Monstrous May, Pagham-verse

#MonstrousMay 2023: Reproduction

My twist on vagina dentata, inspired by seahorses and Alien.

References: Dr Monday and Miss Charlotte are mentioned in The Crows and obliquely referenced in The Day We Ate Grandad. Alex is the same character mentioned in Thirteenth that Katy was sleeping with.

CWs for gore and fatal, unwitting surrogacy


It was 11:03 on Monday morning, and Justin Connolly, Fiat driver, dog lover and perpetual job-seeker of Flat 4b Commercial Street, had the misfortune to be dead.

Whatever brought Justin out to such a lonely picnic spot, five hundred yards from where he’d parked his Punto, was a mystery. The enigma of his final moments was hardly made any clearer by the scanty possessions strewn around him; the new gold signet ring on his right middle finger, the bloody leather wallet, and the set of gory car keys.

In the wallet were a selection of credit cards and receipts, although Justin didn’t seem to be the kind of person who would keep receipts on purpose. Most were from the local petrol garage, stuffed in the same compartment as a dog-eared loyalty card for some high street coffee shop chain.

He was one stamp away from a free coffee.

There was nothing to suggest why he had driven two hundred miles to the edge of the Great British coast on the edge of some great British weather, not unleashed yet but gathering strength in the great grey sky, and Justin himself didn’t have a lot to say about it.

Mr. Connolly’s last resting place, or, more accurately, places, was Unger Point, a beauty spot whose name and scenic views had lost significance to all but the most avoided local bores.

Justin had been here only once before, on a mate’s stag weekend in Pagham-on-Sea.

They’d come back to the caravan site along this path, late one night, not as far gone as the girls they brought back with them but enough to not really care how they got home.

Some residual impressions of that midnight ramble must have remained in Justin’s waking mind, or he wouldn’t have made his way, turtle-like, back to the spot above the beach where he and – he thought her name was Lucilla but it could have been Lisa or Liz- couldn’t wait to get back and did it right there while the others yelled at them to catch up…

That had been two weekends ago.

Last weekend Justin had had stomach and chest pains, so he’d got a pack of something or other for it from the chemist’s thinking it was heartburn.

The receipt was in his wallet.

Then he’d been to the doctor’s, and, according to the scrap of paper on the dashboard of his car, was currently missing a hospital appointment.

He was also missing a date with his girlfriend, who still didn’t know about the LucillaLisaLiz situation and now probably never would, not unless one of the lads (most likely Sam) dropped a clanger at the funeral, if there ever was going to be one of those, but Sam had a sense of propriety even if he couldn’t keep his mouth shut.

The tablets hadn’t worked, but heartburn was the least of his worries since that particular organ wasn’t occupying his chest cavity any more.

“He could have at least got to the beach,” someone said.

It had been high tide, which was probably why Justin had chosen to drive up to the cliff top instead of onto the shingle underneath, which at the time had been under several billowing fathoms of salted, crashing water. The first observer of the three clearly thought that this decision on the part of the deceased was rather inconvenient. If it had been made purely in the interest of self-preservation, it had been undoubtedly pointless.

“When it’s time, it’s time.”

The second observer, being female, sounded a little more understanding. Behind the cultured Parisian accent there was a hint of a culture of a different kind, of balmy nights and beating drums.

The third said nothing.

Silence settled between the three watchers, filled by the rushing crests and the lost calls of gulls on the sweeping wind, a vacuum of words and thoughts as blank as the single staring eye in Justin’s shattered skull.

Doctor Monday, man of a thousand faces, not one of them his own, pulled the jaunty rim of his trilby down lower over the stretched forehead of skin-mask number five, while Miss Charlotte’s trim grey figure appeared unconcerned.

A breath escaped the good doctor’s stiff leathery lips, and something behind the glass eyes blinked, the lids barely twitching.

“By the way,” he added, after a few more moments of careful thought, “After I’ve had a word with Lucilla’s parents, we had better put up more contraception posters in the clinic.”

Alex stared at the mess. A teenage predilection for graphic violence of the CGI and live-action movie kind had forged him into a prime candidate for surgery or a career on the sharp end of A&E, but he had never seen anything like this.

“What did you mean in the car,” he asked finally, too horrified and fascinated to stop looking, “When you said we’d have to sort it out? Shouldn’t we – shouldn’t we call the police or something?”

Dr. Monday said nothing.

Miss Charlotte cuffed Alex smartly across the back of his head.

Thus, most of Justin Connolly, the jobless, dog-loving, Fiat driving, two-timing cadaver of Flat 4b Commercial Street, was hefted into industrial bin-bags, and departed the world at 11:15 a.m. in the arms of the tide, never having learnt his lesson, and never having found out what his problem was.

At least his passably humanoid offspring, all healthy and newborn, had a good start in life as they splashed about in the mess they had made of their accidental parent and battled happily over his spleen. (Miss Charlotte thought it was best to line their carry-box with something familiar.)

“I’m glad Lucille was honest about it all, that does make things much easier,” Dr Monday confided to his protégé. “It is a pity about the host, I suppose.”

The skin-mask smiled at the little newborn nymphlets balanced on Miss Charlotte’s knees in the back of Fred’s taxi, and it was an eerie sight. One thing skin-mask number five failed to convey convincingly was a sense of paternal instinct. He needed skin mask forty-three for that.

Alex learned several important lessons that day.

The first of them was the most obvious: keep everything, absolutely everything, to yourself. No one will ever believe you.

The second was the most practical: always have a pair of latex gloves handy, in case of emergency. Destroy the gloves afterwards.

The third was the most important. When out on the pull in Pagham-on-Sea, always, always, ALWAYS check for vaginal barbs.

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