“Welcome to the Grand Theatre.” He waved an extravagant hand about his surroundings and grinned.

“You can stay here so long as you earn your keep. Now, before I forget, what was your name, son?”

He must have noticed my hesitation and nodded to himself, “No need to fret, son. If you’re without a name I can provide one. This is the Grand Theatre after all.” I smiled and nodded, unable to communicate my thoughts.

“Have you ever read the story of Hamlet?” I shook my head and he continued, “Well, it is no matter. You will be named Horatio, a most loyal friend to the titular character.” Bowing his head to me, “And too, you are my friend.” He spoke before waltzing off, waving his hands as he did so.

It was at this point that I discovered Kindness. You brought me into this world with rejection and as I travelled I learned that the world was just as merciless as you had been. My waking moments were spent lonely and discarded; you left me isolated in the darkness covered in my own blood. I waited for you to return. I waited for you to come back to claim me and accept who I am, but when I ventured outside I realised what you saw in me. An abomination. You daren’t say it but I saw in everyone else’s eyes what I saw in yours; fear and repugnance. I learned the language of their scorn and abhorred my creation. You despised me despite creating me, what does that make you?

You failed me, Father…And now I’ll fail you.

My eyes dropped to the chair beside me – yet another doomed to live my life of isolation. A pity…And through mercy I sliced at their bare chest, letting my knife delve deep into the foreign tissue until there was no more of his torso to recognise. With each movement, I watched my Father cry in agony. A sadness you never felt for me. He reached out yet could never close the gap, trapped by the leather straps that had once kept me in my bloodied slab – you gave this one the luxury I never had. I smiled grimly, as I dropped the knife to the ground and wiped my brow, smearing the blood that had fallen there.

“You freak! You monster! What have you done to him?!” You screeched and trying to free yourself from the straps in vain as I passed you by, sparing you no second glances. I have already had my fun, and you no longer own me. I answer to no one and you will never have the satisfaction, Father. Never.

I shifted in my sleep, my eyes opening to look at the reason of my waking: my wife. The darkness of the room shielded my consciousness as I lay still as she traced the scars that mutilated my face, her fingers gliding skilfully along the rugged surface of my face. I smiled to myself, enjoying the sensation as the skin tingled upon contact.

She pressed her lips to my cheek, whispering to incoherent words to me, “L’amour voit la beauté fidèle à sa forme naturelle.” (Love sees beauty in its natural form.) It sounded almost like a mantra as she continued to place kisses along the disfigured lines that dented my face. I didn’t realise she was crying until I felt a tear fall onto my face, dripping down the side of my face to my ear. I didn’t realise that she wasn’t saying this to me but to herself to remind herself that love can overcome all. My wounds had long healed but every tear that touched my face burned my skin as I was reminded that I would never be beautiful to anyone if I wasn’t beautiful to her. My wife, my light and now my darkness. Her tears of pity struck arrows into my deformed heart as I learned what it felt like to be pitied – I felt small. I didn’t want pity, I wanted love and I discovered that her marriage to me was nothing out of love for me but out of pity. Feelings of anger filled my veins and I scorned my Father for making me what I am for I am always the monster you all fear and never the man I want you to see.


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