The Beast (Verge)

The Beast (Verge)

by Alex Bobrov

ISBN: 9781513617626

Publisher Movement Publishing

Published in Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


Poised precariously between imagination and madness, The Beast is a psychological thriller and action novel in which several personalities from parallel worlds come together in a single body at a turning point in their lives. It is a culmination of absolutely different tales, where the author balances on the edge of the conceivable, or, as he himself refers to it, on the verge of insanity.

Sample Chapter

The Faceless Monster

“I'm not, I'm not myself

Feel like I'm someone else

Fallen and faceless

So hollow, hollow inside.”

(An excerpt from the song “Faceless” by Red)

I was walking through the streets of my hometown on a bright sunny day, recognizing familiar places and remembering my childhood. Ghosts of the past surrounded me, and I became a small boy again, but at the same time I was that little boy’s future self in a world with colorful signs, expensive cars, and crowds of strangers dressed in the latest fashions, all of it simultaneously both foreign and a place where I belonged. I looked around curiously, staring at each building and peering into the face of each person I met. Everything was familiar and strange at the same time, and I mentally compared what I remembered from my childhood with what I saw in the present. This odd journey of past and present took me to my old school.

The building looked gloomy and deserted to me that Saturday, yet very peaceful. I gazed into the schoolyard and remembered playing with my buddies. I even recognized the battered timeworn wooden horse that my friends and I often used for a time machine, an airplane, and even a spaceship.

It was still there, unchanged after all these years. Actually, it wasn't even a horse; it was a crooked and arched old stump, blackened by the years. I wanted to sit down on it and imagine that I was flying back into the past, to my earliest school years, when my fascinating and exciting childhood began. I closed my eyes, and within seconds I was on the horse and then in the past. Mike and Pete joined me and we started pretending we were space pirates trying to capture a federation ship. I became engrossed in my fantasy, and for a brief moment I forgot where and when I was.

After standing in front of the school with my eyes closed for several minutes, I opened them and looked around, trying to get my bearings while my eyes became accustomed to the bright light. And then I saw her.

I recognized her immediately—my schoolboy crush. But I won't reveal her name. Let that be our secret. Instead, I'll call her Katherine, a name I personally don't like. But I hope you'll forgive me if you have such name or you’re in love with someone named Katherine. However, there was no Katherine among my classmates, so it lets me keep her identity a secret. It was a warm day, and she was in a vibrant, colorful summer dress that the gentle May breeze sent ballooning around her knees.

“How pretty she is,” I thought, as I gazed at her, but the way she had looked 15 years ago flashed before my eyes.

It was only when she came close that I emerged from the mists of the past and noticed the wrinkles and concerned expression on her face, and the few extra pounds that the thin fabric of her dress couldn't conceal. No, she wasn't fat, but neither was she that slim—one might even say skinny—fourteen-year-old girl that I remembered. The years had taken their toll, but in another world a long time ago, in a world of dreams, I had thought her the most stunning and beautiful girl in the world. Still, she looked more feminine now despite her age, and she was still attractive and desirable.

I called out her name as she walked by. Inertia carried her on for a few steps, then she stopped and turned, not recognizing me. Squinting funnily, she came a little closer. I introduced myself, grinning from ear-to-ear. She remembered me then, smiled with surprise, and laughed, nice dimples forming in her rosy cheeks.

“Nick, it’s you! It’s been a long time!”

“It certainly has… It’s been years. And you're still as beautiful as ever…”

“Oh, you flatterer,” Kat smiled, and her cheeks grew even pinker. “That's not the way I remember you. You usually avoided girls. You've certainly grown: you're broader in the shoulders now, and you're taller.”

“Yeah, the last time we saw each other we were still children, brainless and stupid.”

“I never thought you were stupid. On the contrary… Remember, we danced once at a school party… But what are you doing here? Where are you living now?”

Pleasantly surprised that she remembered dancing with me, I told her that I had come back to my hometown out of a desire to revisit where I spent my childhood. I told her I was hoping to see some old friends. I was talking easily which was unusual for me. For some reason inhibition, that was usually present when I had conversations with beautiful girls, did not show its face.

“And now you've seen me,” Kat said, smiling. “We weren’t friends, but we can fix that…”

“I'm certainly willing,” I said in the same tone.

