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Toni walked through the front door of her house, and placed a bag of groceries she’d been carrying on the nearby breakfast table. She called out to the house beyond, to see if anyone was home, but received no reply. So she turned to start packing the food away into the cupboards, but was suddenly surprised by Andrew, who quickly placed his arms around her from behind and kissed her gently.
“Hello, darling,” he said smiling.
“That’s Captain Darling to you,” Toni replied, giggling. “How was your day in the firm?” she asked.
“Oh, you know,” Andrew said, as he began to assist her in packing away the food. “It was slow, and some of the guys gave me stick for hogging all the attention at the lacrosse match.”
“But you won the game for the team!” Toni cried.
“I know, I know,” he replied. “But you know how jealous people can get. It didn’t help I beat them all to the Hutchinson case, but there are no hard feelings really. They must know that the architectural designs I submitted were simply best for the client. It was just us guys ribbing each other. Besides, I’m sure if there are any real problems the air will clear tonight when we go out and have a few drinks.”
“Oh,” sighed Toni, her shoulders dropping and her pace slowing as she shuffled towards the fridge with milk in her hand. “You promised me we’d watch a film.”
“Oh God no!” cried Andrew. “What a total cock-up!”
“It’s okay,” Toni smiled through pursed lips, before sinking behind the fridge door where she pouted. “You should have a boys’ night out.”
“Darling,” Andrew said, his face appearing from just around the door. “Do you really think I want to spend time with the guys instead of you?”
“I don’t know,” she squeaked.
“Sunshine,” Andrew said, his hand resting beneath her chin, and his wholesome smile radiating next to the white, glowing, fridge door. “The boys can be a bit of fun now and again. But they’re awfully boors, and I don’t like the way they talk about women.”
“Are you sure?” asked Toni, her face beginning to glow with happiness once more. “Are you sure you want to stay in with me and watch ‘The Fault in Our Stars’?”
“Oh please!” exclaimed Andrew. “Like I’d ever, ever, choose the pub over you.”
“Oh, Tony! Tony!”
Toni heard a man shouting at her, and she felt her skin crawl in recognition. “Oi! Mate! How you doin’?” The ugly, gaunt, lanky, and tracksuit clad man started to run across the street towards the bus stop Toni was sat at. “Fucking hell,” he declared loudly once he’d reached her. “Barely recognized you. How’s it going?”
“I’m good, thanks Skit. How… How are you?” Toni asked, surveying the man who was three teeth down from when she saw him last.
“Aw you know what it’s like, don’t you? It’s hard. Got picked up a few times lately, ” Skit replied. “’Haven’t seen you in a while. You, err… you clean now?” Toni started to answer, but before she could speak Skit started talking again. “Aw course you are! You look great – keeping up with the hormones, eh?” Skit tapped Toni on the arm, and catching her eye he winked and smiled. “What you go by now? Seem to remember you sayin’ something about… Alice, was it? Course you were only just starting to transition back then.”
“It’s Toni,” she answered, trying her best to stay composed. “Toni with an ‘i’”
“Ohhhhh,” cried Skit. “That’s well clever! Tony becomes Toni. I like it. Why not Alice though? You liked Alice far as I remember it.” Toni began to answer when, once again, Skit interrupted her, “No wait, lemme guess! Prick father of yours was it? Probably the only way you’d get him to call you the name you wanted, am I right?” Skit then let out a great big guffaw that caught the attention of people walking over fifty feet away.
“Oh,” Toni said in total and utter relief as her bus rounded the corner. “This is my bus.”
“Aw well, shame it’s over so quickly. Before I go though, you, uh, you with anyone? Still not with Jordan, I hope?” Skit asked, hitting her against the arm, again.
“Uhhh,” Toni said struggling to balance her desperate urge to flee with her compulsion to be polite. “An architect named Andrew.” As she stepped onto the bus, and glanced at the driver, she could hear Skit cry out,
“Fuck me! Ain’t you gettin’ all posh, eh? God girl you doin’ well for yourself! Look you ever find yourself wanting a bit of…” Skit stopped, and leaned to the right, squinting past Toni and towards the bus driver. “Look, you know what I sell, you know where I’m at. Gimme a shout if this posh prick Adam don’t work out and you need a dealer, alright darling?”
