This monster’s no metaphor: old bones, matted hair and the bristly genitals of a Fritz the Cat; but really they’re remnants of the long-dead parasitic twin pulled out of the belly of a Malaysian teenager who only recently complained of stomach pains.
Meanwhile in Chicago a baby girl has recovered from an operation to remove the remaining parts of her alter ego: in their mother’s womb the other fetus tried making itself invisible by diving into the sole survivor’s abdomen.
In Australia a toddler from Bangladesh is learning to walk normally after doctors cut out duplicate organs and a third leg attached to her back – more like an elephant’s trunk; again, belonging to a second fetus which failed to develop.
First the parents ‘marketed’ their missing daughter. Mad keen, they were, to keep her in the public eye. Bobbed hair, milk teeth and marshmallow eyes: the prospect of everyone seeing that picture may have been the next best thing to a real sighting.
A few months later, monstering the McCanns: parents’ nightmare became nightmare parents; until the libel courts put this mutant story mainly to sleep.
And now, a decade later, if instead of praying for Postman Pat to bring her home, secretly you would put on surgical gloves and cut out this 10-year growth, who could blame you?
There are the monsters we make, and others imposed upon us; but also our ingenuity.