I don’t really know what the prompt for this was supposed to lead me towards. What exactly IS a “true monster”? A person? A monster not already on the list? An especially monstrous monster?
I have no idea, so I just created a folk creature that embodies most of the stuff I consider to be vital for a good, scary monster:
#11: The True Monster (click to en-big-en)
This is Grandmother Mantis. She’s been spotted throughout Appalachia and was recently blamed for the disappearance of a 10 year old girl. Though the police still insist it was probably some mentally-ill vagrant or a vengeful family member that made off with her, the locals know better.
Grandmother Mantis lives in caves, usually in remote areas close to small towns. She keeps several lairs and moves frequently to avoid overfeeding on a population. She feeds primarily on children, since they are tender and slow, but she will eat anything that crosses her path on two legs. She wears a cloak made of tanned human skin and is always looking for fresh stock to augment or repair it. It is her most precious possession and she fusses with it obsessively.
She gets her name primarily from her two razor-sharp scythe-like front legs that fold up like mantis claws, and her habit of wearing the skulls (and sometimes other bones) of old women. She has a round spider-like body and 4 spider-like legs, with extremely sharp points and 4 tentacle-like appendages with sharp venomous stingers on them. On the front of her abdomen, she has two small almost-human arms. She is wearing a set of human hands to hold the cake pan out with, they’re just a little… less than fresh. She’ll be collecting a new set soon enough though…
She comes out at night to hunt and releases a hallucinogen into the air before retreating into the woods to wait. The chosen victim(s) will wake up imagining they hear the call of a beloved relative just outside (typically a beloved grandmother) and feel compelled to go to them.
Once the victim, usually a child, reaches the woods, they will be fully under the power of the Grandmother Mantis’s venom and will recognize her as “Granny”. She looks to each victim like a sweet old grandmother and tends to know all about them. She will often bait her victims with cakes and toys both to lure them into her lair and only after toying with them for a while will she sting them with one of her four lethal poisoned stingers. As the victim succumbs, the illusion wears off and they see Grandmother Mantis for what she truly is. To top off their horror upon seeing “Granny’s” horrifying appearance, she frequently beings to slice into her meal before it is completely dead. She enjoys her food to be thoroughly traumatized before eating it, and considers no meal complete without some screaming.
So, what is it that makes a creature “monstrous” to me? They hurt people/creatures for fun or kill for entertainment. They are remorseless. They hurt the most vulnerable of victims, and get a high from causing fear. “Granny” kills to eat, but even if she wasn’t hungry, she’d kill for entertainment. That’s what makes her a true monster.
Zombie girl is coming up (but probably not until Monday) So stay tuned!