To Avenge, Not Lament
By Patrick M. Tracy
The barrel of an ancient pencil protruded from Stretchy Guy’s chest. Billy Finkle grinned. He’d been having his headaches again, and they made him, in his mother’s words, “A wicked little cretin.” He withdrew the pencil, eager to learn what squishy goo lurked within Stretchy Guy’s malleable body.
The hole in the Action Buddy’s flesh (Billy dared anyone to call Stretchy Guy a doll. Their asses were grass if they did, he swore) glowed with a weird, dark red. He put his eye close to the hole, sniffing, dipping his finger in a bit of the leaking entrails. It was like burgundy taffy, translucent. It smelled like plastic when it heated up too much.
“Do not imagine that there will be no retribution for this, Little Billy. You’ll pay a thousand fold for all the harm you have enacted upon my person.”
Billy jumped back, shocked. He looked around. The voice had been commanding and deep, like the guy who did the voice on the promos for action movies. He looked down at the chewed-up pencil and the crimson Stretchy Guy guts on its tip. His hand went nerveless and the pencil clattered to the hardwood floor. His tongue was swollen and immobile.
“I…” With his headache really thumping along, making every heartbeat push little afterimages of silver against his vision, he couldn’t think of anything to say.
“I have seen you, Billy, so filled with cruelty and hatred. Broken Matchbox cars littering the floor around you, smashed action figures, burned-up army men. You abuse your toys, but no more. They can’t strike back at you, but I have powers you can scarcely envision in your deepest dreams. Degenerate mouth breather, you shall be made to suffer for every sin.”
“Stretchy Guy?” Billy asked, tentative. Without knowing, the index finger of his right hand burrowed into his nostril. He did, in fact, breathe through his open mouth, tongue hanging stupidly past his crooked teeth.
“It is I, worm. Prepare for…”
Billy picked up the pencil again. A maniacal light brightened his dull features. He struck, seized by a lunatic vigor. Stretchy Guy’s face popped open with the first stab, but he went on and on, stabbing straight through the Action Buddy and into his own flesh. He hardly felt the pain.
He massacred Stretchy Guy. When the pencil snapped, he grabbed his juice glass from the table, smashing it and using the sharpest shard to cut at the toy. In the process, he sliced his hands to the bone. Soon, his own blood splashed across the floor, mixing with Stretchy Guys’s annihilated remains.
“My God,” Billy’s mother said. He could hear her gasp. The pain suddenly asserted its full power. Seeing his own blood, he garped, then threw up, adding to the incomprehensible mess before him.
“Herb! Herb! Get the car!” his mother screamed.
“Get the car, Herb! Billy’s hurt himself!”
Billy’s vision dimmed to deep gray and finally black. Falling, he didn’t feel his head bounce against the hardwood.
By the time he awoke, he lay in a hospital bed, his bandaged hands booming with pain. His parents stood outside the door, talking to a doctor. He couldn’t hear their words, but his mother looked mortified. He’d get a major whooping for this one.
Billy pretended to be asleep when they looked in on him. The sound of Stretchy Guy’s voice echoed in his head. He didn’t understand some of the words, but he grasped that they meant that the Action Buddy was going to kick his ass real bad. He was all hooked up to medical equipment, and couldn’t get away. Trapped and helpless, his pulse raced. That only inflamed the cuts on his hands.
A few minutes later, a nurse came in and injected something into a joint in his IV. He fell into a drugged stupor, where the nightmares could get him.
The Action Buddy waited there, now a human-sized monstrosity of oozing red plastic. Billy ran from him, Stretchy Guy’s wrecked face and gashed open body oozing plastic-smelling junk all the way. Billy ran and ran, never able to get away.
When Billy awoke, he felt hollowed out and half alive. Sweat made his limbs slick and chill. Both his legs went into cramps at nearly the same instant. Exhausted, even the pain couldn’t ring more than a whisper from his parched throat.
Billy looked around, trying to find a glass of water. There was a pitcher, but it sat well out of his reach. When he tried to sit up, his stomach muscles knotted, the pain multiplying. He made a pitiful whistling sound, casting about for anything to help himself. There, on the nightstand, sat Stretchy Guy. Though Billy had cut him and stabbed him, destroying him like no toy ever, there he sat. Perfect. He even had the leather vest that Billy had lost the first day he got him.
“You are powerless against me, Billy. Were I human, perhaps I would feel pity. Perhaps I would be moved to be merciful. I am a toy, however, and suffer no such scruples. I am your ruin.”
Billy forced his cramp-knotted body up, pulling free of his telemetry and IV. He rolled, hitting the ground awkwardly. His head snapped against the hard floor tiles, splitting his skin all the way across his eyebrow.
Rising, he wheeled and staggered. Reaching out to brace himself against the window, he felt it give way. On the floor, he saw a hunk of silicone caulk, so much like Stretchy Guy’s innards…
Both the window and Billy rocketed into the clear air, given into the hands of gravity. Though well beyond caring by that time, perhaps Billy would have been interested to know much he resembled all his broken toys, laying there after a twelve story fall.