From a horror short I've been working on for some time now...
“Vincent?” she said, uncertain. He didn’t respond. She brought a chair to his side and sat in it, far enough away that he could not reach her if he tried. “Vincent, it’s me, Lisette. Lisette Richard.”
Vincent St. Germaine sat in a wheelchair in front of a window overlooking the courtyard below. Beyond the hospital grounds, the Sister could see the New Orleans’ skyline— the wide expanse of tall buildings clustered around long streetcar cables, roads weaving in and away like blue vessels on pale skin. People walked, ran and careened around each other like ants, intent and purpose obvious in their steps. None of them, the Sister thought, had any notion what a beast the city could be, what monsters lay dormant in the shadows surrounding them— waiting to strike, eager to devour them at the first sign of inattention.
For a moment, the Sister closed her eyes, taking in the last bit of calm she could muster, trying to ignore the fear that settled in her chest the moment she’d touched feet off the tarmac. New Orleans was the violent lover she’d escaped as a girl, one she’d promised herself she’d never see again. The nightmares, the terror of them, however, had made it necessary, had forced confrontation, closure. The only person on earth who understood that terror, sat staring feet from her, numbed by medicine, drugged by chemicals that would force the memories away. She tried to ignore the disgust she felt staring at his bald, raw head, remembering the newspaper article, remembering what Vincent’s father had done to him. A few horrifying phrases stuck in her mind like a horse needle— “multiple arrests for aggravated battery of a child…use of a deadly weapon” and “eyes gouged,” “father arrested… ‘my son was a monster.’”
From what the Sister saw now, his father’s attack had done nothing but give Vincent the cast that befit his actions. His son was truly a monster. His skin was red, with a slight sheen over the surface, as though he’d been newly burned. Vincent’s ears were missing as were three of his fingers, but his eyes, though dulled and vacant, remained as she remembered them— green with hazel flecks and round with the beginnings of wrinkles on the edges. As a girl, she'd been taken by his smile. She remembered how confident and encouraging it had been, how the teeth were wide with a small gap between the front teeth. He’d called her Cher. Vincent had been the only other victim she’d talked to during that week, the only one lucid enough to speak. She’d told him her name, but he’d only ever called her Cher.