Elizabeth Pearl Corey, Co-Editor-in-Chief

(Disclaimer: All events mentioned in this story are purely fictional. The story is inspired by works such as Goosebumps, Twilight Zone, Amazing Stories, The Thing From Another World, Powerpuff Girls, “Beat Your Greens,” and Grendel, and in no way reflect the author’s actual views/feelings. In fact, the author prefers happy, sweet, docile modern-Brock to origin-story-Brock, because she loves people—plant people and humans alike. God bless.)

I was born in earth. I sprouted up from the ground and found a cold, metallic world, with test tubes and wires and the scent of chemicals. I didn’t have a happy childhood, and all my world was a dull bore.

My parents. I barely knew them except for that they were like me. The only ones like me. There was a man born from trees and men—an accident; A woman, born from rose stems and chemicals; also an accident. Knowing that it could be done, Capital They tried and tried again to make creatures like me. They failed and failed and failed and failed, until suddenly, they hit gold. They took the essence of each of my parents, and from it bred the horrible creature with the beady, sunken eyes, and the terrible grin.

I was the first of many. They had gone mad with power—wanted to create a whole race to enslave, and to slaughter, and to control. They wanted farm cows that could speak like men and work like chattel forced labor. Pets that they could manipulate however they wanted. I was disgusted, and disheartened from any future that I could otherwise have. That I could want.

We were kept in giant tubes. Fed only sunlight and growth hormone. I envied the lunches they “Mmm”ed and “Yum”ed over. I wanted to “Mmm” and “Yum” too. I wanted, for a moment, to be human.

But then they started to experiment—pull my parents, my siblings, myself out of our comfortable (but, confined) homes, and introduce us to a myriad days of torture and trials that we could not protest against, despite our screams. They did not consider us sentient. They did not know we had pain. It was right in front of them, but they did not believe.

Then one day, they decided on a plan; a plan to make more of us and send us out into the world to complete their purpose for us. I hated them, loathed them. I coiled in disgust when they ate salads, or slathered mayonnaise over tomatoes and lettuce in sandwiches and took obscene bites, and chewed, and chewed, and chewed, until I was driven mad.

It was my turn, that day, to be wrapped in wires and broken. As I had been many times before. But, something changed. Before then, I was an anomaly. A treasure that had to be kept for research, for learning. My parents and I were what they needed. But, as soon as my youngest sibling was born, and as soon as they decided “it was time,” I had become expendable. They could make more. They knew how now. They had more. They didn’t need us anymore. So if my soul were to leave the mortal walls that confined and threatened me, they wouldn’t care. But…I didn’t want that. I wanted to live.

I think my parents must have noticed that there was something at stake now, too, because as I was about to be strapped into that chair for the hundredth time, I caught the words off of my mother’s lips: Destroy them before they destroy us.

I did not know them like a child should have. But, my family were the only ones like me.

It was a hundred times greater a shock than any electrical current that passed me. As I tore the place to shreds, ravaged the people who once thought they could control me, became Grendel to Hart meadhall, and to the thanes that dared destroy him, I felt a power that I shouldn’t have.

We escaped, stealing the clothes of those I had conquered.

Then the planning began. It was our turn to wreak havoc on a world that hated us so.

“I’ve been telling those inebriates that I’d have their blood spilt on the lab floors for weeks now,” my father told me. “I knew I’d have their heads for what they did to us. Through my own son, too.”

“Am I a son?” I asked him.

“The scientists talk about their sons and daughters. I think you are. Or would you like to be a daughter?”

“I don’t mind, either way.”

We were going to get back at the world for what they’d done to us.

Or so I thought.

But…this century later, I learned. I couldn’t die, somehow. And so instead, I learned.  

And I don’t want to be a supplement to the evil that once was the only thing that fed me.