My Beautiful Son: A tale of horror (PART TWO)

My Beautiful Son: A tale of horror (PART TWO)

By The Fiction Fairy

Still, there were so many moments during his life that his condition could have been caught or captured, but somehow it was hidden from the world. He was very healthy and well developed, plump and cheerful, a good feeder and sleeper. When he had doctors and dentist appointments I waited for someone to see that he had the extra teeth, but it never occurred. He reached his milestones with ease and the doctor told me he was a model child. Some children avoided him all together and at the playgroup he was more interested in watching the children play and then unexpectedly gave up the pretense of playing at all. He would rather sit and listen to the adults, which made them uncomfortable and one mother even told me she left like Dylan was judging her. But when he wanted to, he was perfectly social and played beautifully. His first word was mama and then baba, which meant fresh blood and was paired with him sticking out a fat, baby hand which he pointed at my chest. Part of me remains grateful that small towns can be skittish of a woman feeding a baby, so I was happy to have private places to go. 

When he learned to command fire at the age of five, I waited for a teacher or even a school friend to report something, or a scream of fear at the playground, even accidentally, but nothing came. As far as I saw, he knew to only levitate objects at home, and in front of me. I shouldn’t have clapped and praised him when he made blocks float around the living room, but I was proud. 

I suppose it was mum who came closest to figuring it out. I was hanging clothes on a gorgeous sunny day, with Dylan at my feet when he was three. As usual, he was perfectly behaved and seemed to be sitting happily, until I looked down and realised there was a brown snake curled around his chubby legs and arms. Norm, my fathers dog, had passed already and I didn’t have time for pets, so until this moment Dylan had never seen a snake, let alone a deadly one. 

But the snake’s forked tongue was tickling Dylan’s cheeks and he was laughing, delightedly, playing with it. For a second I was seized with irrational fear until Dylan looked up at me, and I felt the mysterious calm that always washed over me when we locked eyes. It was safe, he seemed to be thinking, so I just took a step back and continued to watch. I had never seen a snake nuzzle a human, like a puppy or a kitten, but this snake did, and Dylan was delighted. He cooed with glee, staring at it fixedly until he seemed to get bored of it, and the snake slithered away. I finished hanging the clothes and scooped him up for a feed when mum stormed out and asked if I saw the snake or not. 

I replied that I did, and started to say something, but then Dylan locked eyes with mum and she seemed to forget what we were talking about. Her words trailed off and her eyes glazed over and then she murmured, “…curried sausages for tea”. I knew Dylan had done something to her, there was no denying that, but when I fed him, looking down at his beautiful, gleaming eyes as he drank, everything seemed right with the world and my darling child. I loved his raven hair, cheeky grin and impossible green eyes, how could I not?  It would not be until just after his twelfth birthday that I would be allowed to understand. 

Mum had passed when he was eight, unexpectedly falling asleep on her way home from a long shift. She had somehow driven the ute into a tree that marked the turn off to the house and although there was very little left to pay, I almost couldn’t afford the mortgage on my own. Out of pity and grudging obligation to my mum, I had got into a receptionist job, despite many people in town being more qualified and suited to working for Uncle Gavin, who was actually more of a cousin to mum. But he kept me long enough that I actually learned to be useful to the business, so there I stayed. Having Dylan to look after changed me, somehow made me collected and together. When the day finally came that my son explained his powers to me, I realised just how much in our lives was his will, instead of just a lucky coincidence. 

 There had been a death at his school and all the children were sent home unexpectedly and Dylan showed up at the office on the main road of Tilling, making the door jangle to announce his arrival as every other customer of “Gavin’s Construction”. Just five minutes after Dylan arrived, Uncle Gavin was called away on an urgent call so Dylan and I were alone, me at my desk trying to complete a game of solitaire instead of drafting a letter and Dylan sitting with his history books. He had come to wait for me after school many times and our tiny town was perfectly safe for a boy to wander. He approached me with the same calm confidence he always had, a tall and handsome lad of twelve with his intense, beautiful eyes. 

“I need to explain something Mum, I hope you understand,” he said and sat with a commanding air across the table from me. Atypical as it sounds, I was not surprised that he was so mature and collected. My boy had always been something else. Something exceptional in a child costume. I remember when he no longer wanted to be breast fed because he seemed to sit up and push me away. It was then I realised he preferred the independence of the bottle, so I resorted to expressing milk,  and mum never seemed to question that my milk had a pink tinge to it. I didn’t understand the mechanics of it until he explained that she physically couldn’t see it, because he willed that she could not. 

When he could eat solids this was soon replaced by meat and when mother died, raw meat. It seemed perfectly normal to buy a tray of mince and watch Dylan consume it by the handful, sometimes delicately slurping a strand of it, sometimes shoving an indiscriminate ball straight into his throat as he read. His warm palms often welcomed snakes and he was never bitten, they just coiled lovingly around him soaking up the unnatural fire of his never-cold skin. 