We exchanged a few meaningless phrases, and after a brief hesitation I suggested that we continue our conversation at a restaurant.

Katherine agreed immediately. She led the way to her favorite diner, telling me about herself and asking what I had been up to as we walked. We talked until evening. I mainly listened, and I found listening to Katherine surprisingly interesting. She was working as Delta flight attendant on short domestic routes (from Chicago to New York and back), and she returned home each evening. She liked her work a great deal, but it was very tiring. However, every job has its perks, and Kat told me several funny stories about passengers.

As I sat listening to her at the table with empty plates and half-full wineglasses, a wild Beast awoke in me, changing me, putting strange and immoral thoughts into my head. There she was, sitting across from me, the girl of my dreams. Fifteen years ago, I hadn't dared touch her, and now I was having a calm conversation with her, feeling that I was more sophisticated, and smarter. Now I had a better idea of what a woman needs in a man other than his fat wallet—which, incidentally, I had and which was waiting for the right moment when the waiter approached and softly told us that the restaurant was closing. I was listening to her, but my mind was far away, no, not far away but simply watching from the sidelines, as though I were observing the situation from the outside, feeling the Beast in me jerking and thrashing about, demanding its freedom. He wanted me to act upon his dirty ideas.

And finally I let the Beast out, giving her crude, completely inappropriate compliments, kissing her hands and casually touching and stroking her legs near her knees, not yet daring to let my hand roam higher. I gave the Beast free rein, but instead of getting angry Katherine laughed cheerfully at my stupid jokes, flushed from the wine she had drunk. Each light touch sent shivers over my body, and the Beast in me grew excited, feeling encouraged, becoming more brazen and almost shameless.

It was time to leave. After quickly settling up with the waiter and leaving a decent tip, I confessed to Katherine that I had nowhere to spend the night, because I had been unable to find a hotel room. She immediately offered to let me stay with her. And why not? I was alone, without a family, and she lived by herself in an apartment with no husband or children. My thoughts, however, had not been pure and innocent for quite some time. And on the way to her home I was already imagining how I would eagerly take off her clothes and kiss her and kiss her and kiss her, demonstrating my macho virility and my ability to sexually satisfy the opposite sex, so that she would never again remember me as that shy boy from her distant childhood.

I put my arm around Katherine’s waist as we walked, preventing her from tripping and falling. She was a little drunk, and I needed to support her. My heart beat faster from excitement. I felt her warm, supple body through her thin dress and looked forward to throwing myself on her and tearing off her dress. I imagined how we would fall on her bed, and I would hurriedly spread her smooth legs apart. I thought how it would be to kiss her, beginning with her red lips and gradually moving to her neck, then to her breasts and on to her stomach. But I wouldn't stop there. I would move lower and lower, not letting her clothing stop me. Gently, almost carefully, I would pull off her panties so I could admire her nakedness. But why be gentle? I would rip off her panties with a single jerk, hungering to possess her as quickly as possible, hungering to satisfy my sordid needs, hungering to stare into her gray eyes, and hungering to hear her loud moans. Submissive and subdued by me, she would gladly take my flesh into herself, embracing me and fiercely demanding that I penetrate her more deeply, digging her lacquered nails into my back in time with my movements. With my free hand, I would take her by the throat and squeeze, but not too hard, not to strangle her but simply to show her how strong I was, to demonstrate my power over her, total power that I had dreamed of since I was a child. Her screams would mingle with her moans; she would feel pleasure like never before, and I would be happy.

Alas, Katherine lived close by, and my reverie ended so reality could take over and the Beast, that was drooling in anticipation of its upcoming freedom, could be released.

