Trapping her lower lip between her teeth, she does a slow tilt of her head when she finally realizes I don't understand a word she says, looking every bit like a lost puppy, "?הינדי? מִצרִי"
[Translation: Hindi? Egyptian?]
Her confusion only lasts for a second before her eyes light up like stars. "אה הבנתי, English." She seems satisfied with herself, "English is universal language, yes."
[Ah I got it.]
Her lips are full and dipped in a cupid's bow, an expensive silk fabric dipped in a bittersweet coffee brew so it browns. The corner of lips are lined with a natural dark pigment which further enhances the palest of pinks dotting the center of her bottom lip.
In the blur all I see are her eyes... those bewitching murky orbs stare into my wide ones unblinkingly, never losing eye contact. Her expression is thoughtful; the tip of her index and second finger lightly tapping her chin.
I watch as she tilts her head, surprisingly mine mirrors the action, moving before the action is registered in my brain... something that has blinding red lights flashing in my head and my pulse racing.
Next, she lifts her hand and waves. Fingers twitching robotically, my hand does the same.
Every muscle in my body screams at this point, I struggle to move, to speak yet I can't. I'm helpless as I watch her make several gestures and her eyes glimmer with glee, lips parting in a grin to reveal razor sharp teeth.
"Aren't you a pretty little doll..." Through accentuated words, she coos, leaning her body closer so her elbows press against the hard wood of the table as she tips her chin up. The action sure enough is innocent yet it has my heart thumping wildly against my sternum, the deafening beat rings loud in my ears and blocks out every other sound.
The strange female rises to her feet, urging me to the same and my muscles tense – fighting the compulsion but failing, a sudden eager expression is visible on her face and I dread what wicked plans she has. Just as she begins to make advances toward my statue like frame, the soft pitter patter of feet echo nearby and her facial expression swiftly contorts to one of immense vexation; almond shaped eyes narrowing to slits.
Eyes blazing, she whirls on her heels – exposing the pointed tips of her ears and thus breaking the spell. Tension is relieved from my body the instant she breaks eye contact. But my relief is short lived; my legs shake with tremors like that a fawn taking it's first steps and before I can reach out to wrap my fingers around the headrest of the chair, my knees give out and I crash to the ground with a thud.
I wince, "ow", but the sound is overshadowed by her yells, a screeching meow and shuffles following after.
I lift my torso off the floor just in time to see a dash of black leap up the sink, a dish rack and onto the top cupboard, knocking over a stainless bowl which clatters to the floor with a resounding clang. Fur dark as night with vivid emerald eyes narrowed to slits, the cat tips its head back in a scoff and my mouth drops open at the human like reaction.
What in heaven's...
"Where is Fingers?!" Her scream is shrill, laced with a burning anger and an underlying tone of desperation as her eyes trail after the seemingly nonchalant feline who curls its body into a ball and lazily licks its paw. "I swear if you happen to have laid those disgusting claws on her precious skin, I'll–"
"–You'll learn to care for her better?"
At the interruption, three pairs of eyes flicker to the door where sure enough Aïdon stands with his hands clasped lightly behind his back. Dark hair messily parted down the middle, some strands flopping lazily over his forehead, dressed in a red turtleneck shirt which accentuates the beautiful long curve of his neck and a pair of dark pants that hug his muscular thighs.
Though he clearly addresses the other lady in the room, when I glance at him I'm shocked to find that his eyes are already on me... Doing a slow sweep of my attire, lingering on the smooth milky skin of my legs exposed from where my gown had ridden up due to my fall. He looks away immediately after.
"Where..." Her words are caught in her throat as a creature slithers its way from over his shoulders, bringing it's head to view. About 19 inches long, possessing keeled black scales with a distinct yellow stripe running down it's center.
Immediately its dark eyes clash with mine and don't leave, like it is staring into my soul and uncovering my deepest darkest secrets. I don't like that so I blink and lift myself from the floor, cleaning imaginary dust from my dress with my palm.
She exclaims, "oh mothers!" Closing the distance between them and outstretching a hand for the snake who finally focuses on her, wasting no time in wrapping its body around her arm like vines.
The cat meows again, drawing my attention including that of the weird snake lady.
