• Her vision was getting blurry partly from the rain, partly from her tears, but mainly because she had broken her glasses. The world seemed to be one massive cold, gray swimming pool to her water-logged eyes. Her hands reached out into the street as if some sort of Seeing Eye person would come to the rescue. Needless to say, no kind-hearted soul appeared with a special little harness and a penchant for barking. Paige Chutney cursed herself and sat down on what she assumed to be the curb. She cursed herself again. Her legs were still smarting from the night before.

    It had seemed romantic at the time. Tragic. No, no, that's not it at all. It was just... appropriate.

    Rusty stains appeared on her ill-fitting jeans. Of course. Of course. They would reopen now of all times. She put her head in her very clammy hands and began to sob even harder. It wasn't like her to cry in public, but dammit! She was just so... frustrated. Suddenly anxiousness had grasped her chest with vigor. Ok, slow breathing... slow breathing. Calm down. Calm the ******** down. You're not going to freak out. You're not going to freak out. Filed nails dug into her palms, not enough to bleed but enough to sting...

    "Excuse me there, but you look like you could use some help." A kindly female voice called to her.

    Paige looked up to see a peachy-red blur of motion. Oh god oh god can she tell? She can probably tell...

    "Y-yeah... yeah, you could say that. I... lost my glasses. C-could you call 288-7133 for me?"
    The blur made what Paige decided was a nodding motion and began to dial. She's got to be a mother. No other female would see a drenched little rat like me and play Good Samaritan. Her breathing *had* slowed a bit but... she dug her nails deeper into her hand.

    "Here you go, dear."

    oh god, here it comes..

    "Paige! Where are you? What's going on? I thought you were just going for a walk..." Paige winced at the sound of her step-mother's voice. "Like a harpy with a cold" was putting it kindly.

    "M-mom, I'm... where am I, again?"

    Ms. Red-Blur mother lady told her "8th and Umberton."

    "8th and Umberton, Mom."

    "You just wait right there until I get down there- and you're grounded for a week, you hear?"

    *Wasn't there some mythological creature that had a deadly scream? Mandrakes? Yeah, that's it. Mandrake-Harpy.*

    "It's not my fault my glasses broke..."

    "Whatever, Paige." She hung up.

    "Thank you, Missus...?" Paige said as she held out the cell phone to the lady. As she had stopped crying, she was beginning to make out pieces of a face... High cheek bones, a squarish jaw, red hair? *Oh, don't let her be pretty, I couldn't stand it if a pretty person pitied me...*

    "I'm Opal Pevell. Just Opal, please."

    Paige smiled at the oddity of the name. "I'm... I'm Paige Chutney."

    "Well, I live around here. Take better care of your glasses hun, maybe then you can see me around." With that, she began to walk down the street.

    It took Paige until halfway through the car ride home to get the pun. She groaned outwardly, causing her mother to give her a stare. Paige rolled her eyes and went back to staring at formations of raindrops on the window. She braced herself for the next round of questioning that was hanging over her head. What are you doing out in the rain? You’ll catch a cold. Are you daft? What’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you doing better in school?

    She suddenly remembered why she loved walking in the rain. The way the street puddles reflected the light always caught her eye with pleasure, the smell of fresh earth and clean air had always made her feel... pure... not to mention the wild storms that would rattle her windows and shut off the power. Rolling down the window seemed so appealing... as if the water would relieve the band of tightness that had been returning with a vengeance. Paige suspected the erratic movement of the car was not helping.

    "Paige, what the hell? Seriously, how did you just *break* another pair of glasses? That's the third pair this year." Her step-mother quivered with anger causing her triple chins to wobble.

    The car jolted around a bend, spraying brown water onto an innocent passerby.

    "Don't worry about it, Mom."


    Somehow, I always seem to find myself in some kind of hot water.

    Underneath the water in the safe dark enclose of the bath tub, Paige felt at peace for the first time that day. She always turned out the lights when she took baths, with only a few candles for her to navigate the bathroom. It was her cave, her private little womb of shadows.

    She lifted up her head from the murky depths of bathwater. Sometimes she wished she were a mermaid- a hot tub mermaid. Alas, mermaid transformations were rather rare, or so she heard.

    Today did not go as planned. Nothing ever went as planned.

    All she wanted was for something to happen. A little excitement in her coddled miserable life. Why she thought she could find it in the “bad” part of town, she really didn’t know. There wasn’t much to do besides a few bars she couldn’t get into anyways. And Paige couldn’t pass for 18, never mind 21.

    A 15-year old girl in this town was going to have trouble finding trouble.

    She knew other kids drank and did drugs, but… they were exactly the sort of kids who didn’t like girls like her. She had heard of urban exploring- but what few friends she had were not interested in leaving their computers. There was nowhere to go. Nothing to do but sleep and eat and ******** and hope for an early death.

    Paige sank down into the now tepid water and blew bubbles in disgust. That’ll show the world, old girl, that’ll shock society into making something happen. You just keep on blowing. “Making something happen” will not be accomplished by taking walks in the rain or harassing Amy to go visit the old mill. Just give it up already.

    Head toward the ceiling, she exhaled and closed her eyes. There was nothing to look forward to anymore. No grand escape to college, no job, no boyfriend to take her in, nowhere to run away to. How does one run away anyway? Don’t you need money and friends? Bus tickets? Tents? The idea of being alone in a big city with nothing but her body was absolutely terrifying. She heard stories about what happened to kids like her. Most of them ending with the girl getting pregnant or dead. Sometimes both. Paige might have been looking for excitement, but she could not have a baby. No no no. Non-negotiable.
    She stumbled out of the tub, knocking over candles and splashing water all over her clothes.

    It was time to get out.


    Her ceiling was off-white, but Paige had never noticed the distinctive watermark in the corner was an interesting shade of violet with a smidge of brown. The longer she looked at it, the odder the shape took. Almost… moving, sort of.

    On her night table lay a bottle of Seroquel. She had taken three pills that morning- usually she took half of one to fall asleep.

    Paige Chutney was not going to school today. Or tomorrow. Or the day after that.
    No, if she could, she would have disappeared under her downy covers and only surface when she was hungry. Darkness and hidey-holes, that was Paige.


    If she hadn’t been so sedated, Paige could have sworn she was being pulled down into something. The covers felt so tight, so oddly constricting…The world melded into a puddle of bizarre scents and dark backgrounds, everything out of focus. She could feel strange things touching her, brushing up against her skin and caressing her head with the strangest of fluids, the warmest of embraces wrapping around her body…

    Her hands were puddles. The puddles were flesh. Her flesh was liquid color.

    Paige was comfortable in the tangle of warmth and darkness. This was what being in an embryo would be like, she thought, if you could think in embryos. Was this death? A dream? Or had she in fact, entered a very large embryo?

    if any of them were the case, she simply didn't care. Paige had never felt so good before. She was… happy.