May 23, 2010

Short Story: Monstrous ©

For your reading pleasure, another of my short stories: Monstrous ©

A dumpy man in a wrinkled, blue suit, stood writing in a notepad.  In his fifties, his face was etched with the stresses of this work, and the passing of the years.  As he walked, his footsteps crunched on the gravel driveway, leading up to the run-down mansion before him. Glancing up every now and then, he scribbled some notes and then called to the man nearby.

“What time did you say you arrived this morning, Mr …”

“Igor, Inspector.  Me name is Igor,” the man replied.  He was a hideous looking human being, and misshapen with an enormous hump on his back, “I returned ‘bout six o’clock this morning, ‘cause that’s when the Master said to come back.”

“So what can you tell me about the events of last night?” the Inspector asked, his pen poised above his notepad.

“Every year the Master holds a ball for all of his friends,” Igor replied, a drop of frothy dribble made its way down his chin, “This year tweren’t no different.  The invitations went out by special courier and I arranged for food from his favourite caterers.”

Leaning towards the Inspector, Igor winked slowly and said, “The Master and his guests have special needs, you know.”

“If you say so,” the Inspector said, feeling a little spooked, “And then what happened last night?”

“As usual, the food and drink was set out on the buffet table, and ‘bout 11.00pm the guests began arrivin’,” Igor replied, “Everythin’ went like clockwork, it did.  Nothin’ was outta place.  I decorated it special for the occasion with a few dozen tarantulas and assorted cockroaches.”

Startled, the Inspector’s head snapped up.  He stared at the man before him until finally he said, “You what?”

“I decorated it special,” Igor repeated, a pleased expression on his pock-marked face, “The chandeliers were draped with cobwebs, to soften the light and provide a cosy atmosphere.  There was the bloody carcass of a boar draped on the North wall, purely as decoration you understan’.  An’ my favourite piece was the collection of serving bowls, made of real human skulls.

Igor sighed, “It was beautiful.”

Involuntarily, the Inspector stepped back.  In his twenty-three years on the police force, he thought he’d seen and heard it all, but this guy was way up there with the weirdest of the weirdoes.

Inspector Freeforall swallowed, then asked, “So what happened after the guests arrived.”

“Every year, the Master has special games for the guests to play, and then the food is served.  Sometimes the guests get to play with the food.  They like it when their food tries to wriggle away,” the servant replied.

“Wha...wha...what?” the Inspector spluttered.

“Anyway, everythin’ was goin’ well, and about two o’clock the Master says to me ‘My ignoble Igor’.  He was in a good mood ‘cause of all the drinking. ‘My ignoble Igor, why don’t you take the rest of the evening off.  But be back here at 6.00am and make a start on cleaning up,” Igor said.

“He’s good to me, my master is.  Fancy getting a whole four hours to meself.  He knows how much I like to go roamin’ in the woods.  I like digging things up, especially when they’ve been underground for a while,” Igor said, licking his lips, “They get all nice and gooey.”

The inspector shuddered, and continued “So you returned this morning at six o’clock and found the unpleasantness inside the ballroom.”

“Yes, Sir,” I haven’t touched nothin’, as blood is my witness,” Igor said, holding up a dirt encrusted hand.

“Thank you, Mr …er, Igor,” Inspector Freeforall said.  He looked towards several members from the police department who were taking photographs and searching for evidence around the gardens outside of the ballroom. 

Running his fingers through his thinning hair, the policeman wondered what he was going to find inside the ballroom.  The message from the Department had said there was a massacre. 

“Igor, I would appreciate it if you could tell me more about what you found when you arrived home,” the Inspector asked, leading the way towards the old residence.

Gingerly stepping around the broken glass in the doorway, he stepped through into what once must have been a magnificent looking room.  Scanning the vicinity, the inspector spied a police photographer taking pictures further down the room, and over on the east side, he saw a bloody trail from the head of a boar that had been impaled on the wall.  Cobwebs hung from the chandeliers and the windows were grimy with years of dirt and neglect. 

"As I went in, I saw the broken glass and thought to meself, that their party had been a little rowdier than usual," the hunchback replied with an ingratiating smile, "But then I saw the first body on the far side of the room.”

Lurching across the room, the servant stopped beside a body on the floor.  It was covered with a sheet.

Following behind, the Inspector leaned over and lifted the covering.  Underneath was the stone statue of a gargoyle. 

Turning to Igor, with a scowl the Inspector demanded, “Is this some kind of joke?”

“Oh no Sir,” Igor replied, “That was one of my Master’s friends, Gregorian the Gargoyle.

“Don’t be ridiculous!” the policeman snapped, “It’s nothing but a stone statue.”

“But he was flesh and blood last night,” Igor insisted, “I think he got too close a look at one of the other guests.”

Inspector Freeforall raised his eyebrows questioningly.

“Just look over there Sir,” Igor urged, pointing towards another sheet covered object on the floor nearby, “It’s Ms Medusa.”

The Inspector raised the second sheet.  Underneath was the stone statue of Medusa, the legendary woman with snakes for hair.

