The Chocolate Monster
by Tom Lady

Frank Sipp raced across campus, his third chocolate donut stuffed in his
mouth. The twenty-story arts and sciences building loomed ahead, its top
shrouded in the foggy firmament. The icy February wind cut into his face,
numbing his ears and watering his eyes. He had arrived on campus early and
was now on his way to his first class. The classroom would be empty, and he
would have time to complete the essay which was due today.
While crossing the street to the arts and sciences building, he inhaled the
rest of the donut, making it three donuts in the five minutes since parking
his car. Some of his thicker friends were envious that he could consume so
much so fast and gain nothing. Frank smiled to himself as he thought about
his mother always telling him to "slow down and chew your food!"
"Help!" a voice called out as he was passing the buildings adjacent to his
destination. "Help!" Frank stopped. Had the wind just played a trick on
him? " me." The pleading voice was coming from behind him.
When he turned around and scanned the yawning patch of campus he'd just
crossed, all that greeted him was emptiness. "Help me!" It was coming from
his left, from a thin opening between two of the buildings he'd just passed.
"Hello?" Frank called out as he slowly approached the alley. When he
reached the opening, the first thing he noticed in the darkness was a pair
of white glistening marbles elevated above the alley floor. "Who's there?"
"Please, son, I'm hurt," the voice said. "Could you please help me? Please?"
He stepped into the alley, flinching at the smell. It was unmistakably
chocolate. A thick aroma of chocolate seemed to envelope him in its brown
sugary substance. He looked around for the source but could find nothing.
The smell was potent to the point of being nauseous. His stomach was
starting to churn, the donuts threatening to revolt.
"Please...there's not much time," the voice said, weaker. "Don't stop.
Why did you stop? I'm hurt. Really bad."
"What's wrong here?"
"Oh God!" the man in the darkness shouted. His weak and wounded tone was
now one of rage. "Stupid boy! Come here!" Slowly, as if it were a fierce
struggle, the man stood. It was when he stood that Frank realized it wasn't
a man at all. His mouth dropped open as he gazed at the dark brown, thin
but muscular creature that stood before him. Its bulk towered a full three
yards over Frank's six feet, the shadow swallowing him in a cloak of
darkness. In its right hand appeared to be a human leg, naked and pale and
fat with flesh. The creature took a couple of steps toward him while at the
same time consuming half the leg in one bite. The putrid stench of the
rotting leg mixed with the thick smell of warm chocolate was almost enough
to make Frank lose his donuts. If his complete attention hadn't been
diverted to the cubic head of this beast, he would have doubled over then
and there to let it all out. His knees shook violently, and his heart
thundered in his ears as the creature came closer. Now he realized where
the chocolate aroma was coming from. It was the monstrosity itself. This
creature was crafted in chocolate, he realized, as he saw it glisten in the
grey light. "What's the matter?" the beast asked, its nasal tone much
louder than before. Frank's eyes fell from the creature's cube of a head to
the half a leg in its hand. "What? Are you sad to see one of your students
go?" The chocolate creature nonchalantly kicked aside a torn cardboard box
lying at its feet. Underneath was the owner of the leg. It was a girl
about Frank's age. Her other leg was missing, apparently having already
been eaten by the monster. There was a dried pool of blood on the concrete
where the legs had been ripped off. Her shirt was torn, perhaps as a result
of a struggle with the monster prior to her demise. Her long black hair was
spread out on the concrete around her head, caked in dried blood. Her
lifeless face, pale and purple, stared directly at Frank, sending a sharp
chill down his spine. "She was alone," the creature said. "I saw her
walking last night, all by herself. She was crying. Her sobs filled the
night with her sadness. They reached me here in my desolate home, and I
knew I could erase her from this miserable world for the sake of satiating
my hunger pangs. Because no one's going to miss her, you see. I'm sure of
it. Don't waste your time mourning."
Since the creature was much closer to the light now, its face was much more
visible. What Frank saw was a gnarled, almost incoherent mass of chocolate
twisted together in bands of no particular order or pattern. The eyes were
two perfectly white spheres, and the mouth was a crooked hole out of which
its frosty breath crept when it spoke. "What are you?" Frank was barely
able to gasp.
