then you crave to abandon this vile world. “ Her words were starting to make sense. Death comes when you start to savor your extraordinary existence in this unscrupulous universe,” I remembered the rare times when my mother interrupted the fatal ritual that would lead her to the indefinable dimension.

“What was she thinking?” There were sudden strokes of violet in the darkness.

“Purple, huh?” My feet could not feel the sticky grass.

“I… ca...aaan… see...eee...the… purrr...ple… flamesss…” I could hear the sound of my neck being pierced by the violent monster.

“Mmm...o...o...mmm,” I entered to the realm of eternal agonies. This was only the beginning of my torture.

“Are you punishing me, mom?” How morbid was I by witnessing with sheer interest the end of my mother’s culmination of life. My eyes fixated on the purple flames covering my mother’s naked body. Her long brown hair was the first thing to disappear from the face of this earth as the flames consumed it. I had never noticed the moles on my mother’s scalp. “Mother is beautiful,” I couldn’t contain my youthful curiosity. I leaned over,

“Mother, the universe is your face and the stars are your freckles.”

When I was about to caress my mother’s velvety speckled face, the purple flames grew gigantic. Despite the heat, I was freezing. My mother’s body was deteriorating. Crystal ashes emanated from the purple gelid flames.

“Mother is chaotically beautiful.” The boreal ashes were surrounding my elfin body. This was the first time that I had felt loved by someone.

This metamorphosis is still the pinnacle of my life. Mother ceased to exist in this irrational universe, and I accepted the vicissitudes of inhabiting this illogical cosmos. The Ancient transfers their wisdom to Innocence, but its gifts always come with a gruesome price.

As soon as my mother’s remains disappeared, a wild strawberry appeared where her body once was. When I ate the strawberry, I felt a sudden sharp pain within my eyes. I heard the blood gushing out of my eyes.

No one heard me. I lived in the secluded part of the damned forest. Treacherous and lost souls inhabited that fiendish forest. It was forbidden to adventure into its dark core. If one dares to enter, it was the duty of humankind to kill them. It was a sacred taboo that maintained the expected order between the Uncanny and the Ordinary. Creatures and humans are not meant to be together, because it would be chaos. “Chaos is beauty.”

I have always remembered my mother’s death as a work of art, because it was the last thing I saw. It was 2:37am when I went blind.

glass of wine. I suppose he thought that this would do me in once and for all. In a way, I guess it did, but not in the way he had anticipated.

I could sense Luke’s anxiety when I was simply a little dizzy from the wine. He was suddenly short and angry with me, as if I should somehow have understood that I should be unconscious right now.

“Luke, what is wrong, I thought that we were having a wonderful evening?”

“WHAT?” he snapped at me. “Oh, yeah. A good time. Yes. I…I need some fresh air.”

Luke stormed out of the bedroom. I got up to follow him and the room began to spin. I had never had a problem holding my liquor so I was quite surprised that one glass of wine would make me drunk like this. I held onto whatever I could find as I stumbled out of the bedroom.

I made it to the top of the stairs when I felt something sharp pierce through my back. I looked down to see a blade of a sword peeking out from between my breasts. Hot liquid began to run down my naked body and pool at my feet. The room was growing dark and I could feel my legs crumbling like an accordion. Then I felt the push from behind me and then the room went black. I assume that I fell down the stairs as they found my body in a crimson pool of blood on the antique rug at the bottom of the staircase. That son of a bitch stabbed me and pushed me down the stairs.

A year has passed and Angelique has suffered much the same as I had. Of course, the first few months of their marriage was happy and they had sex like rabbits. It hit that six-month mark and Luke begins to grow distant and seems to have fallen out of love. This is just what he does. I understand that now. Tonight, Angelique will understand it too. Tonight, she will meet the rest of us.

I was not Luke’s first wife, hell, I wasn’t even his third. I was his tenth wife. I am Julia, the one he stabbed and pushed down the stairs. Tonight, Angelique will not only meet me but she will also meet Carry. She was number nine. Luke killed her with morphine.

Number eight was Trisha whom he drowned in the bathtub. Sarah was number seven, also a bathtub murder but with electrocution with a hair dryer. Leslie was number six and her breaks were cut causing her to drive off of a cliff. Numbers four and five, Jessica and Christine, both suffered gunshot wounds to the head. He made them look like suicides. Number three was stabbed with garden shears, her name was Vicki. Adeline was number two. She had succumbed to the rat poison in her oatmeal. And number one, well that was Christine. She was strangled with a leather belt. We all made it to our one year anniversary, and our gift from Luke was death. He buried us all in the rose garden where his father had buried all of his brides. We all live together in this old family home and we are each responsible for trying to warn the wife that comes after us. Soon, Angelique will join us. Finally, she too will understand that Luke just can’t help himself.

