The Monster Within

It wasn't your average day. Valentine's Day. The day of the year where everyone's ready to go out on dates with hot boys to restaurants and cinemas, expecting a red rose and a kiss to mark the end of a wonderful night. Melanie was expecting that too and much more.
She waits where Harry had told her to for hours but he never arrives. It's cold outside and a storm is brewing. Melanie can't stand the snow but it's not the frozen white that's bothering her. Something is out there. Something that shouldn't be.

One shot!

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1. The Monster Within

 

Thunder clapped against the sky. The girl shuddered. She knew something was out there in the February snow, something that shouldn’t be. The stark orange beam from the streetlight cast eerie shadows in every direction. Wind roared through the trees nearby, throwing the leaves around then ripping them from their branches and tossing them around. Suddenly, they all fell.

The girl took out her phone, the glare of her screen bright white in the darkness. Where was he? He said, promised, he’d be here at seven to take her somewhere special for Valentine’s Day. She knew she shouldn’t have trusted him to keep his promises. It’s not like he ever had before.

As she turned to leave the puddle of light, lightning sliced open the sky in an echoing slash of light, and then it was silent. She took one step back, the leaves crackling under her weight. The shadows came in and out of existence as the streetlight flickered on and off, on and off. Sparks erupted from the light, followed by a menacing hiss as the streetlight continued to sputter, faster and faster. Then nothing.

Darkness blanketed her as her eyes darted around the empty street.

“Harry...” she whimpered as she continued her frantic search for safety.

Then she screamed. Nails dug into her side, cutting deep into her skin. Hot breath brushed her cheek, a scolding heat compared with the icy night air. A hand clamped over her mouth, capturing her cries in its rough calluses.

“Harry’s gone.” It hissed as its talons drew blood, “and you will be too.” Her eyes widened in realisation and she began to struggle, writhing in its stronghold.

“But don’t worry, Melanie” it continued, removing its claws from her wound to stroke her ebony hair. “I have something...special for you.”

The wind began rushing against her cheeks, branches dragging along her arms and legs. She could see nothing in the pitch black. She had no idea where she was going; she just hoped she would survive.

Melanie raised her head, seeing the silhouette of a warehouse building coming into view, its structure slightly leaning to one side and an iron bar sticking out from underneath the corrugated metal of the roof.

The monster’s body shuddered beneath her, the hard muscle contorting and writhing beneath her.

“No!” it roared, tossing Melanie like a rag doll to the other side of the warehouse which they had now entered.

The metal sides burned against her boiling skin, and then she fell to the concrete floor, free falling then slamming hard into the floor. A flare of pain burst in her head, pulsing to the rhythm of her heart. She raised her quivering hand to her scalp, feeling wetness pooling amongst her hair. Her hand came down in front of her face, but all she could see was the glimmer of liquid on her palm that was displayed by the shaft of moonlight that came through one of the holes in the sky high roof.

Raspy breathing came from the other side of the room. The shadow of the monster rose and fell as it took uneven breaths, the muscles contracting and relaxing.

An earth shattering roar came from its jaws as it turned to face Melanie, looking right into her eyes with its own green ones. Its face contorted in the moonlight, a hideous scrunching of its already dreadful features.

“Mel...” it moaned as its muscles moved faster. It threw its head back, a horrific cracking resounding through the hollow shell of a building. “Help...” it cried, its eyes shining with some strange familiarity. That emerald green, Melanie was sure she’d seen it before but she didn’t know when.

She began to rise from the ground, slowly pushing up from her pool of blood. She took one step forward.

“No!” the beast snarled, “Get away from me, Melanie! You don’t want to see this.”

Realisation hit her. It knew her name. It had said it several times already in fact. No, it can’t be, she thought, her eyes widening with the shock that hit her like a freight train.

A single flake of snow drifted down from the roof, finding entry in one of the holes in the metal. It was one speck of purity amongst the darkness of this Valentine’s night. It faded though, into the darkness, to fall to the ground like an icy teardrop from above.

“H-Harry?” Mel said, keeping the beast’s eyes on her own. A single tear fell from the monster’s eye, exploding on the ground into hundreds of tiny beads.

“I-I’m so sorry, Mel.” Harry whispered, his voice fading into the static silence of the warehouse.

He shrunk from his beastly form, collapsing to the ground. His clothes were torn and his curls splayed haphazardly about his head.

Mel ran towards his form, dropping down to his side. She shook his shoulder, her shaking voice continuing its mantra of “Harry?”

A single tear fell from her eye, falling to join the two others that had fallen already that night.

“I’m sorry,” he muttered, “so so sorry.” Wincing, he turned onto his back to reveal his scarred face.

“What...what happened?” was all Mel could get out.

“We all have our demons, Mel.” Was what Harry replied, “We all have a monster within us.”

“But...but you’re famous, you’re...just you.” She whispered.

“I’m not all that I seem though, Mel. Nobody is. Especially not the rich and famous; we are the largest monsters of all.”

Silence echoed around as Mel finally realised the truth. She didn’t know Harry at all, nobody really did. Just because he’d been such a sweetheart on the TV and internet, didn’t mean he was in real life. It could all be a facade for all she knew.

This Valentine’s would forever be a reminder for Mel, that nothing was as it seemed and that everyone had the monster within them, even the rich and famous. Especially, the rich and famous she told herself as she walked away from the warehouse and into the drifting ice tears from above. 

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