There was a beautiful idea. It was called child. It was developed in the minds of men and women everywhere. They called it ‘the idea’ and then attempted to recreate themselves in something innocent. How did they believe that they could recreate their tainted selves into a formless, thoughtless being?
child was a creation that was shaped by society, and immediately upon its “birth,” child began to adopt the mannerisms and requests of society. The men and women were immediately disgusted by child. It couldn’t think for itself, they thought. It’s just a cog, its just a robot, its just just just… another one of us. It was suppose to be pure, and lovely, and beautiful. It was a beautiful idea. child was suppose to be like us, just not us. It was suppose to be like us, but perfect, they said to each other.
child wandered around the earth, interacting with people, taking from this and that, and began to form its own identity. When woman, or man, came up to child, and tried to assimilate, assuage, and assume anything about child, child learned quickly that in order to keep the identity it had began to develop, it had to ignore the voices of society. child’s intolerance to advice made woman and man angry. We created you, they screamed and cursed in child’s ear. You are our child!
child became a hermit in society’s mind. child wanted its own life, its own thoughts, its own ideas. child wanted to bring another child in the world, so that they together could whispher secrets of kindness and of growth in each other’s ears. child wanted to hold someone. Someone that didn’t want to shape it, that didn’t want to control it. child wandered the earth, and found nobody.
third child stood in a row of its siblings. The chemical plant nearby has spewed out smoke and pollutions that have contaminated the water sources and the local vegetable crops. Births in this town are usually still-born or miscarriages. But the lucky few will birth babies, but they will not be healthy nor normal. Other nearby cities call this the town of freaks, but we call it life, and life abundant at that. third child has hands for arms, and a bellybutton the size of a silver dollar. mother darling’s embilical cord thicken as the labor increased. they say that the blood stream intensifies as the diaphram opens. the cord took the shape of a navy rope and wrapped its way around third child, like it had a mind of its own. third child made friends with the cord, coaxing it to loosen its grip around third child’s newly developing body. third child tickled the cord with its transculent fingertips, and the cord unraveled around the fetus’ body and recoiled in a small corner of mother darling’s uterus.
third child was the third out of six. mother darling kept getting pregant. none of the child have a father darling. mother darling has no father darling either. mother darling seems to get pregant out of the thin blue sky. first child says that mother darling sneaks out at night and goes to the ‘clubs’. only darlings can go to the ‘clubs’, only mother darlings can go get pregnant at the ‘club’. each of the childs are deformed, but in this town, deforming is normality. missing limbs, eyes, and noses, are seen as trophies. they are signs that you belong to this town. third child was jealous of fourth child’s ability to pop out his eyeballs, but still see to read. fourth child was jealous of second child’s third leg. second child balanced in a tripodic structure, and was almost impossible to knock down or trip.
mother darling fed her childs rice gruel and mushroom soup. they drank hot tea to wash it down. mother darling worked at the oil refinery on monday and wednesday. she coughed up soot at night. her nails are always dirty. first child does the dishes and the laundry. everything in this town is covered in dust and grime anyways. we wish the war on fossil fuels would end. we wish that we lived in a cleaner society. but we rely on the oil and gas to power most things. if the refinery ever exploded, we would be the first to burn in the chemical flames.
*this is for you, dear torrance mobile oil on 190th and crenshaw, and for you, oil refinery off the 405s near carson*
the air that morning had a silvery tinge. it had rained the night before, and the clouds created a curtain in front of the sun. nowdays the sun seems closer to the earth, its rays beat down a bit more deadly. third child walked to the park that morning. it forgot to wear any sunscreen. hours later, the child’s skin was beet-red and sensitive to the touch. in this town, people get skin cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer. no one knows what type of cancer you might contract, but here, you are bound to be diagosed. third child gingerly fingered the burn. the hands that poked out of the body had no arms, and third child’s mother darling consistently blamed the oil companies for her childs birth defects.
third child got a glass of water from the sink. the water came out a murky grey and tasted similarly to metal with a strange licorice sweetness to it. third child gagged it down, knowing full well that its body was already messed up, so why not just quicken the misery. third child wasn’t the most postive of childs, and was often caught thinking dangerous and determenital thoughts about itself. Never about others, always about itself. mother darling sat on the couch. the curtains were drawn and the other childs were sitting amongst themselves on the floor. it was a school day so third child didn’t understand why first and second were still around. mother darling didn’t say anything, nor make any attempt to move. the television played static for hours, and around dinnertime the faint smell of food wafted in from across the street. mother darling stood up to go into the kitchen, and all the childs looked at each other excitedly. their small deformed bodies needed nourishment, of all sorts.
