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The New Monster
It has been three hours since I had left the General's home. "Don't panic” I thought to myself. All I had to do was outsmart the man trying to kill me, no big deal. I made my way in to the dark jungle and tried to make my breathing steady. I then decided to make a plan on how to evade the huntsman only a little ways behind me. I burst through the trees of the jungle and reached the cliff on the south end of the island. Just then I heard a sound, a heinous howling that came from nothing other than one of Zaroff’s gigantic hounds. The noise grew louder and louder and I was struck with fear. I tried to run, but my feet wouldn’t move. Still the howls grew louder and louder. I tried running with all my might but couldn’t move. Soon the hounds were there and a hideous beast moved to the front of the pack before me. The creature was half man, half hound with black soulless eyes.
Then it spoke in an all too familiar voice; “Fancy seeing you here Rainsford, I thought you’d be further along.”
I didn’t have time to contemplate what was happening to me before I was pounced on and had my heart torn out my chest.
I jolt awake. This isn’t the first time I have awoken this way, forgetting where I am in a state of confusion. I soon remember though; I am in my bed, in my château, on my island, in the middle of the ocean. I came here over ten years ago with several other hunters. The ship I was on near the island crashed on its rocks and I had the terrible fortune to meet the vile General Zaroff. I took care of him long ago, so I fall back asleep.
It’s a shame the general isn’t still here, he would be in complete awe of all the improvements I have made around the place. First, I created an enormous cove surrounded by high rocks near the front of the island near the old light that attracts ships looking for shelter from the raging sea. The cove closes in behind a ship when it has made it completely in. This way no men are killed on the rocks (more pupils for my game) and they can’t get back out past them. This forces everyone to come on shore and make their way to my estate. If they knew what lay ahead of them, they’d choose starving on their ships over coming to me. It’s not my fault men can be so naïve.
The second improvement I’ve made is a new accomplice, a much brighter fellow than old Ivan. My lovely assistant, Sergei, came to this island seven years ago on a trip to map the area with several other scientists. From moment one I could tell Sergei was the most cunning of the group. Sergei had the clever idea to make a deal with me, and I accepted. We agreed that if he would work for me and help make further improvements if I let him live on the island with me, free from having to play my game. Sergei and I got along well and I even taught him some of my hunting techniques. I also made Sergei a lab of his own and with it he constructed the final improvement to the island: semi-mechanical hounds. Unlike Zaroff’s previously used mutts, Sergei’s creations were nearly indestructible and could be trained faster than any purebred. I didn’t use them much though, they were mostly for show. Sergei became my companion as Igor was to Dr. Frankenstein. The two of us were always plotting together as we enjoyed a glass of deep blood red Syrah.
Three days ago a new ship came in. Surprisingly I recognized the ship itself. I shrugged off the thought; it was probably just a model I’d seen before. I have seen so many in my time here. Shortly after the ships arrival I was greeted by around fifteen men with weapons in hand at my front gate. I remained nonchalant and invited the men to come in to my home. I gave a small wink at Sergei to my left.
One man with large green eyes stumbled when we made eye-contact. He had recognition in his eyes “Are you…” he began but never finished before another more superior man shut him up and told his to stop questioning me. This was strange though, no one had recognized me for at least several years. I decided I would talk to this man, for fun.
“No, no. It’s quite alright my good sir” I started “Why don’t you all place your weapons down on the table and I’ll have Sergei here show you around the place, maybe see my pets, except for you please” I pointed at the green eyed man. Sergei led the others out and returned my earlier wink with a small smile. I hoped the dogs were hungry by now; they hadn’t eaten in a few weeks. “So, my kind fellow, may I interest you in a taste of our finest Merlot?” There was no reply, just the sound of his chattering teeth. Why was he so scared? “Are you okay? Can I help you in any way?”
Finally he said “No.” We stood staring at each other for some time and eventually he stopped cowering. “You are a hunter then?” His voice was familiar, I couldn’t put my finger on it though, the way he spoke sounded like something I had heard in a distant dream.
“Yes” I replied, smiling as kindly as I could. “I love the thrill of the hunt; it’s quite the adrenaline boost for me, and you?”
“I am quite excellent actually. I’ve hunted all over the world in many exotic locations, hunting only the best animals.” All traces of fear left from him when he spoke of the sport.
“You know, I too have hunted all animals. All of them”
“Have you then? Well then I am honored to be in your presence.” He spoke these words cautiously… knowingly.
“There is one animal I love to hunt most though” The man’s green eyes went dark as they filled with his pupils. “This animal is much smarter, can reason.” My speech is generally more fluent ad convincing when I give it to the people I wish to play the game with, but I was caught off guard by my own recognition of the man. “I wish to hunt with you tomorrow.”
“You don’t want to hunt with me, do you?” So, I was that transparent. No time to waste then.
“No, and since you seem to know where this is going, I’ll go ahead and get to the point. I will give you a three hour head start and then I will come for you. Since you are such an advanced hunter, I expect you will know what to do with this.” I handed him a small knife, maybe this would be interesting, something to calm my nerves. “Good luck” and with that he quickly left with one last glance in to my eyes. I stood still for a long time, maybe an hour. I had an empty feeling in my gut, I had finally figured out who I had come to hunt.
I ran out the door in that instant, unarmed. “Don’t panic” I thought to myself. My feet felt as if they were dragging along in slow motion, but my lungs felt like they were on fire, so I knew I was running. I heard a movement in the bush and I tripped, I never tripped! My nerves were racked. “Stay calm” I told myself aloud this time. I walked a little while longer and then burst through the trees onto the cliff I know so well. Waiting for me was my old friend sitting on the edge of the rock face.
“Do you remember me at all?” he said not even turning to look at me.
“How cou- could I forget you-ou, Whitney.” I stumbled over my words, unsure of what to say for the first time in ten years.
“I knew it was you, I survived the crash and found another ship to pick me up. I’ve been searching for you all this time.” I came to sit next to Whitney. He gave a sad smirk and chuckled. “It’s amazing, how much you’ve changed.” To this I had nothing to say. I just sat in a deep meditative silence, I had become a monster, and I would have never tried to hurt another human being before coming to this island. Zaroff changed me, I had become exactly like him and I couldn’t do anything about it. Whitney jumped, and I heard the same noise he had behind me. It was the sound of metal on dirt: the hounds. Why would they come? I didn’t summon them. They approached fast and I didn’t have time to react- I was still stiffened by shock. The hounds were upon us and I only had time to turn my head halfway around. Behind the hounds was the man who had brought them here, the one person I thought I could trust on the island.
“I think it’s my turn to control this island.” Sergei shrugged and then laughed. He called on the hounds and I didn’t feel anything as I was torn apart by the monsters I had created.