Metamorphosis Suite

Tuesday Tomlins

 CW: Child Death

 

Passengers to Cargo 

 

Sticky fingers spin a steel wheel wildly from side to side, heedless of the rocky terrain that rises and shatters through the windows of the bus. The pastel passengers are unaware of their frosted fate as they titter and tattle, clasping and unclasping doe-filled purses. Their eyes, once human, gloss over like candy apples, syrup oozing from cherry tear ducts and pressed between crusty lips. The bus driver hums a hymn that makes cake batter drip harmless from his flesh fingers. He will not become the cargo.  

 

Child to Cloth 

 

The monsters float, spiny and pale beneath an indoor skeleton playground where children clamber and slip down the sharp, broken slides. Their delicate bodies plunge through arctic water, limbs becoming cotton and eyes turning to glistening buttons. The woman looms above, neck bowed beneath the ceiling and heart turning to ice as children slide gleefully to their deaths. Her bloodless hands sift through the water, collecting lifeless dolls and clutching them to her hollow chest. The monsters lurk in their watery prison, swimming in endless circles.   

 

Girl to Bride 

 

Helpers gather in long, silken robes layered over their bodies in opaque gossamer buds. The girl stands, back to the bathtub, ceramic lip to her spine. Blank floor and walls and ceiling and dress. Blank faces as the helpers grip her arms and lift. All that blinding blankness makes the brass rack stand out, with its oxygen stains blooming green. The girl is lifted over the tub, and the white tulle of her skirt spills down into the water before her as she is firmly lowered in. Water-logged petals tangle with her hair, and mint and raspberries coat her collarbones and fingers. The dress bloats eagerly, embracing the pink stains that travel up its flowery lace. Once satisfied, the helpers fish the bride from the bath and peel off the old skin of her dress. They drape it gently on the brass rack, for all the world to see that it is flushed with the bruises of matrimony. The ceremony is complete.   

Tuesday Tomlins is an emerging Meanjin-based (Brisbane) writer. She finds endless inspiration in the history and landscape of Australia, channelling this into her memoir, horror, poetry, and fiction.