This story (in fact, this entire series) is full of action, humor (sometimes dark), smart people doing things that are sometimes stupid, good people doing things that are sometimes bad, some violence, some bad language and some adult situations. It is not for young children, and it also isn't for adults who aren't into that sort of thing. If you are related to or friends with me or my coauthor, you are excused from reading it if you fall into the category of people who don't like this sort of thing. We understand and would honestly prefer you don't force our crazy on yourself if you're not into it.
Find the full chapter list for The Man Who Made Monsters and links to related stories here.
The bloody, misshapen bodies spread around the girls like the petals of a red flower. They might have been human once, but their faces were a savage, unkind rendition of human features, protruding where they ought to be smooth and hollow and cold where life and warmth should have been found. Their eyes, glassy with death, were pale near to white.
The girls seemed like angels among the corpses, pretty and slender with doll-like dark curls and grey eyes like the winter sky in twilight. The younger girl hid her face against her older sister’s shoulder to keep her eyes from the bloody tableau around them, and the older girl curled her arms around her delicate shoulders and whispered, “Shh now. It will be alright. Everything will be alright, Teresa.”
The little girl clung to her. "When are we going home?"
"You're going home very soon, sweetheart," the older girl murmured, and her gaze flitted among the corpses. "Very soon, and everything will be alright."
Blood that spattered Teresa’s pink dress like disorderly polka dots. "You killed them. Why can't we go yet, Greta? Why are we staying here? We never stay. Why are we staying?"
“We’re waiting for someone to come help us,” Greta said. “He’ll be here soon.”
“But we don’t ever wait,” Teresa said in desperation. “We always go!”
"Shh," Greta whispered, and then she began to sing a soft lullaby and it seemed to calm Teresa a little. Greta's voice was as pretty as her face, and on the last que sera sera, the little girl had relaxed in her arms.
Greta cradled her close as she stood and crossed the field of corpses. She set her sister down beside a leather bag against the wall, and from the bag she drew a piece of paper. She moved back to a corpse that looked as if it could have been a human woman once and knelt down beside it to push its shoulder up to slide part of the paper beneath. Then she rocked back on her heels to admire her good work. "Yes," she whispered, pleased. "Yes, that will do."
"That will indeed do." A pale hand settled on her shoulder. "Thank you, Miss Bishop." He was an older man, his face lined and not so pretty as the faces of the sisters, and his voice was deep and rough as gravel. "It seems such a waste, does it not? I put so much work into them."
"They will send a good message," Greta said. "He will not be able to ignore you any longer, though you must be sure it is the woman who finds them."
He looked down at her, his gaze suddenly hard and cold. He did not like to be told his business, but she felt nothing when his expression changed. No fear, no nervous twisting of her stomach. Nothing at all. It was as if that part of her had fallen away entirely when she had entered his service.
The man was silent for a time, gazing back at her, and the anger in his face faded to contemplation until finally he dismissed her. "That will be all for now.”
She stood with his help and bent down by her sister to retrieve the leather bag. He scooped her sister up from the cold concrete floor. "Know that she is in good hands," he said.
Greta smiled. She reflected that had her sister seen the smile, she might have felt the fear that Greta could not feel. Then she reflected on how that fact bothered her very little, and she ought to have felt something, and that it didn’t even matter at all that it meant nothing to her. She realized she was hungry, and that she would have to burn her clothes, and that she had nothing nice left to wear. She would have to go to the store in her pajamas, and that bothered her. "Of course," she said, and she kissed Teresa's cheek. "Goodbye, little sister," she said.
"I will call for you when I need you," he said.
"I will be waiting," she replied, and then she disappeared into the darkness like a shadow, leaving her little sister with a man who made monsters.
Go to Chapter 1