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As a child, I truly adored my grandfather. He was a now rare breed of man, a word-spinner and brilliant storyteller, whose words would paint vivid images in your head which would stay imprinted in your mind forevermore.
And since I was an infant, his stories seemed magic to me. He told me of far off places and paradises, cityscapes and great lakes, animals with exotic names which exploded on the tongue like spices.
If I try to remember his good stories and close my eyes, I can remember the ideas I heard from him better than most memories I saw with my eyes. Even ones from an age as young as that.
That’s how good he was.
Now, I’ve mentioned already I think that he had good stories, which means I’ve inferred some were bad. He told one to me once... but no so much of a story, but of a being...
I apologize, I’m not even half the story teller my grandfather was, but here’s the basic gist.
He told me, where he usually did, in front of that grand fireplace (the only thing which made his little house beautiful). He lowered his voice, to a sibilant whisper like dead leaves blowing across the ground in winter, so my mother couldn’t hear (she was never present when he told me his stories. She often stayed in the garden, or chatted with the neighbors).
He described how he once had a friend, whose passion was for the science of anatomy. He’d longed for a long time to discover the trick to life - and he’d attempted to do this by combining creatures, with before, little success. This was disturbing in itself. But this time, my grandfather said, he came to him and said:
“I have a new piece” his friend had said “It worked this time. I didn’t do all of the work... most of it I found already like this... but still, still, come and have a look! But mind yourself, it’s rather... offensive”. Maybe the words of his friend were branded onto his brain like his description was to mine.
His friend led him to a metal door, the only metal door in the facility. “You’ll understand why it’s assigned this room soon” he had assured him. My grandfather described how he’d made to open the handle, and his friend stilled his hand and instead directed his eye to a peek hole in the door.
And this is what he saw:
A being, not cowering but in the middle of the room, awaiting a visitor with relish. It even seemed to be bouncing slightly, he’d said staring into the distance and troubled. When he noticed its legs were not there at all, but there was only one, huge, rusted spring as a base. Like a monstrous zebedee. Its whole torso was made from latticed, different hues of skin, sewn crudely together to cover him from groin to head. Its arms were springs, but less rusted and more slender, interlaced with what he perceived to be a network of nerves all the way to the end of its ‘fingers’... which were actually hooks, stained red. From rust or blood, he never knew. And its head... Oh, the images my mind created of this never left me. A pale ball, bulbous, not humanoid. A long mouth stretching from where ears would be on a human - but its black ‘ears’ and ‘eyes’ were only holes as big as nail heads - and full of needles, like the ones used to pierce flesh or fabric in injections or sewing protruding from an inch thick, pale pink gum which reflected the light where it reflected off the coating of saliva. The ‘teeth’ were randomly and double lined like a shark, he said.
By now, I remember feeling petrified beyond panic and my child’s face must have reflected my feelings. I wonder why now he grimly continued. Maybe he was too thorough to simply leave a story unfinished.
He told me how he’d pulled away from the hole, and at that moment heard a noise like a caw combined with a squeak like a damp cloth on a plate, followed by panting like a dog and noises like the springs of mattresses make. His friend had looked abashed for a moment then said ‘Sorry, you've excited dear little coil screw. He senses you.’
He quickened the pace of his tale now. I remember how he said now suddenly the door started quaking as the ‘coil screw’ began scratching at the door, the noise like rusty springs from the other side of the door. The blood had drained from his friends face and he bolted up the corridor- just as the door fell down and it bounded out.
Now he- my grandfather as he portrayed himself, that is - saw the full extent of this thing’s abilities. It bounced forward only a little after his ‘creator’ before instead extending his spring arms and hooking him back by the eye sockets. It proceeded to bite into him as he reeled him over, tiny little pinpricks which seeped blood and left little scratches, and drink.
About then, it remembered the presence of my grandpa. He looked up at his face, creaking as his neck springs bent, and hissed. Then he told me of how he ran, and ran, and never looked back.
Now he fully looked at me and told me “You must remember this story. It’s very important-” I heard footsteps coming from the front door - “-for you to remember because one day you may need to remember some monsters are truly real, my dear...”.
And at that moment, my mother walked in. She saw me, tiny face rigid in terror, and my grampa’s face and heard his words and at that moment dived on him and began shaking his shoulders. “Have you been telling her that goddamn story, pa? I told you to never tell a child of this family that again! You’ll disturb her like you disturbed Katie, and you know what happened to her!-” She turned and grabbed my hand. “Come on sweety, we’re leaving now, it’s OK... forget the scary things he’s been telling you...”
As she quickly brought me out of the house I remember hearing gramps shouting “Katie didn’t die because she was disturbed, it was the coil screw goddammit Helen (My mother’s name)! It’s for her protection! It’ll hunt down any who saw it and their family, and we should all be warned...!” His incessant shouts waned to nothing as we walked to the car, and drove off.
I remember not being able to sleep months after that story. And we never saw gramps again. But I did some digging afterward and found his job had been traveling to various scientific facilities around the globe. I also found the institute his friend worked at - whose name turned out to be ‘Colin’ - and all of his colleagues were killed but never found. The families had sought truth on the internet, and all concluded that the work had been too secret and they’d been assassinated in a conspiracy. I always wondered why my grandpa had told me that story, and as he was diagnosed bipolar before his death and lived out his last days in a mental institution, I think he’d made it up as an after effect of losing a friend so close.
But the idea of such a being scared me then, and still does now, so I thought I’d post it here :) Now, time to return to my present life. There is paperwork to fill, and I can hear birds singing and... god, I can hear my son bouncing on the bed... I thought I told him never to mess around in my roo-