Toni shivered, and turned around.
“Of course. Thank you.”
Suddenly, Andrew appeared. Toni’s heart sank, she hadn’t seen him on the bus, and she couldn’t bear to think of him having to meet Skit. She’d worked so hard to keep that part of her life tucked away, although she had never been dishonest with Andrew, she still didn’t want him to actually see it all face-to-face.
“Who was that?” asked Andrew. But when Toni turned around she noticed Skit sprinting away, as fast as he could.
“Just…” she stuttered. “Just an old friend. He’s a jumpy guy.”
“I can tell!” said Andrew, who was smiling at her, and slowly guiding her downwards towards a nearby seat. Andrew continued to talk for a moment or two although Toni wasn’t paying attention, instead she noticed the sounds of sirens in the distance. And she thanked God himself that he’d sent the police, and saved her the embarrassment of such a meeting, as it was the only thing on Earth that could have made Skit leave so quickly.
Toni laid quietly nuzzled into the nook of Andrew’s armpit, with her head resting upon his shoulder, and his smell washing over her. Away in some hazy distant mess of light and noise, she could just about glimpse the television playing her favourite show. She felt a shiver of warmth crawl up her back, and she smiled to herself as she soaked it all in. It was a dream she was told she’d never had. Doctor’s had told her, teenage girlfriends had told her, and her family had told her, that it was a futile pursuit. Once she’d grown up a few boyfriends made it clear to her that they wouldn’t want to stay with her if she persisted with the transition, but she kept on with it, because it was who she was. And lying there, with nothing but Andrew’s skin against her cheek, she almost felt like laughing, because she realized that she had also spent her whole life telling herself she would never have it either. And yet, she had it.
Suddenly, Andrew shuffled in his sleep and began to snore. Toni giggled to herself, and raised her head a little to glance up at him, his square jaw with just the right amount of stubble had come to rest against his other shoulder, and she squinted to see whether his eyes were fully closed. Having determined that he was asleep she sat up, quietly, and managed to rise up from the sofa. Toni stood up straight and stretched, before beginning the journey to the bathroom. She decided, making her way across the tiled floor, that once she went back she’d wake Andrew, and coax him into bed so that they might fall asleep, ready for the Saturday morning that awaited them.
But not long after she had sat on the porcelain bowl she suddenly heard a loud knock from behind her. Her heart tore through her throat and she felt a blinding sensation of terror. Leaping upwards from the toilet, spraying piss everywhere, and yelping, she turned and saw the silhouette of a man projected against the rain splattered blinds. Hesitantly, and shaking in terror, she reached across and did her best to pull up the blinds without making too much noise. Peering through, she saw the weather beaten face of Skit, white as a corpse, and devoid of his usual levity. Shivering, he slowly raised his hand and pressed a finger against his lips, before pointing towards her front door.
Toni was suddenly furious. She quickly tried to mop up the urine, but realized it was futile, and instead moved around the corner to see whether Andrew was still sleeping soundly. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw he hadn’t moved, and she then turned to march towards Skit. As soon as she had opened the door, Skit asked,
“Is it in?”
“What?” Toni snapped. Skit shuffled awkwardly backwards, away from the door, and tried to peer past Toni and into the house. “Is it in!?” he whispered. “For God’s sake… are you alone?” he asked again.
“No,” Toni answered, shaking her head. “Andrew’s asleep. What do you want?” Skit continued to fidget nervously, and bit his nails as he seemed to mull over what he wanted to say. Just as Toni began to find herself without patience, he spoke.
“You, uh, you like this, then?” he said, waving his arm towards the house.
“Yes,” she answered. “Skit what the hell do you want?” But Skit didn’t seem like he was listening. His never eyes never seemed to stay still; he just kept looking around at the house.
