A piece I wrote a while back. The idea was condensed into a much shorter story than I had originally planned.
Imagine looking in a mirror and seeing a reflection that didn’t belong to you. Or try peering through a keyhole, only to find an eyeball staring vacantly back at you. How would you react? I think that must have been the way Lynx viewed the world every day – through a glass haze and a little hole. She went through her life scared of what she saw looking back at her.
Sometimes I think things would have been better if I hadn’t found Lynx. Sometimes I don’t. Then I feel bad that I don’t, because, well, things would have been better if I hadn’t found Lynx. But I did find her. And now I wish I hadn’t lost her. She was like that toy that everyone wanted when they were little, the toy that belonged to someone else, someone who didn’t want you to have the toy so they kept it up out of your reach. You’d see it all the time, feel its stare on the top of your head, hear its call begging you to take it down and play with it, until one day you couldn’t stand it anymore so you grabbed that stepladder or that chair and you hauled your little trembling body up until you were eyelevel with it and poof you had it in your grasp. You know you shouldn’t, because it’s not yours, but that’s exactly why you do it, because of the undeniable temptation, because of the thrill of being caught. And then, I dunno, you drop it and it breaks into a million pieces, or you tear its arm off by mistake, and now all it is is a damaged toy that was never yours and now you have to deal with the consequences. I guess you could say that I broke Lynx. But I prefer to think that she was broken long before I ever took her down to play with.
Lynx wasn’t like other girls. She wasn’t like other people either. She was not human, and I don’t just mean she was weird or smelt like mothballs or anything, I mean she was actually not human. She liked to call herself the experiment that was made for older men. I never liked it when she said things like that, but then again, I didn’t like a lot of things she did, things mostly to do with not listening to me. I wanted her to leave that building, to come outside with me, but she never did. I knew she was scared. She always said there could only be one. I didn’t like that either. It didn’t feel right. One what?
“He has you trapped in a cage!”
“Silly Alex,” (she always said that with a giggle) “this is not a cage. It is my home, and I can’t leave poor Professor, that isn’t right, there can only be one.”
Poor Professor. Poor professor – pah! That guy was a lunatic. He was exactly like the mad scientists you see on TV, only in a clean suit and he didn’t always look like he’d just been electrocuted. Professor Windler was the guy who, I guess you could say, invented Lynx. Only a very messed up, and intelligent, mind could create a thing like Lynx. It was like he was Dr. Frankenstein and she was his monster, only she was much more natural looking and she wasn’t made up of leftover body parts. She was cotton and plasticine and thread all magically thrown together to make a life-sized human doll that could move, that could talk, that I swear could even feel (although later Windler told me I was just projecting my feelings onto her. He said he did the same thing whenever he was with her). She was perfect. The perfect experiment, with golden hair and bright blues eyes that could have been real. Only if you looked really closely could you see that her eyes were glass marbles and that there was careful, painstakingly done, stitching with see-through thread holding her all together. She always kept a needle and some thread tucked into her temple, right at the hairline, in case she ever snagged a seam somewhere and a piece of her would fall off. Whenever that would happen, I’d just laugh at her, and she’d laugh along, in that musical little laugh of hers that haunted me at night until I craved it, craved it until I was sore. I could devour that laugh, but usually, it devoured me.
I’m not sure when the changes started happening. I think maybe it was around when I took Lisa to see Lynx for the first time. Lisa was my girlfriend, so needless to say she did not like Lynx (but of course, I know now she had much deeper reasons for not liking Lynx). Lisa didn’t like anyone who was prettier than her, and although they looked similar – Lisa was a blonde, blue-eyed babe too – Lynx had that man-made quality about her that you just couldn’t be born with. Lisa warned me to stay away, and I should have listened, but I didn’t know what I was doing, all I knew was that I was in awe with this mysterious creature, and I don’t think I could have stayed away even if I had known what would happen. Lynx had me, and she didn’t even have to try. Once the claws go in, they never fully come back out…
So I didn’t stop seeing Lynx, even with Lisa begging me to. One time, when I was going to her, Windler was already there. I hid so he wouldn’t see me, but I saw him, I saw what he did. Afterwards he sobbed like a feeble child, and she muttered “Poor Professor, poor Professor” as she lay on top of him, stroking him. When he left, I stormed in, furious, and she just sat at the mirror brushing her hair slowly, slowly. I wanted to scream, I wanted to grab her, I wanted to throw her and thrash and tear her to pieces – and she just sat there brushing her hair slowly, slowly. She stared at me in the mirror with cold, dead eyes, and that was the first time it had really hit me that she wasn’t human. She didn’t care what the Professor, or what I, did.
