Parlour Games, Part Three
By S. C. Green
“No. No. No,” Tensen cried.
Tensen shimmered green from head to toe. No. Not completely. The light didn’t shine from her mouth, but it did reflected from her metallic teeth. She spun around and looked over her shoulder.
“Is there anything?” Desperation in her voice.
“I don’t know,” but I did.
Tensen’s hands swept over her back and shoulders, searching for the wings that weren’t there. I tried to comfort her. I reached out a hand, but she shrunk away from my claws.
My claws. I touched a fallen stone, leaving a groove where my finger -no, talon– scored it. How was I supposed to hold Tensen’s hand in mine? Countless nights laying in the dark, festering over the next day’s work and humiliation, Tensen’s hand would find mine. In that tight grip, I knew tomorrow would come, and we would survive. She took another step away from me.
I didn’t know which hurt more, Tensen’s disgust in what I’d become or the possibility of never feeling someone’s touch again. She felt her insides hollow. She needed to know.
“How long is this supposed to last?” I asked to Tensen’s back. She slumped onto a pile of stone and shook her head.
“I thought forever.”
“What do you mean thought?” I wiped away a welling of tears careful to use the back of my wrist. “Does it wear off? Can we go back? How do you know?”
“I… I…” She took a deep breath and drop her head into her hands. “I’ve taken it before. Lady Cadbury-Heinz.”
“But she would’ve murdered you on the spot.”
Tensen shook her head again and sat a little straighter.
“She made me.”
She read the confusion in my face.
“I didn’t lie about her Coming Out, but she needed a backup in case she didn’t like what she got. Really I thought I was being rewarded for good service. I swear I did. I heard the screams, I screamed myself when she returned to the chambers.”
“What did it do to her?”
“There were bones where shouldn’t have been.” She motioned to her arms and chest as she rocked back and forth. “She tried to reassure me, but her teeth kept falling out while she spoke. She said to take the pill. She put it in my hand and smiled at me.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
Tensen kept talking as if the words wouldn’t come out fast enough. “I swallowed it and she waited for me to change. She told me she needed an active pill to turn her back. I started to glow. She pinned me down. I grabbed the plate and it shined too. I swung it at her head. I just wanted her to stop. Not to hurt her. I don’t want to hurt anybody. It caught her head and burst. She fell on me. I pushed and pushed. Something fell from her mouth into mine. I choked, and the green was gone.”
“It’s okay Tensen.” I tried to move closer again, but she stood up.
“No it’s not.”
She turned around with a glowing fist-sized stone raised above her head.
“I need my wings Shishi.”