“Looks nice to you, does it?” he asked. If it hadn’t been for Andrew sleeping soundly Toni knew she would have started to shout and become threatening; she found herself struggling to maintain any sort of control.
“What are you on about!?” she hissed.
“The house, darling!” Skit answered. “Looks nice does it? I mean, to you now. It’s nice for you, is it?”
“Course it is!” she snapped, “It cost Andrew third of a million pounds!” Skit couldn’t help but laugh at this.
“Aye,” he said. “Can’t uh, I can’t stay long. Can’t be around when it wakes up. Most people don’t see ‘em. Need a little something in you.” Skit stopped, and mimed the action of injecting something into his arm.
“Skit,” Toni said, growing tired. “What the fuck are you on about?”
Away in the distance, Andrew suddenly began to shout.
“Aw Jesus, what on Earth is this!? Ah my God, Toni! Toni the dog must have gone to the bloody loo in the bathroom! Toni…? Toni where are you!?”
Instantly Skit’s eyes grew wide, and he began to back away. Hesitantly he went to turn and run away, before he looked back at Toni, with a look of frustration and exhaustion. Quickly, and desperately, he ran back to the door and stood closer to her than he had before.
“What colour are its eyes? The right colour, am I right?” he said, biting his lip nervously. “What colour’s its hair? The best colour, eh? Eh? How tall’s it? Huh? Always two inches taller than you? Eh? High heels, flats, don’t matter. Just the right height. Just the right size, eh? You like ‘em black it’s black. You like ‘em big, and muscly, it’s big and muscly. Think!” He nodded towards Toni, and pointed threateningly at his temple, as if she was meant to understand a damn thing. “It’s always just right for you,” he added, before suddenly sprinting away into the darkness.
“Who was that?” asked Andrew, his head appearing over Toni’s shoulder.
“Oh,” she said, a little startled. “It was, uh, it was a delivery. Got the wrong house, must’ve been the students next door ordering some takeaway.”
“Funny that,” said Andrew, tilting his head and making eye contact with Toni. “We don’t have neighbours around here.”
Toni paused, and looked around at the street. It was empty, except for their house.
“Of course,” she said, smiling. “We’ve never had any neighbours, have we? Silly me.” She turned, and began to kiss Andrew as she shut the front door behind her.
Skit stood in front of the mirror. Beyond the door he could hear the tremendous din of a busy cafe, and he felt somewhat vulnerable. But he didn’t have his own working shower, so he had to work with what he had. He leant down over the sink, and began to scrub his face, and wash his hair with a set of stolen toiletries.
Once he was finished he took a bag and removed from it a pair of low end suit trousers, a standard white shirt, a pair of shoes, and some socks. He chuckled quietly, and thought to himself,
“Thank God for self-checkout,” before getting changed into his new clothes. Once done, he reached again into the bag and retrieved a pack of baby wipes, and thoroughly wiped away at his neck, and ears, until he was, relatively, clean. He washed his hands, trying his best to remove the layers of dirt that hid between the cracked skin and callouses, until he finally settled on the conclusion that his disguise was as good as it was going to get. Nervously, he took one final breath, before unlocking the door to the disabled toilets, and stepping out into the noisy, and deeply unsettling atmosphere of the Starbucks café he’d been hiding in.
He grimaced as he approached the counter, and prepared to complete his disguise with one final touch.
“A, uh, grande, uh, caramel…” he paused, and squinted at the menu, “A uh grande caramel mach-moch-“
“Machiatto?” chirped the pretty young girl behind the counter.
“Yeah,” he nodded, and smiled as she rushed away to make the coffee. When she returned a moment he later he paid the extortionate fee, before slinking away to the corner to sit and wait quietly. He sat patiently for about ten minutes, until Toni appeared by the door, and he watched everyone in the shop become unsettlingly quiet. Everyone stopped what they were doing. The whole world came to a halt. He had to become quiet too; he had to pretend.
