Modern Monster :
Hello, my name’s Charlie Ipstien. Dorky, I know. But I’m better known as ‘Chips’ by my familiar. I ain’t a classy guy, a lowlife thug people call me. And I admit it. Can’t really blame myself though. It was where I was damn raised. Messed me up badly. I grew up in the slums, the absolute pits. The school I was taught in was complete and utter shit. The budget was around about the price of a taco. The teachers knew no better than us, and were nearly always pissed off. Let’s just say they had a different idea on ‘Punishments’, back then.
However, it wasn’t just them that caused us to be how we are today. It was a kid, who came to our school during April. You see, this was a cheap, cheap school, so the peasants around here could afford to ‘educate’ their child. So it’s no surpise to anyone that some shady characters got into the school. Like Larry. Although no-one actually called him that. That had a special name for him: Freak.
Larry had the average personality of a kid who just moved to school. Shy and quiet. But how he looked, well that was a whole new story. He had one of those conditions, I’d researched, um, let me see, ah yes: Hypertrichosis. Or as it’s better known ‘Werewolf Syndrome.’ Because who cares about being subtle. He had hazelnut brown hair all over his face, and his body. We found that out when Razor took his shirt off and started kicking him. People like us weren’t so used to the condition, so he was bullied badly.
We’d all call him freak, and ‘Werewolf Kid’ and usually taunt him with wolf howls all day. It weren’t ‘cos we didn’t like ‘em. ‘Cos deep down, we were scared of him. We’d never seen anyone like it, so that was our natural reply to it. You might call me sick, but I wasn’t doing the bullying so much, more just watching. I know, that’s no better but what would the teachers do anyhow? The gang would howl at him, and hit him all lesson long, while the teacher was usually shitfaced on the table.
The more I think about it, the more I feel bad. He was just trying to fit in, and we weren’t making that easy for him. But the others didn’t care, they never stopped having fun with him. Especially Razor. He seemed to take an instant dislike to him, and usually went way too far as we stood back. Razor wasn’t the most healthy-minded kid, as he lived in a house right next to druggies, the fumes getting through, most likely. Not many people knew Razor’s name, we think it was Robert Mayfield or something. But when some poor sucker named Jeff made fun of his name, Razor justified how he’d got that nickname. It was a natural decision to let him be in charge.
One of the incidents were Razor freaked out was P.E, and the teacher, being the lazy bastard he was, just gave us all a ball to bounce. We did the usual stuff, dodge ball, football, while Razor had two balls, and held them to his chest pretending they were his boobs. You know, the normal High School stuff. Then Larry came, presumably from the teachers office, his hair ruffled and messed up, and his eyes red from tears. Despite his large amount of hair, he was pretty weedy. There was a ball each, but since Razor had taken two, there wasn’t one for him.
“Um, could I have a ball, please?” He said, stuttering as usual.
Razor looked at him, then held one of the balls way over his head.
He pointed to the white ball above Larry and said, “Oh look guys! A full moon!” I had to admit, that was funny. We all laughed and Larry sighed.
“What, ain’t I funny enough for ya freak?” Razor said angrily, gaining closer to him.
“Just come back over here man, carry on with the game.” One of us called out.
“I’m not done with hairy and ugly over here.” He snarled back, as he carried on pacing towards Larry. “Well, what’s your problem, huh?”
Larry was walking back quickly, so Razor pelted one of the balls at him as hard as he could. It must have caught him of guard, because he slammed on the ground. The gym teacher just gave a grin through his cigar.
Razor got his second ball, and threw it even harder at him. Larry writhed on the floor in pain. Razor was freaking out, as usual.
“You want a ball, do you? YOU WANT A GODDAMN BALL?” He grabbed a ball of someone else and continued to pummel him, as Larry squirmed on the floor, his face twisted in pain.
“Leave it man, come on!” We all pleaded, this could get real ugly.
I wish, and I’m sure a lot of others wish, that we’d done more then. The display that happened through the next ten minutes or so was too disturbing even for us. Razor continued to pelt him until Larry was just breathing heavily, occasionally jolting with pain. I still regret not doing something to this day.
One day, as we were walking out of school, I saw Larry walk off to the right, where I was pretty sure just led to the woods. The woods were a creepy ass place. It was the birth ground of campfire stories, and many urban legends. Ghosts, bigfoot, some weird tall dude who stole kids. I quickly ran up to him, and he looked mildly surprised, as I guess he thought I was gonna beat him up.
