Out of Water by ~SaifulH
Smoke and steam rose from the bathtub, an amalgamation of heat, one part gritty, the other clean. Lucy lay curled in the tub like a flopped worm, her clothes sodden. She was a drowned fiddlehead. Her dark hair swirled and billowed above her head, thunderous, silky curls. Her shoulder protruded from her sweater like an alabaster mountain, shining and wet.
Lucy pecked her third cigarette away from rouged lips with orange nails. The cigarette clung to her skin, damp in the steam that filled the bathroom like a Turkish bath. She knew there was no orange juice. She would have to get it herself. She would be getting all the juice now.
Lucy’s legs shifted in the tub, her jeans heavy in the water. She hated jeans, but they were human things. Everyone had them. The fabric was rough on her thighs; it chafed. She wanted to feel human though, especially after yesterday.
Even the hot water did not ease her chafed skin. Lucy held the cigarette between her lips as she wriggled out of the jeans. Her clothes became a dark pile on the tiled floor. The chafing feeling ebbed away as Lucy’s legs shifted. Her thick tail curled luxuriously in the tub, tender fins arcing over the edge. Her hips finally felt comfortable, skin melding into scaled flesh.
Lucy could smell the remnants of her previous cigarettes, snuffed out on the brim of the tub. She thought of Merida, of performing open mouthed kisses on her back, placing them there like scallop shells and oysters. She was human enough to get the juice, to smoke cigarettes, to rend Merida helpless and open as a blooming rose, splayed and salty. But she pointed out the flaws in the Grimm tales and Walter’s films, until Merida became more than curious, until one day she came into the bathroom and saw Lucy in the tub.
The smoke exuded from Lucy’s mouth in a sheet; she watched it disperse into the air. Merida didn’t like that she smoked, but Lucy wanted to. It was one of those unique, human things, like jeans and orange juice. It destroys your lungs, Merida told her. In the tub, Lucy imagined them turning black and heavy in her body. She didn’t sing, not like that red-headed floozy in the film, so what use were they to her? She could learn sign language if she had to- another, so individually human thing.
She couldn’t give up on being human. It was so hard, so incredibly hard, but she couldn’t give up. She remembered the way Merida screamed and yelled when she found out, when she saw her sprawled in the tub, tail flopping over the edge. She had always felt comfortable in the tub. It made her feel safe.
But now Merida was gone, and Lucy was not human, no matter how many cigarettes she smoked and how much orange juice she drank. She was not human, and Merida was gone.