The Real Monster - A Toyol's Tale
The large man’s dark eyes flared up in fury on hearing the sing song voice of what looked like a toddler with grey mottled skin.
“Why do you look at me like that, master? I would think you no longer love me.”
“Don’t set your evil eyes on my child, you monster.”
“You call me monster? Such unkind words from you are daggers to my heart.”
His brown face seemed to pale at the sight of the fiery shine the toddler’s red eyes had taken on.
“Please don’t hurt my child, Toyol. I beg of you. Please spare him.”
“So much love for your unborn child? I am touched!” The toddler gave a smile exposing his sharp shiny white teeth.
“You can have anything you want. Just don’t harm my child!”
“And I thought I was your child, master. Why do you need another one when you have me?”
“Why do you torture me so? Haven’t I been a good master to you? I have got you so many nice toys and clothes. I ensure you are fed before I have my meals every day. What more – every full moon night I feed you the blood that flows in my own veins.”
“Indeed, master. Also add you willingly let me partake of the flesh of your child and grow strong!”
“Don’t even mention that. That is an incident I would like to put behind me.”
“But you yourself gave her to me, didn’t you? She was delicious.”
The man shuddered. “I abhor you, you loathsome demon! Why don’t you leave me and go away for good!”
The infant’s face took on a hurt expression. “You do not loathe all the wealth this horrible demon brought you. You do not loathe the woman this demon helped you seduce. You do not loathe the safety this demon gives to your home. But you suddenly find so much loathing for the poor little demon that you want it to go away?”
“It is not like that, Toyol. Just that the mention of my last child touched a raw nerve. I admit you have done a lot for me and I am grateful. But I can’t bear the thought of harm coming to my children.”
“If I remember right, you were the one who asked me to take your last one.”
“Well – it was with a hard heart. She was born premature and might have grown up to be a mentally retarded child. ”
“For all you know even this current child might turn mentally retarded.”
“Touchwood! Don’t even say such terrible things.”
“But it was you who said that about your last child.”
“As I said, the child was a premature baby and the doctors said there was a high possibility that the child may not have full mental development.”
“But there was a possibility that the child may have been perfectly normal as well?”
“Yes – but it would have been very expensive to keep her alive on just a chance.”
“When did you lack in money? I got you all you want.”
“I might have had to let go of you to keep her. Without you, what would I do for money? “
“But now you plan to return me to the bomoh, don’t you?”
“It is nothing personal. What is all the wealth in the world without a son to pass it on to. I would keep you if but you could be bound to a solemn promise not to harm my son.”
“You never asked me last time.”
“Well, as I said it was different. I somehow could not bring myself to take the risk of a life of penury bringing up a mentally retarded daughter if you had refused.”
“But she could have been a healthy child. I might have agreed to spare her. So many possibilities did exist, didn’t they?”
“You are right. But at the time my mind was clouded. First of all I was disappointed it was a girl. Then this sudden news of her being born premature. The sudden need to spend so much money to keep her alive and the possibility that she might still grow up mentally retarded despite all our efforts! All this was too much for me. So I could not think clearly.”
“I see. Now that this is a boy child, you are able to think much more clearly. Maybe we can seek a compromise?”
The man leaned across, a glow on his face.
“I am tired of this life as a spirit. I seek to be reborn. What if I possess the child in your wife’s womb and be reborn as your son. I can continue to be with you and you will also have a son as you desire.”
“No. No. Please do not. I want my son to be a good person.”
“And I am not?”
“In your own way, you are. But who would want his son to be a thief? And we share dark secrets one can’t share with one’s son. Also we humans find eating of raw flesh, drinking blood, chewing bones and that entire stuff quite grotesque. You know what I mean.”
“Yes. I understand perfectly well. “
The child was suddenly looking menacing with its eyes burning like embers, pointed ears and sharp teeth as it advanced upon him.
“Your spells are useless, master. The moment you said you wished me to leave, you have lost your power over me.”
He suddenly sprung up from the floor like a Jack in the box and toppled the man from his chair. The man fell to the ground. The toddler climbed on to him and sat on his chest and began to move its face closer to the scared face of the man.
“How much you fear for your own life, master! You called me monster, didn’t you? Let me tell you – you are the true monster. Your son is already tainted with your blood – which is worse than anything possession by a spirit would have done to him. You send me to do the dirty work for you but call me dirty. You yourself gave away your daughter to me. You allowed me to drink blood from you wife’s breast when she was asleep. You let me feed of the blood from the toe of your brother’s new bride. Now suddenly you find it all grotesque? Indeed! Why won’t you?”
The toddler jumped off the man’s chest and allowed him to sit up. “Whatever I do, I do not by my free will but by the binding of the Bomoh’s vile magic and your evil commands. I was never given the gift of choice. I was going to be born an innocent babe like your little son. But I was denied that. I was pulled from my mother’s womb and made into this grotesque being as you call me. “
The toddler continued on in its high pitched voice. “But you? You always had the choice. You made your own choices. You did not want to strive diligently to earn the wealth you desired. You did not want to put yourself out and struggle to earn the love of the woman you lusted for. You would not risk discomfort to yourself in order to give a chance of a good life to your own daughter. You tell me. Who is evil?”
The toddler seemed to grow translucent and his voice began to appear distant. “Don’t worry. I will not hurt your child. Nor will I kill you. Death would be a mercy to you. You live on and reflect over your deeds. Let your son grow up and discover the filthy vermin that his father is. Live a long life of self-loathing. As for me, I shall leave you now forever.”
Suddenly the creature vanished.