Artemis Drifting

Just because she tippietoes, doesn't mean she's a creepin'.


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An unsteady light flickered overhead, giving the illusion that the room’s shadows skirted towards her. Her naked feet were icy cold from the tiled floor. The old radiator was covered in a thick blanket of dust. But it didn’t stop her from peeling her shirt upward. It joined the lump of her jacket near her ankles.

In her mouth was pandora’s box, a miniature sliver of a coffin beneath her tongue.

It was all honey when she was untouched. She did so much good. But that didn’t matter now, not in this lonely bathroom. For as much good as she did, the bad always found her. She didn’t know how to do bad. So the box opened and swallowed the vile. The tiger would always eat her, for she was too fearful to crush even an ant in her flight. The coffin swelled when the bad men came.

But it was sealed tight. The poison, now, was so great inside that she felt it blackening the sides of her teeth.

She raised her eyes through her bangs and watched herself under the stuttering glare of the light. There was a languid sway at her shoulders, even though she was fighting to hold still. If she moved, it blurred the lattice work of bruises and scars over her ribs and breasts. She got tired of looking, the coffin was close to trapping her tongue to the roof of her mouth.

Her bra was unclipped and dropped, revealing small breasts marred with inky fingerprints. Robotically, she stripped the rest of her clothing and then kicked it into a dirty corner far away from her. One sock lagged behind, sprawled in a half hunch like an inchworm.

She had waited too late to say it to them. Waited too long to fight. Now the poison was making the coffin groan, bloated. She hunched forward and crossed her skinny arms across her chest and lifted her eyes to the dusty mirror one last time. Her dry, cracked lips parted:


The coffin exploded, driving broken splinters into the soft flesh of her tongue. A black, oily liquid as thick as syrup oozed from the corners of her mouth, wiggled between the small gaps between her teeth. It scorched the flesh of her throat until it was white ash.

Her legs buckled first, eyes bulging from behind her unwashed hair. As she fell, one hand clawed desperately at the rounded edge of the sink. The poison swirled like a tide, clogging her nostrils and eating away at the soft tissue.

She thought, as her mind grew misty and slow, I should’ve used this before.

Her fingers ticked off the sink, one by one, leaving a wet trail as her arm joined her crooked body on the floor.

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