This is my entry into Crazyword's May 2015 Fairy Tale Contest. My subject is Beauty and the Beast.
Kenneth Mathers loved Beauty. He adored the very aspects that Beauty presented. Beauty was loved by all. Beauty was welcomed in every gathering, celebrated by the people and requested in all circles. Beauty was perfection, something that Kenneth valued and swore to protect with his life. Beauty was Kenneth’s duty, a duty that he intended to carry out.
However, the Beast had other ideas. The Beast had been stalking Beauty for years, right out in plain sight. Kenneth had tried to tell others about it, had tried to point out the Beast.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves though, aren't we?
Kenneth was in his mid-30’s these days, and had been aware of the Beast and his evil, wicked attacks on Beauty since a young age. Perhaps it first showed itself to Kenneth when he was in the 2nd or 3rd grade. Oddly enough, Beauty had entered his life around the same time as the Beast. Both were very close acquaintances. It was Kenneth’s classmates that first made him aware of the Beast, for they saw him too. They pointed him out to Kenneth one day, explaining in small detail what the Beast looked like, and what his impact on his victim’s lives caused. They whispered about the Beast around Kenneth from time to time. It was an ugly fiend to be sure, something to avoid. That same year, Kenneth became aware of Beauty, and was quickly made aware that Beauty would always be hunted and terrorized by the Beast.
As years went by, Kenneth was forced to stand witness as the Beast continued his attacks. Sometimes they were minor, just some annoyance or another intended to detract away from Beauty’s ability to live and be happy. Other times, the Beast’s attacks were direct and vicious, causing weeks of damage.
Kenneth watched, day after day, week after week, year after year as the Beast continued to rampage and wreak havoc on Beauty. Kenneth had tried many times to point out the Beast. He tried to tell his mother about it, to express the sheer terror that the Beast imposed on Beauty. His mother would reply the same each time, that Kenneth was imagining all of these things, that there was no Beast.
Kenneth had photographs of it though, plenty of them. The Beast was pale; it had crooked teeth and matted hair. It looked so weak, so pitiful, yet it could cause nothing but pain and torture to poor Beauty. Kenneth truly hated that damned evil bastard. Yet, despite his best efforts, he could not defeat him. He tried to show his photos to others, but they pretended as though they could not see the Beast. They would chuckle and tell Kenneth that he was being ridiculous.
Life continued and Kenneth’s hatred of the Beast evolved into something deeper and darker with each passing year. Beauty was becoming weaker, more distressed, begging Kenneth for help. Yet no help seemed to come.
Kenneth married the love of his life, hoping that she could dispel the influence of the Beast. For a while that worked well, the Beast and his constant harassment of Beauty slowed for a time. However, one day, as Kenneth was driving to work, he looked into his rear view mirror and caught sight of the Beast. It was just there for a second, but he knew it when he saw it. It was out there, stalking yet again.
A year later and the Beast was back to his old tricks. Kenneth tried so hard to get his wife to see the Beast. He pointed it out, screamed at her to notice it, begged her to see what he saw almost every single day. She became distressed because she felt that his obsession with the Beast was becoming dangerous. She tried to reassure him time and time again that there was no Beast, yet Kenneth could not look away from it. As he grew older, it seemed to grow in power, attacking Beauty directly and without mercy.
Eventually his wife left. She simply could not tolerate his obsession with the Beast any longer. He saw it almost everywhere, and would often fly into a rage when no one else, including his wife, would acknowledge it.
He hated the Beast. He had a photograph of it that he took recently. He sat alone in his home studying it, falling deeper and deeper into his intense hatred of the monster. It was that very day that he decided to confront the Beast once and for all, to end its evil games and to rescue Beauty once and for all.
He was in his own home, turning towards his bedroom when he caught sight of the Beast. The bastard thing was right there, invading his most private of sanctuary. It was staring at him, daring him to make a move against it. However, the Beast had made one fatal mistake; it had allowed itself to be cornered. Kenneth reached for the nearest weapon he could grab, a hammer, and advanced on the Beast without fear.
“I fucking hate you!” Kenneth screamed as he walked up to it. The Beast refused to back down, it stood its ground, inviting Kenneth to do his worst. It was mocking him as always.
“I hate everything about you; I hate your fucking crooked teeth! Why can’t they be straight, why can’t they look like everyone else’s? Normal people have straight fucking teeth!”