She waves a hand in my direction, "oh she's fine, it was just a little hypnosis."
Did she just talk to... No wait.
The cat glowers and she adds after a second thought, "you are fine though right?"
Tongue tied, I manage to bob my head repeatedly and that response seems to be enough for the lady as she flashes me a smile.
"I'd love to stay and play with the new doll but Fingers will be shedding during the next half moon so I have work to do."
"Ula," Aïdon calls out softly, claiming her attention, "keep her close." The girl, Ula, nods in understanding, turning and crossing the threshold of the kitchen door.
But then she says this: "I see you're finally accepting your true form," she comments casually over her shoulders just seconds before she's out of view, "pussy suits you better than being a man, I must admit."
Her snarky words elicit two completely different responses— a pig like snort and a hiss.
Turns out the cat is actually a man by name; Magnus. Dark hair with hints of light blond at the tip, chocolate eyes that scream mischief in several languages.
After Ula had left with her companion tangled on her quite literally, the cat had leapt down from his place on the cupboard, something Aïdon did not appreciate as he openly complained about how Magnus was leaving shit in his cooking pots. The cat had simply wagged its tail multiple times in mocking, proceeding to advance closer to me while I watched the exchange wide eyed.
He lifted his right paw, green eyes gazing up at me expectantly. I lowered my body so I knelt on the ground and took his paw in a handshake, muttering a small "hello."
But then he bent his head, his little black nose brushing against the back of my palm, whiskers tickling the hairs on my skin, he licked my palm.
And now here we were; sitting in complete silence eating breakfast. I and Aïdon at the opposite ends of the end of the table and Magnus a seat to my left.
The only sound which fills the room is that of spoons scraping against ceramic plates and of course Magnus who I've come to know as a chatterbox, occasionally cracking jokes and retelling his sexapades which annoy the brooding male in front of me to no end, as an attempt to lighten the mood.
Throughout his hilarious tales all Aïdon does is make mockery of him and give sarcastic replies, I choose to remain silent – apprehensive still of them – and toss a piece of bacon around my plate. It isn't until one particular teasing comment that Magnus blows, but not without making a dramatic exit wherein he pours a glass of milk down Aïdon's head, saying, "now this is what I call wet." Then he prances out the room.
Shirt soaked and bearing wet, slightly darkened splotches, white liquid slowly dripping off the ends of the strands of hair and landing on his cheeks, clothed shoulders and his shirt. Aïdon's lips are pursed and his face is squeezed tight, like a bratty child about to burst into tears.
A choking sound slips out my mouth as a result of me pressing a hand to my mouth to stop myself from laughing. The sound catches a pissed Aïdon's attention and elicits a pointed glare.
"Excuse me." He exhales through gritted teeth and stomps out of the dining room, muttering low curses to himself. The instant he disappears down the hall, I burst into laughter.
The day passes in a blur after that. I see neither Ula nor Magnus for the rest of the day. I manage to catch sight of Aïdon for the second time today when he walks by and spots me doing the dishes. He says nothing but I still feel the urge to explain myself so I tell him that I needed a distraction.
Luckily, he doesn't push me and chooses to leave me to my thoughts.
Afterwards the remaining hours are spent in my room; seated before the vanity, toying with the combs and hairpins with my fingers, rummaging through drawers and cupboards which I find stocked with dresses and random clothes. Soon the sun begins to set, giving the sky a warm and serene tinge of vibrant yellow, orange and smoky blue.
The evening sun casts a long shadow of me on the floor, it follows me everywhere I go. Heaving a heavy sigh, I let my body drop into the bed, my gaze set firm on the window from where I can see the sky set ablaze by the sun so it burns bright and red, its flames licking at the clouds.
My eyes drift to rest as the fire of the sun extinguishes, gone for now but leaving a silent promise to be rekindled when I rise tomorrow. In its stead is a growing darkness threatening to consume all in its path, but the glimmering stars splayed on the dark, empty canvas as well as the pale moon which shines bright in the night sky promise the most beautiful of dreams.
The cool breeze licks at my skin as I slowly become one with the stars, unaware of the demons awaiting my arrival.
Thank you so much for reading :)