T H E M O R P H I S T
by Silva Noir
Chapter 1 : rain
The rain hammered into his face in a cold torrent he couldn’t control. The grey clouded sky was ripped with rays of light desperately penetrating through the holes and tears. The streets were slick and black. It smelt as if that late spring day the whole world had taken a shower and hadn’t forgotten the soap. He was alone, he was more than alone, he was an only. He wandered aimlessly, dreading the day, searching. He surfed upon a sea of waking dreams and aimless thoughts, an answer he sought...in aggravation he walked.
The strolls were important to him. In a way, he realized he could not find any solution outdoors, down the preset paths, but it felt much better than just sitting there. He had very little better to do anyhow; he had no real friends, not even a pet. All that was at home was a mother who had very little interest in him or his life, more just a lady he lived with than a real mother. They moved around to different towns every few years, never too far, but enough that no one ever got to know them too closely.
The truck horn blared in his ears, he ignored it. The backlash wind of the cars that zipped by blew his delicate near white blond hair about his head, and the long black trench coat like a cape to his thin frame. The truck pulled its alarm once more, David turned to glare at the headlights then leaped in front of the steal behemoth.
For a split second he looked like a crazed villain from a comic book drawn in a physically impossible dramatic pose, then the changes really began. Silver goo in abstract shapes took over from where the young man once was, going upwards, much to the horrified eyes of the driver. Strong metallic claws dug into the awning of the truck’s hood, tearing it open as if it were a tin can. Other vehicles swerved and went off road at the sight, the creature seemed to revel in their screaming. It was undefinable, the closest you could say it was to anything real was a tiger, other than that it was anyone’s guess. It jumped with incredible agility onto a red corvette, forcing it to flip over. It played with the cars, as if an overly zealous little boy would, delighting at the crashes.
Under the black twisted oak trees, on the side of that empty highway one foggy morning, the silver animal receded, dripping along the way, shiny flesh dissolving almost before it hit the ground as if it were never there, leaving a worried teenager to shiver by himself.
David stayed there in the mud, letting the cool brown liquid squish between his fingers, adhere to his skin. It wasn’t so different than he was. He was usually more careful about these things, he had his fun, but he had been blatant and reckless, this was sure to make the news. Good, a voice in his head replied, I hate people in cars anyway. Always in such a hurry to go somewhere, never stopping to consider the world or others. Or maybe you’re just jealous, argued another thought, that you can’t be normal like them.
One thing for sure, mother would not be pleased. She had kept him not exactly sheltered, but ignorant of the world. She did not coddle him and treat him like a cute little boy, with only soft safe and good things. No, David was a different kind of innocent... a creature on the outside looking in on the human race. He didn’t have much interaction with others, with the news, or with the normal struggles of growing up. He’d been informed since he could remember not to cry for mommy, not to talk to anyone unless he was told it was ok, for it was very important that they did not know he was her son, and sometimes that he even existed. She went to work everyday with a different last name than he, and stayed away most of the time. The house was always dreadfully quiet.
He wandered in late with an ache in his stomach. David never ate much, maybe once each day, twice if in tiny portions. An empty home, and empty stomach, an empty life...he wondered if he had an empty soul. He went into the kitchen, draping his coat on the chair. He opened the fridge and made a sandwich, one slice of cheese, a romaine lettuce leaf, and Dijon mustard with standard white bread. He took catlike bites here and there, finicky as usual, even though he liked it. He discarded it on the plate, one corner now missing, whilst he changed out of dirty clothes and into fresh ones after a quick shower.
David was perhaps the cleanest person in town. His room was neatly arranged and a bit sparse, mostly in blacks and whites of semi-modern furniture. His clothes were all similar, all smooth cut, plain, and solid colors. He pulled on the usual white shirt and dark slacks. He retrieved the sandwich then stretched out on the couch in the small, somewhat shabby living room, decked floor to wall in browns. He lay there on his stomach, idly flipping channels.
He found Star Trek, one of the few shows he’d been watching for years. It was one of the few things his mother apporoved of him viewing. He remembered watching it with his mother when she got home and the questions she would ask.
“How come only certain people fall in love, and it almost never works into a whole relationship?”
“Well, that’s the way it is, you know that. Some are needed for their special skills, and don’t have time for love, or they just aren’t right for it. It doesn’t make them bad, things work in a certain way.”