He explained it all to me, that quiet Tuesday afternoon. I suddenly understood it all: his command of the air, which he manipulated to lift objects, his ability to read some minds, the flames that leapt from his fingers at will and the curious eating habits I had grown accustomed to. He explained that he was born knowing how to control what others could see and experience and that is how he remained hidden for so long, but that would no longer be able to hide from me.

This was why he never wanted to play, muck around, and be a child. This was how he learned to speak flawlessly while so young and could read and write with such mature ease. His mind was older and more perfected than mine and although he still spoke with respect, there was no doubt that he saw the people around him, myself included, as ants slaving pointlessly towards death. But I was still his mother and he explained that he needed my help. 

With singular clarity he outlined that consuming dead flesh was no longer viable for his appetite and in order for his power to grow, he would need to continue consuming living victims. He confessed to killing the girl in year 6, but that it would look like she just stopped breathing, but that he had absorbed her. I was taken aback that the day off given to the students was due to my darling son, but I also didn’t understand what he meant. 

He sighed and took me by the hand and walked me to the staff bathroom and gently told me to remain calm. 

I watched the mirror and him as he removed his clothes without shame and folded them carefully. I was a little embarrassed that he covered his genitals from me, the mother who had changed his nappies a million times, but the air left my lungs when he closed his eyes and began to gently shiver. 

He strained with effort and his entire form began to change; his skin, hair and bones rippled into action and within a minute, my son was no longer there, instead there was a girl with the features of pre-pubescence and shock of ginger hair. My Dylan had black hair cut into a short, hip style that he had asked for, but this hair grew long, almost down to his waist and he looked tired at the effort of the change. He spoke, and it wasn’t his voice, “See how it tires me, Mother. We must go home so I can rest. Do you see now?” he asked. I calmed myself and tiredly replied that I did, of course I did. He turned to show me all of her, a girl, now dead, living only as a part of my son, and I saw tiredness in him. 

I left him in the bathroom to change back and he emerged just before closing time, looking tired with dark circles under his eyes. I took him home and gave him hot tea and chicken mince, but he barely finished half the tray before he fell asleep eating it. I put it in the fridge and tucked him in, gently wiping some of the cold chicken off his mouth and fingers. As he slept, I watched lovingly from the other side of his room and marvelled at him, his brilliant mind that had produced the drawings I insisted he display, the many books he liked to read and of course his violin, which he played with such delicate skill and passion that many had said he could be a professional. But mostly I saw the beauty of what I had grown inside me and I was full of pride at every muscle, every inch of perfect skin. 

There were other benefits too, I suppose. He never misbehaved as I did, never rebelled or pushed back against human rules, even if they were pointless to him. At school he was never in trouble, just a quiet, model student who enjoyed his music lessons greatly and had little trouble learning anything new. They wanted him to apply for a talented student program, but he gently turned it down, stating he wanted to stay with his mother. Even when he had begun to masturbate I was glad, because all animal life seemed to leave the area around the house, even flies, ants and mosquitos. It was as if they sensed a stronger, more powerful predator.

It was four years ago that he took his first human life, and I have been helping Dylan kill ever since. At thirteen we moved to the city, where he could take lives more easily and no one would notice. He finished his schooling dutifully and told me it was time to begin his work. What he does, exactly, I am not sure. But he leaves home in a suit every day and makes enough that he bought me a house that we share, with a large, thriving garden fed on human blood and bone. 

Every week, or less if he gets truly hungry, he brings home a new, besotted girl for the night and the next day I get rid of the remains or whatever else she has left behind. Sometimes he takes their forms and creates elaborate lies that they are leaving town and other times he has taken their possessions with ease, as he also takes memories of what they know. One girl’s life was so charming to him that he lived as her for a full month and then absorbed her boyfriend too. But all too soon, it grew tiresome, and he stopped being them altogether. He gets bored easily, my brilliant boy and even now is discovering new and interesting ways to stretch his amazing talents, like how he consumed a doctor and can now perform surgery with total ease, or fly a plane without ever setting foot in one. 

I wonder sometimes that we may have to move house if someone grows suspicious, but for the moment I am happy with my quiet, peaceful life. As he grows in power and I age, I fear I might not ever see his true potential. At least at home he is truly himself sometimes, shaking off the human form like a dog shaking off water, his beautiful skin rippling and his hair parting to reveal his black, glorious horns. When he sits beside me in the glow of the television and puts his unnaturally hot, red arm around me with a smile, I can almost remember what his father must have looked like for me to have such a beautiful son.

The Fiction Fairy. D&D, Horror short stories.