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Another Monster Ch17

Another Monster Ch17

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Published by Ivana NIkolic

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Published by: Ivana NIkolic on Mar 04, 2011
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Chapter 17Sobotka(August 2001; Prague)When the police questioned him, he said that hecouldn't remember anything about the reading seminar. Butafterward, his memory returned bit by bit, until he wassure that his life at age 10 was indeed the nightmare hehadalways suspected. Now, he is 30. As the youngest of thesubjects Agent Suk interviewed, his experience at the RedRoseMansion's reading seminar was cut short when Bonapartadisappeared. He wished to remain anonymous, so I haveused thealias Sobotka here. He had a handsome face that was thinon emotion, and he said he was an automotive engineer forthelargest industrial company in the Czech Republic.- During police questioning, you said that you hardlyremembered anything about the reading seminar. Can youevenremember a reading seminar at all?"No, you're a bit off. Actually, I went to the RedRose Mansion once a week to 'learn things.' I do rememberplainly that this took place as a book reading. But Inever really thought about WHY I was doing that, and whatI wassupposed to be learning."- But now, you think of it as a nightmare."Yes. We were brought into a compact, comfortablesitting room, six of us to start with. Two years I didthis, andit was always the same people."- Six to start with?"Yes, one of them stopped coming at some point. Ifeel like there was a rumor among us that he had died,thoughnobody made sure."- Do you remember all their faces?"No, no faces or names, those are gone. Oh, and wenever introduced our names to each other to start with."- Now, turning back to the "nightmare," what kind ofthings happened at the seminar?"He just read. He had a very... deep and pleasantvoice. He would select readings from storybooks or
 
novels, orsometimes just told us a tale off the top of his head.Sometimes he would order one of us to do the reading, butfor themost part we just listened to him read."- Do you remember his face?"No, just the eyes. They were terrible eyes."- Do you remember these books? "The NamelessMonster," "The Man With the Big Eyes, The Man With theBig Mouth,""The God of Peace.""Yes. But don't you dare bring them out around me.I've realized that I can quote them all from memory. Butitbrings a sense of nausea to my throat. After he finishedreading, he would always ask us, do you understand themeaning ofthis story?"- And was that the nightmare?"Well, do you know how, when you come down withparticularly bad fevers, sometimes someone else's voiceor wordsburrow into your mind and you can't avoid thinking aboutit? Well, that 'do you understand' is this exact type ofterror Ifeel."- And did you understand the meaning?"Yes, I did. But don't ask me what I understood."- By what basis were you selected for the seminar, doyou suppose?"My parents died 12 years ago, so I'm not entirelysure, but..."- But you have remembered something about that?"Y-yes, just faint memories... I was in some sort oflaboratory place, and a man in a white coat showed me asortof design. He asked me what it looked like."- Somewhat like a Rorschach test?"Y-yeah, I think."- What did it look like?"Well, I think... I saw a monster."- A monster?"Yes, with ten horns and seven faces... A-a m-monster, before my eyes."- And after that, you were taken to the Red RoseMansion. Did you ever think of not going back?"I don't think so."- Were you afraid that if you quit, something would
 
happen to you or your parents?"No. Forced to participate or not, I don't thinkthere was any concrete threat keeping us from quitting ifwewanted to. However, I interpreted it as a duty to which Iwas bound by honor to fulfill."[Picture] (sketch of a man's profile as he looks away)Mr. Sobotka, graduate of the Red Rose Mansion readingseminar. His wife and son are the greatest joy of hislife, but ifhe wishes to display love, he must intentionally forcehimself to show those signs.- And in 1981 or 1982, the seminar came to an end."Yes, it was '81. I went there as usual, and themansion was closed. It was like no one had been livingthere foryears."- The seminar fell apart once Bonaparta... "the man"you speak of, disappeared. Looking back, was thereanythingyou could point to as an impending sign of that?"Not at the time... But now, I do recognize onething. One day, after he had told the story, he asked us,'do youunderstand?' like he always did. The others all nodded,but for some reason I wasn't really paying attention, andI didnot nod. So he turned to me and asked me again, and thattime, he spoke my name."- He called your name?"Yes, though I wasn't surprised at the time. That wasbecause I had never even noticed that he never spoke ournames."- I noticed that you just said that he "told" thestory, Mr. Sobotka. Why did you choose that word, ratherthan"read"?"Oh. Did I say that? I wonder why. Now, what kind ofa story was he... Well, I guess he wasn't actuallyreadingfrom a book. It was like he would just create a story onthe spot and tell it to us..."- Can you remember what kind of a story he told you?"Yeah... Yeah... Like, a door... A door thatopened... A story about opening a door that should neverbe opened."

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