Monsters Of Duplicity

I strode out shortly after daybreak to check my traps. I had set them up, two of them, on the edge of the woods, and as I approached in the milky morning light I was pleased to see that in each I had ensnared a monster of duplicity.

The duplicity of the first monster consisted of its having two heads, where you would expect to find only the one. Almost all beings with heads have just a single head, perched on a single neck. This trapped monster did indeed have a single neck, but at a certain point it bifurcated in order to support a pair of heads. Adding to the monster’s monstrosity was the remarkable, even nauseating, disparity in the heads. The one on the left was a smooth and baldy head, almost egg-like. When I was close enough to study its features I saw that it had a pair of tiny piggy eyes and a minuscule snub of a nose and thin pinched lips. I saw no sign of ears. But the other head! It was misshapen and hairy and disgusting, with several eyes and noses and more than one mouth and numerous ears, and it emitted a godawful grunting noise that sent shivers down its own spine, or rather, the spine it shared with its other head. I watched those shivers snaking up and down the protruding spine with cold, emotionless fascination. I knew I was going to kill the monster, sooner or later.

But first I turned my attention to my second trap, and the second monster. Its duplicity was not a simple matter of having two heads, for it had just one, and that not a particularly monstrous head. If anything, it was a rather handsome head, a head one might easily imagine topping the beautiful body of a young Apollo. Quite what kind of body the monster had was, however, a matter of conjecture. Evidently when my trap snapped shut it did so precisely upon the monster’s neck, detaching the head from the body. Judging by the pawprints in the mud, the headless body had then fled, leaving the head lolling helpless, the severed neck caught in the fangs of the trap. Its duplicity, then, was that head and body could continue to exist, even to thrive, separately. I pondered whether to follow the pawprints, but saw that they terminated nearby, where the body of the monster had plunged into the marsh, the better to make its escape.

I popped the handsome head into my pippy bag and slung it over my shoulder. Then I bashed the heads of the other monster with my spade, rendering it unconscious. I freed it from the trap and tied it up with butchers’ string and shoved it on to my cart. Before leaving the edge of the woods, I reset both traps. Other monsters roamed these parts, and though I could trap only two at a time, I would never stint in my efforts.

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