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The master's work lives on.
They came for me.
I felt them swarming through the woods, crawling through the creeks that belonged to my master's family for generations. Creeping through the underbrush, with pounding hearts and blood singing through their veins.
Just as they came for my master, they came for me.
Standing at the edge of the cliff, I could almost see his bones in their final resting place. His body ravaged by the sea, the salt water claiming him as its own. The creatures ate his skin away, the sun bleaching what remained. Now he seemed like a specimen he'd put in his laboratory to study, then roast in the oven to see how heat affects the ribs and spine.
Half-buried in the sand, his empty eye sockets stared at me accusingly. I wanted to apologize, but I didn't. I couldn't ask forgiveness for finishing our experiment. I wouldn't apologize for our success.
The voices came nearer. Branches cracked under their feet as they tried to sneak closer, their eyes peering into the dark to catch a glimpse of their prey.
They were too blood-drunk to realize they weren't the only hunters in the woods.
The moon glowed, dangling in the sky like a jewel. For six months, it watched over me, providing insight and answers to questions that I was unable to fathom. Its light shone on my master's notes, illuminating the laboratory enough to continue his work. And it cheered with me, applauding alongside as the creature took its first breath.
Now, I imagined that it wept, seeing my master's death, my own plunge into lifeless exile, and tomorrow's sun, which would see the creature in all of its mismatched glory. Many men gave themselves to make his arms, his legs, his body - and he was magnificent. A miracle. His lust for death, however, remained... complicated.
I did not anticipate that the limbs would remember death. That they would crave it, as one needs alcohol or sleep. That they would do anything to bring it back, including sending others to their graves.
A branch snapped behind me, and I turned. A small crowd had gathered, the moonlight revealing their pitchforks and wooden clubs and kitchen knives, their faces twisted into agony and dread. They feared me, just as they did my master. I did not cause them any harm, and yet because of my experiments, they came to teach me a lesson.
Away from the crowd, something rustled in the underbrush as if being dragged, bumping over rocks and cracking tall grasses.
"There is no reason for this madness." My voice carried clearly over the water, the heads of the crowd, and the movement in the grasses. "I know why you are here. And it is too late."
The crowd murmured among themselves. The rustling sound stopped.
"I will not apologize for what I've done. I am not playing God, as you always say, but attempting to channel His glory. He created us, and I have created someone new. It is merely an extension of His work, nothing more."
The hum became a clamoring noise, with some shouts and protests.
"Please! Good people, please. You knew my master, and you fault me for his sins. Yes, I aided him. Yes, we did terrible things. But in pursuit of life! For you, your sons and your daughters! As God made us in His image, He has also given us the authority to continue his work, just as I have continued my master's!"
Now they shouted, drowning out my words. If anything else moved, I did not hear it.
"This is my legacy! If I must die, let it be known that I am proud of my work, and I would do everything in my power to care for it! It is mine, and belongs to no one but me!"
My last word, screamed to the heavens, finally brought on the chaos. The crowd surged forward, their pitchforks and clubs and knives ready, bellowing threats and curses in my ears. I turned, ready to glimpse the salty sea one final time, to breathe its air and find my place beside my master's bones.
Then the massacre began.
I heard bones crunching, and shouting voices abruptly cut off. The pounding hearts and singing veins that followed me to this place were silenced in an instant. The mothers and fathers that had considered it their duty to rid the village of this monster, this scientist, would not return home again.
My heart leapt to my throat, pulsing in my ears. This was not what I'd expected, yet it made my spirits soar.
When the cacophony faded, I finally looked over my shoulder. There, in the wake of bodies strewn from the cliff line to the trees, stood my beautiful monster. His lopsided head stared at me, his eyes aflame with bloodlust, his teeth stained red. His hands, two different sizes, opened and closed of their own accord, the fingers nearly brushing the ground. When he approached me, he walked with a strange gait, as one leg extended longer than the other.
He had life. He was mine. And his hunger was satisfied.
We stood there for several seconds, sizing one another up. I waited for him to accost me, to throw me over the cliff, let me tumble to my death in the waves.
Instead, he sniffed. Then he turned away, lumbering back to the tree line. He ducked under the branches and stepped into the darkness, fading away.
I was left alone with the carnage, but I did not see it. Only my glorious creation, breathing and alive. He had protected me, his creator, and feasted upon my enemies' flesh. There was not much to recover from the remains, but it could be done again. An arm here, a leg there. He would soon have a friend.
No one would threaten us again.
(This story has 983 words.)
Hello readers! This is a bonus post: a short story created for this month’s prompt on the Fictionistas May Flashy Fiction thread. Here’s the link:
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