It echeos as I wake, in the nightmare's liquid, red voices. My mouth is tight with salt, my throat feels loose. The dream's already fleeting, mine always do. I just remember the hands, black as tar, with graying calluses on the fingers, and the thing in them, that little cube of
red with garnet shadows, as precisely cut as a ruby. Gleaming in no light. The thin delicate ivory of a nerve through it.
"Have a bite."
And I wake tasting salt and silver. And I wake hungry. And stiff. And I move-
four hands to my face. Four hands and they are black with graying lines, and short curved claws, and they have two thumbs and they are not my hands but when I sceam, they flutter like mine might. I sit- I try to sit, but my body twists in a way I have never known, as if my spine goes to my heels-
The blanket is binding tight around me and I fight it, fight it with these four hands that aren't mine and my feet and they are hands too and four and they are not my feet. Two people are screaming and my throat is a loose pain and I am the only person in this room but there is a whole other body here, where my legs should be, and it has its own legs, the four, and when I fall out of the bed, they fold beneath me like a fallen deer.
I taste salt and silver again, fresh from a bitten tongue, a tongue, one of two tongues, the blood filling one of two mouths. The teeth that bit me are not my teeth, like a mouthful, two mouths of glass. The door is a mile away, but I can not stand to reach it, my legs are gone and these legs are not my legs.
I spit blood and shout again, and my voice and not my voice are liquid and red. And my cries for help flow out of both these mouths that I don't know like oil, like gasoline, like alcohol. It rolls out like a fuse and deep in my gut, wherever it has gone and left me behind with this strange, hungry body, I know that someone will come and it will light, but I cannot stop.