She was waiting. Her sister was supposed to be home by now. What could take her so long? What if something…no she wasn’t going to think about that. Not yet. She bit her ring finger again, taking off yet another layer of nail. It was a nasty habit but she had it since she was little. Since the day daddy and mommy left without a trace. She smelled them first. Ever since it had gotten worse her senses had been better. She scratched her skin but she could hardly feel it. The room felt cramped now and then. She glanced out of the fort she built with her sister out of blankets. She felt safe in there. Like maybe it would keep the world out. The villagers hated her so much. But nothing could keep them out. And she had smelled them. She glanced at the mirror at the other end of the room. She never stared at her reflection. She hated the mirror being there but she shared the room with her sister and she used it. Sometimes she wanted to look into it but she’d stop herself as soon as she looked down at her arms and how different they looked from her sisters smooth pretty ones. Now she heard them too. And then there was a knock at the front door. Her sister wouldn’t knock. They were outside. Making her way to the bedroom door to lock it, maybe it would stall them from finding her, she glanced in the mirror for the first time in three years. She rubbed the hair on her arm. She didn’t want to look this way.

She didn’t want to be a beast.