Something catches in the back of my throat. I
hide my face in my hands to quiet the sobs. But then,
something ain’t right. Air moves around me and I
stop. I look between my fingers, but the blur of my
tears thickens everything: the bathtub, the towels,
and someone on the floor.
A woman’s in here with me, door still closed and
locked. An exhale, like after a deep swim, and a smell,
like the swamp close to my empty home. A chill runs
down my back, I wipe my eyes, rub and scratch them
to see more clearly. And I do.
Two gray hands scratch the floor tiles, nails green
with algae, putrid flesh sagging on her legs, arms
and torso, hair so long and wet and heavy, it drags
her down. Diluted, impossible to focus on, like little
waves rippling over her body from head to foot, seaweed
in the water. Scales and fins, mermaidlike, little
knives, those are. And they scrape the floor, like a
fork on a plate. It’s her—Limnade.
She opens her mouth of scissor-teeth and the rotten
smell of fish wraps around my throat like two
hands trying to choke me.
“You can’t be…” I don’t finish my breathless
thought and jump backward, knocking over the dish
of decorative soaps. Blurry waves, vision impaired,
out of focus, unreal. She crawls toward me, eyes unblinking,
lethal, hands inches from me: my legs refuse
to move, as my body feels like stone. Frozen,
hypnotized, a statue. Then I hear something coming
from within her…
A melody, reminding me of something lost, tickles
my ears. It drags on until the sweetness turns sickly,
vibrating into a full-on super-scream, hyenalike,
enough to pop my ears and make them bleed. Her
large mouth deforms her face into one gap of black,
the cry so high and strident, I scream from the pain.
Limnade stares at me, everything but her fades
away—Jo’s nice bathroom, Jo’s new life, Jo himself—
none of it matters anymore. Her fingers brush my
forehead, they’re cold and sticky like clams. And I let
the darkness take me away.
She who likes dark things never grew up. She never stopped listening to gothic, industrial and alternative bands like when she was fifteen. She always loved to read horror and dystopia and fantasy, where doom and gloom drip from the pages.
She, who was supposed to make films, decided to write short stories, novelettes and novels instead. She, who’s had her films listed on festival programs, has been printed in a dozen anthologies and magazines since.
She who likes dark things prefers night to day, rain to sun, and reading to anything else.
She blogs http://annecmichaud.wordpress.com
She Facebooks: http://www.facebook.com/annecmichaud
She tweets @annecmichaud
Buy it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CCQ1Q6W
Girls & Monsters Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17335353-girls-monsters