Toni wandered in further, giggling loudly, and proclaimed in the direction of the door,
“That’s Captain Darling to you!”
It scuttled in after her. “Oh shush, you!” Toni cried, before leaning closer towards it. “Someone might hear you!” Skit swallowed, nervously, and kept staring forward at his coffee. He tried to watch the events from the corner of his eyes without ever looking directly at them. He could just about make it out; it couldn’t have been a few metres away from him. The shape of it, he supposed, was similar to a spider after you’d stamped on it three times, and its legs had curled up, but he couldn’t be sure. And he knew he couldn’t let it get to him. He had to focus on Toni who had, by now, with very little thought, placed her bag down on the floor, near the table closest to the entrance. It was no more than six, or seven inches from Skit’s foot. It was a simple, clear plastic bag from Boots – a pharmacy – filled with the usual things a person would buy from there, which included painkillers.
Toni walked up the counter where the barista had remained frozen, like everyone else in the shop.
“What a funny smell!?” exclaimed Toni. She couldn’t see that the barista had been stopped in time as scolding hot water from the coffee machine poured over her arm. “Oh,” Toni smiled at nothing. “That sounds fantastic, but no thank you. My husband, Andrew,” she nodded, and gestured towards the flittering, indistinct mass of arthropod legs. “He’s the one who likes coffee. He’d like a tall Americano with an extra shot of espresso.” Toni waited, and tapped quirkily at the checkout. Nothing was moving; nothing had changed. Responding to silence she suddenly began to speak once more, “Oh great thank you.” She leant forward and took an imaginary coffee from the air, and thanked the frozen barista. She then reached into her pocket and took out some change, which she proceeded to drop straight onto the floor behind the counter. Toni turned, clutching the invisible cup of coffee, and handed it to the thing in by the door.
“Here you go baby,” she smiled. “Oh!” she cried out loud, laughing hysterically. “Andrew, stop it! Keep it to yourself, at least in public.” Skit’s heart was in his throat, he couldn’t move. He just had to watch the strange and inexplicable display.
The thing began to scuttle towards the door, and Skit’s heart raced as Toni approached him. She leant down once more and picked up a clear, plain, Boot’s bag with nothing in it but a pack of falsified painkillers that Skit had replaced. It wasn’t the bag she had come in with. Skit wanted to tuck her actual bag away; he wanted to pull it in towards him and edge his chances, but he couldn’t. He could do nothing but pray. Thankfully Toni picked up the decoy bag mindlessly, and she left the Starbucks chasing after the skittering shape.
Finally, once it had all ended, Skit heard a scream and the clatter of metal. Everything was starting up again. People began to talk, and the poor barista came to her senses just in time to find chunks of her skin slumping down onto the floor in a wet and bloodied mess.
Skit breathed a sigh of anxious relief, before bursting into tears.
That night, after the innocuous Starbucks visit, Toni had the worst nightmare of her life. She didn’t know why. In fact, the day had been one of the best she’d ever had. She was ecstatic when she managed to convince Andrew to take the day off from work, and together they spent the afternoon in town going from shop to shop. And, while she didn’t want to admit it, she revelled in being spoilt like a little princess. As an adolescent, struggling to transition without the proper money and medical care, she had always found shopping a horrifying experience, but with Andrew that had all changed. They just got to be themselves.
After shopping they had gone for food, and along with great service, Andrew insisted that Toni get dessert and enjoy herself as much as possible. After all this, they went home, and she snuck away into the bathroom to take some painkillers for a headache and she noticed that the packaging was different to what she expected. But she thought nothing of it, and took the pills, before returning to Andrew for just the right amount of sex.
But then, after falling asleep… then she had the nightmare. It was a twisted mess of arachnophobic imagery, and a textured barrage of hair, and crooked chitinous legs, forcing their way into her mouth, and up through her anus. She could feel, bristling outwards from these limbs, a million hypodermic hairs that pierced her skin and ruptured the flesh, forcing their way beneath layers of muscle and bone and pumping some unseen fluid into her. She could feel the internal pressure increasing, she could feel her bones being violated, and her muscles being torn, and she could feel her stomach, and all of her digestive tract, stretching outwards as it was filled with some unseen forceful pressure.