“Please, just let me go…” He said immediately, trying to quicken his pace.
“Where to? The only place you can go is the woods. Where’s your mom or dad?” I asked. He slowed down, and sighed.
“I don’t have a house. The woods are my home. My mom died while I was on the way out.” He continued to walk on. I just stood there. Poor guy. Wait! ‘Stop feeling sorry for Larry!’ I convinced myself, and I ran back to the gang, way ahead now. Still, he had no home, and we weren’t making it easier for him.
The next day I told them about what he said, obviously instead of me talking to him, I was punching him, so they wouldn’t judge me. I was planning on maybe raising a bit of sympathy, but it raised more taunting, and the bullying just grew worse.
The story spread across the lunchroom like a germ, as I saw Larry look into his hands. He looked at me, shaking his head slowly. I felt kinda bad, and the next day, Larry had come up to me, while I was talking to my friends.
“Why, why’d you do it?” Larry asked, so pathetically I almost felt sympathy. The gang looked at me, waiting. I had to do something to please them.
I shoved him to the ground, his eyes wide with shock.
“Sorry Larry, nothing personal.” I joked. The gang laughed heartily, and I felt pretty good. Not for hurting Larry, but for being accepted a bit more.
But the day my childhood really got messed up was the day Larry left school. It was the Monday after a previous week of taunting and slightly more vicious attacks off Razor than usual. The story had mutated to a straight up insulting rumour, and I could tell Larry was losing it. I saw his occasional eye twitch, and his slight vibrations and he sat on his desk, clawing at the table. On Monday, he was walking through the gate, twitching like a mental patient. Razor met him at the gate, me and the gang behind him.
“Hey Larry, Look what I got for ya! Ahem..!” He began.
“St-, stop it.” He spat quietly. Razor was surprised, he wasn’t used to getting spoke back to.
“What, am I getting to ya?” He said in mock empathy.
“Shut up. Just shut up.” Larry countered. His eyebrows were slowly curling down, and the crowd gave an excited murmur. This was action!
“Really? You and what army?” Razor shouted, pushing Larry fiercely.
Larry, instead of backing away, just stumbled back a bit, and shook violently even more. He looked like he was in-between ‘not giving up’ and ‘not snapping.’
“You know what I think freak boy?” Razor said, nose to nose. “I think ya momma just killed herself when she saw what just popped out? Deserved it, if you ask me…”
It all happened so fast. Larry pounced on Razor, sending him to the floor, roaring as he did so. Razor gave a startled cry, shocked at this sudden outburst. We all stopped breathing, as time seemed to stop. We were all dumbfounded by this sudden outrage. Larry continued to beat him furiously, his arms so quick they were just a blur. Blood splattered to the ground by Razor’s head, as we just stood there in horror.
“Hey, let him go freak boy!”
Some kid tried to hold Larry back, and Larry reacted by punching him away with all his force. The kid fell back like a ragdoll. Larry spun his head back to Razor. I saw his eyes, and for the first time I’d seen him, he had a look I’d never seen before. The look of an animal…
That all happened in high School, as I said. Left me pretty devastated and disturbed. Took me a long while to get over it, still fully haven’t really. Sometimes the memory comes back, after trying so hard to forget it. I see Razor screaming in agony, as Larry continued to claw and punch him. The teachers had apprehended Larry a couple of minutes later, they held him back with all their strength, as he writhed like a fish caught in a net. He was taken to children’s juvenile centre. We never heard from him again, and the teacher would nervously change the subject when he was mentioned. Razor hardly spoke after that, He was never the cocky airhead I’d known him to be. Larry had left him with some serious scars, mentally and physically.
I’d just finished remembering all that suppressed trauma when I got a phone call. I picked it up, and Razors voice was on the other line. The audio was shaky, as if he was holding it with a broken hand.
“Hey, hey Chips.” He said un-confidently.
“Hey Razor man!” I said happily. I hadn’t heard from him in months. “How you been?”
“Can’t complain, can’t complain…” I could hear the paranoid tone of his voice. “So, hey, I was wondering, if maybe you’d like to…”
There was a long pause. I could have sworn I heard some very high pitched sounds, like whining…
“Yo Razor, you there?”
