Monster

She’s not the only one to call me a monster. I’ve heard the insults and accusations so often that they have become little more than meaningless noise. But from her, they cut deep.

Is it any wonder I have my laboratory so far out? Is it any wonder I lock my doors, and employ Fists to dissuade the inquisitive and the vindictive?

He doesn’t care what I do, so long as he’s paid. I admire his ability to see the world in such simple terms. I’m lucky to have found him.

My instruments need a thorough clean, and I know they should go through the steriliser, but I want to watch her for a while longer. I want to imagine what will happen when the anaesthetic wears off.

She looks so helpless on the table. It saddens me, to see her so inanimate.

I never wanted this to happen, but what choice did I have? She was too angry. I had to protect myself, to safeguard all I’d achieved.

Her body, like all bodies, is a wonderful machine, but time has not treated her well. Or maybe she has not used her time as effectively as others. I remember when she was proud of her muscle tone, and when she laughed at what she called ‘top-heavy eye candy’. I remember when she’d think nothing of an hour’s hard run first thing in the morning. Now, she’d struggle with five minutes. She stopped training years ago, when she realised she’d never be the best.

That’s where we differ. I see second-best as encouragement, she sees it as failure.

I worry about her work now.

I tried talking with her. I told her my concerns about that part of the district, and about the type of people she’s selling to. She laughed at me‌—‌what did a bloody medic-wannabe know of those streets? Books and reports wouldn’t teach me about real life, she said.

But she was wrong. I knew the area far too well. I knew people moved there to disappear, or because they had nowhere else to go. I knew they wouldn’t be missed.

My work was far from perfect. I knew I would make mistakes. But I needed subjects. I needed to learn from my errors.

Her face is swollen from the procedure. I had to shave her hair, and there’s a sharp incision line, where I pulled back the skin. The scar will always be there, I think, but when her hair grows back it should be imperceptible. The suturing is some of my best.

Of course it is. She deserves nothing less. Even after the things she said.

It’s not like she even cares about the mistakes. She called them all manner of names when they were alive, those I used and those she dealt with. She took advantage, sold them what they didn’t need, feeding an addiction that would keep them coming back for more. She kept them destitute through the hunger she supplied.

And she has the audacity to call me a monster.

She never understood. She never appreciated the bigger picture. And, like so many others with short sight, she jumped to false conclusions and unfair accusations. Her righteousness blinded her to logic, and the adrenaline surged through her body.

I had to defend myself. I didn’t realise the forceps were still in my hand.

Her scream was wild and multi-faceted; a cacophony of voices. Shrill and deep, it cut into my mind and pummelled at my heart.

I didn’t want to leave the instrument in her eye, but she moved away too quickly. I believe my hand opened through shock.

When she lunged, I did the only thing I could. I had to stop her, for her own safety.

She’d interrupted me mid-procedure, and that meant I had the anaesthetising agent at hand, ready in case the subject woke too quickly.

He was a fine specimen. Later, I allowed myself to feel sadness that her interruption resulted in the abandonment of that procedure. Placing his body in the incinerator was akin to destroying a masterpiece.

But her procedure is a success, at least so far. The swelling will dissipate, and the colour will return to her skin. And beneath her flesh, my work has improved on what nature provided. It is my best work to date, without a doubt. Her vision will be incredible, and I know she’ll be begging me for a second procedure once the resentment fades. She’ll yearn to have her undamaged eye as good as her new one.

Of course, I will give her everything she desires.

And I have to believe that she will finally see the truth.


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