Friday, August 27, 2010

2. Hater of Human Blessings

I was ready to go when I heard his voice again.
“I’m coming with you.”
I turned around to assess the creature that had spoken, blinking irregularly. Even he could have tasted the bile on my tongue as I replied.
“Excuse me?”
He stared at me, dandelions in his hair, horns sticking out of his arms and legs and face. He was like an ancient scroll, depicting terrible demons and monsters, done perhaps by an amateur apprentice who couldn’t quite get the ferocity down.
“You aren’t wearing any clothes. You may not know this, but that is usually unacceptable.” That seemed a good enough reason to get him off my back.
“No,” he said simply. “I’m coming with you.”
“No!” I snapped back. “Look at you! Look! You’re not even human! I’m on the run and here you are, taking up my precious time! I need not to attract attention.” I swiveled around, stomping in the opposite direction. When finally I felt distanced enough from him, I turned around to further the argument.
And there he was, not a mere six inches from my person. How he managed to creep up with such utter silence still baffles me.
“Give me some space!”
He continued to stare like a broken puppy, flinching a little at the proximity now that I was screaming at him. When he did not back down, I gritted my teeth and tried again.
“Go away.”
“I don’t want to.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Just…go die somewhere!”
“I don’t-”
Through my teeth, I muttered a sour “I know you don’t want to,” but my poisonous tone did not reach him. Twenty minutes of stomping later, and he still hadn’t left. He didn’t speak a word unless spoken to, just followed, like a tall white shadow behind me. Fields of open plain rolled out before me, golden brown and scattered with moths and crickets and tiny red ladybugs. The sight was becoming tiresome, as was the argument that I kept up, mostly one-sided now.
“Stop,” I muttered halfheartedly.
“Go away.”
I ran out of ways to tell him to leave me alone, and so I reverted to other languages. When this failed, I decided to change my method.
“If you can change yourself into anything you want, why can’t you make yourself look human, huh?”
His mouth parted, giving me a view of his pointy little teeth.
“I thought this was human,” he said quietly.
“The bones? Sticking out of your arms? Do you see those on me? Do you see my eyes? Can you see anything?” In fact, it was quite possible that he didn’t, as his eyes were as empty as a dead fish, were the fish blind to begin with. “Look at me. Make yourself look like I do, and perhaps I will consider letting you follow.”
He was quiet, and stopped for a moment, and I continued to walk, wondering when I would get to the shore. I had taken my map out of the pack on my shoulders, but the squiggly lines meant nothing with the fields of grass spreading out in all directions. With each step I took, more and more insects scattered.
“Can you read?” I asked him. When I turned around again, I faltered, almost choked, because he had given himself breasts. Nippleless, too round, too big.

“What the hell is this?!”
“I am making myself look more like you.”
“Gods in heaven, why?”
I turned around again, blushing furiously under the paint on my cheeks, and tried to regain my senses.
“I do NOT look like that. Besides. Men…men don’t have those…those things on their chest…the uh…” I trailed off, having no words for the absurdity. Then I heard the sound of flesh stretching. Morbidly interested, I turned and watched from behind my hand as the makeshift breasts vanished back into toned chest muscle. He’d been working silently while I’d wandered, perhaps pulling the bones back into his body, the horns on his head vanished, shoulders, legs, everything. In their places were dark red dots, the most prominent being the sunlike circle in the center of his forehead and the two stripes down his cheeks. His eyes had somehow grown two red dots, like little boats in a vast white sea, too small to be real irises, and they didn’t seem to move, nor did he seem to be blinking.
I wasn’t impressed.
“Go away.”
He didn’t. And now his nudity was even more disturbing, because there was nothing distractingly inhuman about him except his awkward posture and bizarre stare, with pupils like red fish eggs plastered in place.
“I want to stay with you.”
I sighed, scratching my arms. Under my gloves I felt a chip of paint detach from my nail.
“Can I ask you something?”

He took a long time to answer, so long that I started to grow offended. I thought it was because I was pretty, or the first woman he’d seen in a long time, so he fancied me or something. That was how stories with beastly beings and beautiful girls always went. I recalled a story of a dragon that kidnapped a girl for company and dearly sympathized with the poor wench.
“I’m bored,’ he finally said. “And lonely. I haven’t seen anyone in years. It’s felt like years.”
I turned around and his vacuous eyes looked hypnotic, his mouth agape, teeth still pointed and unnatural.
“That’s very sad…uh…”
He still didn’t have a name.
“Whatever your name is. Do you have a preference?”
“I’ll call you Honemei.”
“Shut up and be thankful. Now you’re a person instead of an it. Doesn’t that make you happy?”
More irritating silence. He was so unappreciative of my kindness. I’d named him for the bones he used to have sticking out of every orifice, now the burnt-looking markings. Mei was a common suffix in my country- Tsuchimei. Truth be told, it was a girly name, as mine was masculine, and I later felt that I had done a poor job of it. I hadn’t put too much thought into it, really. I wanted rid of him, but had already given him a name- like an annoying animal, it was the last step before ownership.
“Thank you,” he finally said. “I’m sorry, I forgot the words…for giving thanks.”
I wondered what I was going to do now, and when he would tire of me. Most people found me abrasive, and I hoped now that it would work in my favor. I was too tired to fight him off, and somewhere in me, I found the idea morally wrong.
He was just too pathetic.
But the more time I spent with him, the more I realized he didn’t pick up on subtle nuances, or even bluntness. He only understood the basics of language, and probably had no ear for humor or a person’s personality- anyone else would have given up by now.
I couldn’t deal with him. He was too annoying, and too unclothed.

No comments:

Post a Comment