Monday 4 July 2011

Monster in Mind

Welcome to the Xeroversary! From Sun 3rd July to Sat 9th July we celebrated 1 year of the Xeroverse with guest flash fiction posted every day. Join the festivities, enjoy the fiction, say hi. =)

The Xeroversary is over, all that remains is the afterparty... (with full guest list)


Monster in Mind

by Roswell Ivory

It had made the front page again. I had made the front page…

That’s a lie. I would have made the front page if I'd been sharp enough to think of doing it that way- but no. Someone else, with his knives and his ropes and his intriguing-but-impossible clues had taken my place, and he hadn't even the guts to sign his name to his art.

I could imagine it perfectly- she would have begun the piece dainty-breasted, blonde, fairylike- and ended it curled into a safe private womb in her mind; a bloody seed. Beautiful. And here I had all the tools for my own masterpiece, but creative block.

Another night, passing with conveyer-belt speed: get dinner, read today’s paper, get coffee, read my headline in paper nine months old, get light switch, plan my next piece. She’s here, walking around- bright, copper-headed. A minor local celebrity living just a few dozen walls away. Jenny…

And all the while She, Her, The Wife watches shit on telly downstairs. The thought of making her into my latest artwork had passed once or twice, but Hell no. Too obvious. Too damn cliché. And she doesn't have that mystery. I know the exact curve of the scar on her thigh when she dropped the secateurs last August. I know the precise shade of the mole above her right eye, the creases that are beginning to show between her breasts. Her! Never.

When I work, I want us to discover each other as we go. I'll find some of the infinite things to do with something so fragile- the ways in which a person can belong to you when their life is literally held in your hands. And I’ll take my time holding it there in front of her, shifting it like a tangible thing in my palms. And she’ll discover everything I am capable of- my potential- until I finally see the realisation in her eyes, that I am a monster. I am a monster. I have ended lives- I have ruined lives, and like a true monster, I don't regret a single thing.

I pad downstairs, stand behind The Wife, squint until the television blurs into two garish diamante visions. This talent show farce reminds me of some sick party, everyone dressed as a glittering insect, feeding on nectar and on each other. I walk to the door.

She looks at me, face pouching into a seduction attempt: "I was just going to bed, if you care to join me?" She is somewhere between average and mildly unattractive, yet she disgusts me as if she were the picture of Dorian Gray.

It's dark outside but that's the point- it‘s peaceful. No one disturbs a man of my size at night, not even for directions. And it's fragrant, wonderful Monday: the slick greasy smells of the street’s takeaways have a night off. The smells of earth and honeysuckle take over. And I walk. I know every garden, and every house that will have lights on at eleven on a school night- students, layabouts, night owls like myself.

Jenny’s house never has lights on: much less, an open door. I know her house- I can smell her presence... No, that’s a lie too. I saw her leave one morning for the radio station.

The door is open. I enter. Like in a game, you have to take what is offered. You have to pick up the treasures you find, you have to talk to the people you meet, and you have to enter the open door. The stairs ahead are lit for me- she's in her room. She’s waiting.

"You're right on time. Do I look the way you imagined?” She’s fully clothed on her bed- one knee bent, back straight- as if she's posing for something.


“What were you planning on doing to me?”

“I was going to make you drink something that would still your body but leave your mind awake, and I don’t know where to go from there…”

“Don’t ask me! It’s your murder!”

“But you invited me up!”

“I didn't care what you did to me.”

“So what then, I should act like a monster?”

“If you like.”

I had brought my tools with me, in a stupidly optimistic move but even if I had known what to do, none of it fit this woman- and so I wished I hadn't- that I could use the excuse that I don't have anything with me…

“There's a kitchen knife downstairs, first door on the right. I think there might be some rope in the shed but if possible, I'd rather you didn't strangle me. It's not the sort of thing I imagined. Not very tragic heroine…”

“Do you want to die?”

“It's supposed to happen.”

“What are you trying to say?”

“That you should leave now and come back when you know what you’re doing!” Her face had a hint of mischief about it.

And now I know. I have the perfect masterpiece set out in my head. Oh, there will be blood, there will be bone sticking through rent skin, there will be tragic messages written on walls for the help that will arrive that one second too late. All I had needed was a first draft.

And there it is on the notepad in front of me, crammed with my hideous spiky scrawl. Cold coffee to my left, spent pen to my right, dawn light revealing the first long shadows of the day. There, right there- is the greatest intrigue I‘ve ever written. Jenny, as I wrote her, would get everything she wanted, in 400 pages of bestseller-smashing glory, my glory- and as I see the exposed bones of her story dripping onto the page in my hands, the mirror behind me shows the back of a monster's head. As The Wife begins to snore in the next room, my giggles turn manic.


Roswell Ivory is a writer and model, living in the UK with many books, an impressive collection of clutter and several imaginary cats. She likes long conversations, wildlife, the paranormal and eight-inch heels. One of her greatest achievements to date is meeting David Attenborough and not uttering the words "I'm your biggest fan!"

Look at her website which contains her articles and modelling work, and subscribe to her blog, which is just awesome...

Xero says: Roswell and I studied creative writing together and it’s great to see her making a name for herself out in the big, bad world... =)

Be warned, Roswell’s blog & website have some NSFW content...


  1. Intriguing peek into this wannabe monster. I found the dialogue tantalizing and makes this piece fresh and brings a sense of horror to it as we see the webs being laid.

  2. Quite an awesome piece of writing this, very good on the imagery, for a writer to make others see, they must first put themselves right inside the event, and tell of what they see there.