A small deviation from my usual rantings about my book. This is a story I wrote when I was a member of an organization that really had no clue how to operate. It was for a flash fiction contest that never came to pass. So, I figured I’d share it here.
The Empress of Fescue
This is how a snake feels, awaiting the first rays of light to banish the insidious chill. This is how it will always feel, cold and alone. This is why my desperation grows – as hers must have – wild.
I bought her at an Estate sale to stand sentry against the hordes of sticky-mouthed candy grabbers trampling my front lawn. My winged, snarling chimera.
The Empress of Fescue.
As the sun fell below the false horizon of peaked slate roofs, my bare feet made their way across the prickling wetness of my lawn, so I could admire her grimace in the orange glow of the street lamp. Yet, when I arrived only a flattened patch of turf remained to testify to her existence.
Indignation welled in me. I had been robbed. And then the truth struck me with a physical blow – a winged wrecking ball to the back. The wind left my lungs in a rush and I sprawled onto my lawn, eyes level with the wheels of the neighbor kid’s overturned bike.
Masonry talons clicked against the sidewalk. With a velvet slink unbefitting statuary, she approached, carven jaws stretched impossibly wide. Panic resonated through my bones and I scrabbled forward, bare feet desperate for purchase.
The grass was slick.
I was slow.
She was on top of me in an instant, her terrible weight prematurely expelling the final of my breaths. Her maw sucked into me, consuming my soul, but leaving the rest. I struggled to stay inside but there was nothing to hold onto. No anchor to cast.
I pushed myself up with shaky arms. Not me. She, wearing me. I fit her like a well-made suit, and she beamed. She did a small dance of joy, cavorting out of view as she tried her new legs. In vain, I tried to track her. My neck remained rigid, my head fixed. Cast in a haze of gray, my world contracted to a pinprick view of life – a narrow strip of grass, a patch of siding, and my living room window.
It aches, sitting here, knees hunched up around my chin. A spider has built a web in the crevice of my right ear. The grass is cold against my concrete hide and I spend the long dark wishing for the following day to come without rain or clouds, so I might remember warmth.
I see snippets of her through the window, like clips from a movie I’ll never see. She seems happy. And why shouldn’t she be? She has it all; my life, my husband, my flesh. And she has me, The Empress of Fescue.