Hey, remember a million years ago when I posted something about finding something in one of my old notebooks or files about a wereplatypus? I decided to use it as a prompt to get myself writing again, and this is what I came up with.
WARNING: Unedited and weird But that’s nothing new is it
My mom used to tell me stories about the wereplatypus. A mythical beast that was an adorable, odd looking creature by day and even more bizarre looking creature by night. It would roam around Australia, killing people. I remember her specifically telling me how many mean old people it would eat, listing all of the teachers at school that I hated.
As a kid, I liked the story. Well, parts of it at least. I wasn’t sure what my mother’s motivation was in making up such a tale, but it certainly did entertain me. Looking back on it now, I realize I must have been insane. Not only was it a terrible story, but I was pretty sure my mom didn’t even know where Australia was. She was always kind of out of it, to put it mildly. She wasn’t crazy, but there were many recurring moments where I questioned her sanity. Now I just wish she was here, even if she isn’t mentally.
I think about this now as I pass a local toy store, a large stuffed Platypus displayed in the window. I see a little girl and her mother looking at it. She seems to be begging, but this is not what I am focusing on. It brings back pictures and scents and touches that jab at my heart. They poke me, intoxicating me with the thick fume of nostalgia.
It is a drug I know too well. I look away from the window, not wanting to be pulled under. I walk faster and round the corner.
It’s getting darker and I hear the faint sound of cars honking and people yelling. Probably another accident, or one of the many people in this city who suffers from road rage.
My sister is unfortunately one of those people. My mom would always scream at her in Spanish about how she was going to get shot if she didn’t calm down in the car and “respect” the people around her, but she wouldn’t hear it. She never does.
I was always afraid she would get shot with that attitude of hers- drivers are crazy.
I don’t know exactly what it is about drivers with egos, but they seem to think that every other car should bow down to them and their crappy steering skills. Why would anyone bow down to some random, hairy, middle aged man sticking his middle finger out while blasting his obnoxious music? People are so weird. So reckless and caught up on their own selfish agendas.
I prefer to take the bus. Not because I’m afraid of the drivers around here or because I can’t drive, but because I’m afraid to be in the car again.
I walk up the stairs to our apartment building, fumbling in my pocket for the key. I hold a large bag of groceries in one hand, which I attempt to set down but end up dropping on the pavement. Groaning internally, I stuff the fallen bags with the packets of ramen and quick macaroni and cheese, all bought at my sister’s request. She’s the one who manages all the money left over from mom, and she says if we scrimp a little on the food she can spend more money on clothes. I don’t agree with this choice, but she’s older than me and also more informed on the subject of economics. She’s also the one working multiple part time jobs, covering the rest of my school tuition that is not covered by scholarship.
Still, it doesn’t seem fair that I have to sacrifice my taste buds so she can buy some stupid girly dresses or something.
Ramen is fine, sometimes. Not every night. It is the epitome of poor people blandness. Though we really aren’t poor. We’re just… Lacking in people to bring in income.
If only mom was still here to cook for us.
I pick up the bag with my good hand and unlock the door, closing it behind me. As I enter the main room, I immediately smell nail polish. It’s such a strong, chemical smell.
Marcella sits cross legged on the couch, examining her bubblegum pink talons.
I pass her and set the bag on the kitchen counter, unloading it slowly. It’s always a little harder with my hand, but I manage it.
“Hey, what did you get?”
She pulls herself up off the couch, sticking her fingers out so she won’t mess up the paint. She peers over my shoulder, poking my head.
“What you asked. Cheapish stuff, as usual.”
After she blows on her fingers a few times, she seems satisfied. She ruffles my hair like she always does, because she knows I hate it. I dodge her hand and make a face.
“Yeah yeah. Why does your nail polish make the room seem like a nuclear bomb just exploded?”
“It doesn’t. You’re just being over sensitive.”
She pokes my head, flicking me and laughing.
“You need a haircut,” she comments.
I push her away, grumbling under my breath. “I never asked you.”
“Chill. I’m just giving you some advice. It looks kind of scruffy.”
“I don’t mind.”
“You’re just too lazy to do anything with it. You know, I could cut it for you, give you a nice undercut or something.”
She looks at me for a second, pulling some scissors out of the drawer. I back away.
“No, I’m good. I’m really good.”
“Whatever, but you’re missing out.”
She grabs a granola bar and heads to the couch to start on her feet. She extends a graceful, tawny colored calf and sets her toes on the coffee table. She crunches down on the granola bar and wipes her nose.
I just roll my eyes before I walk over to my room.
Marcella is twenty two. She’s supposedly my guardian now, though I feel like most of the time I’m stuck taking care of her. She’s very smart, and good at adapting to new situations, but she tends to start things and then get distracted mid-way through. I can tell she was probably typing up something for work before she decided her manicure needed to be touched up. Before that she was probably writing my grandmother an email about how everything was going, how we were without any “real” adults around.
I feel emotionally and physically drained. I throw myself on my bed, staring at the plastic glow in the dark stars on my ceiling. They look greenish grey in the dim lightning. I sigh and turn over on my side. I really need a good sleep.
Sleep comes to me in waves. I come in and out of it, each time feeling more disoriented than the first. My room is dim and spinning as a blink. I can never quite tell what is real when I’m starting to fall.
I wake up at two AM, but I’ve been in and out the entire time. The dreams jolt me and pull me under and over. Images of debris and twisted, crushed spines surround me. I find my back crushed by the weight of the car, the car where she died. It pins me to the ground, paralyzing. My throat is so dry that when I scream her name nothing comes out. Blood collects in my throat and then leaves it. Sirens are blaring around us, people are running around, lights flash everywhere. Overstimulation. Agony. Fear.
They pull a dead woman out and I pass out at the sight of her.
I close my eyes. I am awake now.
The stars on my ceiling have faded, their glow burned out. Marcella should’ve woken me. Now my sleep schedule is even more jacked up than before. I have school tomorrow…She’s been babying me so much now.
I lift myself up and go to the bathroom. I wobble slightly as I walk down the hall. Threadlike veins glare at me in my neck. I can feel my heart beating in my cheeks. I inhale and exhale sharply, heart and lungs both trembling. Anxiety again. Anxiety always. I hate how fear takes such a physical form in my body.
I splash cold water on my cheeks. My eyes are bloodshot. My skin normally a warm golden brown is now almost yellowish and clammy. I look like a sick fish.
I flick the water off my wrists because I know Marcella has probably used the towel many times before. She hates doing laundry, and I don’t know where that thing has been.
I brush my teeth and spit. I need to get this foul taste out of my mouth.
I stay up a little while, still shaken, still attempting to juggle with all the stress from the dreams. Eventually I do fall back asleep, and when I wake up I realize it’s time to descend back into the real world.