darling came back with a warm can of beer, cracked it open and stared at a beetle scurring across the wall. fourth child stood up and ate it. mother darling didn’t even flinch. first child stood up and asked if anyone wanted a grill cheese sandwich. everyone said yes, including mother darling. first just glared at darling, didn’t smiled, didn’t move, just glared. mother darling looked blankly at the ceiling, at the childs, at her lap, and finally at first. she closed her eyes and leaned back. first child looked like it wanted to kick mother darling, but wouldn’t dare because then the authorities would come, and see how delapidated life was. Maybe it was like this everywhere. Maybe these childs weren’t special cases, just normal like everyone else.
no one seemed to care that third child wasn’t in its bed in the morning. At 2AM, third child felt an overwhelming need to walk around the town. Maybe to get fresh air, maybe to clear a wandering mind, maybe to explore the Sector, as the townspeople referred to their local oil refinery. Many people based their livelihoods off the oil industry, with an equal amount of distaste for what oil had done, and does, to the current health of the individuals living in Motav.
third child hobbled down the main street, towards the steaming towers of the Sector. It began to hum, “Pies and mud, pies and mud, flavored with dirt, flavored in earth. Pies and mud, muddy pies, flavored with time, flavored with hurt.” It was old nursery rhythm that mother darling once sang to her childs. The tune soothed third child, and gave confidence to the crippled child. It was dark, and the town stood still, and if one listened closely, they could hear the soft panting of third’s breath. Third’s tongue was covered in soot, and it spat on the ground. The spit dribbled down third’s chin, and pooled on the ground.
Soon third stood in front of a huge humming metal fence. It was electrified and third couldn’t climb it with electrocuting itself. Besides third’s hand arms weren’t strong enough to support its body. third stooped on the ground, touching the ground with its fingers. The dirt seems soft enough to dig through, and third estimated it had 2 hours to dig a hole to wiggle through. It didn’t even know why it had to go into the Sector, only that in this half-state of waking, it knew that there were answers in the Sectors, answers for third, and answers for Motav.
child’s nails are long and slender, sharpened at the tips with a file, claw like. it was with these nails that scraped and shoveled away at the abode clay dirt at the foot of the electrified fence. like a cat, anywhere where child’s head could fit, so could the body. after thirty minutes of digging, with sweat dripping of the brow, child sat cross legged in front of the hole. it looked swallow and the thought of digging a hole big enough to wiggle under the fence seemed like a daunting task. child stared through the chainlinked fence into the oil refinery. it smelled like sulfur and soot, and big silver vats steamed toxic vapours into the nights sky. child couldn’t believe that the city allowed people to live so close to the factory. didn’t anyone care about their health nowdays? didn’t anyone notice that air isn’t suppose to taste like grime?
child spat again on the floor and contemplated the job of digging. the night was 4am, and soon the workers would arrive to stir and boil their lungs to the early grave, to have mutanted babies, to eat a lunch of bolony and cheese. child squat with a new sense of determination. it wasn’t about what it was going to do once it was in the factory, it was getting that mattered. with dirt flying behind child like a dog digging a hole, child soon created a gap big enough to squeeze through. afraid that there would be no other way out than this, child left the hole. perhaps there were others that felt just as trapped as child soon would feel.
the night hung heavy with heat. vats the size of houses stood atop wood-burning boilers. the ladder to reach the top of the vat seemed to climb up into the sky for ages. child’s stomach got queasy with vertigo. it didn’t even want to think about falling in, no less dying in a sea of liquid fire.
child froze. a security guard’s boot crunched on the gravel, making the rounds of the property. child could see the swinging light of the flashlight. it quickly ducked behind two rusted metal containers. as the guard passed by, unaware of the intrusion of child, child noticed that the man had a growth on the side of his neck. it was flesh-colored, but bumpy and cancerous looking. if child didn’t know better, it would have assumed that the man’s neck was pregnant.
mother darling didn’t know if she wanted childs or not, she just had them, year after year. she should have stop with second child. already she should have seen the patterns in the birth deformities, but in Moltav, deformity was average. she herself was born with no fingers. her children, with no arms, with too many legs, with removable eyes. at first she thought that the mutations were from the father’s genes, but she didn’t even know who the fathers were in most cases. she just wanted a family. she was desperate, so she visited the Club over and over. was it similar to a drug addiction? the feeling of wanting to become pregnant again. the heightened status in the community. the wishing and hoping for a stranger child than the first. when third child was born, she rejoiced in the fact that it had no arms. two little hands flapped in the air, grabbing hopelessly to arms that would rarely hug.
why did she rejoice then, if she could bear no love for her childs? For those few months, she would stay far away from the Club. the fathers would smell the birth on her. They would cringe and creep low to the ground, snarling and clipping at her ankles. She kept her distant when she was with child. the fathers were a group of rouge men, who would love, if you could trade with them. they lived in a run-down motel at the center of town. women would frequent there, bartering sex for rice, dried corn, sometimes tools. the sex was quick and dirty, the mattress browning at the edges, the rooms smelled like smoke and greasy fried chicken. but mother darling needed rice for gruel for her children, so she kept visiting. it was a backwards prostitution. they had what the women needed, but the women had to go to them. men who needed goods came too. the fathers weren’t picky.