I heard a low grunt from the other end, a forceful grunt. Deeper than Razors voice by a long shot.
“Okay, 0kay! Sorry man, um, line went dead. Um, so, I was wondering if you wanna get a couple of beers?”
“Sure man, tonight?”
“Yeh, yes tonight. JTK bar at 8:00. See, see you there…”
I swore I heard another grunt, and the line went dead. The phone call had, unnerved me at the least, but he’d went kinda coo-coo after the whole ‘you know what’ incident.
I was walking towards the JTK bar and it was already dark. The gnarled trees from the upcoming forest were bent and twisted, like a spinal cord. The clouds devoured the sky like smoke. Hell, probably is smoke from all the damn chemicals from the factory around here: SIREN INDRUSTIES. Damn bastards, as if this place didn’t smell bad enough.
To get the JTK bar you had to go through the woods, the one were Larry had lived. I wasn’t so scared of it now, you just have to walk through a straight path, and it’ll lead you right to town. Still, the place gave me the creeps. All the legends, and especially knowing now that Larry lived here.
I walked into the entrance of the woods, and jerked slightly. I looked down at my feet, I’d stepped into a big footprint. Not just big, huge. And right by them were smaller footprints. I carried on walking until the smaller ones just suddenly, stopped. No evidence of them turning around or nothing. Weird.
I carried on, the huge trees towering above me, watching me almost in anticipation. Like they knew they were about to get a show. The cold air stung my skin. The owl gave the occasional hoot, and the moon rose above the smoke. Classic cliché horror movie moment. I chucked, but they weren’t real. None of them were.
I turned to the sound with a jolt, and there was just 2 particularly large and menacing trees, and some over-grown, swamp green bushes. Instead of the smell of piss and bark, here it smelled even worse. It smelt like raw meat, that’d been left here to cook and rot for a million years. Probably a dead skunk, but I couldn’t get over how bad it was. The odour filled my lungs, as I coughed and spat. I squinted my eyes to see what was behind there. All I could make out was a huge lump. Probably a tent, or a den some kids had made. Probably cooking some bad meat, or cooking something else. I heard slight whimpers, so quiet they could be missed. I wanted to see what was behind there, overlooking the entire meeting with Razor.
I began to try walking through the bushes, and the thick bristles made it tough. Ivy scraped my leg, like they were warning me to leave but I got through them. The smell was stronger now…
There was a narrow gap, and with a squeeze, I got past the tightly packed trees. I looked to where I had seen the shape…
The smell was strongest as it had ever been.
I saw Razor, beaten, bloodied and broken. His face was terrified, agonized, but somehow, self-accepting. His clothes were torn with three long marks. His body was dangling like a puppet. Around his neck was a gigantic fist, squeezing the life out him. The fist was brown, and hairy. The arm followed to the body of an enraged figure, a figure I knew all too well.
But this was nothing like the Larry I’d known. The Larry I’d known was small and weak, but this one was built like a bear! He had fists the size of wrecking balls, his body like a tank. His biceps were like giant pumpkins, and just looking as hard as steel. His fur had never been too rough, but his fur looked like it had been dragged to hell and back. When he was a child, you had been able to see his human features, however now he barely looked human at all. His face was angry, but calm. But underneath the miles of fur, his eyes were bloodshot and yellow. His teeth had been filed to a point, and they were stained with red. He had a particular look, I look I’d tried my damned hardest to forget.
The look of an animal.
“P, please….,” Razor said so, so quietly.
Larry raised one hand up to Razor’s head, and gave a sharp twist. A sickening sound followed, a sound like a plate being smashed. Razor fell to the ground lifelessly.
The puppets strings had been cut.
I gagged. My feet were glued to the floor, as the rest of me shook widely. Larry turned to me, his face partly hidden by the shadows. He gave a sick grin, like an animal that had cornered its prey.
“Sorry, Chips.” He, it growled, a voice so deep it sounded it would hurt to talk.
He took a pace towards me, his fist rose to me. He lifted me, his sharp nails, claws digging into my hip. His grip was so tight. I must have weighed nothing to him. I was now face to face with this monster I had once known to a child, a lost child, with no-one to love him, tormented to insanity. He spoke again.
I heard the plate smashing sound again, and it all went dark.