She woke up, gagging violently, and desperately trying to breathe, until something else took over and, rolling over so that her head was leant over the bed and facing the floor, she vomited relentlessly. She could do nothing but wretch up gallons of a strange clear fluid. She tried to call out Andrew’s name, but there was no stopping it. She barely managed to cough and heave enough air into her lungs to stay conscious as she spewed up an endless rush of viscous bile onto the floor. She kept trying to lean up, and see what where she was, but she struggled to make out the unfamiliar environment as each retch brought painful, agonizing spasms that tore her view away from her control.
Finally, after what felt like twenty minutes, she stopped. She lay still for a while, shaking violently, and struggling to stay conscious, and watched her saliva roll off her bottom lip and plop onto the floor below. After a minute or two, she regained herself and couldn’t help but notice that the laminate oak flooring, while definitely worn and weathered well beyond her recollections, was distinctly familiar. Similarly, she noticed as she rolled over and sat up, that the bed she was laying in was also a rotten and grimy replica of her own. Even the bed spread, and the dainty pillows, looked so similar to her own bedding. But, she knew somehow, that they couldn’t be hers because her belongings were kept impeccably, while these were stained and smelt unbelievably bad. In fact, as she patted her hand against the dimly lit fabric, she noticed the material was caked in shit and urine.
She was too weak to spring up out of disgust, like she wanted, so she rolled awkwardly off the bed. Her bare feet made a strange squelch as she stepped onto the floor, and she felt the warm stew of vomit slide between her toes. She stood up, and struggled to stay upright, before fumbling towards the dim glow of the doorway.
“Andrew,” she muttered in a raspy, broken, voice. “Andrew,” she tried again, this time a little more clearly. But there was no response. She approached the door, and opened it to reveal the hallway bathed in a glaring light. She stepped out onto the dusty floor, and looked around at the familiar layout of a cobweb ridden, encrusted, walkway. It was definitely her hallway. There were childhood pictures of her on some of the walls, but it felt like a grotesque perversion of her memory. One photo of her and Andrew on the white cliffs of Dover – a crowning moment in her life she had never forgotten – showed only her, awkwardly stood alone with her arm around nothing.
“Andrew!” she cried, this time loudly, and desperately afraid, and suddenly there was a thunderous bang from below. Confused, she looked around, and noticed a branch of the hallway she had never seen before. Perhaps, she thought, it wasn’t her house after all. This path led to a flight of stairs that descended down into a basement, but she knew quite certainly that their home had no basement. “Andrew! Andrew please help me! Where am I? Hello!? Hello!” She began to yell, down into the darkness.
She looked and saw the steps fade away, stretching downwards from the light cast by the hallway above. Suddenly, out of nowhere a strange mass, a rugose column as wide as a lamppost and as long as a man and covered in hairs as thick as a cigarette, slumped violently down upon the farthest step and up against the wall. Toni let out a shrill scream, when suddenly another one, as if unfurling from the darkness itself, slapped against the second step. And then another leg appeared, and then another. Toni backed away from the door, pushing herself up against the wall, unable to stop herself screaming as she watched this nightmare unfold before her eyes. One after another an endless supply of legs ascended the wall and steps, until finally, it reached the top.
Out of the darkness, it rose up.
An unfathomable cacophony of visual noise stood before her, its legs violently belching outwards from some barely discernible central mass, and making contact with every surrounding surface until nothing behind it could be seen. The limbs were at once stiff, and malleable, and the moment one of its foul and warped limbs touched a surface a corruption of silk grew outwards from the point of contact, like the cracks in shattered glass. It never seemed to stop growing, no matter how long it remained still. Toni was screaming at the top of her voice, she could feel her throat dry and ache, but no matter what she did she couldn’t stop. Instead she fell downwards against the wall, until, finally, her incessant screaming waned and she began to sob, messily and uncontrollably.