Kenneth attacked the Beast with the hammer, smashing its teeth, watching its mouth bleed. It felt amazing. For so many years Kenneth had wanted to go after this thing, this creature that lived only to destroy the innocent Beauty. In his glorious rage, he simply couldn't understand why he’d waited so long.
Best of all, he could tell the Beast was feeling pain, all the pain it had inflicted, coming back to it with interest.
“I hate your fucking hair! Your hair is never right. Other people, normal people, comb their hair the way they want. You piece of shit, you have to be difficult all the fucking time don’t you?”
Kenneth dropped the hammer and grabbed the wounded Beast’s hair and began to rip it out in great handfuls. The pain registering on the Beast’s face was a thing of triumph. All the years that Kenneth had to endure this fucker’s abuse of Beauty, and now it was its turn to feel that agony. Kenneth ripped the Beast’s hair out until there was nothing left but a few strands and a bloody scalp. Kenneth was a warrior, Kenneth was invincible, and the Beast was finally being brought to justice.
“Let’s see that scrawny little body of yours shall we? Why can’t you be like everyone else, why can’t you just be like everyone fucking else? Do you like being an ugly piece of shit? Is that it? Do you enjoy what you do to Beauty? Do you like the pain you inflict? Is this fun for you?”
Kenneth looked around and saw a pair of sharp scissors on his bathroom sink. Sheers, yes, perfect, used for cutting hair. They were sharp as razors. Of course, since Kenneth relieved the Beast of his disgraceful excuse for a head of hair, he found another purpose for them. He began to cut the Beast’s arms, slicing into the small biceps that never developed muscle or tone. The agony on the Beast’s face was heavenly to Kenneth’s eyes.
This moment, the moment of finally moving against the Beast, finally applying the payback that the Beast deserved, sent Kenneth into a spinning cyclone of bliss. He felt alive for the first time since the Beast first introduced itself into his life.
Kenneth had to share this with his wife. She was only a few blocks away, at her mother’s house. One phone call and she could be over in a matter of minutes. Finally, he could prove to her that he wasn't crazy. He had the Beast, right in front of him, wounded and bleeding. She would see it finally, she would take him back, and Beauty, his sworn charge, would finally be safe.
“Hello?” his wife answered.
“I've finally captured the Beast! I am going to kill the fucker right here. Come home and see it, come home and witness the victory of Beauty!”
“Ken, are you okay? What did you do?”
“Come home baby, come home and see for yourself, please, I love you. There is a lot of blood though, this thing bleeds after all, so, don’t freak out okay?”
He was going to say more, but he looked towards his prey and saw that it was on its feet and smiling. The fucker had the nerve to still grin; just like in all those photos that Kenneth had taken. It was still making a mockery of him. Beauty was still in danger. Kenneth hung up the phone. He knew this was going to take more drastic measures. He ran into his bedroom and quickly rummaged through his closet. That’s when he found what he wanted. His Colt Python revolver, fully loaded with Beast slaying glory.
“Hey fucker, still smiling?” Kenneth screamed as he turned around.
The Beast had followed him. It was in his bedroom, standing against the wall, smiling and daring him to make another move. It was so hideous, so evil.
“You've hunted for your last day Beast, no more. 33 fucking years of you, everyday! You don’t even care, do you?”
The Beast did not respond, but only stood there, smiling.
“You don’t know what you've put Beauty through, what you've put me through, do you? Every fucking day, your always there, reminding us just how weak we are, reminding us that we can never be like everybody fucking else. You don’t care do you? You don’t give a damn? Well enough is enough, you don’t control me anymore!”
Kenneth aimed the gun at the Beast’s head and fired one shot. He was too close to miss, and the Beast was no more.
Sharon Mathers arrived to the house with two police officers 20 minutes later. She had become concerned that her husband was unstable, based on the comments he had made on that last phone call. She didn’t know what he intended to do, but she didn’t want to confront him alone.
The police entered first with their pistols drawn. They were in the house for about 15 minutes when they came out and beckoned Sharon to enter. They seemed pale. Kenneth Mathers was lying on his bedroom floor, in front of a full length mirror, apparently the victim of suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had mutilated himself quite badly as well.
The Beast lives within us all. It stalks our sense of Beauty without mercy. It thrives on our own pain and self-hatred. Some of us learn how to combat the Beast, others learn to ignore it. For a very select few of us, it never really appears as much of a threat.
For some though, it is a constant presence, a true Beast to which there is no means to hide or escape.
Written by K. Banning Kellum
Published May 10th, 2015