“He misses his daughter,” was all she said. I remember touching her that day, and she was cold.
I didn’t go back to see her for a while after that. Lisa had started having nightmares again, and she wanted me to be with her, so I was, but only in part. My mind remained ever looming on Lynx, and her terrible Professor. “Misses his daughter, misses his daughter”, it echoed in my mind, chanting me into a whirlwind of confusion. I knew where his daughter was, but I didn’t dare tell him, not after I’d seen what he’d done. Did he make Lynx to replace her? Lisa always said she’d run away for a reason. Was that why? When I finally did go back, everything was different. It was like the rose-tinted bubble that had been keeping things up had finally burst. Lynx must have said something about Lisa to the Professor. Whatever it was, it made what little sanity he had left in his body evaporate away. The room was a mess, thread and stuffing and plasticine coated every surface, and Lynx, poor Lynx, he had taken all his desperation out on her. Gone was her golden hair, in its place was pointy black straw, and in one eye socket lay a cold, glimmering black marble. In the other was, seeming so much dimmer now, her blue marble, the only part left remaining that the Professor did not touch, could not touch. She snarled when she saw me, and arched her back in anger. Now she truly was Frankenstein’s monster. I got out fast, knowing the danger had finally come.
Lisa went missing soon after the change had occurred, but I knew where she would be. I ran to Lynx’s lair, burst through the door. At first I didn’t see anything in the dim room, only a pile of sheets, and a large fire sparking in the fireplace. Then the pile moved, and I saw, to my horror, Lynx spread over Lisa’s twisted body. Lynx straightened up and hissed at me, black eye glinting in the light, her blue eye growing weaker. She had snapped Lisa’s neck, and now lingered over her like a wild jungle cat over her prey.
“Lynx, what did you do?”
“There can only be one.”
“But Lynx you’re not the one now, you’re not even you!”
“She was supposed to stay away. He wanted her back. She did this.”
“No, Lynx, he did this! The Professor, he did this to you! He tore you down and gave you a new self and you – you killed his daughter for it!”
“He didn’t need me anymore, not with her.” She stood up, her blue eye now glinting strongly in the light. “Alex I’m sorry, please forgive me. I didn’t mean to. It’s the other half, the bad half, this new self as you say.” She drew closer, hands outreaching. “Help me Alex. I don’t want to be her.” I wanted to give in, I almost did. I was about to pull her into my arms, prepared for her tears. I wanted to stroke her the way the Professor had stroked her. I took a step forward, but then I saw her black eye shine out maliciously once more.
“No!” I cried, just as she lunged at me, fangs barred like the wild creature she was. I put out my hands and as soon as I felt contact I threw her away. Suddenly there was a great hiss, then a murderous shrieking, and to my horror I realized I had thrown her into the fire. Her body writhed and withered against the devouring flames and she stared up at me, her mouth open in a silent gasp of disbelief. She started to jerk violently, jerking until her hand fell off. It began to move independent from her body towards me, nails scittering against the floor, screeching in anger at what I had done. Horrified, I gave an anguished kick at the thing, kicking it, kicking it, kicking it until it too reeled back into the fire, hissing and spitting as it went. I trembled as I looked at the blackened mush of death that used to be my Lynx. She was perfect. What had I done?
Something hit my foot. I looked down. Lynx’s blue marble eye. The only thing that was good left in her – of her. I picked it up and put it in my pocket.
After all, there can only be one.