Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fishy blue glory

The circus man had seen them-- the one with the shockingly green eyes and the eerie grin. The one that the circus had left behind. He had seen them in all their fishy, blue glory.

Such things had happened before. There had been times where an ignorant human caught a glimpse of Mab's gills or webbed fingers. Mab wasn't particularly worried about being seen. They had learned that humans were skeptical beings, and no one would believe that that person had actually seen Mab's true nature. But this specific... Just the thought of it sent shivers down their spine.

It had been early morning, hours before the sun rose and any human in their right mind would be safe in their homes. This was the time where Mab most often found themselves in the public pool, relishing in the solitude that the night left them. They had lifted themself from the pool with powerful biceps, only to look directly into the eyes of the ringmaster. He stood there, beyond the chain link fence, his eyes wide yet knowing. The blood drained from their face, and they sat there, balanced on her arms on the edge of the pool. Mab didn't know how long they stared at each other in silence.

"Good morning to you, sir." The ringmaster nodded and tipped his hat politely at them. He continued down the sidewalk, as if nothing had happened.

Mab couldn't forget how he looked at them. It was almost as if he had been expecting their encounter, like he had known of their inhuman form.

They ran.


Mab arrived at work the next day exhausted and sleep deprived. They hadn't even closed their eyes that night. There were multiple occasions where Mab had found themselves falling asleep at the cash register.

"Hello?" A voice startled them form their half-slumber. A man stood in front of the register. He looked tired, just as Mab was, and every inch of his arms were covered in tattoos. They didn't recognize him, surprisingly, seeming as everyone knew everyone here. A single carton of milk was clasped between his two hands.

"Ah! Hello!" They were suddenly alert. The first customer the store had seen all morning. "Good morning, did you find everything you need?" They reached for the carton of milk.

"I did, thanks." The man gave them a polite grin, but something seemed slightly off about this fellow.

The ringmaster entered the store, and before Mab could speak again, they choked on their words. "That- er, haaaaa..." They coughed as their eyes followed the ringmaster, beyond the mans shoulder. Again, he tipped his hat at them, but no words were exchanged. Mab felt sick to their stomach.


A man stumbled out of a blue winnebago as they walked home, a dazed look plastered across his face. "Are you alright?" They called to him, stopping in their tracks. He didn't hear them "Sir, are you alright?" They repeated, and the man looked up. He was bent over, his arms holding him up from his knees, as if he had just run a marathon.

"Pardon?" He looked up, suddenly alert.

"You look- you looked scared, or dazed or something." Mab shrugged.

"No, I-- that circus guy-- he--" The man seemed out of breath and struggled to complete his sentences. Mab's eyes widened. The ringmaster.

"Wait, that guy? What did he do?" Their tone was now urgent as they rushed over to him. They knew he was up to no good.

The man shook his head. "Nah, never mind. The guys a fuckin' creep." And he left it at that.

Mab continued on their way home.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Midnight Circus

The rain had stopped for the time being, but the moisture still hung in the air like a thick curtain and Mab, for one, loved it. It kept their soft, green membrane nice and wet, the way it was made to be.

About ten years ago they had lived deep within the tropical rain forest of Indonesia where the air was constantly heavy with water vapor from the regular downpours. They remember the small shack they had built with the help of some of the locals. Hardly anyone ventured that far into the forest, so Mab was freed from their human disguise- no wig, no makeup, nothing. It was a simple life, but of course, as Mab is usually inclined to, they grew bored of the isolation and left not a year later.

Sometimes they still miss Indonesia, but mostly they just miss their lips not being perpetually chapped and not having to carry a tube of moisturizer everywhere they went. It was so bloody dry in Winthrop most of the time, and Mab praised any sign of rain.

That morning they awoke to the faint shouting of a man outside of their apartment (they thanked their lucky stars that they weren't on one of the lower levels, else the noise might have truly been a distraction. As they peered through their kitchen window, pulling on their wig and scarf in preparation for work, they could see a garishly dressed man standing at the bus stop- obviously the source of all the racket. With a deep sigh, they hoisted up their window to see if they could possibly hear the man and see what all the hullabaloo was about.

"For one night only! Come see some of the most beautiful and enchanting creatures of all the earth! Come see the albino tiger, a beautiful miracle of nature, who has never before seen the light of day! Creatures of all shapes and sizes..." The man continued, feverishly handing out slips of paper to everyone who passed. Mab couldn't help but roll their eyes. A circus was in town, wasn't it. What a load of baloney.

Mab's... er, condition had landed them in many a freak show and circus alongside caged and abused animal. A horrid industry, it was.

They left their apartment with an hour left before work. Whenever Mab had time to spare, they headed to one place: the greenhouse. It was a little overgrown and neglected, but Mab tried their best to keep the plants living through the harsher seasons. Many of the plants their were even planted and cared for by them, which they took great pride in. But when there wasn't any plants to be watering, Mab found solace sitting on the bench on the far side of the greenhouse, where no one bothered to venture.