The knot of writhing limbs at the centre of this mess inched forward, erratically, and Toni let out a yelp like a frightened dog. She tried to look away, and shut her eyes, but before she could the slithering knot revealed an orb the size of a basketball from its central bundle. She could see herself in the reflection, and she looked like a snotty, pink, girl, heaving frantically. The obsidian ball rotated in the socket of shifting tentacles, and seemed to assess her clinically, before, with shutter like speed, the entire mess moved backwards and twisted anxiously from side to side.
It refocused once more Toni, and from somewhere within itself a thunderous, alien rumble droned outwards. Tentatively it stretched one lone tentacle outwards, and moved it towards Toni. She screamed, and began to shuffle helplessly backwards, but it was too quick. She could do nothing but watch as it changed before her eyes, flickering from a slithering tentacle into an insect-like antenna, until it finally made contact with the skin of her arm. Immediately the hairs shot out and pierced her skin. Toni felt the most unbearable pain, and screaming in agony she wrenched her arm away, snapping the suddenly fragile, and glass-like, needles in place.
The knot winced backwards, seemingly in pain. And Toni watched the stiff hairs quickly turn soft in her arms, and begin to burrow. The pain was so intense she tried to pull them out, but they were far too quick, and even the one or two that she managed to rip forcefully out from her skin just turned around, and immediately penetrated her palm and slithered away down that route instead. The effect was immediate. She felt her head loosen, her skin grew warm, and her mood shifted. She looked around her, and felt everything turned fuzzy. It was a strange feeling. Not even heroin had ever come close to feeling as good as she did in that moment. Everything washed away; all her fear, all her terror turned to nothing as she lost consciousness.
She woke up the following morning, in her own bed, sobbing and screaming.
“Toni!” screamed Andrew, from the kitchen far away. “Toni!?” His face appeared around the door, and in no time at all he had his arms wrapped around her, cradling the hysterical girl in his arms. “It’s okay,” he whispered, stroking her hair. “It’s all okay baby. Everything’s going to be fine. Someone spiked you, that’s all babe. You don’t remember but we went to a bar. Someone spiked your drink and you had the worst reaction. They put heroin in your drink. Can you believe it? Someone slipped you that horrible, nasty, drug.”
Toni nestled into his arms, her head resting perfectly beneath his chin.
Skit watched Toni step onto the bus and sit down by herself near the front. He watched for as long as he could, and waited until he was positive she was alone. He crossed the street, and walked towards her, trying his best not to catch her attention until he was closer.
“You okay?” he asked, stepping onto the bus. Toni didn’t respond immediately, she just remained staring down at the pavement.
“Yeah,” she replied, after a second or two had passed.
“It uh... it doesn’t like opiates, believe it or not,” he said, hoping she knew what he meant. “It hates ‘em, in fact. Don’t know how it does it. Think it’s to do with the little, I guess they’re hairs, that it grows out.” Skit paused for just a moment and looked across at Toni, who seemed different somehow. He knew that what he’d done would have resulted in a nightmarish experience, so he continued, “It’s tough to really know what is or isn’t real around them. I think they can tap right into your head with those little hairs.”
“Why…” Toni said; her voice was quiet, and she trembled when speaking. “Why do you think they do what they do?”
“I don’t know,” Skit answered. “They pick people like us, most of the time. I think they pick people who’ve suffered, people no one gives a shit about. I know they like people without family. I think… I think they use us for something. I’ve thought about it a lot. I think we might be some kind of chemical filter. Or maybe they use us for digestion. Whatever it is, they use us up, and when they’re done they just throw us away.”
“What do you mean ‘throw you away’?” Toni asked, her tone of voice becoming a little firmer as she asked.
