TITLE: QUE VIENE EL COCO
AUTHOR: kangeiko
RECIPIENT: andrastewhite
FEATURED CHARACTER: Mina Murray (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
SUMMARY: Here comes the bogeyman.
SPOILERS: Mild for Vol. I of the trade paperback; very, very (very) mild one for Vol. II.

EMAIL: kangeiko@gmail.com
LJ: kangeiko

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Quotations from the trade paperback are in italicised within double forward-slashes, i.e. //stuff!//

Any allusions to Caelius Sedulius are wholly and completely spurious.

########
QUE VIENE EL COCO
########



She does not like me.

I am not sure if she likes anyone, but I am certain that she actively dislikes me.

// "I - - I don't think Edward will require a firearm.

Th-That is, he's too big to need one. At least, he is these days. Do you know, I was once taller than he was?"//


She never looks at me.

// "While wishing you no disrespect, Dr. Jekyll, I suggest you might delight us with that anecdote upon some less pressing occasion. We're approaching the warship..."//

She talks to Edward sometimes, but not to Henry. Never to Henry. It is difficult, for I should like to think that Henry is who I am; that Edward is merely a by-product of a failed experiment. As Henry, as a learned, cultured man, I have tried to speak to her; tried to initiate conversations about love, poetry, the weather... it is no use. She would rather speak to Edward than speak to me. I open my mouth and her lovely eyes take on the hard, glazed look of polished jade as she walks away. If it is not Edward speaking to her, she sees nothing.

Not anymore.

The first night I saw Miss Murray, I pulled her scarf undone.

*

Alone of all her sex, Wilhemina Murray wears pearls to bed. They cling to flesh and bone and grow ever larger each passing night, fat and heavy with satisfaction.

This is all true, for I have seen them.

A physician might have called them tumours, burns, cancerous growths, and might have had her bled. Indeed, I would like to see what would happen if someone were to suggest such a thing; if someone were to look at the cluster of hard, polished flesh on her neck, at that pale scar tissue grown around shards of pain that we prize so highly. It is as if a necklace of flushed pearls was drawn tight against her throat, hidden beneath the flesh to the casual eye. If someone were to pull that scarf undone, would they still be there? Or would she have magicked them away? She is a witch, I am almost sure, a monster like Griffin and Edward and Nemo. She is a witch, for none but a witch would bear the devil's mark, and none but a monster would choose Edward over me.

When I first met her, I was myself.

No, let me not lie this early on - I was Henry. I use the two terms interchangeably, and it is only fair to warn you, gentle reader, that this is the case. There is no longer a whole person left of me, and... Edward will not have this. No. I am not him.

When I met Miss Murray, I was Henry; I was myself. I was dignified, and I was controlled, and when I first saw her form, she was nothing to me but a common harlot, a street-walker with her breasts bared and her lips rouged. Her neck was hidden by a scarf, and, in truth, that is what caught my attention. I saw her and I wanted to pull it away, to tear it from her neck. There was almost a gentlemanly sensibility in my outrage. What business did a whore have in attempting ladylike demureness?

When I pulled her into the shadows, my hands rougher than necessity demanded, she did not protest. I could feel the thin bones beneath her skin shift and grate as I caught her wrists together, like a sparrow's wings, pinned back and helpless, and she did not protest. Should that have alerted me that something was amiss? Perhaps. All that I recall was that she merely glanced back to a deserted street corner and smiled. Her pimp, I supposed at the time, was not there.

Later, Quatermain and Dupin would suppose that Edward terrified her, that the brute beast would have violated and murdered their precious delicate lady, so sweetly wrapped in gauze and cheap linen; no silks for whores, no. Later, when Edward was in control, their suspicions would be confirmed.

They would be deceived, of course, but even a man as cowardly as myself has some pride. How could they know the truth? And, perhaps, there was some small part of me that delighted in this exchange in lies and suppositions: I had been wrong, so why not they? It might make my humiliation more bearable.

Once we arrived at our designed room, I began to undress her, tumbling her on to the bed and running impatient hands over her bosom. She did not protest, though she... she started to make this sound, this soft choking sound as I reached for her throat. I thought that perhaps it would be all right, that she would be weak and submissive and would not interest Edward at all. I thought that I could have my turn with her. He does not like them quiet, you see. He prefers to see them struggle in their rustling gowns, like trapped birds stretching out their wings to take flight. He likes to pull their corset strings tight, too tight for them to breathe, and watch them flail in their self-made deaths. There is enough of me in him to find poetry in their dying throes.

There is enough of him in me to want to strangle Mina Murray with her own scarf.

*

I know that she speaks to Edward, because I can hear them. We share the same body, although I am not willing to acknowledge a shared identity. Not with him. But they speak together on occasion, and I listen, and... and I hate her just a little for making my separation all that more permanent. It is not her fault, but it is easy to blame her.

The truth of the matter is that there is more to me than just the two sides that people see. I am more than Henry and Edward, although I suppose that some confusion is understandable on that part, even for myself. When a person is presented with such keen differences, it is tempting to think the matter settled. No one enjoys being discomforted, after all, and Edward is nothing if not discomforting. After meeting him, few have ventured to think of the whole of my parts. Even I.

I was whole, once. Edward was but a shadow of me, demanding things that I could never have. A friend of mine, back when I resided in Vienna, ventured that Edward was my id, constantly wanting. It is somewhat unsatisfying that the other side of me is too weak to want, much less to have. When Edward was incarcerated inside me, I could not bear the feeling of such vociferous lusts. I was burning up with wants I did not understand and could not control.

Now... I am as you see. I am apathy incarnate. If Edward sins by gluttony and lust, Henry sin by sloth and pride, and I am caught between the two, oscillating in ever wider arcs. When I am Edward, or, rather, when he is me, I am pushed into a small compartment inside myself from which to view the proceedings. It was comforting, once, back when I was afraid and Edward was not quite so powerful. It was comforting to have someone else bear the brunt of fear and inadequacy. As Henry, I was always so afraid, so needy. A snivelling coward, some have called me, and I suppose that it is true. Still, better to be a coward than a monster, would you not say?

As Henry, I am empty. Look inside me and see nothing.

When I saw Mina Murray standing on that street corner, I thought nothing more of her than I did of the other whores I took to my bed. I wanted, not to feel, not to hurt, not anything lewd or obscene, but simply to want. I understand that this might be a foreign concept to my gentle readers; should that not be a contradiction? Yes. This tale is full of them. How did a small, mousy man such as Henry ever control such a terrifying creature as Edward? How could Edward ever be small and helpless?

Why does Mina Murray prefer the monster?

I know the answer to that last one. I know why she prefers Edward. I know why he has been growing stronger and stronger with each passing day.

I should not hate her, for Edward is me and I am Edward, though if you had been paying attention you would know that this is not what I want. I do not want to be subsumed beneath my lusts; I do not want to become a monster. I feel as though I am being driven insane and there is nothing I can do to stop it. Every time she looks at me it becomes worse. I can feel Edward clawing at my insides, howling to be set loose. If I thought he would simply hunt and kill, I might comply. If I thought he would kill her, I most certainly would.

// "Mr. Hyde, you are hurting my hand, sir, and I will not allow that.

"I should be grateful if you would release me."//


He will not. He is a fool, and he is killing me, inch by inch. Leg and bone and gristle; muscle and sinew and cartilage slip down Edward's throat with each nicety, with each bow, with each compliance.

She has him saying please.

I am being consumed by myself and she is at the crux of it.

Alone of all her sex, Miss Murray does not fear the night.

Not anymore.

*

fin