They found a few minutes of peace when they arrived their, looking at the churning grey clouds above them until they heard the sound of dry grass crunching under footsteps. "Can I sit here?" The person asked, but without even waiting for a response, they plopped right beside them. A rather odd thing to do, considering their was plenty of other seating in the area. But Mab didn't mind the company.

They began to sketch with the dull end of a charcoal pencil, making a soft etching sound against the paper. Mab watched uneasily until they finally decided to speak.

"I like your style." Mab didn't take their eyes off of the paper. "Of drawing, that is. It's pretty."

"Oh, um, thanks. That means a lot."

"Don't mention it."

More silence. Mab's thoughts wandered back to the man she saw that morning. "This is a bit unrelated, but did you hear that the circus is in town?" Mab looked at their watch- half an hour to go before work.

"Oh, yeah." The girl continued to sketch. "It's a little strange, though. I don't remember them ever coming into town." She swiftly brushed a stray clump of hairs behind her ear. "And that guy? At the bus stop? He gives me the creeps."

Mab let out a breathy chuckle. "I wouldn't know, I didn't get a very good look at him. His pants are... eugh." They wrung their fingers nervously with a soft smile, making sure to keep their pointed teeth behind their lips.

As Mab grew more comfortable in the girl's presence, they chatted back and forth for a few minutes. About the rain, the circus, the apartments. Small talk, nothing more. But at one particular thing the girl said, Mab laughed heartily, displaying their teeth to the world. Their monstrous, razor like teeth. As soon as they realized what they had done, their eyes widened and they immediately moved their gloved hand to cover their mouth.

"Is that...?" The girl looked at them funny, and the only thing Mab could think of to do was run.

"I have to go." Was all they said before they sped off, hand still covering mouth.

Mab didn't even get the girl's name.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Good morning, Mab

They awoke to pitch black, laying belly up in the cold water of a bathtub. They blinked once, twice, before they turned towards the alarm clock they had strategically placed on a chair next to the tub. It read 6:30. With a tired groan they lifted themselves upright, rubbing the night's sleep from their eyes before slamming their palm onto the snooze button.

Pushing up with their long spindly arms on either side of the tub, they stood up with a deep sigh. Their feet made a soft, wet pitter patter noise as they stepped out and flicked on the light.

Good morning, Mab.

Their bathroom was, to put it simply, unkempt, which even still was too weak a word to truly describe the state of their lavatory. Mold had grown in a line circling the inside of the tub where the surface of the water typically was. The mirror was smudged with toothpaste, finger prints, and a layer of who-knows-what that blurred the reflection slightly. The tiles on the walls were loose, barely holding onto the cement wall behind it. Each morning, Mab woke up to this mess, and each morning they would promise themself that they'd clean it that evening. Of course, when evening came, Mab was too tired or too busy or too sore to even think about picking up a sponge.

They looked at their reflection in the mirror with tired eyes, and they saw the same thing that they had for centuries. Dark blue-tinged skin, two slits for nostrils, and sharp teeth hiding behind full lips. Their eyes were beady and dark, like those of a fish, and the sharp eyebrows that topped them were simply drawn on.

They weren't human.

They knew that as soon as they washed up on the shore of what was now Palma, Spain three centuries ago. They were of the ocean, not of the mountains or the plains or the valleys.  "What a beautiful world" They remember thinking to themselves when they were still brand new. The mountains in the distance were soft and sloping, and the sand was as hot and white as the sun. In the ocean, they were alone, but perhaps here, upon this solid earth, they wouldn't be. Perhaps they'd make friends and family, make connections.

Of course, when one spends centuries away from their ocean home, one tends to forget how to swim. They had become so ingrained in their life posing as a human, they simply pushed the knowledge out of their head to make room for new, exciting memories. And thus, Mab was stuck here, at Winthrop place, with a crappy job checking out groceries at the local grocery store. The thing about human culture is that you were not free to do whatever you pleased whenever you pleased. In order to do something, you had to have money. And getting money was something they never really excelled at.

After they brushed their teeth and rubbed themselves top to bottom with body lotion (to keep the moisture in, of course. Without it they'd shrivel and dry after a few hours.), they'd begin their makeup routine.

It was a fairly hard task trying to look remotely human when you obviously were not. First, they'd apply a thin layer of brown fountain over their face, chin, arms, and legs, but never over their neck or the sides of their abdomen (Who would want to get that gunk in their gills?). Then they'd draw their eyebrows on with a sharp brown pen, place false eyelashes onto her second eyelid (She had two), and cover their lips with a soft pink color. Looking at Mab, you could certainly tell that something was not right, but as far as they were concerned, it just looked like they were wearing too much makeup.

The final pieces to their outfit was placed after they had gotten dressed. A long dark wig, to cover up their hairless head, and a scarf to cover up the gills on their neck.

In their kitchen, which was no better than the bathroom, they looked out the window. It was raining.

This was typically a good sign for them for the moisture in the air was perfect for their soft membrane, but alas, the makeup would not stay on if it weren't for an umbrella.