We reached her apartment, and the Beast that ruled me didn't even give her time to make up a bed on the couch for me. In the entryway, I grabbed her in a tight embrace and kissed her. Katherine resisted timidly, but I was ready for that and began whispering in her ear that I understood that she was alone, that we were adults and not schoolkids, that she wasn't a virgin and I was a very sensitive and tender lover, that everything would stay between us, and that I would be leaving on the next day—in other words, I told her all those things that single women longing for the caresses and affection of a man secretly love to hear. She blushed shyly, and I softly whispered everything that I figured she wanted to hear—about her beautiful eyes and hair, about how I had always dreamed of being intimate with her, about how I still thought of her even after many years apart, about how I had long dreamed of being close to her. I held her in my embrace and gently kissed her ear and neck until she, essentially a child in an adult’s body, believed me and surrendered to me with the same unfeigned passion, sensitivity and unbridled desire that I offered her in return. And my dreams became reality…

So I had my victory, my revenge for the way I had been mistreated, for my ignorance and lonely (in the sense that I was deprived of the love of a female) childhood, when, succumbing to my hormones in my dreams, and only in my dreams, I slept with every good-looking girl in my class. I was victorious—king of the mountain. I stood at the top of a pyramid I had built myself, and from there I could look down on everyone who previously had been beyond my reach. A sweet rage awoke in me, and it was more rotten and worse than the Beast: the Beast wanted only what it saw; this rage demanded everybody and everything. Rage consumed me and I took what I longed for.

Much later, as her head was resting on my chest and her hand was slowly stroking my torso, which was covered with sweat from our sexual games, I imagined how I would meet up with all my old female classmates, seducing and corrupting them regardless of their social status, how they looked, and whether they had a husband, a lover, or children, forever banishing the complexes of the past. Why would I do that? Because I could and because I wanted to. Because they were snobbish and had been unattainable, thinking themselves superior, and because they had never imagined themselves in bed with me. But I grew up and changed for the better (or so I believed). I had achieved much in life, and now any one of them would be fortunate to sleep with me at an age when sex with the same partner becomes mundane and boring, and they were still young and in the prime of their lives, secretly looking for an excuse to show off their many years of sexual experience.

Rage boiled in me. The Beast was exultant, and I lay with my eyes closed, trying not to disturb Katherine, seeing a huddle of naked and obedient girls ready to serve me and surrender themselves to me, ready to yield their bodies to me so that I could slake my lust for power over them.

Suddenly, I came to my senses. Something pricked my conscience, reminding me that daydreams like that had no place in my head. What was I doing? Where was this lustful rage coming from? Where were these dirty, raunchy thoughts coming from? I didn't understand what was happening to me. I had become a faceless monster. I had crossed a moral line. This wasn't me; maybe it was somebody else, but not me. I wasn't like that. I wasn't a hypocrite. I couldn't give my love and tenderness in a such perverted way. I didn't want insincere sex, and I was beyond the age when youthful hormones controlled my body. And although I actually was a good lover—sensitive, passionate, and sincere—all that would vanish like smoke if I gave way to such sordid and depraved deceit. I was enveloped by a feeling of sadness like I had never felt before, and it soothed the Beast and dampened my rage. I had raped Katherine, although she herself wouldn't see it that way. How could I replicate that act of violence and cruelty with others? How could I look Katherine in the eye? I had only thought about doing it, but I was burning with shame nevertheless, as though it had already happened, as though I had already abused my classmates to satisfy my twisted and erotic desires. I was consumed with shame and immeasurable guilt.

I named myself The Faceless Monster. There was something sordid, dirty, and terrible in those words. The Faceless Monster—that was the lewd Beast in me. The Beast that I could never let free, that I could never let out. And it would never get out again, I silently vowed. But could I keep that oath? I doubted it. Time would tell. I sighed softly. Would I be strong enough to keep the Beast in check?

I looked at a clock hanging on the wall, peering at its thin, silvery hands. It was 3 AM. Katherine lay on my chest, gradually drifting off. I waited until she was completely asleep, got up quietly, trying not to wake her, and walked out into the darkness, into nowhere.

“I'm sorry, Katherine.” I pleaded silently. “I promised you nothing, because I had nothing decent to offer. Forgive me for my shameful weakness. After all, I’m simply human. I am an Ordinary Man.


Excerpted from "The Beast (Verge)" by Alex Bobrov. Copyright © 2016 by Alex Bobrov. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Alex Bobrov

Alex Bobrov

Alex Bobrov was born in Odessa, Ukraine, and moved to America in 1995 when he was sixteen years old. He has been writing science-fiction stories since he was an 8 year old kid. He currently works as a senior web developer for a small firm in Manhattan and writes his books while riding the subway to and from work.

View full Profile of Alex Bobrov

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