mother darling cringed at the handful of memories in the run-down motel the townspeople called the Club. she hated the fact that first and second already understood where she went to get more rice and soap. there was no money anymore to go the store, and the store people went to the fathers anyways, so the prices were definitely inflated. darling rocked back and forth in her amber-colored rocking chair, that creaked the floorboards of the modest room that her and the childs stayed in. it was late into the night, and she had not yet realized that third child was missing. she was too busy recounting old harsh memories, and constantly figuring out a way for her struggle, and the childs.
she was a selfish woman though, and the childs were hard for her to handle on her own. the school systems weren’t in effect anymore; there were no teachers to teach, and none of the parents enforced attendence. mother darling knew her children had special needs, but she was too tired to try to teach them on her own. the childs remained unable to read and write, even mother darling struggled through the weekly newspaper.
mother darling flipped on the telly, and watched the frightening evening news. war ran rampant all over the world. poverty, starvation, and rubbish seemed to cover the earth. it all seemed so helpless, so horribly lonesome, so horribly the end.
the security guard let loose his guard for a moment to itch the cauliflower-like growth on the side of his neck. the dim light cast the growth’s shadow. with all the bumps and lumps and balloning of the skin, it seemed like an alien had made its home between that man’s clavical and ears. third child sat hunched in the darkness, until the scratching began. child leaped from its hiding place and crawled the guard’s growth, with its sharpened talons. the guard’s piercing scream was muddled by third child’s tshirt that was stuffed into his mouth. child, shirtless with blood covered talons, stared down at the unconscious guard. it examined the growth. on closer inspection, it was slick and pale pink, though inflamed and a bit wrinkly. it looked like both a burn and a tumor. but in the town of Moltov, it could have been from birth has well.
as third child stooped down to poke and prode the guard’s growth, it heard a rustling from behind. immediately jumping to its feet, third child snarled and flexed its hands. it’s claws still dripping in guard’s blood. ”who’s next?” third hissed quietly, “c’mon, don’t hide from me. show yourself!” Suddenly, at the sound of third’s command, a flock of feathers and dirt showered over everything. A shriek so high, third child was forced to shrink back, all the while batting it’s armless hands at the flying debris. ”stop it!” shouted third child. ”please!” third child’s cover was now non-existant, and it’s life would be too if it didn’t get away from the spastic flapping of feathers. a dust cloud formed thickly around the creature. third child could not see if the thing was friend or foe. ”who are you?” said third child. the flapping suddenly stopped allowing the dust to settled long enough for the creature to show itself.
the creature’s face was both bird and woman. With eyes shimmering purple and a beak like a sparrow’s, the creature menancingly squawked and cawed at third child. it stretched wingspan was the size of four childs, and its feet were claws. third child felt that the creature was just frightened, and so it bowed down, with its head low to the ground, and whisphered, “i mean you no harm.” the creature spoke back in a graceful tilting voice, “oh little one, if only you saw the danger we are in. if only you could see this world from a bird’s view. if only you say how much the world is hurting. this guard is one of many. his wounds are a result of working here. you should leave, go home. do not harm yourself more.” third child sat mezmerized by the soothing sounds of the birdlady. ”please,” third child said,”birdlady, do not expell me from here. i come to help. i am deformed from birth, and so are the other childs. there are hundreds like me. we want to know why. i wish to know the truth. please.” the birdlady bowed her head to the ground and beckoned for third child to climb upon her back. ” i will show you what you wish to see, but i can do no more.”
third climbed on her back holding onto her long blue green plume. birdlady flapped her wings, and the dirt and feather flurry began again. they rose in the sky, just in time for another guard to stumble upon the dead one. the guard grabbed his gun and shot into the sky, but third child and birdlady has rose high high above the bullet range and flew to the top of the highest structure that the townspeople called “the cavitity”.
the highest structure in the town was a billowing metal pipe structure of smoke and sendiment. the pollutions from the cavitity spill out into the clouds, causing the clouds of Moltov to hang heavy with carcenogens, causing illness and birth defeat that the oil industry never addressed. the people for hundreds of years have existed in a society where oil was needed to run the transportation and machinery, because there wasn’t very many options for the otherwise dready and rainy weather of Moltov.
third child clung will all its hand might onto the feathers of birdlady, as they soared and climbed higher and higher into the air, until they landed on the silver grating that lined the cavitity. third child delicately unstadled from birdlady’s back and took a look around. the view was stomach lurching long down to the ground. if birdlady so much as flapped her feathers, third child might have teetered off the grating and into the unknown world of death and dying. child clung onto the metal rail handling. the smoke was thicker up here, almost as if the breathing air felt like carbon monoxide. it was tight and heavy, and no one wants the truth when they are dying, and this place made third child feel so hopeless against its new found fight of the oil industry.