"I am a Navda Nax," the thing said. "One of a carnivorous breed of
predators, much like the lion or the leopard. But unlike them, we people
the wilds of the cities rather than the savannahs. No one has been able to
chronicle our race because, simply, no one has seen us and lived. We
consume just enough beings to survive but not enough to be caught. We are
indiscriminate in the flesh and blood we consume, pleased just as much by a
hag than a whore. If it has a pulse, we're to the purpose. And right now
the vein-throbbing thing I covet happens to be you." With surprising
quickness, the monster reached out with one of its lanky arms, the length of
which Frank had grossly underestimated. The three-fingered hand wrapped
itself tight around Frank's neck just to the point where he couldn't breath
but just loose enough to spare the bones from being crushed to powder. The
monster lifted him up until its blank eyes were just inches from his. Its
dark chocolate tongue was glistening with sugary saliva as it slicked its
upper lip (or a mockery of one) in anticipation of feeding on Frank. "I'm
still hungry, boy," it said slowly. "This is a problem that must be
remedied now. With you." It opened its mouth wide. Frank could no longer
see a face. He was suddenly confronted with a huge black abyss. His heart
felt like it was on the verge of erupting from his chest as his bladder and
bowels threatened to surrender. Before it could close down on Frank's head,
the voices of other students began to fill the air. The black void
vanished. "Damn," the creature said. "It looks like it'll have to wait.
But never fear. I won't forget you. The next time you show up for school,
I'll be right here waiting."
It dropped Frank to the ground and quickly withdrew into the depths of the
dark alley. Frank scrambled to his feet, grabbed his backpack, and darted
out of the alley. He looked around the campus and smiled when he saw other
students. He was even happy to see the professors, wrapped in their trench
coats, brief cases in hand, sternness keeping their faces tight.
Just having a close brush with death was enough to convince Frank that he
wasn't fit enough for a full day of classes. Going to the police would do
no good. Telling the cops a story about a chocolate monster called a Navda
Nax would only convince them of his madness. Content with these excuses not
to hang around any longer, he flew back to his car. "Hey Frank, where ya
goin' in such a hurry?" one of his friends asked him along the way.
"I have to go home. I'm not feeling well," Frank said. He got into his
car and sped home. When his mother questioned his very early return from
campus, he told her he'd gotten sick and just needed to get some rest. When
he walked into his room, he collapsed onto his bed. Within two minutes, he
was asleep.

At dinner that night, Frank ate little. Thinking he was sick, his mother
served him a bowl of chicken soup, but even that was too much. After two
spoonfuls, Frank put his spoon down. He took a sip of his cold soda to
cleanse the palette, and that was it.
"Frank, honey," his mother said from across the table. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, mom, really," Frank said. "I'll be better tomorrow. I just
need to sleep it off."
"At least you don't have a fever," his father said.
"Looks like that chocolate ice cream cake's going to have to wait," his
mother said. "I got it at the supermarket today thinking we'd have it for
dessert tonight. But in your condition, Frank, I don't think your system
could handel it."
The understatement of the century, Frank thought to himself. At the
mention of chocolate, he remembered the overwhelming aroma of chocolate that
had emanated from the monster. His stomach started doing flips at how
vividly it all came back to him. He excused himself from dinner and went
upstairs to bed.
After lying in the darkness of his room for half an hour with not even a
hint of sleep overtaking him, he knew he'd get very little, if any, rest
that night. He couldn't get his mind off the chocolate monster. More
importantly, he couldn't think of a way to get out of this seemingly
inescapable doom. No one would believe him. He was all alone. He had no
choice but to find a way out by himself. If I don't get out of this,
then.... Death was not something he wanted to think about. How was he
supposed to defeat that thing? he thought to himself. The chocolate monster
was over two times his height and who knew how many times strong. He
couldn't help remembering in vivid detail how quickly and easily it had
reached out to him with one arm and lifted him almost ten feet in the air.
He remembered the chocolate stench, the twisted-
He stopped. Of course, he thought. The revelation hit him, and the impact
was so momentous that he had to sit up in bed. His idea was perfect, he
knew. He became tickled with himself and started to laugh. The laugh
turned into a childish giggle that went on for many minutes. If he hadn't
known better, he would have thought he really was crazy.

The next morning Frank was up before the sun and was on his way to school
by seven o'clock. The clouds had passed overnight, so now the yellow and
orange of the early morning sun splashed themselves all over Frank as he
drove to school. Twenty minutes later, he arrived on campus. He wasted no
time in seeking out the Navda Nax, speeding toward the alley where he'd met
it the day before.
As he took his first steps into the darkness between the buildings, he was
greeted by a chilly emptiness. "Hello?" he called out. "Are you still
here?" For a minute there was silence. Had the creature left? Frank was
about to forsake his plan when the monster appeared suddenly.
