Prompt: There had always been something ‘off’ about that smile.
Moonlight streams in through the window, basking the bedroom is a dim glow. She’s already asleep, lying on her side, her hands tucked under her pillow. I had tried to sleep, too, when we came to bed hours ago, but the thoughts weighing on my mind had other ideas. I stare at her face, searching for answers to questions that I would never ask. Those thin lips I have tasted and touched and loved for years are closed, but even now, as she sleeps, they still seem wrong.
There was never an obvious reason why I believed what I did. It just was, is. Her brunette hair that matched her eyes, the dainty nose, the pale, doughy complexion, and those lips. Her lips. Unlike all others before her, after her. She was everything that I could’ve wanted, but there was always an inkling of the unknown about her smile.
I was unsettled by it, uneasy when those lips parted, revealing pearly teeth. I had been with other women in the past, yet only she made my insides churn, spawning questions in my brain like planted flowers now blooming. Her lips didn’t move away from each other, but peeled a part, like flesh torn in two. For a brief moment, in a blink of an eye, a shadow vanquished by the light, there was another layer beneath her lips. A second set of lips, or something like.
The question was always forefront, but never spoken: What are you? Yet… I accepted it, her; pushed it to the depths of my mind, although it would always claw its way back while I tried to sleep. I loved her, us; everything that we were and would become. No matter what she was, I would love her.
Until I met her friends.
She had lips, but her friends had eyes, noses, hands and feet. All wrong. All off in some way or another. Eyes that tore in two instead of blinking, a glimpse of another set of eyelids; noses that were sealed when they sneezed, but opened before it could be noticed; hands with transparent fingers, ones that stretched to the sky, wavering like trees; feet with blunted probes that burrowed into the dirt, but always normal when looked at directly.
She wasn’t special, an individual in her wrongness, but a part of a group, a clan, a species of things that weren’t for, or from, this place, this world. I often wondered where they had come from, but that was a task I didn’t want to begin. Who knew where it would lead.
And the questions rampaged, hammered on temples, pounded on my consciousness as though it were a drum.
What are they?
What is she?
What are you?
I had to have an answer.
I had to know.
The answer I must have is to a question that’ll never leave my lips, but it will leave hers. The scalpel tightly held in my hand will open way to it. Surely there is only one set of lips beneath the ones I’ve tasted… But, if there’s not and the answer is far deeper than I imagine, I will keep removing layers.
Read my previous prompt, “What’s Below”
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