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I’ve been a little pre-occupied lately, and the Back to School Daze Blogfest almost slipped by without me noticing it. Almost, but not quite, so here I am with my entry, pretty late in the day.
Thanks Roh Morgon for organizing this, and here’s a link to the other writers. Go check them out, seriously. Some seriously good stuff is written in these blogfests!
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“I’m not sure why we’re here,” said Rita, hackles raised. She rolled her eyes at the empty barn behind the school canteen.

“There’s nowhere else private,” came the reply from the dark grey hooded jacket.

“Okay, it’s freezing here, so unless you have something important to say…”

“I have growths…”

“They’re called breasts, you fool! Is that why you dragged me all the way here? Every girl gets them, that’s how we know we’re girls!”

“Mine are not breasts…”

“And how would you know?” said Rita, a frown creasing her bushy eyebrows.

“They aren’t soft, and they hurt…”

“All breasts start that way.”

“They’re on my back!”

“What?”

“I said, they’re on my back, Rita.”

Rita slowly sank down on the floor, her eyes wide with fear.

“Take off your jacket, I must see!” Rita whispered, her voice carrying in the frozen silence of the empty barn.

A moment’s pause and Rita saw the hooded jacket on the floor, the t-shirt, heard the pale sounds of their fall.

She looked up, her eyes following the blue, green and yellow patterns on her best friend’s skirt. Her eyes snagged on the waistband and held. She dragged them up, fighting the urge to look down and run.

There they were, on a quivering pallid back, just where the shoulder blades should have been.

“You’re one of Them!”

Her friend turned, and met her eyes for the first time. Rita let out a scream. The eyes were pools of black, no pupils, just dark oblong holes instead of the glimmering blue she was used to. A look at the ribs facing her confirmed her fears. No breasts ever grew on Them, for they did not nurse their young.

“You must run! Those will grow, soon you won’t be able to hide them!”

“Where?”

“I don’t know, anywhere! This is the first time one of Them has been born in our town.”

“But Rita….”

“No buts. Leave, now!

“Don’t you want to admire them once?”

“Look, Grandma said They only have to feel like they have a hand in their back, open them as fingers on a hand.”

Rita saw her words become an incantation, as a pair of black wings unfurled themselves behind the girl she had known all her life, the one she thought she knew better than herself.

They were like lace, Rita noticed, with flowers and patterns like on a mourning veil her Grandma wore at various funerals, lace held up by a framework of black spines. The light from the lone glass window trickled through them, the pale body framed by the black lace and the multi-coloured skirt formed a vision she would not soon forget.

But she may not have time to remember. Her consciousness dimmed as she heard her friend speak.

“I know what I must do, I’ve known all along. I must fly! But before that I must eat, and that’s why you’re here, sister.”

Rita’s head fell to the floor in a swoon and she saw no more.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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6 Comments

  • roh morgon says:

    Ooh…very creepy!

    Sorry I'm so late getting by your blog…

    I love the descriptions of the black lace-like wings and could see them unfurl.

    My favorite line? "But before that I must eat, and that's why you're here, sister."

    Awesome. I love it.

    Thanks again for joining my blogfest – great entry!

  • Eeleen Lee says:

    Ahh this is cool and creepy like a Tim Burton film- ever try writing for young adults? I think you'd do very well.

  • I love the opening about the breasts. It was good to have a funnier opening and then the darker turn later in the passage. Nice job!

  • DLCurran says:

    Oh my – I like that! Poor Rita…

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Oooo this is very intriguing and scary. I love the description of the wings being compared to Grandma's funeral veils it sets it up for Rita's doom. I have the chills now. Loved it! 😀

  • Summer Ross says:

    Oh wow- thats very interesting. did she eat her? oh boy what a curiosity…

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