Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
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Special Needs

by Ray Prew

Dr. Barry Hinwood was a brilliant physician and microbiologist. He had the respect of the local medical community and had published several papers in medical journals. His lifelong research project was to create life. He had read Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, and while he knew it was fiction, he saw no reason why life couldn't be created. He theorized that all that had to be done was to mix the proper chemical agents in the right proportions, give it a spark of sufficient voltage and it should reanimate a dead subject.

He spent weeks spiriting away various body parts from the university's medical labs and assembling them in the basement lab of his home. He looked at his creation with pride, it looked nothing like a grotesque monster from the movies it was a handsome blonde muscleman.

He knew that his creation would have limited intellect; its brain, whatever remained of the mind of the former owner would be deleted. Its mind would largely be a blank slate; it would be and act much like a child. Tonight was the night he planned for its birth and insisted his wife Susan be there with him to welcome their new child to the world. After all, he told her he would be its daddy and she its mommy.

His wife watched and encouraged him but was of little true help. Susan was a party girl, more concerned with having fun dancing at nightclubs and drinking than in being a wife or partner. The only reason Barry married her was she made an outstanding trophy wife. The only reason she married him was his wealth.

Dr. Hinwood giggled in delighted anticipation as he added the different colored chemical agents to the remade corpse inside a large tank of water. He added the spark; the jolt of life, to catalyze the mix and in a flash of light, his creation was born. It stood on its feet and climbed out of the tank. He decided to name his new creation Adam after his high school science teacher.

Adam turned and faced Barry and Susan and tried to speak, but only a raspy murmur came out. He had no verbal skills at all. Barry clasped his hands under his chin in delight and pride while he half spun around in place, "Oh, I just love success!" he exclaimed while Susan simply rolled her eyes in boredom. "Just wait until the next medical convention," he said. "I will bring him out and show the medical community that I hold the secret of life itself."

"Just leave it in the basement, I want to go out and party!" Susan complained.

"It's not that simple. We are its parents now, we must care for it," he said as he hung up his lab coat. Barry took Adam by the hand and led him upstairs to the bedroom he had prepared for him. One wall was adorned with a huge picture of Atlas holding up the world because Adam was to be the start of a new world. He theorized there would be limitations to his creation but not like this. Adam would have to be treated like a special needs child.

"Papa," was all Adam said as he sat down on his new bed. He looked at Susan and said, "Mama," as she backed away in disgust. Adam just looked at her confused. He didn't understand why she backed away from him.

The family cat Susan named Frankfurter, padded over, rubbed against her leg, and purred. She picked him up to pet him when Adam suddenly snatched the cat from her arms with a squeal of delight and began to devour the cat alive!

"Adam, no!" Barry shouted.

"Frankie!" Susan wailed.

Adam simply smiled proudly at them with the cat's blood smeared around his mouth and offered the cat's carcass to them for a bite, beaming proudly. "Clearly this will be harder than I thought," Barry said as he watched his creation finished eating his pet. Susan ran to the bathroom to vomit, crying at the loss of her beloved Frankfurter.

"We can't let the neighbors or anyone see him until he's been socialized," Barry said with his hands on his hips.

"You think?" Susan said as she wiped the last residue of vomit from her chin.

"Toilet training may be an issue; we'll have to give him pull-ups to wear until then. Luckily, we still have some left over yellow ones from when my cousin and her disabled son where here." He began rummaging through the closet. "Yes! I knew we still had a few pairs left; in fact, we even have matching boots he should fit." He held up the boots to look them over. "Damn, that kid liked the color yellow."

"Who is going to watch over this thing while we go out? Barry, you promised me tonight we would go to the Roxy to see the floor show!"

"Susan, be reasonable Adam was just now born we can't abandon him for our own fun. Stop calling him a thing. Don't you understand we're his parents; he depends on us for food, security, and guidance. You're a mom now."

"I never wanted to be a mom in my life, now I have to be one to a six-foot baby? Like hell!" Adam sat there watching his parents argue back and forth with wide uncomprehending eyes. The more they fought the wilder his mama's eyes became, and the redder his papa's face became. Barry suddenly grabbed at his chest and started gasping for air as he fell to the floor.

"Barry!" Susan screamed. She rolled him onto his back and tried to do CPR on him. She worked feverishly for ten minutes but to no avail. Barry was dead. She led Adam back down to the basement lab to hide him and called the fire department to come for Barry.

Later after the police, firemen, and mortuary people left, she sat down with a bottle of whisky and a glass trying to come to terms with the fact her husband was dead. As she sat there drinking, she remembered she had left his new "thing" in the basement. How the hell was she going to explain him? She got up and staggered drunkenly to the basement door. "Adam," she called down "come up now, everyone is gone." The muscled blond creation came up the stairs and looked at her with innocent bewildered eyes.

