Imago by Gill Hoffs

November 14, 2011 Comments Off on Imago by Gill Hoffs

Flakes like confetti or what she remembered of wild cherry blossom, littered the armchair in which she sat and waited. For Him. She tried not to scratch, not to shed any more of herself onto the dingy green arms that held her as she listened to the radio crackle and whine.

Then He was there. Scraping, nuzzling, rasping His stubble against her poor sore elbows, licking up her litter with a yellow-grey tongue. He’d told her He had a cure, and she’d been desperate and believed.

Her condition had only worsened since He’d left her in the cellar. No creams, no ointments, and a steady diet of all the things that made it worse. Tomatoes. Cloves. Honey. She knew what she could and couldn’t do, and so did He after the Consultation that led her here. Now instead of patches of extra cells, thickening sore and silver, rosetted with livid pink against her normal skin, she looked like one of the dried husks of fish she used to stare at in the Asian supermarket by the Temples. Even her hair had gone.

Lately He’d been overfeeding her, refusing to leave her in peace, to stop eating her decay, sickening her as she withdrew behind misting eyes until she finished her plateful and curled up in the odious chair, the one piece of furniture in the place.

She might have been naked, but the pale flakes diminished her nudity. And they were all He had eyes for when He entered the sweaty fetid cloud of a room like a gull taunting a thunderstorm, so she didn’t care, not really. Fed, full, she just wanted to sleep. No, needed to. Curling up, knees tight to her chest, she mumbled something and from the door He watched, and smiled.

It took a few weeks, but then she was ready. As was He.

This was the best bit, the part of the process that made all the risk worthwhile. That made Him worthy. That guaranteed Him a place at the Gates.

The cracking thrilled him, it always did and he had to restrain himself from helping Her. Soon She was open, but still damp and confused. Opening the door wide, front door already gaping and swaying slightly in the cool night breeze, he crooned to her with need.

Out She flew, and She was beautiful. Palest blue and cocoa brown wings, multifaceted eyes in peacock petrol hues, and a dusky pink body the like of which he’d never seen, not in any of his girls to date.

Job done, Beauty nurtured and released, he fell upon the empty cocoon, feasting on all that She chose to leave behind.

© 2011 Gill Hoffs

Gill Hoffs began writing competitively just over a year ago. Her work has since won several competitions and is included in five print anthologies including the upcoming Stripped, several magazines including upcoming issues of Lost In Thought, Schrodinger’s Mouse, and The Linnet’s Wings, and widely online at such places as 52/250, Spilling Ink Review, Carnage Conservatory, Pure Slush, and Blue Five Notebook. When she isn’t writing, Gill helps at her son’s nursery in Warrington and performs at various spoken word events, including the recent Edinburgh Festival. She gained a degree in psychology from the University of Glasgow, and goes home with her scientist husband and four year old son as often as possible to play on the Scottish coast and see family. Gill once found plastic explosives on Dunure beach and tried to make candles with it, thinking it was wax.

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