by Toni Alison
Two years had passed since he dug up the body, on a night much like tonight with the wind at his neck and the snow at his heels. A chill so deep it ribboned through his veins. Cold, wooden limbs pressed against his hands like so much slaughtered cattle. The graveyard was not a mile south of the abandoned cottage where he now stayed, far from the expansive manor he used to live in with his mother Josephine and their two cats, Mimi and Oscar. Vulgar, foul little shits.
For so long his mornings were spent in bed with her and those goddamn cats, the Victrola down the hall muffled with the sad beauty of women. Mournful teardrop voices lilting in dreams as ballroom dancers waltzed across the ceiling, Mother beside him singing softly in her charming schoolgirl French. What he wouldn’t give for her to see him now, his hand clutched firm around the scalpel as he hovers over the examination table, a doctor of both psychological and physical proportion. Her son, Freudian Frankenstein, and this, his most primal of monsters.
The one-room cottage was just right for his lab and toolkit. Butcher’s knives and serrated poultry shears. Power drill and screwdriver. A needle and some thread. He operated in the nude except for a gas mask, thrust over his head with the impenetrable sensation of suffocation. Strangled breath that made him jerk off so hard he spouted all over his seat. Josephine, with her baby-smooth skin and the ferocity with which she clung to him with it. The way the manor would fill with the sweet musk of her perfume as she bolted the doors in every room, ready for play.
He makes a final cut to the body resting stiffly upon the table, a headless mosaic of spare body parts moth-eaten and mottled green. Three women composed into one, all of them brilliant and beautiful but never quite enough for Mother, whose disapproval echoed like a church bell each time he took them back home, his hands calm with purpose he so cleanly slashed their throats. Now he would make them whole again, truly perfect in the way Mother would have wanted. And how proud, how gracious, she will be at his handiwork.
He saunters across the room to the freezer where he has preserved limbs, torso, and pelvis, feet with the toes chopped off then re-attached. After the funerals he would always find the bodies, would always go back for them just as he promised he would. Just as he promised his mother so long ago, her blue, perfect skin now shrouded in icy crystal. He opens the door, pulls out the head and holds it so magically in his hands, this most sacred artifact to bless his creation.