Even in her drunken state she realized she would have to care for this thing Barry created, it regarded her as its mommy. She couldn't just turn him over to the state, how could she explain him. He had no birth certificate, no social security number, no nothing. "Damn you Barry, damn you for dying and leaving me like this," she muttered.

Adam sat down on the floor and looked up at Susan. "Mama," he said. Her heart went out to this thing in front of her. It had no one anywhere else in this world. It only knew her and Barry, but Barry was dead and gone. Susan thought to herself Some women wish for motherhood, some women end up as mothers, and others have motherhood thrust upon them. For the first time in her life, Susan was faced with a responsibility she couldn't just pass off or walk away from.

One year later, she was working as a lab assistant at Denton laboratories. For a year, she had successfully kept Adam from the public eye while she tried to teach him enough language and social skills not to attract any undue attention to himself, all she was able to teach him was to use the toilet and to wash himself but he still needed to use the pull ups. He had learned some language skills, but he hardly spoke he simply understood what was said to him. The biggest problem Susan had was Adam's penchant for escaping at night after she went to sleep and terrorizing the neighborhood. He didn't hurt people, just cats.

Any cat he could catch he would eat. Each time he would bring the remains back to proudly show her. So far, she had been able to bury each cat carcass without being seen. The newspapers reported a rash of cat disappearances. Over the last year, Susan's drinking had progressed as well. She had no real social life, she couldn't have men over, and she couldn't go to the clubs as she used to love to do. She had to raise Adam.

Late one night after Susan drank and cried herself to sleep; Adam escaped from their home wearing only his yellow pull-ups and boots. Unlike his previous escapes, this time he wandered from their neighborhood and into town. As he wandered the streets fascinated by the lights and hustle and bustle of cars and people walking past him, he encountered a street performer wearing a leather vest and playing a saxophone. There was an old man in a shabby suit sitting in a wheelchair listening to the music.

The music fascinated Adam, he had never heard music before, he liked the strange sounds the man was making, and it aroused him. He tried to reach for the notes thinking he could snatch them from the air. As he pushed past the man in the wheelchair to get better access to the performer, he unwittingly knocked him over. The performer dropped his saxophone and yelled "Uncle Everett!" The street performer shoved Adam out of the way to help his uncle back into his wheelchair. No one had ever shoved or hit him in his life, Adam ran away frightened. He made his way back home before anyone could call the police.

As he crawled through his bedroom window, the noise awoke Susan. She stuck he head in the door frightened at what she would see. "Oh, Adam, not another kitty," she wailed. He curled up at her feet hugging her legs whimpering.

"Adam sweetie, what's wrong? She looked down at him genuinely concerned, he never whimpered like that. Come on honey; let's watch TV and I'll make you some popcorn, maybe the Three Stooges is on. She led Adam by the hand to the TV room and put the set on. This seemed to calm Adam a bit but not by much, he still seemed to be frightened.

The screen came on with a local news update. The police were searching for a barely clothed man that knocked over a disabled man in a wheelchair in the downtown area. They showed a picture that a traffic camera had picked up. Susan's eyes widened as she saw Adam forcing his way past the man in the wheelchair to get to the man with the saxophone. "So that's why you're so upset, you were a bad boy." She knew she couldn't go on like this, but had no idea how to resolve her dilemma. Susan knew her luck wouldn't hold out forever, Adam must be dealt with.

She remembered that Barry had a tank of hydrochloric acid he kept under the house. Adam was built piece-by-piece and part-by-part from different body parts Barry had spirited away from the university's medical lab. Sometimes he had bits of bone and flesh left over he needed to dispose of. He would simply drop the remains through a hole in the floor he covered with a steel plate. If she could get Adam over the hole, she could simply drop him in and let the acid dispose of him.

Susan shuddered at the thought of outright murder. Adam was innocent and childlike. He considered her to be his mother. She couldn't betray that trust, but Adam was starting to venture beyond their small neighborhood, eventually he would lead the police back to their home. They would ask questions she wouldn't have answers for. By getting rid of him, she could have her life back. She could go clubbing again and sleep with different men again.

The next morning as she fixed Adam his breakfast of bacon and eggs, she planned what she must do. While Adam ate his breakfast and watched The Three Stooges on television Susan went down into the basement lab. She cried as she looked around, she hadn't been down there since Adams birth.

She removed the steel plate from the opening to the tank and placed a small rug with a clown face over it. She returned to the kitchen and got her camera from the cabinet drawer. "Come downstairs with me Adam, Mama wants to take your picture." Adam followed her downstairs into the basement.

"Adam sweetie, pick up that big round disk and hold it over your head. Good boy, now hold it over your head and stand on the clown face so Mama can take your picture." Adam obeyed with a smile and an innocent look in his eyes. Once he stepped on the clown face, he fell down into the tank, the steel disk closing off the opening.

Susan leapt onto the disk holding it in place with her weight as she bolted it shut, crying as she listened to Adam's screams as the acid dissolved his flesh. For a few moments, Adam pounded on the disk trying to get out, screaming, "Mama Mama!"

