the short story project


Alexis Tait

The Beast on Platform 3.

I stared at the Beast at the end of my bed with resigned trepidation. The Psychiatrist in front of me continued to talk to me using words I wasn’t listening to, and gestures I wasn’t watching. 

It was small-ish Beast, if you could judge the size of an Imaginary Creature from the realm accurately. It could have been a behemoth of the Beast World for all I knew, a true giant to it’s Beastly dark ant brethren- if it was in fact not the only one of its kind.

It had become apparent that the Beast was here to stay after my seventh round of antipsychotics and second year in the psychiatric ward, finally I declared myself to be a Beast free woman, and as such here I was- about to be discharged into the big bad world. Beasts and Monsters and all! Well, Beast, and all. There was only one so far. 

I turned to the doctor finally and managed to catch the last couple of words, “-so you will be set up in a halfway house to manage the change, any major stressors can trigger another episode.”

I gave him a smile and stood up, it was time to go. If I always waited for people to finish before I left I would be halfway to deaths door already. I thanked the doctor and strode out the door, suitcase in hand. 

I haven’t been taking my meds for almost a week, so the world was vibrant in a way that I hadn’t experienced in… well years. Literal years. I walked towards the tram and heard the scuttling of the little Beast as it tried to keep up, it gave a croaky complaint and I slowed down a bit to let it catch up, I eyed it and ‘tsked, trying to hurry it along, its golden eyes stared up at me happily its clawed paws tapping on the street.

It was always happy to be around me, the only time it wasn’t was when I was far away. Or even just across the room. Anything that wasn’t immediate vicinity was unacceptable.

I had flown to Italy once to get away from it, in the beginning. A few days after I first saw it, standing on Platform 3 at the station, waiting for my train to come. I thought I had been drugged, maybe there was some LSD in the bottled water from work. But there it was when i woke up, in the shower, in bed, day, after day, after day. There had been no plan in going to Italy, no premeditation. No packed bags, I just got up from my bed in my apartment, bought a ticket to Italy and left 10 minutes later. Watching the plane take off as the beast scattered about the tarmac was satisfying. It had worked, and it had been a blissful- for a while, but I woke up on the 6th day to the creature staring down from the end of my bed. 

On particularly bad days, when I was in the ward, I had counted its green and golden scales that covered it belly, the black fur sharply contrasting the shimmering jewels, while it curled up with me, the soft breaths filling the room which was absent from all sound  except my heartbeat. The little Beast had become a part of me. 

I focused on the cobblestoned street beneath me as it weaved in and out of my legs as and I took care not to step on it then hopped on the tram. Assuredly I looked quite strange, dancing around a invisible cat at my feet.

In the beginning it had ruined my life, I couldn’t concentrate at work, I was always staring off into the distance trying to figure out what it was doing. Or its incessant chirping would prevent me from forming a coherent sentence. It had not taken long for me to lose my collective shit at it one day and use the cake cutting knife in the kitchen to stab it. 

So I lost my job- having been on thin ice from the Italy incident. 

Just like that I was in a psych ward. Self admitted- with rumours trailing after the stragglers that came to see me, so far I had

1. Lost a lover and a child, 

2. Overdosed on adderall, 

3. Taken one too many hits to the head while i was out joy riding, 

But none included the small undeniable fact that my brain had had an entire neural-transmittal malfunction and I now had a furry lizard cat thing for a best friend. 

No job. No family. No friends.

The leaves were falling at the moment, i hadn’t thought about what season it would be. Gold and orange rain littered the sidewalk, the wind whipped my coat as I checked the piece of paper for the address 


                                   The Yellow Door House
                                     273 Prarieway Drive



Odd address. I glanced at the house, unexceptional except for the Yellow door. The white gate was slightly rusted and gave a small screech as i pushed it open, the beast chirped at it in warning- skittering around it with a small hiss. The Yellow door didn’t open easily and i pushed on it with my shoulder, a grunt escaped my lips and it popped open.

I stepped over the threshold to my new home. It wasn’t as bleak as I had thought. I set about busying myself, opening the windows and settling in for the moment, i was part way through unpacking my suitcase when I heard the unmistakable rapt of knuckles on my front door. Visitors? To my humble abode? 

Time to break out the fine China. 

I reached for the golden brass door handle and pulled it open, there stood a man, as old as I was, holding up a security badge that confirmed he was a worker for the institution, or Volunteer. I was about to open my mouth when the Small Beast made a loud noise and I started, then I watched, in slow motion as the man’s eyes followed the noise to the small thing that made it.

“That, is not a cat,” he mumbled, not quite comprehending the situation, and confusion marred his features.

“Ah,” I said.

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