"I'm right here," it said from much further down the alley. Frank saw its
towering form rise out of the darkness. It was carrying something under one
arm, but it was too far away for Frank to see what it was. The fifty feet
which separated them was quickly closed after the chocolate monster took
four long swift strides, and that's when Frank saw it was a person under its
arm. It was a boy, close to his age, his eyes closed. Frank swallowed hard
and tried not to notice it. "I have someone here," the monster said. "He's
a football player, laden with meat and muscle. I snagged him last night
while he was throwing up beer outside his dorm. I've saved him so you could
see what will happen to you. Now watch closely." He turned to the sleeping
boy in his arm. "Wake up!"
When the football player's eyes opened, the first thing he saw was the
monster's face. He hollered, his bladder surrendering. "No! No!" the boy
continued shouting, wetting himself, his urine soaking through his
sweatpants and raining on the concrete.
Frank tried not to look but found himself watching in grotesque
fascination. The monster ripped off the boy's jersey and cradled him in
both arms. It sunk its mouth into the boy's middle and in just a few
seconds turned his torso into a red, wet pit. The boy's shouts died out
when he gurgled blood. When the monster looked up at Frank, scraps of flesh
dangled from its mouth. He looked back down at the boy and engulfed his
head. Frank's stomach was doing flips when the monster dropped the headless
body. "Oh yes," it sighed, gazing
up at the sky with its wide, white eyes. "There's nothing better than
brain." He looked back down at Frank. "Now it's your turn."
Frank shook off what he'd just seen as best he could, concentrating on the
monster. "Yes," he said.
"I knew you'd come back to me," the monster said, licking the blood around
its mouth.
"I've come back," Frank responded passionately. He opened his arms to the
chocolate tower. "And I'm yours." He saw the confusion form in the twisted
knots of the monster's contorted face, and he began to laugh.
"Poor boy," the monster said. "Have you lost your mind already?"
"No," Frank laughed. "I'm here. Right here. Take me. Devour me whole.
No one's going to stop you now."
The monster shrugged. "If you are content, then so am I," it said. The
monster reached out with one hand and grabbed him by the neck. Lifting him
up, the monster brought the boy to within mere inches of its face. The
black-brown tongue slid out of its mouth, slowly gliding along its upper lip
in anticipation of the imminent meal. That's when Frank struck. With a
quickness and ferocity that not even the monster could repel, he opened his
mouth as wide as he could and closed down on the monster's tongue, making it
squeal. The noise was deafening, jolting Frank where he hung on. When it
let go of him, he quickly grabbed onto the monster's thick neck, as if he
were embracing a sugary sapling. In a panic, the beast shook from side to
side in a futile effort to shake off Frank as he chewed on its tongue. He
managed to hang on as he was swung to the other side. Half of the wet
tongue was in his mouth, and he continued to chew on it. As he consumed it,
it made him think of eating an especially thick chocolate bar. Yet that's
all it was. Proving to himself that this monster was indeed quite edible,
he continued his offense with renewed vigor.
Now that he was positioned on the creature's back, he immediately started
to chow down. He sunk his teeth into the monster's shoulder and rapidly
worked his way down the back. Even though the skin was tougher than he
thought, he never relented. He sank his teeth into the smooth, creamy milk
chocolate and swallowed as much as he could. What he couldn't swallow he
let fall to the ground. Soon the skin had completely been ripped off the
right side of the Navda Nax's back.
It was in great agony now. Its squeals had become ear-ringing howls
directed at the blue sky and orange sun hidden behind the buildings above.
Despite the enormous amount of anguish it was in, it continued to make
repeated but increasingly weak efforts to throw off its tormentor, but Frank
was eating too fast to be frustrated by its efforts. The monster finally
fell forward as it entered its death throes. As he sat on the monster's
back, he cherished the horribly gruesome sight he had created. The inner
workings were displayed neatly before him: the dark chocolate tendons, the
milk chocolate muscles. He dove right into it, ripping out handfuls at a
time, throwing away some of it, eating the rest. He buried one hand
particularly deep and dug for almost a minute before he came out with the
monster's heart. It was a fist-sized oval of marbleized milk, dark, and
white chocolate. Frank slicked his upper lip with the same amount of
delicacy the monster had used, and sunk his teeth into the heart, devouring
it. When he was finished, he looked down and smiled at the black hole he'd
made of the Navda Nax's back. With his chocolate stained mouth and teeth,
it was a grotesque smile, but a victorious one to be sure. Just for spite,
he walked up to the creature's head, plucked out its white chocolate eyes,
and inhaled them.
Then he trampled the lifeless mess, stomping it to as many bits and pieces
as he could. Once finished, he proceeded to throw all the chunks into the
adjacent dumpster. When he emerged from the alley, his stomach began to
churn. All that came out, however, was a deep belch. He massaged his
stomach gently with his hand. "Easy there, big fella," he said. "You're
not getting out."