You were so beautiful, so exquisite.
Begging hands without fingers- bloody palms with meaty stumps waving in the air. Hysterical cries begging me to stop are only driving me further. No person on earth understood your beauty; not even you- until it was taken from you one square inch at a time.
God does not live in this house. He could not hear your frantic, whispered prayers as I crushed the ball of your heel in my vice. Your foot made a wet pop and then you dropped into unconsciousness again. He did not hear you cry out his name as I removed each of your fingers with a pair of pruning lopers.
Scalpels and my belt sander removed the bumps on your face; your nose, your cheeks. A claw hammer smoothed your features until they were nearly as smooth as an egg shell. Skin carefully removed from your belly with a scalpel was stretched over your face. A drooling, red gash cut for your mouth. Blackened scabs for lips. Eyes removed; sockets smoothed over with pulped flesh. A fresh canvas for my art. All of my incisions are carefully cauterized with a blowtorch. All features erased.
Heaving breath; heaving breasts. All smoothed over now. Removed. Stitched up. Healed. Scarred. Legs sewn together, feet removed.
Your whole body is a map of scar tissue now.
Lines- marks of ligature for your necklace. Sutures like a roadmap of pain across your back. Wounds opened, quickly sterilized with flame, sewn back together with wire. Ligaments dissected and knotted together.
You are not the first, but you are the most important.
You continue to live, as if it was something worth fighting for.
There was nothing more he could do. She just couldn’t understand. And now, with scraps of muscle hanging from the joists in his basement like wet scraps of tissue paper, he put away his tools and called it a night. The mess at his feet could wait until morning. He was glad he had bought that pressure washer, it would come in handy.
Despite his actions, she had continued to live; her heartbeat was present throughout the whole process of transmogrification. Her features slowly erased, taken away one by one, the only way she could appreciate the small things that made her beautiful. She had actually begun to heal, to grow into her new flesh and that surprised him. His subjects usually did not last longer than a week or two. She had lasted for nearly a year. Would she have begged for death had he not removed her teeth and tongue? He didn't imagine that she would. After the third day, something inside him, something that was neither remorse nor compassion, prompted him to feed her, to keep her going.
It was not love. It was inspiration.
She became a living canvas and he worked on her a little each day until she transcended humanity and became something altogether different.
Hot needles, pliers, scalpels, hammers, files, power tools; fire, acid, and electricity.
On the last day, when he had covered every last remaining exposed piece of skin, she did something she had never done before. She moved towards him despite not being able to see him, crawling on gnarled stumps. She motioned to his tools with a jagged stump of a palm then brought her palm to her heart.
Beauty is now in the eye of the mirror holder. Strip away the body of a Corvette and you still have a strong frame and a V8 engine. The same is not true of humanity. Remove the physical beauty, the flesh of that which attracts people to you, and what is left? Is your mind attractive or are you just a mindless creature spitting out the useless catch phrases and slogans that you were taught by television, internet, and popular culture. Is anything worth saving?
We are biotic creatures of habit.
Where’s your habit at?
Are you worth anything? Years of paperwork, office dwelling, life not lived, everything served to you on a plastic platter.
People like me exist to shatter your pseudo-reality. What you live is not life. Happiness cannot exist without sadness- for how can you know what happiness is without it? Only those who have experienced the worst in life can truly appreciate the best in it.
That’s why I am here.
I bring the worst of humanity to you so you can know.
Know that which has been eluding you the whole time.
A glass mason jar sits in a wooden humidor carefully hidden beneath a blanket of insulation in the back of the attic crawlspace. Decades have passed since he had finished with her and nothing from those days remain, but this. He steals away once a year to look at it while his wife and kids go to Christmas mass. It is the only time he knows for sure that he will not be disturbed.
He waves at them through the window as they back the minivan out of the driveway, its tires crunching the snow. When the car is out of sight, the ladder is propped up in the garage and he climbs up it and into the crawlspace.
The insulation irritates his skin, but he disregards it. The humidor comes up, it rests in his lap. He hesitates a moment before opening the lid and removing an object wrapped in yellowed newspaper. He unwraps the newspaper that surrounds the jar, noticing the date printed on it; another year passed.
He holds it in his hands then cradles it in his arms and the tears come in torrents. The glass jar still feels warm to him and through the haze of blood, he swears he can see the fist-sized lump of muscle in it still moving; the heart that still beats.