The Monster Maker by Adam Gaylord

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THE MONSTER MAKER By: Adam GaylordA shuffle in the darkness, then a click and a blinding light filled the room. Leather straps kept me pinned to the exam table, unable to turn toward the sound.

“Look who’s finally awake,” a voice creaked like a rusty door hinge.

“Who’s there?” I tried to ask but could only a mumble around a foul-tasting gag.

“Yes, yes, I’m coming.”

A silhouette swam briefly across my field of vision.

“Oh yes, definitely time to get started.”

The strap across my forehead tightened painfully and then was gone. I looked around but could see very little outside the circle of white light illuminating the table from above. I craned my neck, trying to spot some clue as to where I was or who was holding me, but no matter how I struggled, the straps didn’t budge.

“Might as well settle down. We’re going to be here a while,” the voice chuckled. My captor seemed to find humor in that, and the chuckle devolved into a maniacal laugh. “Unless you’re afraid?” the voice crowed.

I clenched my jaw and shook my head, determined not to give this madman the pleasure of knowing my terror. The laugh cut off suddenly, silence hanging heavy in the air.

“That’s a shame,” the voice said, suddenly somber. “That’s the problem with the world today – nobody’s afraid.”

A tray of shiny metal instruments- scalpels, saws, and plenty of things I couldn’t name- wheeled into the light next to the table. Of who pushed the cart, I could see only lab coat and gloved hands.

“You want to know why?” it asked. “Not enough monsters. Used to be, if you wanted your kid to stop screwing around and come home before dark, you just told him about the bogeyman.”

A loud scraping sound filled the room, metal on concrete. Then a 55-gallon drum slid into the circle of light, a black and yellow radioactive symbol painted prominently on the side.

“The bogeyman. What a classic! A shape-shifter, that one. With a penchant for snatching little kids. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. But ol’ bogey passed back in ‘45. Cocaine overdose. Who knew?”

A sound I couldn’t place hummed from the dark. Sweat stung my eyes, and I clenched them shut, begging not to know what new horror approached. The humming grew and then cracked, grew and then cracked, all the while getting closer. When I couldn’t take it anymore I opened my eyes to find a series of coils perched above my head, electricity leaping between them in brilliant purple arcs.

“We won’t need this until later.” The arcs stopped and the humming silenced.

“Of course the last wolf-man contracted rabies in ’69,” the voice continued from somewhere near my feet, “and most of the remaining vampires have either gone underground or gone Hollywood.”

Squeaky wheels approached in the dark.

“The old guard’s just about gone. Nobody left to scare kids into behaving. That’s why the next generation’s gone to hell: no fear. No fear of the night. No fear of consequences, of retribution.”

Two large cages squeaked into the light near my feet. In the first hung three large bats, their leathery wings wrapped around their hairy bodies. The second contained a baboon, instantly recognizable from its blue and red nose. It sat calmly, watching me with intelligent eyes, seemingly resolved to its fate.

“So we’ll give them something to fear,” the voice cackled, apparently pleased once again. “Oh yes. We’ll give them a monster the likes of which they’ve never seen before.”

A tall figure stepped into the light. I could see very little of what was behind the lab coat, gloves, and surgical mask. The only feature of note were the eyes. They stared straight ahead- cloudy, unblinking, and unseeing.

“You should be honored. You’ll be doing your generation a great service.”

The lights flickered and then were gone, my host apparently not needing them.

“Ok, let’s get started. Oh, and I should warn you. This is really, really going to hurt.”

And my transformation began.


BIO: Adam lives with his beautiful wife and slightly odd looking dog in Loveland, CO where he tries to squeeze writing in whenever he can. Most of his stories include robots or aliens or monsters and they can all be found at his blog,