Young Horrors

Posted on July 2, 2004 by Jenna

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The gunboats bob, gently, outside of the Federated States of Micronesia. Captain Sid and First Mate Meredith stand on the deck and watch as Clair swims closer. Eventually, she climbs on board.

Clair is a young girl. She has long, pointed ears. They are tufted. Their ends hang down, dripping with water. Her eyes are dead black. Her teeth, sharp.

“Asylum,” she says. Her voice is lightly accented.

“I’m sorry,” Sid says.

“Please,” she says. “They’re killing us.”

Sid makes a sad face at her. “I’m authorized to take a statement,” he says. “But not to take any of the Micronesia horrors out of these waters.”

Clair sits down. She sulks. “It’s not fair.”

“Do you deny being a horror?” he asks.

“Well, no,” she says. “I mean, I’m not very horrible now, but I’m drinking milk. In a few years, I’ll be a terror such as you can’t even imagine. Unless they kill me.”


“I’m supposed to drink blood,” she says. “But milk has more calcium. Although blood has iron.”

“Arr,” agrees Sid. “The bloodiest vitamin and mineral.”

“Drink cow’s blood,” Meredith suggests. “It’s the best of both worlds.”

“Don’t encourage her,” Sid says.

“There are not many cows in the Federated States,” Clair says. “They’re more of a union mammal.”

“How many are there of you, now?” Sid asks.

“We are uncountable.”

Sid raises an eyebrow.

“More accurately,” Clair admits, “nobody ever taught me how to count. I didn’t have any formal schooling. I only know English because I ate a really smart parrot.”

“That would explain the BBC accent,” Meredith says.

“I’m supposed to write down a number,” Sid says, firmly. “I mean, for the paperwork.”

Clair shrugs.

“Ten million strong, and growing,” Meredith offers.

Sid looks at her.

“Like in that Flintstone’s multivitamin commercial. ‘We are Flintstone’s kids,'” Meredith sings, happily. “‘Ten million strong, and growing in our terrible power.'”

“Meredith,” Sid says, “why are you on a naval vessel?”



“My Dad,” she says. “He said, ‘So, Meredith, I understand that there are places that don’t know about you. Like Scotland. And the Federated States of Micronesia!’

“And I said, ‘Those poor people. Those poor, sad, federated people.’

“So he arranged for my commission, and now I’m your first mate!”

Clair tilts her head to one side. “Can I mock your mode of military governance?” she asks.

“No,” Sid says.

Clair sighs. “This is the worst asylum ever.”

“We didn’t give you asylum.”

“You could at least give me a snack,” she says, “before you throw me back into Micronesian waters.”

“What do you eat?”

“I like people.”


“Bad people,” Clair emphasizes. “Not like you. Like, you know, criminals. Take a bite out of crime!”

“No,” Sid says.

“It’s less monstrous, but it tastes great!”


“Where’s the Keith?”

“Your knowledge of American commercial slogans will not save you!” Sid declares. “Due to imported anime butchered and rebroadcast on Cartoon Network, we favor Japanese culture on this ship.”

“Please to be offering many happy tasty criminals for glorious consumption in the name of American hegemony?”

“Uncanny,” Sid says. “It’s like the lesbian subtext was completely removed in translation!”

Clair beams.

“We don’t actually have any people to feed you, criminals or otherwise,” Sid says.

“But we have pocky,” Meredith notes brightly.


“Well, we do.”

“It’s for the Captain,” Sid underlines.

“Look at her,” Meredith says.

Clair smiles brightly and innocently.

“She’s so cute!” Meredith says.

“Fine,” Sid says. “Feed the horror pocky and throw her back.”

Some time passes, filled mostly with crunching, followed by a splash and the steady sounds of swimming.

“Do you ever wonder what goes through their heads?” Sid asks. “When they’re going home?”

“‘Micronesia has a first name, it’s F-e-d-e-r,'” offers Meredith.

Japanese pop culture, Meredith.”

“I like jingles,” she sulks.

“It’s important that we present a united front,” Sid says. “The Micronesians will strike, if they sense any weakness. They’re desperate right now, normals and horrors both.”

“‘Those poor, sad, federated people,'” Meredith says, softly.

“Arr,” answers Sid.

There’s a pause. Then Meredith beams. She points at at Sid triumphantly.

“You can’t say ‘arr!'” she declares. “It’s European!”

“It is not!” Sid sulks. “It’s Zen.”