Sixteen eyes on wrinkled stalks wriggle in discordant unrest. Their cat-thin pupils dance restlessly, processing the bedroom’s dimensions like a wet utensil. The broad back slides over itself, glistening skin over moist carapace, punctuated by peaks of chitin rising like tempers out of reluctant boils. From the window burns the sterile yellow light of a distant streetlamp, casting a looming, twisted shadow over the bedsheets.

Green Eye Stalk

Brian Smith via Creative Commons

Jointed arms ratchet out of the flanks like myiasis, ropy strands of pale fluid sucking against the motion and squelching softly like squeezed custard. They reach for the tender young face like a caress. The lamprey mouth opens, round lips peeling back revealing concentric rows of barbed, inward facing teeth, the pale pink tissue between catching ambient light from beneath the door. A thin, hollow tongue snakes from the gaping maw and laps at the rubbery lips.

The maw curls into the beginnings of a snarl and then melts upward, a smile. “Good night,” crackles the low and atonal voice, a shopping cart wheel stuck on a stone. “Sleep tight my heart,” she whispers, leaning in close.

The young one fidgets under the blanket, restless, anticipating the kiss and the dreams.