Fangs and Bloody Waters

Amber Lee-Adadevoh
Nov 12, 2019 · 5 min read

The stars in the sky sparkled like diamonds, and the water around her was filled with blood. She smiled up at the stars, fingers grazing the sticky surface of the waters. Thirsty. No one had ever been as thirsty as she was now.

“I can help you find water,” said the snake in the boat.

She laughed a coarse, thirsty laugh. “My mother warned me about gifts from snakes.”

“Die thirsty if you please,” said the snake. “It’s all the same to me.”

She looked over the snake, with its shiny green scales, and its wet slithering tongue. Her tongue and throat were so dry.

“Alright, Mr. Snake. How will you help me find water?”

“Nothing worth having is free, child. What will you do for me?”

“What do you want, Mr. Snake?”

The snake licked its wet lips and smiled.

“I’ll give you water if you scratch my back. This old skin itches me tonight.”

She looked at the snake, and up at the stars, and thought a snake bite would be a better death. Whispering a last prayer, she reached out, eyes closed, and scratched the old snake’s back. The snake moaned with pleasure, licked her hand, and hissed to the heavens to open up for his friend. And the sky poured delicious water down on both of them. She drank and drank and drank until she wasn’t thirsty anymore. And for a time, she was happy.

But the sun beat down like a constant heavy breath, and the skies above were empty. She frowned down at the bloody waters and jabbed her spear in again to no avail. The fish were gone, drowned in blood, and she was so, so hungry.

“I can help you find food,” said the snake with new skin. She smiled a hollow, hungry smile.

“My father taught me to find my own food.”

“Die hungry if you like,” said the snake. “It’s all the same to me.”

She drank a gulp of rainwater and looked over at the snake with its full belly and glowing new skin. Her stomach rumbled and groaned.

“Fine, Mr. Snake. How will you help me find food?”

“Nothing worth having is free, my dear. What will you do for me?”

“What do you want, Mr. Snake?”

The snake stretched it’s stuffed body and smiled.

“I’ll give you food if you kiss my lips. I haven’t had a kiss in ages.”

She looked at the snake, sun beating down, and thought a kiss would be a lovely way to die. She closed her eyes and puckered her lips and gave that old snake a kiss. The snake smiled and shouted, shivered with pleasure, and rattled his tail at the sea. Fish and sea creatures jumped out of the bloody water into the boat. And she killed them and washed them and ate them until she wasn’t hungry anymore. And for a time, she was happy.

But the summer turned to winter, and the wind cut through her body like hunting knives. The bloody water froze and the boat couldn’t move an inch. She rubbed her body with freezing hands, but it was no use. She was colder than she’d ever been before.

“I can help you find home,” said her friend, the snake. She shivered and frowned.

“Snakes have no homes or compasses, they say.”

“Freeze to death if you please,” said the snake. “It’s all the same to me.”

She took a bite of cold fish, and washed it down with icy water. The snake rolled over, looking warm in its new red skin. Her bones creaked with cold.

“You win, Mr. Snake. How will you help me find home?”

“Nothing worth having is free, my dear. What will you do for me?”

“What do you want, Mr. Snake?”

The snake yawned a slow, comfortable yawn.

“I’ll take you home if you wear my old skin. I miss my old companions.”

She looked at the snake, and at her own breath in the air. At the water the snake had given her, and the food that kept her alive. And she thought looking like a snake wasn’t the worst way to die. She sewed together the snake’s old skin and made herself a warm coat. And the snake slithered around her and laughed a happy laugh and rubbed his scales together so that the waters parted and the cold winds blew them to shore. And her family was there, and they hugged her, wary of her snake skin clothing, and she danced and talked until she felt at home again. And for a time, she was happy.

But time did not stand still, and she grew with her desires, and the little house they shared was not enough. There were holes in the roof where the rain fell through, and the grass was a sickly yellow color. She was more desperate than she could imagine.

“I can bring you riches if you want,” said the snake in her home. She rushed to his feet.

“What do you want, Mr. Snake?”

The snake smiled a satisfied, glittering smile.

“I’ll make you rich if you let me bite you. It’s been too long since I’ve tasted blood.”

She looked at the snake and the gold in its scales. At the house around her with it’s peeling walls. At herself in the mirror, wearing the skin of a snake, and she thought dying of poison was better than dying of boredom. She leaned down and bared her neck, and felt the sharp pain of fangs piercing her throat. Every bone in her body began to break, an exquisite, exciting torment, and she felt herself transformed. Her long belly dragged across the ground, and she looked the snake in the eye for the first time.

Off they slithered, the two snakes, to a life of riches and magic. Snakes couldn’t live among people, but gold appeared with a swish of their tails, and they laughed and played until they were tired. They ate the throats of their enemies, and dragged them out to sea until the waters ran red with their blood. And for a time, she was happy. For a time, she was happy.

For a time, she was happy, but forever more a snake.

Lit Up

Welcome to Lit Up -The Land of Little Tales.

Amber Lee-Adadevoh

Written by

Writer and filmmaker living in Brooklyn.

Lit Up

Lit Up

Welcome to Lit Up -The Land of Little Tales. Here you can read and submit short stories, flash fiction, poetry - in brief, your own legend. We're starting little. But that's how all big stories begin.

Amber Lee-Adadevoh

Written by

Writer and filmmaker living in Brooklyn.

Lit Up

Lit Up

Welcome to Lit Up -The Land of Little Tales. Here you can read and submit short stories, flash fiction, poetry - in brief, your own legend. We're starting little. But that's how all big stories begin.

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