Pretty, Still - 1. Esme

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Realistic Fantasy
Esme was pretty, still.

(updated 28.08.19)

Submitted: August 23, 2019

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Submitted: August 23, 2019

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Pretty, Still - Esme

 

Michael brought the pan of cold water to boiling point over a gentle heat and, with a teaspoon, carefully lowered the egg into the water, immersing it until the white was softly set with a runny yolk. When the egg was ready, he plucked it out of the hot water and mounted it in a cup with an autumnal leaf theme, autumnal to match his mood, the approaching end of life.

He arranged fingers of buttered white bread around the cup, set the plate beside a chilled bottle of mineral water, a plastic beaker, on a heavenly hummingbird beanbag lap tray, and went upstairs to see Esme.

Esme was pretty, still. The ague had carved hollows out of her neck, accentuating her bony jawline, the ghastly pallor spreading like café crème over her once-perfect cocoa skin. Her eye sockets had sunk into disturbing dun recesses lined with umber, blotchy bags of exhaustion.

She was out cold, head back, bulbous snout snitching upwards, eyebrows raised in shock-alarm. Esme was moulting, badly. Her wavy teak hair hung in delicate tresses over her bare shoulders, receding, leaving a large central bald patch, a hideous widow’s peak on her pate.

Michael noticed her head was slopped to one side. He placed the lap tray by her bare feet, poking out from under the duvet. Then, gently, he lifted Esme’s head back into position, resting her on the dusty raspberry headboard of her bed in a bun.

‘I made you runny egg with toy soldiers, precious,’ he said, ‘your favourite breakfast, darling.’

Esme’s tongue lolled languidly out of the left side of her mouth, her drool and spittle frothing on her curly lips, dribbling down her chin, running the length of her gilded neck before pooling and drying in a crust at the base of her throat.

Michael found the prospect of kissing her tongue distasteful. Instead, he lightly kissed her bald patch, brushing the dry, scaly, skin off his mouth, and pushed his slim fingers through her hair. His cygnet ring caught on her, pulling out a tuft. 

‘I’m off to school now, Esme,’ he said, rubbing her arm, ‘See you this evening for supper.’

Michael about-turned, sped to the bathroom, flipped open the toilet lid, and threw up. After he regained strength, he inter-dented, slooshed, cleaned his teeth, rinsed his face, and went to his room.

His dapper, crease-resistant, charcoal three-piece suit awaited him on a hangar along with y-fronts, navy socks, garters, a blue birds-eye shirt and tartan tie. He dressed expediently, slipping on a pair of tan punched-wing brogues, collecting his leather satchel, before flying out of the house.


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