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Iím lying flat with my arms and legs strapped to the corners of a large, rectangular table. There are vials and tubes everywhere, and itís dark, with dry ice mist covering the floor. I realize suddenly Iím in Frankensteinís laboratory--like in the movies, you know. But Iím the monster. Iím the creature Dr. Frankenstein has made, the creature who wants desperately to be human, but isnít.

Cramps start in my arms and legs, but all I can do is shiver under the straps. I canít move an inch. When will someone come for me? I mean, if Iím Frankensteinís monster, there has to be a Frankenstein somewhere, doesnít there?

I wait and wait, but no one comes. Then it occurs to me. What if Iím the trial run, the monster that didnít work? What if Dr. Frankenstein isnít coming back?

ďHelp me!Ē I try to yell. But no words come out of my mouth. Did the doctor just not get around to giving me a voice?

Which makes me wonderówhat else did he forget to give me? I try to lift my head to look down at my body. Two legs. Two arms. Fingers and toes. Itís all there as far as I can see. But what about inside? I canít see there.

I hold my breath for a long while, listening for the slightest sound. But there is nothing. It is absolutely still in the laboratory and all around it. How long before I die of thirst? Or starvation?

But I am only a monster, I think. I donít need to eat. I donít need to drink. I donít need to speak. I will live forever, strapped on this table. Alone.

I pull at the bands frantically, trying to get free. I wonder if I can rip my hands off and pull the stumps through, but the doctor has sewn them on too tightly. They arenít human hands, made of flesh and blood. Theyíre made of rubber and steel and Iím not strong enough to tear them apart.

After a long while, I give up and lay back again on the table. I close my eyes and tell myself that it doesnít matter. I can learn to live this way. I have to.

Chapter One:

I wake up late the next morning and make myself get up and dressed. My tongue feels coated so thick that I canít talk to anyone I see in the halls. It doesnít matter. Talkingís not important right now.

First things first. And right now, I have to get out. I rub at my arms, reminding myself that the straps were part of the dream. Theyíre not real. Still, I canít bear to lace my sneakers up tightly. I leave them loose and tuck the ties in the sides. Then I push open the door of the home, take a breath of city air, and run.

It is a wonderful feeling, running. Iím no rubber and steel monster out here. I can feel the blood rushing through my veins, and my feet are throbbing by the time I am finished, the skin raw and fragile. Human.

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Copyright Mette Ivie Harrison 2011 all rights reserved.
Last revised August 10, 2011.