“Will I ever get to fall in love?”
“Chances are small David, like the aliens, you’re different from those around you...you look the same but don’t fit in all the way. Get along with those around you, don’t let anyone look down upon you and don’t look down on anyone, but be careful who you get close to.”
He had no will to watch anything else, he was worn out and full of disdain. He hated eating, and only did when his health would suffer otherwise. He hated doing a lot of things.
“David, you know you can’t go about acting like you do when in one of your moods” his mother scolded, barely in the door. The rain had cleared up temporarily, she was dry. She pulled the jangling keys out of the lock and took off her tan wool coat, threw her purse on the table, and sat on the edge of the couch upon its arm. “Grey beast causing car crashes. I know it was you.”
“I got...carried away.”
“People can’t see you do these things. They hurt what they don’t understand out of fear, especially if you threaten them. Some were hurt today.”
“But none seriously,” he buried his head in the cushion. “They mention silvery liquid, sliding, it’ll be blamed on the weather, not me.”
“Davey...” She touched his fine, almost white hair. “I care about you. I don’t want them to treat you like some monster, that’s why you can’t act like one. Stay calm for me, all right?” She was a kind woman, only slightly plump, almost 40, long mousy hair with copious highlights of what looked like a poufy tangled mess pulled back by a big white bow. She still had on her lab clothes, the bland off whites and flat rubber soled shoes that were sold for five dolalrs a pair. “Why did you do it? What made you so mad? You’re not usually like that...” she sighed, “Is something bothering you?”
“Do I have a father? Where is he?”
“Don’t ask that...” she put her palm to her forehead in a sudden headache.
“But others at school....”
“I knew it. I knew I never should have put you in that fool-hearty school ...you’ve been there a half a year already...”
“A year to three in each town and never more. We keep moving and I dont think its only because of your job any longer. Its because you don't want me to be in contanct with anyone, be conencted with them. What are you afraid of me finding out?”
“There’s too much, it goes over your head. I’ve been working hard, trying to fix it, we have to live this way.”
“But do I have one? a father? And who is he? Where is he?”
“You don’t....you don’t.” She sighed and sat almost crumpled on the couch, leaning back. He’d upset her deeply. He’d always accepted that he just existed, never really asking or wondering why, except in those brief and forgettable minutes in life everyone has. But now he did. He didn’t try and comfort her, never even laid a finger on her in his life, just left her there. Human contact of any kind was foreign to him, he’d been deprived of it, cold and scientific as his mothers work. Mother ....the word for him didn’t invoke the usual love and warmth.
A few tears rolled down his perfect skinned cheeks. He didn’t cry very often, they just sort of escaped him, for he was not totally devoid of emotion. He looked over to see her crying as well.
“Ruth...” He called her by her first name, had been told to all his life in front of others while in public, he’d come to do it in private as well. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
“It’s all right David,” she wiped the tears away with a pink Kleenex. “I’ve just been trying to protect you all those years. It's what a mother does, or is supposed to do. She doesn’t let anything bad happen to her children. I’m not a very good mother in other aspects. I’m terrible at it. Too deep in my job for a family. Son of a technician and it shows. Some days I feel very alone, I’m just like everyone else, you’re different, and yet I’m as lonely as you are. But there’s no other way...”
“Because of me and your research.” his grey eyes, catching flecks of different color in them, gazed at the glowing TV set.
“I’d love to go to dinners, dancing, wear nice dresses and jewelry, be brought roses ... but I can't. Its far too risky. I can’t let anyone know me that cloesely ... know us.” She kicked off her shoes, feet sore from standing most of the day, eyes tired from staring into a microscope and operating precise instruments.
“Have you ever been in love?”
“...No” She said about to fall asleep. “I haven’t.”
“Do you think I ever will be?” he said softly, more to himself, but she’d already drifted off. He took the knitted yarn quilt from her mother and covered her up. She’d lost touch with most of her family and old friends because of him, what little she still had consisted mainly of phone conversations and letters. He was never allowed to see them nor did she let them visit the house. “Goodnight Ruth.” He smiled briefly, then returned to his own room and stare at the blank ceiling for a few hours before being able to sleep himself.
<-- Back to the main page Chapter 2 -->