why should my city die in order for other’s to drive cars?
mother darling looked at her watch. it was while into the midnight hours, and the booze was getting to her head. after hours of slowly sipping her whiskey on the rocks, the wall in front of her began to slighty sway. she couldn’t tell if it was her eyes or if she was riding out a small but subtle earthquake. Moltov had earthquakes that shook the demons right out of you, the townspeople said. Moltov is not a town to be reckon with. You had better hang on to something tight, because when the earth shakes around here, it crumbles building and crushes souls. But this late night mild shooking wasn’t one of Moltov’s infamous quakes, just a lonely woman getting too drunk to see and think straight.
mother darling was a mess. her home was dark and damp, and smelled of cornchips and mold. she constantly picked at the skin of her face, until her complexion was a mixture of acne-ridden teenage meth head. she didn’t smoke meth, at least not right now, but she had her vices, that she wore too willingly on her sleeve. she wasn’t afraid of telling people she ran into on the streets about the hardships that her and family were going through. but the people had too many worries of their own, too concerned with their own fame, and fortune, and getting by to care or worry about the darlings.
poor darling, the grocer liked to say. poor old mother darling. she once was a pretty young thing, until she started having them freaks for childrens. she calls them her childs, her precious little darlings. but you know she is lying, she hates them as much as she hates herself. every week she comes up here and asks me to the usual, so I pack her up a bag of bread and cheese, some cereal and milk, eggs sometimes. not a speak of greens or meats! how does she accept her childs to grow up? she is stunting their growth, she is. no damn eggs is gonna get that childs to grow arms!
A egg sailed through the air and splattered upon the metal grating. SPLAT. third child whipped around, trying hard to peek down into the abyss of smoke and steam, desperately trying to located where the fuck that egg came from. SPLAT. another one. SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT. third child ducked down as egg membrane ran gooey down its face. birdlady has flown away, and the egg attack was happening hundreds of feet in the air. it would take quite an arm to launch an egg attack from the ground, and with such precise accuaracy.
whisphered high above and down below and surrounding third child were the sounds of children’s taunting.
“EGG FOR YOU,
EGG FOR ME,
WON’T GROW YOUR ARMS,
WON’T GROW A TREE.”
it was song that the youngsters would bully third child with at school, because mother darling only bought eggs, cereal and cheese from the grocer. the children laughed and laughed at the darling family because they were freaks, because they were poor, and because they were a bit smelly.
third child hid and ducked down, and the eggs ceased to fly. they stopped suddenly. as if the throwers just evaporated or were lurking from below, gathering up more ammo. but the eggs stopped flying. third child creep up to the edge of the balcony and looked below. the lights from the tower lit up third child, making it self conscious of how exposed it was to more potential egging, but there was none. for a while. it was silent, and third child leaned back against the spirling metal pipe steeple and fell asleep.
“What the fuck is that?”
“Touch it, I dare you.”
Third child peeked its eyes open to see two security guards just as deformed as it, inspecting the sleeping curiousitity.
“Don’t touch me,” third child spoke.
“Fuck, it talks,” said the security guard with a tumor the size of a cantelope for an ear.
“It spits too,” as third child hocked a lugy at Cantelope Ear’s face.
The other security guard slapped third child on the cheek, like he was scolding bad behavior, so third child swiftly kicked him in the crouch.
Third child stood up in the the hazy of sleep and dawn, ran onto the otherside of the grating and shimmed down the ladder as fast as possible. All that was on third’s mind was a hiding place, away from those guards who may be after blood and some water. Why did all the guards have face tumors? What was going on? And where are the cooling tanks, third thought.
lips dry, chapped, parched. like a sponge in a desert, coaugulating spit glands, need water. third child dragged its body across the concrete, but it had been searching for what seemed to be hours, deeply distrubed and scared that there was no liquids to be found in the refinery. not one facuet tap, dasani vending machine, bathroom sink. nothing, nade, nope, zip, zero.
its tongue against roof of mouth like sandpaper against sandpaper
coughing up mucus lubricate tongue to keep from gagging and dry heaving
nowhere. was. there. water
mind dizzy. sun sorching fair skin. arms failing, as they do best. clawing at metal tubing. beginning to think of any liquid to quench thirst. big round tall vats of piping hot simming oil. thirsty. desperate. thirsty. oil. oil thirsty. big tall glass of oil.
oil. lapping it up from a small broken pipe. thirsty. third child sipped up the blackened liquid. it burned its lips and throat as it went down. dangerous, toxic, horrible, thirsty, thirsty, thirsty.
third child passed out from the fumes.