by JenX2413 ([email protected])
Masquerading as "Ayende"
Note: This story is sent in response to the misnamed "Guess the Author Challenge", or, more appropriately titled the "Is it the Story or the Author that Matters? Challenge". You may attempt to guess my identity if you so desire, whether privately or publicly; also, feedback may be sent either way as well. As always, it is appreciated and received with warm fuzzies. Please reply to [email protected] if you wish to reply privately.
Disclaimer: The main character featured within this piece of fiction (commonly referred to as "Yvette" before the awful disaster in the pages of Generation X #40) does not belong to me. I mean no harm.
Her voice was sweet once, sweet and lyrical, like the sound of angels laughing. Her face was different once, a healthier shade. She remembers days in the streets, when the dirt and grime was streaked across everything; across her face and hands -- her hands! They were once as soft pink as her face was, growing harder with work to keep herself alive.
And harder still.
She had friends once, but they grew up fast, too. They needed to supply their families with an extra set of --
Her voice became scratchy from overuse. She used to shout in the streets to the other children -- when she was a child with the rest of them. She used to laugh with them, and sing, and tell jokes and talk and talk and --
Her sister would tell her things, stories about the monster hiding in the closet that waited until she went to sleep to come out and eat her. Of course she wouldn't be able to sleep, not with images like that rolling around in her poor, naive mind. She'd wait up for hours, just hiding under her thin sheet, with one watchful eye on that closet door, always looking for that monster to come out and snatch her from sleep. And she'd go to mama and ask in that childish, overused voice of hers to be held. And mama would hold her close, singing lullabyes in such sweet tones, with such sweet, sweet melodies. Sweet songs from mama, rocking her back and forth and back and forth ... and it would make her feel so much better. Those songs would chase away all the monsters in the closet that were waiting to get her every night. Mama's songs made everything okay, because mamas could work that kind of magic.
And when she got older, she learned for herself that there was no monster in the closet. She knew that. That closet didn't have any room for monsters. Besides, she rationalised, there was no such thing as a monster. She got stronger, and she carried that strength with her wherever she went -- talking to the other children, and even standing up to her sister.
But all the strength in the world wasn't enough for the problems of an emotional girl on the verge of adolescence. She used to cry, sometimes, too. She needed that sometimes. Even though she was so sure she'd never have any reason to cry before -- she cried, and it was over the silliest things, really. But that's the way emotional girls on the verge of adolescence are. Her eyes turned blue one day. That was one of the things that set her off, crying -- her eyes turned blue. They were always blue, but this was a brilliant blue that smeared itself all over the white and black and other colors in her eyes. The other kids, her sister -- they called her a freak. Mama called her special.
She lost her voice another day. But that was okay, because whenever she'd lost it before she'd always found it. This time it didn't come back. The other kids said she was weird. Mama sang to her.
And then the other kids started changing, too, turning into tiny adults. They grew up, they grew out in some places and in in other places. Their voices changed, but she had no way of knowing that.
The world was growing dimmer. Fainter. Her mama's songs didn't soothe her like they used to. And she was hurting mama every time she asked to be held.
She couldn't cry anymore. Everything was changing so fast. She couldn't feel anything through her skin anymore because it was getting harder. Sometimes she wanted to shrivel up, just lock herself in 'cause she was weird, 'cause she was so much different. And it didn't do much good, 'cause she just kept getting harder and smaller and sharper and redder.
Her sister wouldn't even talk to her anymore. Mama still loved her, she thought. She couldn't tell anymore. All the songs were silent. Everything was so fuzzy and blank. She would have done anything to just get away from it all, to make things like they used to be, back to normal. She wanted to go back in time and start over.
Her sister used to say that monsters hid in her closet. That was silly, she used to say, there was no such thing as a monster. She didn't know what would happen. How could she?
She didn't know that the monsters would come out of her closet. At night, too, when she was asleep, just like her sister always said, and the monster came out of her closet, an ugly grey monster.
And it ate her.
It sucked the life out of her every day, leaving only scraps for her to survive on. She knew two things: torture and recovery. And the torture was too long, the recovery always too short. Her life was stripped away before she'd even really started to live. It didn't matter, though, it hadn't been a very good life, and she probably deserved this.
After all, this was what happened to monsters.