Saturday Storytime: They Make of You a Monster

Damien Walters Grintalis fantastical horror or horrific fantasy or, sometimes, horror or fantasy. Her first book, Ink, arrives from Samhain Horror next month. It provides one more reason to be careful about what you have permanently affixed to your skin.

Finally, the guards come for her.

They bind her arms behind her back. Even with their gloves, they do not touch her hands. They lead her into a windowless room; the door shuts with a bang that vibrates in her teeth. The room smells of pain and sorrow. Of giving up. Giving in.

The man in the room smiles. A lie.

There is a table covered with a stained cloth, the fabric full of bumps and bulges. She does not want to see what the cloth is hiding.

“Will you serve your king?” the man asks.

She takes a deep breath. Doesn’t answer.

She will not.

He does not remove the cloth from the table, he does not ask his question again, and the guards take her back to her cell.

Magic was not always forbidden.

When she was a small child, there were no Healers, and only criminals were locked away. The old king was loved by the people, not feared. He loved balls, grandeur, music. The new king does not care for music, save that born of screams. Only those sworn to his service are allowed to wield magic; even then, they are only allowed a magic that has been perverted. Inverted. Fire to ice. Healing to—

No. She will not think of that now. She cannot.

Keep reading.

Saturday Storytime: They Make of You a Monster
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4 thoughts on “Saturday Storytime: They Make of You a Monster

  1. 1

    I was expecting not to like this story, because I don’t like horror in general; I was not surprised, as I mostly found it nauseating. I wasn’t expecting transphobia: “Rumors say the king acts in cruelty because he secretly wishes he was born female. If so, he might’ve held magic. Instead, he has only his cock and the kingdom to grip.” I… can’t really read that in any way that isn’t really unfortunate. The monarch is trans, so they decide to terrorize the kingdom? That’s pretty much a straight suggestion that being trans makes one evil.

  2. 3

    I didn’t read it as “the king is trans” either.
    It just turns a common theme around: “I wished I had been born a man so I could do something” is a common phrase, especially in classical literature (remember Beatrice saying it when she want’s to kick Claudio’s ass).
    Usually it’s women who are cut off from ways and resources to do what they really want to do, here it’s a man, and since he’s a powerful man he seeks to destroy what he can’t control.

  3. 4

    I’m happy to see this story under discussion, but I wanted to address Cara’s concern about transphobia. That was not my intention at all. I don’t think being trans makes anyone evil at all. It makes them human, just like everyone else.

    This story was born from my anger at the current war on women; the first draft was completed not long after the news about forced transvaginal ultrasounds. I’d hoped the subjugation of women and our need to fight back would be the underlying message of the story, and I’m sorry if it came across otherwise.

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