Staring. Pale skin and auburn hair. She breathes slow and unrushed. White sheets. White sheets, spaced all around her. I love her in white sheets. I love her.
Her hand clasps mine. A small smile on ginger lips, stained with broken vessels. I can feel the tear in the corner of my mouth. I embrace it with the tip of my tongue, testing the damage. Worth it.
I am the sullied tainted one. Mottled skin. Bruised in patches of pink and light, crimson and ochre, violet and black. Just a dash of scarlet that has rusted.
She is untouched.
Lips press tight. She wakes. Green eyes pierce my skin, stab through solid flesh to the vulnerable centre. I hear my breath stop and my heart quicken. Suddenly I am no longer the lover.
“You’re in the wrong bed.”
My lip trembles. Even my bruises pale.
“You’re in the wrong bed.”
It’s a demand to move but my limbs won’t obey, frozen in the knowledge that she has turned from nymph to hydra in milliseconds. If only she’d close her eyes again. If only she’d close her eyes.
She turns, anger stretching her features with hate. Her spine ripples down her back in stilled progress. It’s like a waterfall. My fingers nearly touch it until I remember. The hydra. Not the nymph.
“I haven’t heard you move.”
The voice is deadly. I feel I may have to listen. My legs swing off the side of the bed, toes skimming the ground until I drop down and scurry to the door. I make no noise. She doesn’t like noise. I am silence. I am a mouse.
I am nothing. Nothing.
My stomach twists.
Spindly legs carry me to my room. It’s down the hall, not far. She decorated it for me, but the wall is now splashed with blood. She’s angry. It was my own fault. I shouldn’t have done it.
I dip my head and don’t look at the mess, crawling into my little single bed with its teddies and patchwork covers. I snuggle down deep even though it’s morning. My limbs can’t be exposed. Monsters might get me.
She warned me the monsters might get me so many times. I wonder if it will move from the floor, get up with crimson face and unhinged jaw. My stomach jolts and I wriggle lower, pulling the duvet up to my eyes. I must stay awake.
I wish I was in bed with mummy.
“Go to sleep!”
It’s like she can hear me through the walls. I take a deep breath and hold it. If she can’t hear that then maybe she’ll think I am asleep. At least she doesn’t think I’m playing. Don’t play with your food. That’s what she says. She says I mustn’t.
Still holding my breath, I peer at the wreckage on the floor. She said he was my uncle John when she introduced him, kissing his lips. I’ve had lots of uncles. They think I’m cute until they see my sharp little canines flash and my eyes glint in the moon. Mummy tells them I am just a child.
I am child.
I am wild…
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