[Writing time: 7 minutes this morning (because I forgot yesterday. oops.)]

I is for Imitate

The girl shoves aside the maternity clothes, the now-too-big bellies, the hand-me-down stretch. Something in the way back calls to her. A dress, slinked and black. Too small for her now, but it’s got elastic in the fabric and a gather at the waist that hides things.

Behind her, the baby cries. Still. Forever. This, she’s learned, is what babies do. Cry. Wail. Break her ears and her head and her eyeballs.

The dress goes on over her head, a few tugs. She finds her old boots, from before the baby. b.b. Like before christ. They have laces, a lot of them, black and silver buckles. They go up to her knees.

Still, the baby cries.

She puts on eyeliner, thick and black. Only slightly blacker than the circles already there. Mascara. Black lipstick. Her nails are chipped, but she would spill the polish, so she leaves them. Musses her hair so the end stand up straight. She needs a trim. She needs a lot of things.

From its crib, the baby goes quiet. A little hiccup of air, a gulp.

In the quiet, she hesitates, her fingers digging absentmindedly through her jewelry box.

Another hiccup. More silence. Then the first long wail, raising higher and higher, before it winds down like a siren. Again.

The girl buckles a black leather collar around her neck. Spines poke from it, silver and sharp. She touches one, then steps out of the room, out of the small dark apartment on the fifth floor.

Sirens, inside and out.

She pulls the door shut behind her and steps into the carpeted hallways. The first step is hard, the second easier. By the time she reaches the stairs, she feels almost exactly like her old self.


PS — See all the Quick Fiction A to Z stories in alphabetical order (as well as the reasoning behind them!)

PPS — Awesome image by this artist