Shallow Dance

by Matty Sullivan

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Born as a Beast

It’s hard being born as a beast. Yesterday I shoved myself head-first into the world, growling and screaming, and today I have a terrible hunger for both milk and flesh. This world is mine to tear into pieces, yet my claws find no purchase. Were my mouth big enough, I would swallow you whole. There is no relief from this monstrous howling. The people upstairs have a puppy and the little shit never stops barking. I can hear it through the ceiling and my bowels churn in a rage for murder. My lips twist into a snarl and I find myself howling in fury. Before I know it, I am out the door and charging up the stairs on all four feet, saliva filling my mouth and running from my bloody jaws as I rise from the earth.

But I didn’t. I don’t. The adrenaline releases, but I stand still.

Am I afraid? Of course. But of what? Death? Or worse, ridicule? If I existed as the sole inhabitant of a vacuum, I would be free. Just me and these ants. I can’t tell if they’re my friends or if they’re just waiting for me to die so they can eat me.

This has not gone the way I hoped, not at all. I went to bed with such eloquence and ambition but now I am simply awkward, trying to squeeze water from the wrong rock.

But still my stomach is churning. Rage and hunger have joined forces, and from the combustion comes the crawling Beast I asked for. He has come. It’s too late to reconsider and too early for regrets. I wish to see how he moves.