My shade. She comes to me at night, dressed in fine deceit, and lies like stealth upon my pillow, cooing and cradling as I sleep. She dips into the inkwell of my breath and draws from me the blunt and ugly weapons of my speech, my hasty unconsidered thoughts, the purple venom of my spite.
She takes my stale and bitter griefs, and makes of them a nest of gnarled and twisted twigs, cushioned deep and mossed with green and cryptic fern and lined with pillowed plumage. There she sits and broods and waits and, on this bed of gentled anguish, lays her egg. And from its hard and glassy shell, a creature – naked, soft and raw – is born. Blind urchin of my shade.
Paulette Smyth lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she teaches English to migrants and refugees. Her work has previously been published in Antipodean SF, Bewildering Stories, Verandah and Eureka Street.