“Are you trying to suggest that the gargoyle looked at Medusa and turned to stone?” said Inspector Freeforall.  Skepticism was apparent in his voice.

“Yes Sir,” Igor replied, “And I think you’ll find a mirror near Ms Medusa’s corpse, which would explain why she turned to stone as well.

“Well why didn’t everyone else at the party become petrified when they saw her?” the Inspector queried.  He could not believe he was asking such a ridiculous question in the first place.

“Ms Medusa always wears a turban,” Igor said.

“So this could have purely been an accident then?” the Inspector asked.

“Oh no Sir!  There’s still more to see. I think you’d better follow me,” Igor urged, walking crookedly towards the rear of the ballroom.

Inspector Freeforall wished he could go home.  He wondered if it was time for him to retire, or at least seek some really good psychiatric help.

Towards the rear of the room, there was another sheet on the floor, covering several oddly shaped objects.  Lifting the corner, the Inspector gasped, and almost revisited his lunch.  Strewn on the floor were the remains of a man.  Each limb had been severed, as well as the head. 

Igor noticed the colour of the policeman’s face and said, “That was Mr Monster Sir - Frankenstein’s monster.  By the looks of it, someone undid all of his stitching and just left him in pieces.”
“And just there,” Igor continued, “Under all that cloth, is the Mummy.  Some nasty person undid all of his bandages, and he just fell to bits on the ground.”

Inspector Freeforall felt very strange. 

“Follow me Sir.  There’s more,” the servant said, and the Inspector followed him into the kitchen.

Igor opened the door to a large freezer.  Inside was a completely naked man, frozen to death.  He had been very large, with long arms and strange looking facial features.

“I’d say it was Abdominadable … Adombomdonenable …Ambonini... the Yeti,” Igor said, “But someone or something shaved him, and shoved him in here to die.  Brrrr!  Nasty business.”

“Look where you step Sir,” the servant said, indicating a pile of black cloth on the ground.

Stepping over the mound, the Inspector asked, “Why?  What is it?”

“It WAS the Wicked Witch of the West,” Igor replied looking down at the empty clothing.  Clicking his tongue he said, “There’s a jug on the kitchen counter.  Perhaps someone threw some water at her.”

“And here is Stanley, the Squid creature from Space.  Well, at least I think it is,” he continued, indicating a used frying pan on the stove, “It seems he was chopped up, cooked and served to the guests as calimari.”

In a daze, Inspector Freeforall followed Igor down the corridor where they found a man dead on the hallway carpet. 

“I’m not sure what happened to Werewolf Sir,” the servant said, “There’s no bullet wounds, so I’d say someone made him drink or eat something with silver in it.”

The Inspector noticed a body spiked on the end of a lance, protruding from a suit of armour. 

“That’s Cyclops,” Igor stated with a shrug, “Somebody has poked out his one eye, so he may just have accidentally killed himself by running into the spear.”

“By the looks of it, the killer, whoever or whatever he or it was, worked its way from the ballroom, through the kitchen, down the hall, and then last of all, to my Master’s study,” Igor said.  He opened a door and stepped through.

“I’m quite insane,” Inspector Freeforall thought to himself as he proceeded after him.  “Yes, that’s it!  It all makes sense now.  I need a nice LONG rest.”

“There’s a book on Exorcism over on the desk.  It’s opened to the final page,” Igor pointed in its direction, “It’s my guess, that’s what happened to Gasper, the Unfriendly ghost.”

“An’ just beside the desk, sittin’ in his favourite chair is my Master Dracula,” Igor said. A tear trickled from his eye.

“Monstrous!” exclaimed the Inspector, “So what do you think killed him?”

“Well, if you lean in real close, you can smell garlic,” he replied with a long, loud sniff, “I’d say someone poisoned him with it.  Maybe they put it in his food or his drink.  It’s hard to say.”

“Is that everyone then?” the policeman asked.

“Oh no Sir, there’s always thirteen people at my Master’s annual Monster’s Ball.  One of the missin’ guests was the Invisible Man. I found his tuxedo in the garden, right next to a pot of red paint and a brush.  Even if we find his body Sir, we might never actually know we found it, if you know what I mean.”

“Well thank you Igor,” Inspector Freeforall said, shaking his head, “I’ll check out the results of the investigation in the next few days, and see if we can find the killer.  I’d better …. wait – you said there were thirteen people, um…er creatures at the party.  Who or what was the thirteenth?”

“Oh yes, I almost forgot,” Igor replied, “That’s him over there.”

The Inspector looked in the corner and spied what looked like a pile of red cloth.  “Was that another witch?” he asked.

“No Sir,” said Igor, “that’s what’s left of the Killer Tomato.  I’d say somebody kicked the ketchup out of him.”


Several days passed, and after examining the evidence, the police narrowed down their search.  They brought a suspect in for questioning.

“What can you tell us about the murders at Dracula’s Castle?” Inspector Freeforall asked.  He towered menacingly over the little man, seated at the table in the interrogation room.

