Whatever there was between them, it was long gone. Freddy couldn’t look at the monster anymore without thinking about what it had done to the young boy, and the monster couldn’t look back at Freddy without feeling like it was being chastised for eating too much peppercorn salami at a dinner party.
The monster reflected on its chains and held them in its claw.
“I understand that it’s just what’s in your nature,” Freddy said. “So, really, you shouldn’t blame yourself. You’re just being you.”
The monster had nothing to say, as it couldn’t form words. Its language was only grunts and cute mewling sounds that it used to make people believe it was cute and not hideous. It made neither of these noises now.
“I know I dragged you here from that swamp, too, and I know that it wasn’t what you wanted. Maybe if I’d left you where I found you, none of this would have happened,” Freddy said. “So, you see, from a certain point of view … this is all my fault, isn’t it?”
The monster was tired of this man and his desire to absolve the creature of all its sins. It was just another way the human was anthropomorphizing the monster. The monster was a monster. The monster knew that. Why did this pesky man have such trouble with it?
The monster would have recited the story of the frog and the scorpion to the human if the monster had been able to use language. It was a funny thing being so well read without the means to speak or write, but that was how it had always been for the monster: a brilliant mind distilled through powerful and unceasing hunger. It was a dilly of a curse, really. The monster wasn’t even sure where the reading voice in his head came from (it sounded like a gentle soul—bit of a tenor, really; it was a voice you could get bad news from and still feel like smiling). Every time he bent eyeball to text, there it was.
“It was the best of times,” the voice would read, “It was the worst of times.” At no point would there be a sibilant ‘s.’
“So I guess that’s it, then,” Freddy said. He looked at the monster, and the monster could see tears in his eyes. This had clearly affected him.
The monster dropped its chain to the floor and waited. Any minute now, the man would unlock the monster with promises to return the monster to its swamp. The monster could see this coming, as it could also see itself consuming Freddy and ripping into his salty flesh. The monster was looking forward to it, and it realized that it would forever be grateful that it couldn’t communicate beyond its two sounds. It would never end up like Freddy: pouring the internal out to the external world, and making everything sad and pathetic in the process.