Writer in Residence · 01/22/2014

Monster Flicks

Poltergeist

Most of us are dying for more tears, but not me. I live for the screams and shrieks.

“Get away from my baby,” one cries, squeezing with the lights off. A few rounds pass through me and get lodged in the dresser.

When I was alive, I took a slug in the lung that pushed me to the other side. It still tugs when I pass through the ceiling, but there isn’t a holiday that isn’t improved by screaming.

That’s one way to sugar coat it.

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Frankenstein

Since my brother came out wrong, the doctor tried stitching me from living parts.

I’m built from phantom limbs aching for their bodies. Whenever I walk by a pinned-up sleeve or a plastic leg, a part of me tries to disappear.

“Zhat is just zee guilt, mien son,” the doctor says, tracing the trenches on my arms with a fatherly finger.

He isn’t my father though. I know that. I have fifty fathers walking the streets, each with a piece of them missing—a finger, a foot, a patch of stubbled cheek. Each feeling a loss that only a parent can feel.

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Nosferatu

I guess I thought it would be, you know, fun. Like we’d get to hang out all night like we already do, except forever.

I wasn’t thinking about the mechanics of the thing. The circulatory system and all that. That’s always been my problem, even before the turning. Not thinking things through, I mean.

Eddie. Christ.

Everyone always said he was slow. By the time his turning kicked in, he’d already been drained and embalmed. He’s so gunked up inside he can barely move. I have to feed him blood from a baby bottle in the basement. He rests his cold head against me, suckling. If I let air bubbles in, he spits out the plastic nipple.

“Me creature of night,” he gurgles. “Me bring hell! Live dark! Hate sun!”

“Yes, you are, Eddie. You’re a horror of human dreams, I promise you.”

A few splatters from his lips land on my cheek. They drip down in place of tears.

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Mummy

When I’m resurrected, I’m desiccated. I can’t even think of anything but the thirst. I suck the soul of this person, then that one, but it doesn’t help.

They use a scroll or spell and I’m finally back in the deep abyss of death. It’s like drinking from a golden jug until you are so full you never want to drink again.

The words on my tomb beg everyone to leave my bones alone. Yet a few years later, another fool with another set of sacred words. I’m wrenched into a world of scarcity and dust.

Death, rebirth, murder, death. The cycle never seems to end. And each time all I can think is, Didn’t you read the sign?

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Creature

The black lagoon isn’t really black. Everything is bright and alive down here: fluorescent fish, patterned pythons, and electric eels hiding in the green weeds. Sometimes I just swim in place and stare in awe.

When the pink ones come with nets and knives, I watch them scoop out and open up these creatures. I follow their lead, take a pink one to my cave. I open delicately with a single claw and gasp: a brilliant red lake filled with a shining organs, purple tubes, yellow glands, and twisting blue veins!

It’s important to feel a sense of wonder every day.

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Werewolf

We’d never been able to have kids, even before the bites, but I still feel like a mother. I have a wolf inside me. She nestles in a cavity in my chest where I had a kidney removed in college.

When she’s inside, she’s so small and soft it tickles. If I scratch just right, I can hear her whimper.

The moon gets bright and she comes out while I go in. I curl up in the warm wet skin.

I’m not trying to say it’s like being born. It’s just that for a while I was tired all the time. They shot my husband with silver and left me with a mortgage and endless bills. But when I’m inside, the world disappears. I’m growing a litter fiercer every time.

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Lincoln Michel’s work appears in Electric Literature, NOON, Tin House, The Believer, and elsewhere. He is coeditor of Gigantic, and can be found online at lincolnmichel.com and @thelincoln.

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posted by Nicholas Rombes