Susan cried, whispering, "I know sweetie, I know. It will be over in a minute and you'll see Papa again."

After a few moments, Adam's screams subsided and the lab became deafeningly silent. Susan became nauseous and started to shudder. The full horror of her actions started to set in on her. She had taken a life, it was artificially created, but still and all, it was an intelligent life. She couldn't decide which was worse, the fact she killed, or that she betrayed Adam's trust.

She climbed the stairs and closed the door to the lab. She poured herself a strong drink and sat at her table trying to process Adams birth, life, and death. She knew she didn't have to notify the authorities; Adam had no birth certificate so he didn't need a death certificate. He had no relatives to notify she was his only family. No one knew of his existence, even when he raided the neighborhood for cats, no one ever got a good look at him or tied him to her house. She never allowed him to be seen by neighbors so she didn't need to find a story to explain his absence. Her life was her own again, but why did she feel so empty inside?

Susan tried to decide if she should take her bottle and visit one of her neighbors for company. The man with the outhouse in his backyard seemed friendly and she could ask him why he used outhouses in this modern day, or maybe the man with the big dog he wasn't as nice but he had a tough guy quality she found attractive. She just didn't want to be alone right now.

She poured herself another shot trying to get a grip on herself when she suddenly heard a sound coming from the lab. She went downstairs to investigate. As she entered the lab, she saw the steel plate over the acid tank start to bulge upwards and heard the sound of the metal groaning. A moment later, the cover split and tore as Adam's arms pushed it upwards.

He climbed out of the tank the acid still dripping from him. His skin and hair had completely dissolved off leaving his bleeding musculature exposed; small bits of his muscles were eaten away by the acid showing small sections of bone. "Mama," Adam rasped! "Mama bad!" He reached for her! "Mama hurt Adam!"

"No! No sweetie, don't hurt me!" Susan backed away in terror. It was impossible he should be dead but there he was. When he was born, he was strikingly handsome, now he was horrifically grotesque.

Adam grabbed her by the arm. She could feel the acid residue on his hand burn her arm. "Mama go see Papa," he rasped. He pushed her into the acid tank and stood there listening to her death screams!

He turned and started to climb the steps leaving smoking footprints after him. The artificial nature of his creation prevented him from dying, but Susan's betrayal destroyed his trust and innocence, all he had left was hate and anger. He walked out of house and looked around him. He had never gone out in the daytime before; the bright sunlight on his exposed musculature had a burning sensation. Once he would have looked for the cats he loved so much, now he wanted to kill, kill anything or anyone.

The first to feel his wraith was a young couple walking hand in hand. They saw Adam and the woman screamed at the site of a horrifically deformed man with no skin. Her screams only made him more angry. He ran towards them and ripped out the woman's throat to silence her screams. The man tried to defend his wife only to have Adam punch a hole in his chest, pull out his heart, and throw it down on his now lifeless body. Adam found he enjoyed the feeling of killing. He killed and ate cats because they tasted good, but killing people was fun. Killing the man and woman seemed to sooth his anger. A neighbor watched the whole thing from her window and called the police.

He looked back at his home; he didn't want to go back it represented pain now. His Mama hurt him; his Papa was gone for a long time. He was alone now. He continued walking down the street looking for more people to kill.

As he staggered down the sidewalk, a cat ran across his path. It had been a few days since Adam had tasted cat; he eagerly picked it up and took a bite just as a police car screeched to a stop. Two police officers jumped out of their car with weapons drawn. "Put up your hands and freeze!" one of them said.

"Mama bad, Papa gone!" Adam rasped as he stepped towards them. The police opened fire and emptied their weapons into him. Adam staggered back a few feet but didn't go down. The two officers looked at each other dumbfounded. This horrific looking man was hit at least ten times, and was still headed towards them. One officer reloaded his gun while the other fired his taser gun. The combination of bullets and electricity was too much for Adam and he fell to the ground.

As he bled out, he rasped, "Why?"


2016 Ray Prew

Bio: Ray Prew was originally from Rhode Island, but now lives in Florida.  He is a graduate of the New England Institute of Technology.  Ray has been a blue-collar worker all his life, and started writing as a hobby.  He spent 9 enjoyable years as a phone psychic.  Ray’s work has been published in Spinetinglers magazine (6 times) one of the stories was used in a trivia quiz.  Two Spinetinglers stories are on You Tube, one story called Some Monsters Are Real is narrated by someone, and the other was made into a short video called let me out by Ray Prew.  He has been published in Blood Moon Rising (7 times including 2 poems), Aphelion magazine (9 times including 2 poems) as well as several other magazines.  He has an anthology book of published and unpublished stories available on Amazon called Delightful Nightmares.  His work has also appeared in the anthology vicious circle season one put out by sinister grin.

E-mail: Ray Prew

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