“Ok, ok,” said the chubby little man, “It was me.  I only meant to scare them, but I got a bit carried away.”

“Go on,” the policeman encouraged him.

“For centuries, I loved my work,” he said, adjusting his gold-trimmed toga, “Helping people fall in love gave me a great deal of job satisfaction. You might think playing Cupid, is all about flitting from one cloud to another and just shooting arrows at people.  But there’s much more to it than that.  A top quality Cupid researches his target, and finds the best or most compatible partners he can.  Once we shoot our little love arrows, we have to help the process along, encouraging both people to work at the relationship.  We whisper helpful suggestions to them that will bring more romance and love to their relationship.”

A contented little smile hovered around the corners of his mouth, as he thought back, “It can be very rewarding,” he said, “As well as quite stressful.”

“I’m not sure how it all started.  One day, two of my clients were being stubborn and causing problems in their relationship.  They had a fight and both left in a fit of temper.  Exhausted from trying to help them sort things out, I flopped down onto the lounge and spied a box of chocolates which the lover had brought to his sweetheart.  Opening the box I peeked in.  I’d never tasted chocolate before, and I thought I’d give it a try.  One bite was all it took – I was hooked.  First I ate the nougat, then the caramel and soon I was shoveling the sweets in.  I was completely and immediately addicted.”

“Nobody had ever warned me of the hazards of chocolate,” Cupid said with a little sob, “It got even worse.  At first I happily ate any old chocolate I could get my hands on, but my addiction grew stronger.  Soon, I could consume only high quality chocolates, until finally, the only sweet that could ease my cravings was top of the range, Belgian chocolate.”

The Inspector looked down at the little man.  He had no tolerance for drug addiction, no matter what kind of drug it was.

“To pay for my habit, I began robbing little old ladies and corner stores.  Eventually I progressed to doing blind dates for money.  My life was a mess, and I lost all joy in my work.  The last few years, I’ve been going from one chocolate hit to another, by doing odd jobs or robberies wherever I could.”

Inspector Freeforall clicked his tongue in disgust.

“My family disowned me and my friends turned their backs on me.  So in desperation, I went the other way.  I decided to become completely bad and make friends with the evil crowd.”

Cupid looked up beseechingly at the Inspector, “You’ve got to understand how hopeless and alone I felt.  Two years ago I sneaked into Count Dracula’s annual Monster Ball, and asked if I could join his gang.  With a mocking laugh, he ordered me to ‘leave his house, and never to darken his doorstep again’.  The rest of them made fun of me and I swore to have my revenge.”

Standing to his full height, Inspector Freeforall said, “Cupid, I hereby charge you with the murders of Frankenstein’s Monster, Medusa, Gregorian Gargoyle, Dracula, the Yeti, Cyclops, the Wicked Witch of the West, the Mummy, Stanley, the Squid creature from Space, Werewolf, Gasper the Unfriendly Ghost and the Killer Tomato.”

Sobbing, Cupid cried out, “They shouldn’t have been so mean to me.  I only wanted to be their friend.”

“By the way,” the Inspector asked, “Whatever happened to the invisible man?”

“Oh, I painted a target on him, then released him in the park at a local rifle range,” Cupid replied, with a hiccup.

“Ok, we’ll add that one to the list as well then,” Inspector Freeforall said in a cheery voice.

“Actually Inspector,” began Constable Barnes, one of the other policemen in the room.  He rose from his chair in the corner, “Technically, we can’t really charge him with the murders of Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, the Mummy or Gasper the Unfriendly Ghost, as they were already dead.”

“Oh?” the Inspector responded.

“In fact,” the Constable continued, “We can’t really charge him with the murders of Cyclops, Stanley, the Squid creature from Space, Yeti, Medusa, Gregorian the Gargoyle or the Killer Tomato as they weren’t even human beings.”

“Oh?” the Inspector repeated, a note of anxiety entering his voice.

“As for the last two murders,” Barnes said, “Until we have evidence that the Wicked Witch of the West or the Invisible Man actually existed or find any kind of evidence of a body or foul play, we can’t charge him with those murders either.”

Inspector Freeforall flopped heavily into a chair.  He stared at the floor for eight long seconds.  Suddenly, he looked around at the others in the room, smiled a goofy grin and said, “I’m a little teapot.”

“Sir?” queried Constable Barnes.

“Short and stout,” the Inspector replied.

“Sir?” Constable Barnes repeated.

“Look,” the Inspector said, placing one hand one his hip, “Here is my handle.”

“Mr Cupid,” the Constable said to the plump little man, “You’re free to go.”

Cupid threw his hands up in delight, jumped from the chair, and ran from the room.

Holding his other arm out in front of him, Inspector Freeforall giggled and said, “Here is my spout.  When I get all steamed up, hear me shout.”

“Come along Sir,” said Constable Barnes in a kindly manner.  He helped Inspector Freeforall to his feet, “Let’s get you to a doctor.”

“Tip me over and pour me out! Hahahahahaha……….” ©

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