“I don’t know,” Skit replied. “It wasn’t me, you see. It was this girl I knew. She used to like ecstasy, but one night I was all out, and when she came to me I just… I just kinda thought it’d be funny to give her something else. So I gave her these painkillers and she went back to her flat, and took some and… Jesus, I just heard this explosion. I uh… I ran out and the door was blown off the hinges and she… fuck, there was no ‘she’. It was like the room had been painted. And just around the corner of her front door was the stairwell for the block of flats, and I remember just seeing the light flicker for a moment and…” Skit paused for a moment, and he went noticeably white. “It stayed there, like it thought I couldn’t see it. But I could. And I was just stuck there on the spot, terrified, staring at this thing. And then… then the weirdest fucking thing happened. The guy in the flat above, he just walked up the stairs, right past it. And he didn’t fucking notice.
“I thought for so long,” Skit continued. “That I was just tripping, but then… then I kept seeing them. Other people don’t see ‘em. Most other addicts don’t even see ’em, and the ones that do just sound totally mad.
“It’s a parasite, though. Don’t you see?” he said. “It preys on the weak, and the lonely.”
Skit felt the bus slow, and his heart began to race as he noticed the growing silence. He turned and looked at Toni, whose face just wouldn’t stop changing, like words in a dream. And he looked at the frozen people across the street, and he himself grew unable to move. Ahead, on the road, a woman, plastic bags full of food wrapped around her wrists, stopped still, and Skit could do nothing as he watched the bus carry on forward, and roll over her with a dreadful bump. The girl turned to Skit and placed a hand on his thigh, and smiled remorsefully. “We don’t pick on the weak,” she smiled. “That’s like saying a charity preys on the homeless. Or describing a couple who rescue a stray dog as victimizing it. And we don’t use anything up. You call us parasites and that’s actually pretty offensive. We have so much love to give, unspeakable amounts, and we enjoy having you as companions.”
Skit felt sick with fear as the magnitude of the situation dawned on him. He tried to speak, but he couldn’t.
“Well… what happened, happened,” she continued chirpily. “Opiates hurt us worse than they hurt you, and err... Skit, to be frank, they’ve hurt you. At least we don’t get addicted. And if we know it’s coming it’s not too bad but that night you caught me off guard. Normally we can fix anything. See.” Toni tapped Skit on the arm and pointed towards the same woman who had just been run over. She was standing now, and had walked up to the side of the bus to look at Skit, and wave. “I mean,” the girl continued. “We break every bone in your body making love and we just put it all back together come morning.
“Oh, and Andrew, by the way,” the girl turned to Skit and poked him in the leg pointedly. “He is very upset. You really hurt his feelings. Why would you do that, James? No reason to break that sweet couple up. Andrew’s a good guy as well, he’s young too. Only a few centuries old – I mean, what did you even want?”
The girl stopped, and waited for Skit’s reply, until she quickly remembered her actions and loosened his lips. “Well?” she asked.
“I… I just wanted the truth,” Skit stuttered, tears streaming from his eyes. “I wanted her to see what you things do.”
“We do a lot,” Toni answered. “But Skit… just for you, I’ll do even more. I spoke to Andrew, who was nice enough to call in a favour from me. Now, I can’t give you Toni, she’s with Andrew and he’s already jealous enough about the attention you’ve given her. It was only at the last moment he managed to turn things around and it’s important to him that he doesn’t have to make her love him, even if it would be so little work to him. But I can still look like Toni for you. I can be Toni, and a lot more too. I’ll have a different hair colour every day, just for you. When you see a cute girl with freckles, you’ll look back at me and I’ll have freckles. I’ll be skinny, I’ll be lithe, I’ll be buxom and curvy, and tall and short, all at the same time. It’ll only be four or five decades at most, and what’s that to me?”
Toni moved her hand up Skit’s thighs, and he felt her fingers tighten around his leg. He watched, unable to move, as this young girl leant across and put her arms around him, hugging him tightly. Her soft head rested against his shoulders, and her hair smelled of coconuts, and tickled his nose.
“It won’t be a bad life for you James. I can be very accommodating. Well…” the girl chuckled to herself. “You’ll be very accommodating.”
Written by ChristianWallis