I can’t wait to meet number twelve!

is downright frightening.

“What is this stain on the carpet? Is this, is this where she, you know?” Angelique’s voice begins to tremble. She can’t even say the word. Died, you impish bitch. The word is DIED!

Luke nervously clears his throat, “Let’s not talk about that right now. Come my love, let’s have a drink by the fire. I will have the carpet replaced next week.”

This is your chance to get a clue my dear Angelique. I certainly wish I would have heeded my predecessor’s warnings. Maybe my fate in this house would have been different. Soon you will have your own stain to be explained in this house.

He came up behind me and began to gently kiss my neck as he unzipped the back of my dress. With each move his breath gently caressed the back of my neck. My entire body tingled with anticipation of his touch. As he slid me into the bath, each of his fingers played along my skin causing me to moan with excitement. It had been so long since I had felt Luke’s touch that I had forgotten how soft his and gentle his hands were. Not a single callus or rough spot on his fingers. Just smooth, silken skin.

Luke carried me to the bed where the rose petals continued to lead the way. As he laid my naked body out on the white silk sheets his mouth took hold of mine. Both of us were consumed with passion like animals in heat. Waves of pleasure overtook my body as I hit my peak. I don’t think we had ever made love like this before.

“I love you Luke.” I thought that we were finally back on track, that our marriage was actually going to be okay.

“I am going to go and get us some wine.” He kissed me passionately before he left the bedroom.

Little did I know that Luke was crushing up sleeping pills and mixing them into my glass of wine. I suppose he thought that this would do me in once and for all. In a way, I guess it did, but not in the way he had anticipated.

I could sense Luke’s anxiety when I was simply a little dizzy from the wine. He was suddenly short and angry with me, as if I should somehow have understood that I should be unconscious right now.

“Luke, what is wrong, I thought that we were having a wonderful evening?”

“WHAT?” he snapped at me. “Oh, yeah. A good time. Yes. I…I need some fresh air.”

Luke stormed out of the bedroom. I got up to follow him and the room began to spin. I had never had a problem holding my liquor so I was quite surprised that one glass of wine would make me drunk like this. I held onto whatever I could find as I stumbled out of the bedroom.

I made it to the top of the stairs when I felt something sharp pierce through my back. I looked down to see a blade of a sword peeking out from between my breasts. Hot liquid began to run down my naked body and pool at my feet. The room was growing dark and I could feel my legs crumbling like an accordion. Then I felt the push from behind me and then the room went black. I assume that I fell down the stairs as they found my body in a crimson pool of blood on the antique rug at the bottom of the staircase. That son of a bitch stabbed me and pushed me down the stairs.

A year has passed and Angelique has suffered much the same as I had. Of course, the first few months of their marriage was happy and they had sex like rabbits. It hit that six-month mark and Luke begins to grow distant and seems to have fallen out of love. This is just what he does. I understand that now. Tonight, Angelique will understand it too. Tonight, she will meet the rest of us.

I was not Luke’s first wife, hell, I wasn’t even his third. I was his tenth wife. I am Julia, the one he stabbed and pushed down the stairs. Tonight, Angelique will not only meet me but she will also meet Carry. She was number nine. Luke killed her with morphine.

Number eight was Trisha whom he drowned in the bathtub. Sarah was number seven, also a bathtub murder but with electrocution with a hair dryer. Leslie was number six and her breaks were cut causing her to drive off of a cliff. Numbers four and five, Jessica and Christine, both suffered gunshot wounds to the head. He made them look like suicides. Number three was stabbed with garden shears, her name was Vicki. Adeline was number two. She had succumbed to the rat poison in her oatmeal. And number one, well that was Christine. She was strangled with a leather belt. We all made it to our one year anniversary, and our gift from Luke was death. He buried us all in the rose garden where his father had buried all of his brides. We all live together in this old family home and we are each responsible for trying to warn the wife that comes after us. Soon, Angelique will join us. Finally, she too will understand that Luke just can’t help himself.

I can’t wait to meet number twelve!

I’ve always been fascinated by body transformations. I’ve seen most of the films by David Cronenberg (The Fly, The Brood, Videodrome, Shivers, and Scanners) and John Carpenter’ The Thing. I’ve also read the collection of manga by Junji Ito, who is a master of body transformation stories. By reading and watching these horror stories, I realized that one of my greatest fears is the metamorphosis of my own body. Life events such as puberty and pregnancy are scary to me. I decided to write about a 9-year-old girl who is becoming a “woman.” But I wanted to do things differently. Matias, the girl, lives in a world where monsters and humans inhabit the same world. This short story is part of the collection of short stories that I’ve been working on this semester. Stories about kids growing up, but in a horrendous way. Hence the grotesque body transformations.

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